Winter festivals in London help to make it the coolest place to be when thoughts turn to mulled wine and chestnuts, so let’s take a look at what’s coming up from October to December in the Big Smoke…
The wellies and Ray-Bans of the summer festival season are well gone. Dark nights, warm coats and fur-lined boots are here to stay. It’s winter, yay!
I’m always happy when the time for winter festivals in London come around because it brings a whole different mood to the city. A cosy, warm feeling and a fresh air, so long as the slushy snow and rain stays away.
I love seeing the shops put the Christmas decorations up too early and hearing everyone moan about it. I love seeing the shoddy Christmas lights on Oxford Street and the new fashions in the windows begging me to buy them.
I just totally fall for the ‘magical’ time of year, and all the fun things to do there because of it. One of the best things about the season though, are all the cool winter festivals in London to enjoy.
Winter Festivals in London
London winter festivals are some of the best. Here’s a look at what you’ve got ahead of you to enjoy! I’ll start at the end of October, as the weather is on the change.
October London festivals
Click here for all the best festivals in October around the world.
1. Frieze Art Fair
October 12-16, 2023
You’ll find this London winter festival in Regent’s Park every October. Some exhibits at the Frieze Art Fair will charge and you’ll need to book ahead, while others will just let you potter about for free. Great little festival that I went to a few years ago and enjoyed, but as we all know, I’m just not that into art.
2. London Snowboard and Skiing Festival
Cancelled for 2022
As one of the best skiing festivals in Europe, the London Snowboard and Skiing Festival is a great option for ski lovers. This is one of the best festivals in London for winter sports lovers.
3. The Bloomsbury Festival
October 14-23, 2022
The Bloomsbury Festival is a free creative explosion of performance, art, music and storytelling right in the centre of London.
“For ten days each October, the streets, parks, museums, galleries, laboratories and public and private buildings of this vibrant cultural quarter play host to up to 130 events developed with partners alongside Bloomsbury Festival Productions and Commissions.”– THE BLOOMSBURY FESTIVAL
4. Diwali on the Square
October 9, 2022
Diwali on the Square in Trafalgar Square is celebrated by people of all nationalities, races and religions. It’s a free tribute to the festival of lights in India and attempts to creates a magical world of joy and festivity.
Run up to the 31 October
There are loads of events in London to celebrate the Halloween festival. From witching hour at the London Eye to the Torture Garden fetish weekend at the Coronet Theatre. Madame Tussauds always has a good event on if you have the money or inclination, too!
If ever you’re in London by coach, and you need luggage storage at Victoria station, then click here for the best deals.
November London festivals
6. Canopy Christmas Market
21st of November – 30th of December 2022
One of the best winter festivals in London is the Canopy Christmas Market. There are loads of special events going on including the Vegan Festival, festive workshops and canopy gifting too.
“The market will be packed with festive produce and treats, handmade crafts as well as a host of street food and drinks options, including a craft beer bar, natural wines and gin bar. Plus don’t miss the special weekend events – details below. Open 12 am-6 pm daily, and 12-8 pm on Fridays. This is just one of seven Christmas markets at King’s Cross this season.”– CANOPY CHRISTMAS MARKET
7. London Oktoberfest
20th October – 5th November 2022
Who needs to go all that way to Oktoberfest in Munich when you can just pop to the Bavarian Beerhouse in Old Street or Tower Hill? Tickets are reasonably priced and you’ll get a free stein, or they have let you go free on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the past.
You can also enjoy German food such as sausages and pork shanks, and the barmaids bring the drinks directly to you. This is a great day out for all over 18s who like a drink and a singsong!
8. Lord Mayor’s Show and Fireworks
12 November 2022
The spectacular three-mile-long procession for the Lord Mayor’s Show and Fireworks winds its way from Mansion House through the historic streets of the Square Mile to the Royal Courts of Justice. This parade, a tradition dating back to 1215, welcomes into office the new Lord Mayor of the City of London – this year, it’s the turn of the 693rd incumbent. Around half a million spectators will watch the procession, which will begin at 11am.
“The 2022 Lord Mayor’s Procession includes full-size model elephants, Japanese drummers, a horse-drawn bus, the tallest fire engine in Europe and of course, the Lord Mayor’s splendid State Coach, the oldest ceremonial vehicle in the world still in regular use.”
The whole City area is closed for most of the day of the Show, admitting no traffic at all. Buses are diverted while the Show is on and parking spaces suspended from the Friday afternoon.”– Lord Mayor’s Show, London
9. London Jazz Festival
11-20 November 2022
The London Jazz Festival is one of the big dates in the jazz calendar in England, and one of the biggest winter festivals in London.
“The EFG London Jazz Festival is the capital’s biggest pan-city music festival, taking place annually in November, which has long been acclaimed for showcasing a heady mix of talent from around the world. Widely acknowledged for delivering world-class artists and emerging stars, the Festival continues to take jazz to a massive audience, in one of UK’s landmark music events.”– LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL
10. Winter Wonderland
19 November – 3 January 2022
Hyde Park is transformed into a magical world of rides, stalls and an ice rink at the annual Winter Wonderland Festival.
It’s free to get in but can end up costing quite a bit, especially if you’ve got any rugrats in tow. Take your own alcohol in if you want to get round this, although make sure you have a bit of change for a mulled wine – it’s tradition.
This is one of the most popular January festivals around.
11. Southbank Centre Winter Festival
To be confirmed for 2022-2023 dates
There’s all sorts happening at the Southbank Centre Winter Festival. Taking place along the Thames in the famous Southbank area, you can enjoy the twinkling lights, tasty drinks, street food and seasonal goodies too. With both indoor and outdoor events, there’s entertainment for all ages here.
“Cheer is here as the warm glow of our Winter Festival returns. A smash-hit circus, twinkling markets, high-kicking musicals, jolly jives, free family fun, festive concerts and radiant art – there’s a gift to light up everyone’s festive season.”– SOUTHBANK CENTRE WINTER FESTIVAL
How about visiting Bath at Christmas for some festive feels?
December London Winter Festivals
12. Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre
2-4 December 2022
The Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre is a celebration of festive foods with tasty artisan food and drink, festive entertainment and great gifts to choose from too. Set in the impressive palace courtyards and grounds there’s everything from pop up bars, to seasonal shopping to family fun and live music too.
13. Wembley Park Winterfest
To be confirmed for 2022-2023 dates
Now this one will be a great place to pick up some last-minute Christmas presents. You can treat your tastebuds to a delectable array of Christmassy artisan delights and eat everything as you go round.
“Returning to Wembley Park after a years hiatus, Wembley Park’s free winter lights trail, Winterfest, is returning for 2021. Celebrating togetherness, this year’s Christmas lights theme will be ‘Reunited in Light’, and will feature returning favourites as well as brand-new commissions and new art installations. Our family-friendly Christmas lights trail couldn’t return without the showstopper – our 25m LED Christmas tree. Made up of 100,000 mesmerising lights, the walk-through tree will be dressed with brand-new digital artwork ‘City Lights’, commissioned by Brent artist Yoni Alter.”– WEMBLEY PARK
Winter festivals in London
As you can see there are a LOT of winter festivals in London to choose from. All magical, all special, and all totally worth it. Let me know which London festivals you make it to this year, and if you have any to add!