London: What to do when it’s cold

Written From… London, England

London city is not renowned for its weather to say the least, and the past few weeks have been bitterly cold. When you are a tourist and you wake up in the morning to see that it will be raining, snowing or freezing all day, you may feel discouraged and tempted to just order room service instead.

The great news, though, is that London is one of the best places to visit when the weather is bad! It rains so often here that the city is almost designed to keep people busy during downpours – there are so many things to do when it’s cold and rainy.   

London shopping

Shopping can only really be compared with New York, Paris and Tokyo. With giant department stores and shopping centres, you will be able to stay dry and warm while over-using your credit card.

Explore the floors of Selfridges or ‘ohhhh’ and ‘ahhhh’ in the food gallery at Harrods. And if you cannot make up your mind, head to Westfield London or Westfield Stratford where you will find all the high-street retailers you can think of!

West End shows

The only other place that can compete with London West End is New York City’s Broadway, so the level is set pretty high! In London city, you will be able to see all the musicals you can think of. I recommend Wicked, The Book of Mormon and the Lion King (of course).

You will also be able to watch many, many, many (did I say many?) famous plays, with (occasionally) very famous actors. Some classic Shakespeare plays, the most amazing ballets, operas, comedy clubs, murder-mysteries – there is something for everybody!  

Museums in London are free

London has some of the most famous museums in the world. And the best thing is that most museums in London are free! You may need to pay to see a specific exhibition but otherwise you will be free to wonder the corridors and galleries of some of the world’s greatest museums. Visit the most famous ones first, such as the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Once you are more familiar with London, start exploring the lesser known museums such as the Museum of London, the Tate Britain and the National Maritime Museum. It doesn’t stop there of course, and there are many more smaller galleries which you can discover and explore!  

Street food

How on earth can I enjoy street food when it is cold and miserable outside? Well my friend, again, London is prepared! Some London street food markets are completely covered and have outdoor heaters to keep you warm. Head south of the river to Brixton market where you can find multiple shops and eateries under the railway arches.

I highly recommend The Joint for gigantic pulled pork sandwiches and Casa Morita for delicious Mexican food. Another quite incredible street food option is Mercato Metropolitano, nested in a back street of Elephant and Castle, where the market is set in a large former warehouse. There you will find an amazing Italian deli, many food stalls and even a cinema!  

Bars with a view of London

To end a busy day in the city, head upward and have a drink in one of the many London bars with a view. For the best covered and warm views of London landmarks, and some tasty (and expensive) cocktails, you can book a table at:

  • Gŏng Bar on the 52nd floor of the Shard
  • Duck & Waffle at the top of the Salesforce tower
  • The City Garden bar at top of the Walkie Talkie
  • Madison Restaurant for the best view of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Museum in the morning, food market for lunch, shopping in the afternoon and drinks to end the day – one dry and warm wintery day in London city!


Picture of Claire
Claire is a French-born London-based Communications freelancer. She is also the founder of Claire Imaginarium, a travel, interior and beauty blog. A world traveler and a food lover, she likes to capture nice moments with her camera at home and on trips. When she is not busy decorating her new house or travelling the world, she likes to explore the Big Smoke.
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