If you’re heading to London for a winter break this year, then you could be forgiven for fearing the notorious British winter weather – perpetually chilly and damp, unfortunately this is one stereotype which can’t really be argued with. However, us Londoners are a resilient bunch, and a little bit of wind and rain isn’t enough to stop us from enjoying ourselves throughout the winter months. Here are a few of the very best London events, both indoor and outdoor, to check out this winter.
Lumiere London is a festival of light-based art installations courtesy of Artichoke, who arrange similar large-scale creative extravaganzas across the globe. Intense, ethereal and otherworldly exhibits courtesy of internationally renowned artists like Julian Opie and Janet Echelman have created pieces which will light up London when the sun goes down from King’s Cross to the West End. Another exhibition for the artistically minded comes in the form of Alexander Calder’s ‘Performing Sculpture’, the first major UK show in fifty years showcasing the work of this master of twentieth century sculpture. Calder was born in America before moving to Paris in the 1920s, where he developed the wire sculptures for which he would become famous. This exhibit, at the South Bank’s Tate Modern, runs until late April 2016.
Somerset House has become one of London’s most picturesque event spaces, and the courtyard of this masterpiece of Neoclassical architecture plays host to international music artists every July as part of its ‘Summer Series’. In the winter, though, it’s home to an ice rink, with the stunning surrounding buildings and beautiful purple illumination making it probably the most picturesque of its kind in London. Film buffs may recognise the ice rink from its appearance in the opening credits of Christmas rom-com Love Actually. Once you’ve done your best Bambi impression, there’s plenty to keep you on the site: the classy Fortnum’s Lodge offers champagne, afternoon tea and private dining; the Botanical Bar is a great place to kick back with a drink and watch other skaters; and there’s even club nights featuring DJs from Ministry of Sound. Somerset House is easily accessible from The Montcalm Brewery London city hotel.
If you need another excuse to check out The View from the Shard, beyond the stunning views of London from the city’s highest viewing platform, look no further than Bompas & Parr, who until the end of January have turned the building’s 72nd level into a wintry wonderland of gem-strewn snow, giant crystals and a touch-responsive iridescent grotto. Named ‘The Height of Winter’, this multi-sensory experience will also offer gastronomic treats such as Snow White Hot Chocolate, Mulled Champagne and Christmas Candy Floss. The creators have been meticulous and scientific in their preparation, teaming up with perfumers, composers, psychologists and professors of visual culture with the ultimate goal of creating the most romantic spot in the world. They might just have succeeded – just make sure you don’t forget to check out the view.