London in winter isn’t always a thing of beauty, the infamous rain can be unrelenting and our patience runs thin. In the midst of the grey drizzle though there is hope, as the cities many attractions host special events and fill the city with romantic allure. Whether you prefer to be out and about or safely indoors there will be something to do. London can become energized in December and January, especially when it’s okay to drink warm alcohol at midday. Here is a list of possible ideas and events you should not miss out on In London this winter.
Lights in London
The whole of London will be covered in commissions and other site-specific work from the start of 2016. The Lumiere London project will be around the West End and King’s Cross, Leicester Square are going to be host to giant illuminated plants. Syon Park will also be full of light for the Enchanted Woodland show, which will illuminate 400 species of tree. Kew garden will also host night trails, sadly this ends on January 2nd. However, even without the lights Kew is a magical place to visit in January.
The Olympic theatre Barnes or the Electric Cinema in Notting Hill, are fantastic venues for catching a movie. Set on Portobello road the Electric has a great restaurant and surrounding shops to browse through before or after including the delicious Garcia’s Spanish shop and deli. There is also the Underground Film Club at the Vaults in Waterloo. There’ll be many films at BFI, including Christmas classics and cults. The cinemas all contain many bars and restaurants so that you can grab a meal or drink. These settings are ideal for a date or quality time with a friend.
Alternatively, after your movie you can hit a roof-top bar to take in a good view. Try out the Once Upon A Wigwam or Midnight Apothecary.
Exhibitions and museums
The city is host to dozens of museums, some famous institutions and others just plain strange but nevertheless great fun to see. London’s more unusual museums come in many shapes and forms, for the more mainstream macabre visit the Wellcome Collection which displays a history of science. At the museum you can see a host of bizarre images showing early methods of conducting anatomy experiments (this isn’t for the screamish). The museum Leighton house has a spectacular room with indoor fountain and floor to ceiling tiles with beautiful patterns and design.
The Royal Academy of Arts and Tate museums will both be hosting seminal exhibitions during the winter on Alexander Calder and Painting the Modern Garden. London’s sport museums are the World Rugby Museum and River and Rowing museum.
Plays and Comedy
Winter is London’s Panto season so you can see classics such as Jack and the Beanstalk in Hackney or Cinderella at the Hammersmith Lyric. These pantomime’s are great fun, and not much beats being allowed to throw objects at the stage. There are always performances in the west-end including Billy Elliot or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Be sure to have a look at the National Theatre on Southbank as well for plays which can range from Shakespearian classics to more contemporary pieces. The Winter’s Tale will be coming on in the West End to truly capture that winter spirit.
Comedy is always on the rise in London across different venues, such as Soho theatre or pub theatres. Have a look at the Tabard theatre in Chiswick to see which comedians may be testing material. There will also be larger more polished shows at venues such as Hammersmith Apollo by big-name comedians.
Ice skating in winter is one of the few outdoor delights that won’t leave everyone desperate to run inside. Hyde Park has Winter Wonderland going on where you can both Ice-skate and take part in rides. Somerset house and The Natural History Museum are perhaps the two most iconic places to go ice-skating in London but they do cost a fair amount, so be sure to check out the more local outdoor skating rinks. Canary Wharf also offers a pretty spectacular Ice rink in the midst of its office blocks.
The other number one thing to do outside this winter is celebrate New Year’s Eve! Although they are now ticketing the event, you can still find corners of London from which you can see the fireworks at no cost, try Primrose hill or St James Park. It’s also more than likely that someone will be setting off their own fireworks nearby. Aside from New Year’s Eve you can also take a stroll around the areas of Primrose hill or St James’s Park. Winter festival at the Southbank Centre will be going on until January. Wooden chalets sit along the riverside serving all kinds of delights and bringing a little bit of Scandinavian delight to London. There’ll even be roller skating and performances, making it one of London’s markets not to be missed.
Finally, never be afraid of asking a local for advice and check out a few forums on the city as well. Often a lot of London’s excitement comes from stumbling across events by accident, use this article as a guide for other things you may find fun or interesting. There is a never ending amount of things to do in the city, although your budget may eventually give up.