London is a magical place to spend winter in, especially if you’re lucky enough to get some snow. There are cosy pubs where you can snuggle up by the fireplace, fairytale-like ice rinks to stake around, and huge department stores where you can bag a bargain.
Here are our top things to do in London over winter…
Cosy up in a pub
London has over 3,000 pubs across the city and there’s no better place to be when the weather gets cold outside. Enjoy a mulled wine or hot cider and cosy up in front of a roaring fireplace. If you want a side of history with your pint, head to some of the city’s historic drinking establishments. There’s The George in Southwark which was where Charles Dickens and Shakespeare used to hang out, the Prospect of Whitby in Wapping, which is one of London’s oldest pubs, and The Ten Bells in Spitalfields where the victims of Jack the Ripper were last seen.
Find the nearest Big Bus Stop to The George
Get your skates on
It’s not really winter unless you whizz across an ice rink and practice your best moves, or just hold onto the edge and shimmy around. London has several ice rinks for you to choose from over the winter season. The ice rinks at the Natural History Museum and Somerset House are the most popular – each boasting a magical fairytale-like setting complete with lights, decorations and Christmas trees. There’s also an ice rink at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland every year plus pop-up rinks at historical landmarks like the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace.
Find the nearest Big Bus Stop to Somerset House
Taste your way around the city
Cold weather calls for comfort food and London does those warming, hearty dishes well. You’ve got curries, soups, stews and traditional Sunday roasts to tuck into. Try a roast dinner at the Jolly Butchers pub in Stoke Newington (it’s one of the best in London) or a curry on Brick Lane. You can also try loads of delicious treats at one of the many markets around the city. Borough Market at London Bridge is a popular option – you’ll find a huge queue for cheese toasties at the Kappacasein bakery for good reason.
Find the nearest Big Bus Stop to Borough Market
Visit Winter Wonderland
Every year Hyde Park is taken over by the Christmas extravaganza that is Winter Wonderland. What started off as an open-air Christmas market has evolved into a huge winter festival complete with rides, attractions and a German beer hall. It’s free to enter so you can wander around the chalet-style huts browsing trinkets and Christmas decorations soaking up the festive atmosphere. Or, you can take your pick from over 100 rides and attractions including Munich Looping, the largest mobile roller coaster on the planet. If you’re visiting with kids, there’s a circus, Santa’s grotto and Christmas shows to keep everyone entertained. And at night, the bars and German beer halls are the place to be for party-goers, with live music, DJ sets and plenty of beer and mulled wine.
Find the nearest Big Bus Stop to Hyde Park
Shop ‘til you drop
If you’re in London over Christmas, you can’t miss the chance to see the stunning Christmas light displays on Oxford Street and Regent Street. All of the big department stores like Harrods, Selfridges and John Lewis will be dressed to the nines and trying to outdo each other with their festive window displays – see them all before you decide on your favourite. If you’re doing your Christmas shopping you can take your pick from independent boutique stores, designer shops and markets. And, if you happen to be in London in January, you can take advantage of the January sales and bag a great bargain.
Find the nearest Big Bus Stop to Oxford Street
Catch a show
Catch the beautiful Christmas production of The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, or watch one of Matthew Bourne’s quirky ballet shows at Sadler's Wells Theatre. You’ve also got loads of long-standing West End shows for to choose from including Les Miserables, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera.
If you want to experience a traditional British Christmas show, book tickets to a pantomime – a musical, slapstick performance of well-known stories that families will love. Or, check out a carol concert or service at one of the many London churches.
Find the nearest Big Bus Stop to Oxford Street
Start planning your winter escapade to London today. The city lines up so many events, shows and festivals to keep you busy over the festive season. Browse our bus routes and attractions to see what else there is to do in the city too. For more idea's of where to visit next, check out our guide to the Best European Cities to Visit in Winter and the Best Places to Visit in Winter.