London is the most magical city in the world at Christmas. However, you might be surprised at how many things to do in London in Winter extend beyond the holiday season.
Winter days in London are short but obviously get longer through the New Year. You’ll find plenty of indoor activities to enjoy whether the sun is up or down from January to March in London.
If you’re planning a London trip, this list also will help because it allows you to book things to do in London that aren’t weather dependent. I know it’s funny from someone called ‘Sunny in London’ to suggest there are days here with bad weather. However, every city has rainy days. Planning around them for a holiday when you need to book so much ahead of time can be tricky.
1. Attend a Candlelight Concert
This is my ‘go to’ activity for so many reasons. Candlelight Concerts are perfect for a date night, gifts for people or unique things to do in London for people visiting. Mr Sunny and I have attended a few.
What makes them so enjoyable is not only the skills of the musicians but also the locations in which they take place.
We attended at Coldplay tribute in Southwark Cathedral. Following that experience we booked an evening at Sea Life London Aquarium in which we enjoyed the sounds of Hans Zimmer’s music to the backdrop of marine life swimming. You can watch the highlights of the experience on Instagram to see how majestic it was.
The list of concert options seems endless. However they are quite popular and do sell out. If this is something you are considering, visit the website well ahead of your trip to book them ahead.
Some of the possible options include:
- Tribute to Nirvana
- Tribute to Oasis
- Tribute to Elvis
- Tribute to Pink Floyd
- Hip-Hop’s Greatest Hits
- Tribute to Taylor Swift
- Tribute to Fleetwood MAc
- Tribute to Adele
- Tribute to Ed Sheeran
2. Visit Museums
A lot of people visiting London for the first time don’t realise that nearly all of the museums are free. Additionally, many of them require advance booking for the fastest entrance.
When I moved to London 10 years ago booking a museum ahead of time was unheard of, unless it was for a special exhibition that required an additional admission fee. Those haven’t changed and the best ones sell out fast.
However, if you are visiting during peak times (summer, Christmas, half term and weekends), you will want to visit the museum’s website ahead of time to reserve an entrance time.
Museums to consider for a trip to London are:
- British Museum
- National Gallery
- Natural History Museum
- Science Museum
- Imperial War Museum
- National Maritime Museum
- Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
- Tate Modern
- Tate Britain
- National Army Museum
- National Air Force Museum
3. Play Mini-golf
Just like in the United States, the concept of mini-golf exists in London. Here people refer to it as ‘crazy golf.’ You won’t find outdoor courses like you do in the US. There are a few in London and just like the ’19th hole’ idea in America, these courses end at a bar.
You can’t be surprised that the British put that spin on the game though, right?
Most activities in London and the whole of the UK involve drinking in some capacity for adults. So- light-hearted golf is no different.
Keeping this in mind, this activity is not one I would suggest for families who are looking for things to do in London in Winter.
Crazy golf is good for couples, friends visiting London or work colleagues seeking a holiday party idea or team-building activity.
Mr Sunny and I have been to both Swingers and Junkyard Golf Club. Both were fun nights.
4. Watch a TV Programme Being Recorded
Visiting the recording of a television show could be a lot of fun or a big let down. I have experienced both in London.
This is because you aren’t guaranteed tickets. I have a whole article on my experience attending the taping of the Graham Norton Show.
However, Mr Sunny and I also had ‘tickets’ to see the season finale of The Apprentice one year and were very disappointed. Despite arriving before the suggested time, we learned that they had accepted too many people prior to our arrival and had closed entry.
We also tried to see a show pilot recorded once and were told we arrived too late.
So- if you do get tickets for a show you really want to see- make sure you are there super, super early. And- know that it could take quite a few hours to see.
But again, if seeing Strictly Come Dancing is your life’s dream, then devote the entire day to it and arrive as soon as you can!
5. Go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Studio Tour
For a magical thing to do in London in winter, book the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour.
Yes, I did purposely write the word ‘book’ above. This hugely popular attraction is different from one like Walt Disney World that has general admission.
You’ll want to visit the website ahead of your London trip and literally book and pay for your tickets ahead based on an entry time.
A good thing to know about this activity in London is that it’s actually located in Greater London. And it’s not very easy to get to. I’ve written a separate article about my advice on how to get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, it is by far the best activity to do in London for you. There are walking tours, the show in the West End and afternoon teas devoted to this fictional hero.
But seeing the sets, props and sounds stages full of magical beasts supersedes anything else you can do in London as a superfan. Just know that it takes at least an hour to get to the studio. Give yourself 2-3 hours to visit when you are there too.
6. Enjoy Afternoon Tea
Our final suggestions for things to do in London in winter feature a food theme.
Aside from mostly writing about food and drink in London on my website and social media, I also manage several restaurants’ TikTok accounts in London. In addition, I create video content for the largest hotel group in London.
For this reason, I know the food and drink scene in London fairly well. And, I’ve had most of the popular afternoon teas in London.
To be honest, there is no one afternoon tea that jumps out at me as by far better than the others. So, how do I advise people to choose?
Know that afternoon tea is a serious commitment. To enjoy it properly, you’ll want to devote 2 – 2 1/2 hours to the experience. Therefore, you could choose one that’s located at your hotel if it’s a 4 or 5 star rating.
Or, you can choose a themed afternoon tea that strikes you as interesting and schedule an attraction to visit in the morning that’s near the afternoon tea’s location if you’re visiting London.
Some of the popular themed afternoon teas that you’ll find in London are:
- Wicked Afternoon Tea (located at a hotel near the Theatre where the show is playing and pictured above)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory inspired afternoon tea
- Art Afternoon Tea at Rosewood London
- London Landmarks afternoon tea at Town House
- Science Afternoon Tea
- Harry Potter afternoon teas
- Indian inspired afternoon tea at Cinnamon Bazaar
- Christmas Afternoon Teas (at nearly every hotel and popular location during the holidays.
There’s even a Christmas Afternoon Tea on a bus. To be fair, the afternoon tea bus tours operate all year. So- if that’s appealing to you, look in to those.
7. Eat and Drink at a Bottomless Brunch
It took London a few years to catch on to this American food trend. However now nearly every restaurant and hotel offers a Bottomless Brunch now. Or at the very least a brunch menu.
Not surprisingly, the best ones need to be booked a few weeks in advance.
Occasionally, you can find one with a fantastic view like the M Restaurant in Canary Wharf featured below.
8. Go to a Cosy Pub
And of course, since the British are always looking for excuses to go to the pub, this is one of the greatest things to do in London in Winter.
One that we feel could be a lot of fun in Winter is The Ship and Shovell. It’s located between Charing Cross Station and Embankment on Craven Passage.
It’s a traditional Victorian pub which is a local for business people and residents in the Charing Cross area. It has two parts of the pub facing each other across the passage. The parts are only linked by a tunnel underground which also houses the kitchen and cellar. Inside you’ll also find delicious home cooked food.
Final Advice for Things to Do in London in Winter
If you’re visiting London in the Winter and planning things to do, keep in mind the temperatures may vary quite a bit.
You may have seen many images of snow in London. But in the 10 years that I have lived here- it’s only snowed a handful of times. Three times it has been more than 4-5 inches in Greater London. Central London received less than that.
Temperatures average between 48°F (9°C) as the high in winter and 41°F (5°C) as the low. So, be sure to check the weather for when you plan to visit and make sure to plan outfits that are layered.
Additionally, the Underground trains can be very, very hot so you’ll want to keep that in mind for packing too.
If you live in London, what other suggestions can you add? What questions do you have as a visitor planning a London trip.
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