As students who will be spending their first full winter in London, it's hard to know what activities and places are good to go to. That's why I've created a list especially for you so that you can get my best recommendations for where to go during the winter season.
1. Winter Wonderland
If you haven't heard/been to Winter Wonderland, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! Winter Wonderland is held at Hyde Park every year between the end of November and start of January. It’s filled with fun fair rides, large varieties of food, market stalls and even a music tent. I’ve been about four times now and I can honestly say it’s the highlight of my year. (I went last week and I already know that I'll probably be going another 2/3 times in the next few weeks. To get the best experience, you should go in the evening but know that those times and weekends will be the busiest.
2. Christmas markets
During winter there are multiple Christmas markets around but the one that I recommend is Leicester Square’s, which is almost like a mini winter wonderland. It’s filled with lights and stalls for you to buy your last-minute Christmas presents. However, I strongly advise not to do any impulsive purchases as some stalls can overcharge so don’t overstretch yourself.
3. New Year fireworks
Every year I watch the London New Year Fireworks on TV and this may finally be the year I watch them in real life. Being surrounded by hundreds of people to celebrate the new year with and experience the fireworks live would be a great memory to have at least once in your life.
4. Ice skating
This one is optional because I know how much I've been putting it off, knowing that I won’t be able to skate well AT ALL. However, you won’t know until you try plus the more you do it, the more you’ll get better at it. It’s the perfect opportunity to have a laugh and fall over with you friends who frankly won’t care if you suck at ice skating because they are probably in the exact same position. If you’re feeling brave, check out these options.
5. Park to go for walks in
There are multiple parks around London, so it may be best to find one nearest to you (especially in this cold weather.) However my top recommendation is Green Park. As Hyde Park isn’t really available because of Winter Wonderland, Green Park is the next best thing and is nearby. This means that before/after going to Winter Wonderland, you can take a stroll through Green Park to relax and clear your thoughts.
6. Theatre show
London hosts a number of theatre shows throughout the year – but the best time to watch them is during winter. There’s nothing better to cheer you up in the freezing cold weather than a West End/ theatre production. This will take your mind off the stress of deadlines and you can even bring your friends/family along to enjoy the show with.
7. Magical Lantern festival
The Magical Lantern festival is being held up until the 1st of January and its aim is to celebrate art and culture. It’s held at Chiswick House and Gardens and is filled with stunning performances as well as hand-crafted lanterns, souvenirs, a bar, food and drink area and of course vibrant colours. Bring your family and friends along and tickets start from £11.20.
8. Basquiat exhibition
Going to an art school, means that many of us go to an exhibition from time to time to gain inspiration. An exhibition currently on is the ever-popular Basquiat exhibition at The Barbican, which is on until January and is only £12 for students. If that is too expensive for you, you can always visit permanent collections at galleries such as Tate, The National Gallery and Wellcome Collection.
9. Covent Garden
This is another beautiful place to admire and walk through, surrounded by festive decorations. There are tonnes of shops to (again) do some last-minute shopping and the area itself is lovely to explore. You can also grab something nice to eat.
10. Oxford Street
The obvious function of the street is to go shopping, but it’s one of my favourite places to visit during the winter simply because of the decorations. Oxford Street goes all out and always makes me feel festive when walking through. As well as the street itself, shops dress up their window displays and walls with Christmas decorations which brings a sense of excitement to the place.
So those are my top recommendations for winter in London, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.