Cold comforts: what’s so great about visiting London in the winter?

winter in Chelsea London

If you look at where London’s positioned on a globe, you probably wouldn’t, at first, consider visiting it in the winter (yes, it’s very much northerly-located). And yet, don’t doubt it; this is one city that doesn’t close down for the winter – and yet boasts many an old-fashioned wintry attraction, too…

You can savour a Sunday roast

There simply isn’t a better season of the year in which to savour the traditionally British meal that’s the ‘Sunday roast’. A roasted meat-featuring dinner with lashings of potatoes, vegetables and more (‘all the trimmings’), it was – back in the day – enjoyed around midday after a family had arrived home from church and, of course, was for many decades, if not centuries, the preserve of the upper and middle classes alone, until the 20th Century when it became the backbone of working class weekly mealtimes up and down the country.

Specifically, a Sunday roast ought to be made up of a generous helping of beef, chicken or lamb, roasted potatoes and the likes of Brussel sprouts, carrots, parsnips, stuffing, gravy and, of course, the baked-batter brilliance that’s Yorkshire pudding. No roast dinner is a roast dinner on these shores without a Yorkshire pudding!

Delicious, warm and utterly filling, the Sunday roast is, therefore, the absolutely perfect meal for a cold, dark, wintry day; Sunday or not – which is great news because, if you’re lucky enough, you might just chance upon one of the top quality pubs near where you’ve chosen to stay in the Chelsea and Kensington area (maybe at the San Domenico House hotel Chelsea) that serves one most days, in addition to Sundays. And speaking of the cosy pubs in your area…

You can sample a tipple in a traditional pub

traditional pub london

In many ways, there are few more British activities to try during a winter’s trip to London than popping into a traditional public house, plonking yourself down in front of a roaring fireplace, admiring the elegant décor, revelling in the reserved yet cosy atmosphere and, of course, wetting your whistle with a fine pint of bitter/ real ale. Sure; a visit to an old-fashioned pub can be enjoyed any time of the year – they’re refreshing, enjoyable locales to visit spring, summer or autumn – but there’s nothing quite like stepping out of the cold and dark and into a pub’s inviting glow and shuffling over to its warm hearth. It’s like taking a trip back in time and, simultaneously, giving yourself some ‘me time’ on your London break.

And, all told, there’s probably in excess of 20 different pubs that come well recommended in the district of Chelsea alone (and that’s excluding all the area’s trendy, more modern urban-cool bars) but, for a splendid old-fashioned public house experience, you can’t beat the likes of The Sporting Page (real ale, pub food, dark wood décor and TV sport), The Chelsea Pensioner (craft beers, stripped floors and a pool table) and Chelsea Potter (corner pub with oak furniture).

You’ll find everything’s open… yes, everything

London likes to sell itself as one of the most cosmopolitan cities on Planet Earth – indeed, it might just be *the* most cosmopolitan. And that means, somewhat in contrast to its above-mentioned old-fashioned, British-winter-focused pursuits, a very high proportion of what you can visit and do at any other time of the year in this city, can be visited and done in the winter.

This, of course, is because the UK capital enjoys such an enormous pull for visitors from every corner of the globe; so the vast array of its biggest, best, most distinct and most visited attractions are open all year round – including the big hitters like the South Kensington museums (The Science, Natural History and V&A Museums; so near to any and every accommodation in Chelsea London), the National Portrait and National Galleries in Trafalgar Square and so on.

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square

Moreover, practically all its theatres, cinemas, restaurants, casinos and nightspots remain open in the colder, darker months, as do every one of its world-renowned shopping destinations (including Harrods and Harvey Nicks in Knightsbridge and Chelsea’s own King’s Road boutiques). In fact, there’s very little that isn’t open or possible to do here in the winter – even in its deepest, darkest depths – unless it’s a died-in-the-wool outdoor activity that requires fine weather. Quite frankly, that in a nutshell, says all you need to know about London, right there!