Ice, spice & everything nice: What are the best things to do in London during winter?

Who needs sunshine when you can have fairy lights? If you’re tired of chasing summer and ready to dive into the magic of the colder months, London in winter is calling your name. 

Forget vitamin D, this trip is all about festive cheer and an extra slice (or two) of Christmas pudding. From the twinkling lights of Oxford Street to the cosy warmth of hidden pubs, London sheds its usual bustle and transforms into a haven of winter enchantment. 

So, grab your warmest coat and boots as we explore the best things to do in London in winter. 

Enjoy the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

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Location: Hyde Park, London W2 2UH, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 8233 5400

Website

This annual extravaganza pops up every November, transforming a chunk of the park into a world of twinkling lights, steaming mugs of mulled wine, and laughter ringing out over festive music. 

Buckle up for a thrilling ride on one of the many roller coasters, or if you’re feeling a bit less adventurous, opt for a leisurely spin on the giant Ferris wheel – the views over the city are spectacular. 

And with live shows, Santa’s Grotto, and tons of fun activities, there’s magic waiting around every corner for kids and adults here. 

Experience the magical Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros. Studio Tour

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Location: Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 800 640 4550

Opening hours

  • Tuesday to Thursday – 9:30 AM to 8:00 PM
  • Friday to Monday – 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

While not technically in London, a short trip out to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour lets you experience Hogwarts in the Snow. This wintertime transformation is seriously one of the best ways for fans to get into the holiday spirit. 

Here, you can discover the secrets behind creating filmmaking snow, and learn a few Yule Ball dance steps if you’re feeling brave. You can also stroll down a snowy Diagon Alley and peek into shop windows for a glimpse of unique wizarding world gifts. 

And of course, the pièce de résistance – the breathtaking Hogwarts castle model blanketed in a magical layer of snow will make your jaw drop. It’s the ultimate way for die-hard fans to celebrate their love of Harry Potter and make the holidays even more enchanting.

Ice skate at Somerset House

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Location: Strand, London WC2R 1LA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7845 4600

Opening hours

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Website

This iconic courtyard transforms into a glistening winter wonderland, complete with a towering Christmas tree and twinkling lights. Lace-up your skates and glide (or maybe wobble, let’s be real) across the ice, with upbeat tunes filling the air. 

Remember to warm up afterwards with a decadent hot chocolate in the Skate Lounge, and once you’ve worked up an appetite, treat yourself to goodies at Fortnum & Mason’s Christmas Arcade – it’s the perfect place to find those unique and festive gifts. 

Shop for winter wonders at Harrods

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Location: 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7730 1234

Opening hours

  • Monday to Saturday – 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Sunday – 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Website

Let’s be honest, the holidays can be stressful, but shopping at Harrods? That’s an escape into pure festive indulgence! This iconic department store transforms into a festive fantasy that’s dripping in lights, garlands, and baubles.  

You can explore the Christmas Shop filled with exquisite ornaments and unique decorations.  Also, wander through designer boutiques, and pick up those special gifts (or heck, treat yourself!). 

Don’t forget the legendary Food Halls! You’ll find gourmet treats, festive hampers, and enough chocolate to make the season extra sweet.  

Visit the deer in Richmond Park

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Location: Richmond, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 300 061 2200

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

A trip to Richmond Park is your ticket to a different kind of winter wonderland. This park is home to herds of majestic deer, and the frosty season transforms it into a scene straight out of a fairytale. 

Once you’re here, let the air hang crisp as the deer roam, their antlers dusted with a delicate layer of frost. Take a leisurely walk through the park, the crunch of leaves beneath your feet, and let the quiet beauty wash over you.  

Remember, these elegant creatures are wild, so admire them from afar and let yourself be swept away by the magic of their world. 

Experience Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival

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Location: The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3879 9555

Website

Think London’s all grey skies and chilly winds in winter? Think again. The Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival injects the season with a whole lot of festive magic. 

You might catch yourself humming along to carolers or tapping your toes to live music that fills the air. You and your partner (or just you, singles for the win!) can cosy up in alpine-themed lodges for a drink, or if you’re feeling brave, take a spin on the vintage fairground rides. 

Festive shows and dazzling light installations add even more sparkle. It’s the perfect spot to find unique gifts, indulge in festive treats, and soak up London’s Christmas spirit at its most vibrant.

Have a hot chocolate drink at Dark Sugars

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Location: 141 Brick Lane, Bethnal Green, London E1 6SB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 7429 472606

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Website

Here’s the scoop: Dark Sugars craft liquid magic in a cup. Starting with velvety, rich chocolate melted into steamed milk, each sip is a mix of flavours that dance across your palate. 

But what truly sets it apart is the customisation. Whether you prefer it dark and intense, creamy and smooth, or spiked with exotic spices, this place has a concoction to suit every taste. 

Fair warning though: be prepared to crave it every chilly day afterwards!

Visit the Borough Market

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Location: London SE1 9AL, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7407 1002

Opening hours: 

  • Tuesday to Friday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Saturday – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Sunday – 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Website

Winter blues got you down? Ditch the drab supermarket and get your fill of seasonal produce. Think ruby-red cranberries, knobby root vegetables, and citrus fruits that’ll add a burst of sunshine to your meals.

Plus, the covered sections of this market are your haven against the chill. So, explore at your leisure and soak up the festive atmosphere as Londoners bustle around, stocking up for their winter feasts.

Need to warm your cockles and find unique holiday gifts? Borough Market is also brimming with artisan treats, from handcrafted chocolates to small-batch spirits.

Look up at Trafalgar Square’s Christmas tree

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Location: 5 Trafalgar Sq, London WC2N 5DS, United Kingdom

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Gifted annually by Norway since 1947, Trafalgar Square’s Christmas tree is a giant, sparkly “thank you” for Britain’s wartime support. So while you admire the lights, imagine a heartwarming Christmas card exchange between nations (but with a much bigger tree).

Unlike some London attractions that could cost you more than a stocking full of lumps of coal, this festive fellow is entirely free to admire. 

Plus, Trafalgar Square itself is a stunner, with Nelson’s Column standing guard like a giant, stone candy cane.

Take a festive London Eye ride to see the city’s winter skyline

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Location: Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7967 8021

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Friday – 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Saturday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM

Website

Instead of jostling for pavement space with stressed-out shoppers, riding the London Eye will allow you to be whisked up and away. Think of it as a 30-minute holiday from reality.

During your ride, you can watch the city twinkle below, with iconic landmarks like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament draped in festive lights. 

Plus, you can take a selfie with the glittering London skyline in the background! Pure social media magic. It’s a guaranteed way to spread some (much-needed) wintertime cheer.

Sip festive afternoon tea at Claridge’s

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Location: Claridge’s, Brook St, London W1K 4HR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7629 8860

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Friday – 3:00 PM to 5:30 PM
  • Saturday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM

Website

Claridge’s… Well, it’s more than just a hotel, isn’t it? It’s this grand old dame of elegance, a place where you can almost hear the faint echoes of laughter from glamorous parties past.

And come winter? Forget about it! They go all out: boughs of holly everywhere, lights that twinkle like a thousand stars, and decorations so over-the-top they’d make even the most cynical heart crack a smile.

But tea… That’s the real magic. It’s like they’ve scoured the earth for the most exquisite leaves, served in china so delicate it makes you feel like a proper Duke or Duchess. 

See a West End Show at Savoy Theatre

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Location: Savoy Ct, Strand, London WC2R 0ET, United Kingdom

Contact: You may contact them here

Website

We’ve all been there – mindlessly scrolling through streaming services for hours. A West End extravaganza, though? That’s live, high-stakes drama, the kind that’ll leave you breathless, laughing, or wiping away a sneaky tear. No buffering or dodgy Wi-Fi can ruin this experience.

During the shows, you can lose yourself in captivating tales, side-splitting comedies, or dazzling musicals that’ll make you forget all about the weather outside.

The audience is half the show, too! There are theatre enthusiasts decked to the nines, giddy tourists, and maybe even a celebrity sighting or two. 

Have a spa day at Aman Spa

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Location: The Connaught, 16 Carlos Pl, London W1K 2AL, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3147 7305

Opening hours:

  • Monday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Website

Forget fleece pyjamas and fuzzy socks. Here, they upgrade the cosy concept with plush robes, heated loungers, and treatments that leave you feeling like a warm and toasty marshmallow (but you know, a super-chic one).

Windburn? Dry, dull skin? The Aman Spa treatments are like a magic potion for your winter-ravaged face and body. 

After your spa day, you’ll emerge looking radiant and dewy and ready to mock the harsh elements with your newfound glow.

Dive into the ball pits of Ballie Ballerson

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Location: 97-113 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3BS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3147 7305

Opening hours:

  • Tuesday to Wednesday – 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM
  • Thursday – 6:00 PM to 1:00 PM
  • Friday – 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM
  • Saturday – 12:00 PM 2:00 AM
  • Sunday – 2:30 AM to 12:30 AM

Website

Forget grown-up problems, just faceplant into a ball pit. Seriously, there’s nothing quite like the primal joy of launching yourself into a sea of brightly coloured plastic. Work stress? Gone. Relationship troubles? Poof! 

Ballie Ballerson is like a giant reset button for your weary adult soul.

They even have cocktails that defy logic (and maybe the laws of physics). Think glow-in-the-dark concoctions, drinks that arrive with sparklers, or even cocktails with a side of mysterious pills (we assure you, they’re for… flavour). 

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