Why I Love London in the Winter
London is definitely for me an impeccable destination during winter time.Here’s why London should be on your winter-travel list—and how to make the most of your time while you’re there:
Embrace the Weather: I can’t tell you how many English people have told me—usually with a wink—that it’s not bad weather, just bad clothing! And it’s true. Having the right gear is essential, so be sure to pack your umbrella and rain boots. “The truth is, the weather in England is terrible year-round so coming in the winter only guarantees that there will be less people,” Lauren confided. “At least in the winter, you can feel that the cold and wet is seasonally appropriate!” Once you’re on the ground, there are countless places to escape the drear and drizzle.
Find a New Street to Love: On this trip I discovered Lamb’s Conduit, a pocket-size street tucked away in Bloomsbury and refreshingly free of chain stores. It’s small enough that you can wander in the rain without much trouble and has plenty of cafés and shops to duck into for respite along the way. For sustenance, try family-run Vats Wine Bar and Restaurant or chic Cigala for Spanish tapas.
Luxuriate Over Lunch: When it’s cold outside, you want to indulge in long lunches. The best place I found to do that was at one of London’s most anticipated restaurant openings, Spring at Somerset House. On a particularly gray day with sheets of rain pouring down, I was happy to be cocooned in a large, airy space with white columns, globed chandeliers, and textured blue walls, dining on grilled fish and bitter chocolate mousse.
Try an Alpine-Style Hangout: Though it’s far from the Alps—or from any mountain range, for that matter—London has its own pop-up alpine-style retreats. Hugo Campbell-Davys, founder of Urbanologie, recommends dining on a high altitude-inspired barbecue menu at Le Chalet, lit with candles and twinkly lights atop Selfridges department store, or ordering “hot and toasty” après-ski cocktails at Piste in Soho.
Explore a New Museum: London’s museums are (mostly) free to visit, and many house gorgeous cafés in addition to brilliant artwork. On another afternoon, I parked myself in the sumptous mosaic-clad eatery at the Victoria and Albert. In Marylebone, I discovered what feels like a hidden gem, at least for visitors: the Wallace Collection. Though there are Rembrandts and Rubens adorning the walls, I spent the most time in a gallery filled with paintings of Venice, many centuries old and painted for British tourists who visited the city on their Grand Tour.
Go Where the Locals Go: Once again, I relied on locals advises to guide me to their favorite neighborhood spots in Notting Hill. At Walmer Castle, which looks like a classic English pub, I dug into delicious Thai food amid a boisterous local crowd. She also drew my attention to Beach Blanket Babylon, one of her favorite places to meet for post-work drinks with friends. “It lends itself to cozy conversations around their fireplace while sipping sparkling drinks and generous glasses of wine,” they said. “It’s definitely a place someone has to bring you to or you’d never know about it.”