Perfect Things to Do in London When the Weather Turns Crisp!
If you’re lucky enough to snap up some last minute tickets to London, you’re in for a real treat. Even though I’ve traveled to all kinds of exotic cities across the world, from Delhi in India to Lima in Peru, London is by far my favorite capital city in the world. My opinion might be a touch biased (I am British, after all) but there’s just something special about England’s capital that makes it really stand out from all the others in my mind.
One of the things I like most about the city is that there’s such a huge variety of things to see and do. So whether you’re into food, shopping, culture, art, theatre, history, nature or none of the above, you’ll find plenty of things to keep you entertained in London. And thankfully, with average temperatures around 41°F-50°F in the winter months, the city is well prepared for cold weather and makes sure many of these activities are kept indoors.
From picking up souvenirs from a generations-old shopping mall and admiring authentic artifacts from around the world to trying the local cuisine in snug surroundings and watching some award-winning theatre, whatever you’re into when you’re on vacation, this comprehensive travel guide will provide you with a myriad of things to do in London when the weather turns crisp.
Order some authentic British food from a traditional pub
One of the best ways to warm up is to dive into a traditional pub and treat yourself to something hot and hearty from the menu. There are loads of pubs throughout the city with original features, including cozy fireplaces, that you can admire while you choose something to eat. You can be spontaneous and pop into the first pub that catches your eye or browse a few travel websites and see which ones close to you are recommended by London foodies.
In the morning, definitely go for the full English breakfast: a giant plate of bacon, sausage, eggs, beans, tomato, mushrooms, toast and sometimes yummy extras like black pudding and hash browns. This will really set you up for a full day of London travel. For lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong with fish and chips, shepherd’s pie or toad in the hole: three satisfying dishes sure to warm you up inside and out!
See relics from all over the world at the British Museum
The British Museum is one of the greatest museums in the world and better still, it’s totally free! Home to more than 2 million years of human history, this museum boasts amazing must-see artifacts, like genuine Egyptian mummies, Parthenon sculptures, and the Rosetta Stone.
Far away from the kind of stuffy, old gallery you might be imagining, the British Museum is fun, modern and exciting. There’s a reason it’s at the top of most London travel itineraries! There are free daily activities for children to get involved with, plus special temporary exhibitions throughout the year and a fantastic gift shop where you can purchase replicas of the artifacts.
Indulge in some retail therapy and release your inner child at Harrods
The famous British department store that the whole world’s heard of, Harrods really is as amazing as its reputation suggests. Much more than just a shopping mall, this incredible department store is over 160 years old and is spread out across seven extensive floors with a total of 330 departments. With everything from the finest food and drink, designer clothes and lavish makeup to luxury homeware, the latest gadgets and children’s toys, something is sure to catch your eye here.
Even if you’re not traveling with little ones, a visit to the children’s toy department is an absolute must. Although this floor is always total chaos with kids of all ages excitedly running in every direction, it’s worth braving it to admire the traditional toys from decades ago that are still on sale next to modern-day toys much fancier and complicated than anything I ever played with. Watch out for the toy demonstrators who fly mini helicopters and drones throughout the department, too!
Take photos from a bird’s eye view of the city
Wait for a bright and clear day with plenty of sunshine and hardly any clouds then take a trip to View from the Shard. London’s highest viewing platform, the View from the Shard stands at 800ft high and rewards visitors with incredible views of the city that stretch on for up to 40 miles. In my experience, you’ll spend most of your visit snapping photos, so make sure your phone’s got a full charge before you go!
Although the view is truly outstanding during the daytime, it gets even better on an evening when the fiery sun sets on the horizon and the city’s twinkling lights come to life. To get the best of both worlds, research the sunset time for when you plan on visiting and buy your ticket for an hour before so you get to see the city during the day, at sunset and in the dark.
Go ice skating after dark
If you visit London November-January and being outside in the cold for a little while doesn’t bother you, you’ve got to go ice skating. My favorite place to ice skate is in Winter Wonderland. The ice rink is a decent size, it’s decorated with gorgeous fairy lights and there’s a solo performer or band in the center playing festive, romantic music for the skaters to enjoy.
According to the biggest travel websites, another hugely popular London ice skating rink is Skate at Somerset House: a huge ice rink set in the breathtaking Edmond J. Safra Fountain courtyard which turns on cool nightclub-style lights on an evening. There’s also a rink-side lodge selling comfort food and festive drinks to help you warm up when you come off the ice.
Watch one of the city’s best award-winning shows
Whether you snap up some last minute tickets on the door or plan months in advance and buy them as soon as they’re released, watching a theatre show is a must while you’re in the city. The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre is currently the most popular performance in London, featuring music by Elton John, dazzling costumes and magical special effects. But if that’s not your style, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s the Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre comes in at a close second.
If you find some last minute tickets to London in winter, don’t be put off snapping them up because of the weather! Even though it can get really chilly in London, you can always wrap up warm and use the ideas in this travel guide to fill your visit with loads of things to see and do without having to get cold. What’s your favorite thing to do in London when it’s cold? Leave a comment and let me know!