Travelling anywhere for a short-break in the winter is an acquired taste for some – but, don’t doubt it, a winter’s vacation in London definitely comes up trumps. Why so especially? Because with so many great galleries, perfect parks, fabulous theatre shows and awesome rooftop bars to discover, how on Earth couldn’t it? Here’s just a short selection of some of the best things you can try out and sample this season in the UK capital…
Partake in Park life
The beauty of London’s Royal Parks is such that, quite simply, they’re beautiful all-year-round. In spring they come to life; in summer they’re lustrous and green; in autumn they’re full of reds, browns and golds; while in winter, well, they’re atmospheric, magical and like something out of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – especially if it’s just snowed! Be sure to wrap up warm and catch a hot cuppa or coffee during your stroll, though.
View public art with a new eye
The other great thing about the Royal Parks is that – yes, during every season of the year – they’re jam-packed full of terrific public art. Which, come this season, lends you some wonderful photo ops, what with moody backgrounds and frosty, grassy floors and, of course, potential fresh blankets of snow. To this end, be sure to check out Henry Moore’s The Arch or The Joy of Life fountain in Hyde Park – and get snapping!
Experience a pub’s warm hearth
It’s chilly out, so after a long day of wintry sightseeing, few things beat an early evening in a warm, cosy public house. And London’s absolutely rammed with some of the greatest, most atmospheric city pubs you’ll ever come across. Be sure to pick one with an open fire roaring in the grate and, even better, a pet dog or cat to fall asleep on your lap as you sip your favourite tipple. Bliss.
Or tour a horde of haunted pubs
There’s a whole host of walking tours that cover the capital’s oh-so many – and interesting – streets, but (sort of extending the above option), this time of year a great tout to give a go is one that takes in the watering holes of the Hampstead area that, to this day, are still supposedly hosted by spirits. Why? They involve comfortable pit-stops for pints, of course!
Heat up with a hot toddy
Alternatively, if you fancy a night out that’s a little more stylish but, well, still rather alcoholically-fuelled, then how about frequenting a rooftop bar. In winter?! Why, yes; why not when there are heaters and blankets involved? It’s a great way to be sociable and genuinely experience winter in London at the same time. The ‘Kuddly Kraken’ hot toddy at Tower Bridge’s SkyLounge comes highly recommended – not least because you can sample it not far at all from one of the luxury hotels London in the area, The Montcalm Brewery hotel on Chiswell Street London.
Step inside a West End theatre
For a really sophisticated – and genuinely warm! – night out, though, there’s nothing like dressing up to the nines, taking advantage of a last-minute ticket deal and seeing a show at a West End theatre. From magical musicals to sumptuous Shakespeare and hugely funny farces to cutting-edge drama, a roster of world-class stage-shows are all there, just waiting for you to indulge in.
Or step inside a gallery
The UK capital’s unparalleled list of great galleries offer a marvellous distraction on a cold, winter’s day. Unearth amazing paintings and history combined at the National Portrait Gallery, eye-popping and challenging modern art at the Tate Modern or do your eyes a favour and pass them over works by Old Masters from France, Italy and the Netherlands at the Courthauld Gallery. Or, of course, go somewhere else entirely. The choice is yours!
Spoil yourself in a spa
Instead of embracing the winter, how about taking a couple of hours out completely and spoil yourself so rotten you forget it even exists? How does an incredibly relaxing massage, a marvellous manicure, a super sauna session or a fabulous facial sound? Irresistible, right?
And finally, party like a Viking!
Or, of course, if you fancy shaking it up and doing something totally different then you could head to the SkyLounge and sample the Nordic delights of their Valhalla Vodka Bar. Another roof terrace effort, running until the end of February, it encourages you to get in touch with your inner Viking by trying out themed cocktails and Scandi-style snacks as you pull blankets over you in a heated wooden cabin. Trust us, there’s Norse-ing like it!