When summer comes to an end it’s easy to slip into hibernatory ways and forget all the great things London has to offer when the nights draw in and your breath starts to crystallise on your tongue. But in a city that never sleeps hibernation ain’ t on the menu and there’s always something to warm the cockles in the depths of winter.
Here are our there top reasons why Lonodn in winter is as unforgettable as it is at the height of summer.
1. 1. Fireside roasts at Olde English pubs
Pubs in London come into their own in the winter, provided they can put on a mean roast and have a roaring fire in the hearth. The older and ricketier the pub the better. Our favourite fireside roast spots are:
The Hemmingway, Victoria Park serves up fantastic roasts and friendly atmosphere. The Albion in Islington offers a wide selection of meats and veggie options. The Cat’s Back in Wandsworth has local ales and a quirky local atmosphere.
2. 2. Ice skating in some of London’s finest locations
Seep yourself in history as you sweep across the ice at Hampton Court Palace or the Natural History Museum. If modernity is more your thing check out Canada Water’s rink or the bright lights of Winter Wonderland. For classical beauty get your skates on in Somerset House courtyard.
3. 3. Panto
One of Britain’s more idiosynctratic Christmas traditions, but nonetheless alluring, a pantomime is a must-see if you’re in London for Christmas. Full of slapstick humour, men dressed as women, suggestive jokes, minor celebs and just plain silliness, this theatre experience has been delighting families for centuries. Don’t miss it.
For the best celeb cameos get yourself to New Wimbledon Theatre for Cinderella featuring Matthew Kelly, Tim Vine and more. Or for alternative adult-only humour the Charles Court Opera put on a cheeky and rambunctious show every year at the Rosemary Branch Theatre. For a glimpse of the most (in)famous pantomime dame of all, Clive Rowe, returning after a 3 year hiatus, you’ll have to head to the Hackney Empire.
4. 4. Christmas lights in the West End
In the run up to Christmas there’s no better way to get in the festive spirit than to pay a visit to the Christmas lights of London town. You’re never too old to marvel at the ever more fantastical and intricate mechanised snow scenes dreamed up by Hamleys. Or to visit Santa Claus in Harrods amidst the Christmas chaos of Harrods. Or to look up in awe at the tudor beauty of Liberty, all dolled up in its finest winter garb.
Come mid November we’ll be offering a Christmas Lights bike tour which will take you past all the top London sights and show you the sparkliest light displays around. Watch this space for more info!
5. 5. Mulled wine and roasted chestnuts
Throughout winter the sweet, cinnamon smell of spiced wine brewing and sugar-coated chestnuts roasting is never far off, wafting gently through the streets and tingling one’s tastebuds. Nothing quite beats a leisurely stroll along the Southbank with a warming cup of mulled wine in hand or a foot crunching chestnut munching wander through London’s frost-laden parks.