London is a beautiful city at the best of times, but my favourite time of the year in London is definitely the winter. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely detest the frozen fingertips and other bodily extremities, foggy mornings and dark evenings, BUT I truly believe the festivities and lights of the winter make up for the cold weather. We have reached December, meaning we have 31 days left to complete 2016!
It is really beginning to get cold now, but that doesn’t stop me from going out, and enjoying myself around London. In this post, i’ll share with you my top 10-ish places I love to go and things I love to do during the winter season in London. Many of these things are exclusive to London, making it a perfect post to direct you to the fun within London this winter. I took my camera out with me most days for the past two weeks and captured the latest views within London.
I’ll make sure the words ‘what do I do in London this winter?’ never leave your lips!
Skiing. Skiing. Skiing. I love skiing, but I can’t ski – is that weird haha!? But I do want to learn, and will learn this winter I promise.
Skiing is very romantic and such a fun date idea. From November onwards, a number of ice rinks are set up around many beautiful parts of London, including the Natural History gardens (as below). There are also outdoor rinks in Canary Wharf, Hampton Court, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and the Tower of London. Definitely a cool thing to do, make sure you wrap up warm and enjoy the ride!
The Sky Garden
Indoors, with a taste of the outdoors – The Sky Garden is a favourite of mine, AND it’s FREE! Visiting the gardens keeps you in the warmth, but the surrounding green definitely gives it an outdoorsy feel. Oh, and the view from the viewing platform is second to none!
Here I present to you another outdoor location, Holland Park. Morning strolls are good for wellbeing of the body; living within London, one can feel pretty congested quite quickly due to all the pollution surrounding us. Although the cold can be a bit crisp in the mornings, a stroll through Holland Park is definitely one that I’d recommend for lovers of the outdoors.
The mornings in London can be quite sunny (as you can see from the photos below), and perfect for a relaxing walk. The morning that I visited Holland Park, we were lucky enough to be around when the park attendant was feeding the peacocks and was able to feed the gracious creatures ourselves! The roads surrounding Holland Park are also gorgeous.
Now onto an outdoors activity – visiting museums and galleries in London. For the most part, visiting museums/galleries are free and lots of fun. Most have a small cafe within them and a great way to spend a relaxing weekend. Look out for the late evenings (usually Fridays), during which particularly different events are held. I don’t need to tell you why museums are great; they keep you out of the cold and are a great talking point.
I recently visited the Tate (see below 1-3) and the V&A (see below 4-5). Both contain gorgeous pieces of art, with the Tate exhibiting more contemporary pieces – making for 5* Instagram photos.
Bump Roller Disco (South Bank Centre)
Roller Disco was one of the highlights of last winter, and it’s BACK this winter! Roller Disco is lots of fun, and as it’s indoors it means you will be warm and shielded from the bitter cold. There are different times that correspond to different genres of music (see here for booking), something for everyone!
When I went last year, I was absolutely rubbish (anyone sensing a theme with me and types of skates). But after an hour on the floor, I could move a few centimetres without slamming into the ground face forward. I say brownie points to me!
Oh, and I thought I’d add another related thing, walking along the South Bank. There are always street performers to entertain you, and at this time of year, the sunset is undeniably breathtaking.
Horse riding is probably better in warmer weather, I admit! But, this riding school in Manor Park (Aldersbrook Riding School), has an indoors area allowing for beginners to learn dressage or for private lessons. A great sport, good for the body and something away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
I recently had the pleasure to ride with a beginners lesson, learning how to start, stop and turn a horse. It was great fun, calming and I now feel inspired to learn how to ride professionally.
Oxford Street Xmas Lights (& Surrounding Areas)
How do you really KNOW it’s winter? The erection of all the winter Christmas lights of course! No-one does it better than Oxford Street, Regents Street and Carnaby Street. I recently walked from Hyde Park along the Serpentine (see swans below), then through Winter Wonderland and to Oxford Circus. I will admit, I couldn’t feel any limbs by the end of it, but I was overwhelmed with the beauty of London at this time of year. Highly recommend this.
Winter Wonderland (Hyde Park)
10 years since Winter Wonderland first laid its fun and games upon the Hyde Park green. It has been open for a week now, and I recently went to visit it (during the day, when there were no people of course). It is a staple part of the London experience during winter – an absolute must visit.
One can try everything from all types of food, drinks, entertainment, fake snow and a plethora of rides. On this occasion, I went alone to take some photos – but I shall be returning to experience a few rides and to please my sweet tooth of course! I believe it is only around until the first week of January, so visit as soon as you can.
Pergola On The Roof (Winter Edition)
This gorgeous pop-up location, called Pergola On The Roof, recently launched and is really on a whole new sensory level of amazing. As you walk in, you walk through a sort of forest type of walkway. You then find yourself on this HUGE rooftop (very warm up there by the way). The first feeling you feel is overwhelmed with the space and number of people. There are a number of small stalls selling different types of food, and a drinks bar in the centre.
I really enjoyed this location, opposite Westfield White City, and will definitely try to return before the end of the winter. Also a highly romantic setting and fun to visit with a group of friends also.
How else would I want to spend an evening, if it isn’t with good food AND good company? I’ve really taken to trying new resturants around London. Resturants are a great place to enjoy an evening with a friend or significant other, especially in the winter when cooking at home after work may not sound so pleasurable.
I recently visited Mango Tree in Belgravia, through a recommendation by a friend. We took advantage of the 50% off deal that they have when ordering two dishes. The food was a delicious Thai menu (with Halal meat) and service was pristine. I mean, they even laid the table cloth ON our laps for us – how many times can you say THAT has happened to you?
I also visited Cocochan in Marylebone, close to Bond Street Station. Also a Pan-Asian resturant, similar to Belgravia, I enjoyed a lovely prawn meal here. Again, Halal meat available at Cocochan and service was also great.
South Bank TFL Riverboat Services
The riverboat service in London is something that I’ve always been aware of but have never embraced before. So, last weekend, I was walking along the South Bank and just hopped on the boat from London Bridge to the London Eye. I was toying between jumping on the Tube or jumping on a boat, and of course, I HAD to take the unconventional option! For those with an Oyster Card, you can use it, which is great!
The ride was full of tourists getting to the London Eye, and was a tranquil journey from the start to the end. It’s not everyday that you can say you took a boat – I’m such an ultimate tourist within my own city. There is an indoor and outdoor area on the boat, perfect for keeping warm during those kipping winter days.
Let me know, do any of these places listed sound like something fun to do in London this winter? What have I missed on the list?
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