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Winter in London

The best things to do in London this winter 2019

Save on your central heating bill and venture out this season with our pick of the best things to do in London this winter

By Things To Do Editors

Put down the cocoa – hiding under a blanket is not an option in winter 2019. So what if temperatures are plummeting? Your social life is heating up with exciting new launches, photography and fashion exhibitions, and great new things to do in London. Sip steaming hot cocktails at the return of Hotboozapalooza, slide around a brand new London ice rink, visit a gingerbread city and catch exciting new theatre productions at the return of Vault Festival. Here’s your guide to making the most of London in December 2019, past Christmas, through the New Year and into January and February 2020. 

RECOMMENDED: More amazing things to do in London

The best things to do in London this winter

Photograph: Royal Maritime Greenwich

1. The Queen's House Ice Rink

Things to do Ice skating

Nowhere wears Christmas better than Greenwich, it’s neo-classical buildings were made to look magical under a coating of snow. Now, you can indulge in the area’s festival feels by whipping around a brand new ice rink in the UNESCO World Heritage site. Popping up outside the beautiful Queen’s House this rink is the perfect place to slip and slide while taking in the magical setting.

2. Museum of Architecture Gingerbread City

Things to do Exhibitions

The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City is back and this year it's filling the mighty Somerset House with impressive models made of dough. Feast your eyes on an imaginary city made by architecture firms, who were invited to pick a plot on the masterplan and respond to a brief set by Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design. This time around the theme is ‘transport’ so look out for biscuity new ways of moving around our packed city. 


3. London Pantomime Horse Race

Things to do Quirky events

In scenes only slightly less dramatic and probably far more entertaining than the Grand National, more than 40 pantomime horses (plus a few pretenders in the form of zebras and cows) will gallop through Greenwich on this race raising money for charity. As London Christmas traditions go, this is one of the weirdest. 


5. Dabbers Social Bingo

Things to do Quirky events Aldgate

The people behind brand new venue Dabbers Social Bingo say their aim is to reinvigorate the classic game while respecting its roots. You’ll still have crowds clutching bingo cards, but think comedians instead of callers and burlesque dancers instead of fruit machines. Each day of the week will bring a new theme: it’ll be cranking up the UV for Disco Bingo Saturdays, poaching eggs for Family Brunch Bingo Sundays and hosting Vintage Bingo Tuesdays. Eyes down, we’re feeling lucky!

Want more? Try our pick of the best bingo haunts in London

Fairview, Young Vic, 2019
Fairview, Young Vic, 2019
Photograph: Marc Brenner

6. ‘Fairview’

4 out of 5 stars
Theatre Drama

Jackie Sibblies Drury’s dizzyingly inventive, Pulitzer Prize-winning race-relations satire is a show with a lot of uncomfortable hidden surprises. This is a fantastically original, probing piece of theatre. 


7. Turning Earth Hoxton + Carve London Market

Things to do Markets and fairs

Want the top of the pots? Follow the crowd to this popular winter ceramics fair where over 70 of London’s coolest potters will be selling their wares at Turning Earth’s Hoxton studio. When your done, pop next door for to Big Sky Studios where you’ll find gorgeous woodwork products at the market. 

Photo: Courtesy of FilmNation Entertainment

8. ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’

3 out of 5 stars
Film Comedy

Director Armando Iannucci tailors reams of well-deployed profanity into pure euphoria in his take on the Dickens classic. The movie works best when it’s hinting at the rudeness he has better explored elsewhere and you can’t help but be charmed by Dev Patel’s title character. 

Photograph: Universal Pictures

9. ‘Cats’

Film Fantasy

Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper transforms Andrew Lloyd Webber's record-shattering stage musical into a breakthrough cinematic event. Featuring Lloyd Webber's iconic music and a world-class cast of dancers under the guidance of Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler, the film reimagines the musical for a new generation with spectacular production design and state-of-the-art technology. 

10. Winter Lights at Canary Wharf

Things to do Quirky events

Canary Wharf isn’t high on our list of London spots to hit up if you’re looking for cheeriness, but every January, a warm, glowy feeling descends on the financial district thanks to this annual spectacular. The area’s towering skyscrapers become the backdrop for Winter Lights, a collection of illuminating artworks, installations and interactive experiences. Think neon artwork, glowing benches and words spelled in a waterfall of light. 

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