Many perceive the UK as a Northern European nation that enjoys decent, summers but chilly, rainy and dark winters. And, for the most part, yes; that’s true. Which explains why London sees a spike in its overseas visitor numbers in the warmer spring and summer months. Yet, for those who are savvy, why not give the UK capital a visit ‘out-of-season’? That is, in the winter? It’s far from silly because the airfares, hotel rates and all-round expenditure is likely to be less than at other times of the year – plus, there’s simply so much to see and do if you grace it with your presence this time of year…
Take to the ice
Sure, it’s true; some days this time of year in London can be cold and dreary, weather-wise, but that’s no reason to stay indoors – especially if you’ve come to the city for a visit, of course! And where better to get out to this time of year than one of the myriad pop-up outdoor ice-skating rinks that adorn many of the capital’s greatest attractions. Top of the list have to be those at Somerset House and the Tower of London – one offers the chance of gliding along the ice with the backdrop of a magnificent neoclassical building and the other the setting of a millennium-old medieval edifice so important to British history. You’ll also find splendid outdoor ice-rinks at both the Natural History Museum and, just outside London itself, Hampton Court Palace.
Indoor history and more
If braving the cold for hours at a time isn’t exactly your thing, then wintry London also offers many an attraction indoors, of course – in fact, most of them are indoors! Specifically, you’ll find its fantastic museums and art galleries give guests a ‘warm’ welcome this time of year, to say the least – indeed, should you be making use of one of the city’s hotel loyalty programs (perhaps incorporating spa deals London), then you may be able to enjoy reduced ticket entry to some of them. In any case, let’s be honest, you can’t go far wrong in a city that’s blessed with the likes of the British Museum; the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery; the Tate Modern gallery; the Science Museum; the Natural History Museum; the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum; the Museum of London; the British Library and so many, many more.
Get lost in ‘Theatreland’
Whatever the time of year, you must also make the most of the awesome entertainment options London offers – especially because, if you’re taking advantage of one of the London hotels packages, you may be able to do so with some money off and, thus, by spending less! Now, while the capital’s full of pubs, bars, nightclubs, cinemas and casinos, what distinguishes it so much from other destinations is its globally renowned theatre scene. Centred in the West End, ‘Theatreland’ is surely only rivalled by New York City’s ‘Broadway’ theatre conglomeration for the quality, diversity, popularity and multitude of plays, musicals and more it puts on – among them Shakespearean dramas, thrillers, farces, opera and ballet, cutting-edge fringe efforts, revivals, celeb-starring new offerings and glossy, glitzy big-name sows.
Moreover, this time of year is blessed by the UK seasonal stage tradition that’s the pantomime. Very British in its conception and realisation, it’s a unique take on fairy-tales, involving song and dance, colourful sets and costumes and much campy and bawdy humour, as well as many a famous name well-known to nationwide audiences. It’s all about terrific slapstick for the kids and risqué comedy moments for the adults – and you’ll often find them on at the likes of the major variety theatre that’s the London Palladium, as well as the Old Vic and Hackney Empire venues.
Make the most of the season
Speaking of the holidays, depending on exactly when you visit the ‘Big Smoke’ in the winter, you may well be able to sample more of its seasonal delights – because you might find some of them run beyond December and into January. For instance, a must-see is the gigantic Christmas tree erected annually in Trafalgar Square and donated to the city by the people of Norway in thanks to the British efforts for that nation during the Second World War. Plus, of course, there’s the world-famous fireworks that every New Year’s Eve go off over the River Thames between Westminster and the South Bank (specifically incorporating the icons that are ‘Big Ben’ – the Palace of Westminster’s clocktower – and the ‘London Eye’ Ferris wheel) to see out the old year and see in the new one. As a live spectacle, it usually attracts around 40,000 revellers – and the next day there’s a parade through the streets of the West End that features as many as 10,000 performers.
The perfect place to stay
But enough of what to see and do; what about where to stay? Frankly, should you be travelling to – and, therefore, staying in the UK capital either with loved ones/ friends or on your own – you really must opt for one of the Montcalm hotels. Yes, if we say so ourselves. Why? Because a stay at any of the Montcalm group’s properties (many of them spa hotels London) is effectively a few days and nights spent simply indulging yourself – with supreme service in exquisite surroundings of old-fashioned style and modern comfort – all in one of the most electric, eclectic and essential cities in the world.
The Montcalm family of hotels are spread throughout the centre of the city – from Marble Arch to Shoreditch and Hyde Park to The City – and caters equally to those coming to the capital to enjoy all it offers on a short-break, a romantic weekend or a family celebration, or indeed to those visiting the city on business. Quite simply, to come to London and choose a Montcalm hotel for your stay is to have *the *London experience – whatever the time of year!