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Things to do in London in winter with kids

Things to do in London in winter with kids

How cold does it get in London in the winter?

London can get chilly in the winter but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Here’s a little pointer on what to expect when you visit this winter. The weather is typically mild, with occasional snowfall and temperatures generally hover between 5°C to 9°C. The coldest month is usually January, when temperatures can get as low as 1°C.

What to wear in winter in London?

All you need is the right clothing! Don’t forget to pack a warm jacket, an umbrella in case of rain and gloves if you want to explore London in winter. Check out our seasonal guide about what to wear in London for more ideas.

What to do in London in December?

London in December is a wonderful time to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit and enjoy the city's festive charm. The city offers a plethora of festive and cultural activities to enjoy. Here are some popular things to do in the city during this magical month.

1- Christmas markets

Wanting to join in the festive spirit? We recommend visiting a winter market. They bring together everything you could wish for during the festive season: mulled wine, mince pies, decorations and arts and craft, fairground ride... You could even find that last-minute gift there!

2- Christmas Lights

London is transformed by the beautiful Christmas Lights and the city really lights up and sparkles in winter. Discovering the festive street lights has to be an activity on everyone's list this Christmas. Is there any better way to get into the Christmas spirit?

3- Christmas at Kew

Once more, Kew Gardens lights up after dark this Christmas. The magical winter trail taking you around the park will delight the whole family and make you rediscover the botanical garden during the winter months (from 15 November 2023 to 7 January 2024). Tickets can be bought online from £19.50, and it's advised to book in advance as it is likely to sell out.

4- Christmas shopping

Hit the high streets, seek out unique gifts and make time to break for delicious food and hot drinks. Covent Garden, Hamleys and Oxford Street are a must-do for a successful session of Christmas shopping in London. You can also buy gifts in Regent’s Street and admire the impressive decorations in London's luxury shop Harrods.

5- Christmas Carols at the Royal Albert Hall

From Saturday 16 to Sunday 24 December 2023, enjoy festive concerts and events at the Royal Albert Hall, including classical music and Christmas carol performances.

How to get there?

Blue route: hop off at stop 32 Kensington Palace

6- Meet Santa

Do your children want to meet Santa? Make their dream come true and take them to Hamleys' Regent Street shop where Santa will be spreading the holiday magic. The charming elves are looking forward to welcoming you to the Christmas celebrations. To make your visit even more memorable, Santa has a special surprise for you to take home as a precious memento of your time spent with him.

How to get there?

Yellow route: hop off at stop 1 Coventry Street

Blue route: hop off at stop 26 Piccadilly

7- Help an elf keep an eye on the city for Santa

Santa has sent the elves to London to make sure everything is in tip top shape before Christmas and they need your help! Jump on the Elf Express for a 30 minute Christmas treat for the whole family and see London sparkle in all its glory.

8- New Year’s Eve fireworks

Celebrate the New Year in style and admire the impressive firework display in central London. Over 12,000 magnificent fireworks will be ignited into the sky on 31st December so prepare to be amazed.

9- Winter pop ups

London is famous for its seasonal pop-ups, whether it's during summer or winter. This Christmas, discover a world of warm and toasty pop ups.

10- Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree 

The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is an annual gift from Norway to the people of Britain, a tradition dating back to 1947. The lighting of the tree will take place on Thursday 7 December 2023 and will stay until Saturday 6 January 2024.

How to get there?

Yellow route: hop off at stop 2 Trafalgar Square

Blue route: hop off at stop 25 Trafalgar Square

What to do in London in January and February?

London in January and February offers a unique charm, with fewer crowds and a different set of activities. Here are some things to do during these winter months.

11- New Year’s Day Parade

On 1st January, the New Year’s Day Parade takes to the city’s historic streets once again. Over 8,500 performers take part in this great celebration of diversity, creativity and inspiration that surround the city of London. Arrive early to secure a good viewing spot.

12- London Short Film Festival

The London Short Film Festival is a vital moment in the UK film calendar and returns this January for its 21st edition. From 19th to 28th January 2024, discover eclectic and creative short films from all over the world.

13- Winter Lights festival

The free lights festival is returning to the Canary Wharf area this January, and it's free! It's the perfect treat for dark January nights with its luminous trees, glowing angel wings, psychedelic prisms and rainbow benches.

14- London Art Fair

The London Art Fair is coming back to the Business Design Centre from 17 to 21 January 2024. You can feast your eyes on carefully selected pieces from galleries from all around the world. The London Art Fair hosts the highest quality art and is great for discovering exceptional modern and contemporary artists.

15- Chinese New Year

Did you know that the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia takes place in London? As we say goodbye to the Year of the Rabbit, we welcome the Year of the Dragon on Saturday, February 10th, 2024 with festivities including colourful parades, dazzling performances and mouth-watering food!

What to do in London when it's very cold?

London boasts an abundance of captivating attractions that make it a beloved destination for exploration. However, when the cold weather sets in, the desire to stay indoors can be quite enticing. Fortunately, even in winter, London provides a rich array of indoor and outdoor experiences to enjoy. As we venture deeper into the heart of winter, we've compiled a list of the top activities to partake in when the chilly weather envelops the city.

16- Warm up in a pub

There are plenty of pubs in London, but where is the best place to take a break from exploring the city and enjoy a delicious Sunday roast with your family? Venture into one of the city’s oldest pubs and discover that London has a plethora of historic pubs. And they all have a story to tell!

17- Treat yourself with some comfort food

The cold weather makes the wintry season the best time to tuck-in to delicious treats and hearty meals. Indulge in Christmas dinner, afternoon tea, delicious mince pies or a tasty Sunday roast during your days out in London.

18- Enjoy a winter walk

Parks are lovely all year round. They are particularly beautiful in winter, with all those crunchy leaves, frosty trees and misty views. And if it does happen to sprinkle a bit of the white stuff, then there's not many better places to enjoy it.

19- Get a culture fix

In London, you’re never far from a museum. And what’s best, is that most of them are free to enter! Head to the V&A, British Museum, Tate Modern, Tate Britain or Natural History Museum to see the crème de la crème of London’s museums.

20- Live events and shows

You're not feeling like braving the cold tonight? Perfect, you can simply stay indoors and attend a traditional British theatre experience. Between pantomimes, ballets or West End shows, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Immerse yourself fully in a sparkling winter wonderland with a fresh and captivating take on the traditional holiday classic from 28th October 2023 to 6th January 2024. Set within a lively pop-up jazz club beneath the Royal Festival Hall in the Southbank Centre, this spirited Nutcracker production is filled with optimism, emotion, and wit. It's a mischievous rendition that will resonate with anyone looking to experience life in vibrant technicolor.

How to get there?

Yellow route: hop off at stop 4 Waterloo Station

Blue route: hop off at stop 22 Westminster Bridge

21- Hogwarts in the snow

Winter has also arrived in the wizarding world and Hogwarts has gone through a fantastic festive makeover. Hogwarts in the Snow will take place at the Warner Bros. Studio from 11th November 2023 to 14th January 2024. For all the Harry Potter fans out there, visiting the Warner Brothers Studio is even more magical at this time of the year.

22- Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

From Friday 17th November 2023 to Monday 1st January 2024, come have a great time at the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. You can enjoy plenty of family activities, such as ice skating, circus shows, Christmas market and live music. Warm yourself up with some delicious food and drinks: burgers, hot dogs, mulled wines, hot chocolates…

How to get there?

Yellow route and Blue Route: hop off at stop 16 Hyde Park - Queen Elizabeth Gate


23- Skate at Somerset House with Switzerland Tourism

The Somerset House ice rink is returning this winter from Wednesday 15 November 2023 to Sunday 14 January 2024. For this event, Somerset House has a partnership with Switzerland Tourism.

24- London Eye

Throughout the winter season, the typical operating hours of the London Eye are from 11 AM to 6 PM. Nevertheless, there are a few special instances to note. For instance, during the Christmas festivities in London, the London Eye remains open until 5:30 PM on Christmas Eve (December 24). On New Year's Eve (December 31), it has reduced hours, closing at 3 PM.

How to get there?

Yellow route: hop off at stop 4 Waterloo Station

Blue route: hop off at stop 22 Westminster Bridge

25- Charles Dickens Museum

The Charles Dickens Museum is located in central London, in the Bloomsbury district. Founded in 1925, it is housed in a Georgian-era house where the famous writer lived at a key period in his career. The museum exhibits the work and daily life of the writer: objects that once belonged to the family as well as manuscripts and rare editions. It was in this house, which Charles Dickens lived when he wrote Oliver Twist. Temporary and thematic exhibitions complement the decorum to discover the life and work of the author.


Visit London in winter with our new Tootwalk service. Our Royal shopping in St James's walking route is available for free on the Tootbus app. Download it now on App Store and Google Play!