Aside from visiting at Christmas, London may not seem the ideal place to visit during the winter months; its reputation for being cold and, well, wet being rather well deserved this time of year. But it’s still London, which means it’s a magnificent metropolis whenever you choose to check it out. But, if it’s just too cold outside when you do so, here are its essential indoor attractions…
Lose yourself in the British Museum
How better to escape the big freeze in the Big Smoke than to throw yourself into perhaps the biggest, most comprehensive museum you’ll find anywhere in the world? The British Museum is truly extraordinary; you could stay two weeks in London, spending every day in this building and still not cover everything it contains. Must-sees, though, definitely include the Egyptian mummies room, the Rosetta Stone and, of course those contentious Elgin Marble.
Go indoors at the Globe
Hang on; the Globe’s a recreation of an Elizabethan/ Jacobean open-air theatre, thus a purpose-built spring/ summer attraction, right? Why on earth is it on this list? Well, that’s because nowadays the Globe complex includes the stunning Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, a reconstruction of a Restoration (mid- to late 17th Century) indoor theatre space that’s oh-so atmospherically lit by candlelight. Truly, it’s an experience not to be missed come the winter months. And this year it’s playing host to a puppet-based production of the Hans Christian Andersen tale The Little Match Girl and a dynamic version of the Bard’s devastating tragedy Othello. Plus, if you’ve made your place of stay one of the hotels in London City, it’s just a short Tube ride away.
Hop into the warm on a Hop On, Hop Off bus
Grab a takeaway tea/ coffee/ hot chocolate/ broiling beverage of your choice and take your seat on one of the nice and cosy double-deckers and be driven throughout the West End and the must-see pockets of Central London so you can catch all the unmissable sights of the capital from the luxury of your indoor seat. Windy, rainy, sleety or even snowy for the entirety of your time in the city? No worries. If you purchase tickets for this service, they’ll be good for at least a couple of days, plus they’ll enable you to choose from a selection of different routes so you can effectively tailor your tour to what you really want to see.
It’s great to skate!
Finally, a bit of a cheat, as this is one wintry activity that’s enhanced when done outdoors – especially at any of the cracking venues London serves up for it nowadays. Yes, in recent years, taking to the ice in the lead up to, during and after the Christmas period has exploded in popularity in the UK capital (rather like outdoor cinemas in summer); so much so that you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to temporary rinks. The most atmospheric and impressive of them, though, have to include the west-of-London-located Hampton Court Palace, the sumptuous South-Ken-situated Natural History Museum and the age-old favourite Somerset House, which is slap-bang in the centre. Even Canary Wharf’s getting in on the act where the neon-tastic ‘LuminoCity’ promises a pop-up bar serving booze, cheese fondue and hot butter rum. Yum!