Smiling friends walking on road in city
Travel

Weekend in London: our winter city guide on where to stay and what to do

While travelling abroad may still be up in the air, there’s no reason why you can’t embrace the magic of the city and explore it in a way you never have before. 

London at any time of the year is particularly lovely – especially when the weather holds up.

There’s just something about enjoying the spring sunshine and getting into the full swing of summer as people line the streets drinking beers and sipping an Aperol spritzes.

And it doesn’t begin and end with warm weather as it can be equally as enjoyable walking through London’s most picturesque parks in the middle of the autumn as the leaves turn and the cooler weather sets in – but there’s something particularly alluring about the capital during the winter for me.

Perhaps it’s the Christmas glimmer of twinkling lights, the promise of a new year, or the idea of cuddling up in a coffee shop with a warm beverage and a good book in hand that entices me. But, truth be told, it’s very rare that I go beyond my usual spots and it can be pretty easy to get into a routine.

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While travelling abroad is still up in the air due to the spread of the Omicron variant, finding time to explore new places is getting harder and harder – but there is so much more to the city that even us natives don’t know about, making this the perfect time to explore what London truly has to offer.

If you’re looking for a weekend filled with exploration and relaxation, we’ve shared our guide on the perfect weekend, from where to stay, what to do and where to eat – and it’s sure to make you appreciate the city a little bit more while getting that much-needed leisure time before we really get stuck into 2022.

Where to stay in London

Pan Pacific Hotel, Liverpool Street

a photo of a suite in the pan pacific hotel
Weekend in London: Pan Pacific Hotel London

There are many beautiful hotels in London but there’s something particularly special about the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Based in Liverpool Street, the Singaporean-owned hotel is stunning to look at and features 237 bedrooms and an array of dining destinations, from Straits Kitchen (where you can get a delicious English breakfast) to The Orchid Lounge where you can enjoy the wildly unique Singaporean-inspired Kopi Tiam Afternoon Tea, which combines traditional favourites with the creative influence of Asian ingredients.

a photo of pan pacific hotel festive afternoon tea
Weekend in London: Pan Pacific Hotel's festive afternoon tea

While there, you can also take in all wellness treats they have to offer, from the 18.5m infinity pool with inspiring views over the Plaza to the indulgent treatment rooms, which are designed to destress both body and mind.

Book the Pan Pacific Hotel 

What to do in London

Ice skating at Somerset House

a photo of people ice skating on an ice rink at somerset house
Weekend in London: Skate at Somerset House

Nothing says winter like ice-skating at Somerset House – and as it’s open until 16 January, you can still enjoy a day out on the ice while taking in the beauty of the iconic location.

During this time of year, the magnificent ice rink transforms the neoclassical courtyard into the essential winter destination, complete with a glorious 40ft Christmas tree, with specially curated decorations from Moët & Chandon providing perfect picture moments.

While there, you can also head to Hotel Chocolat for one of its mouthwatering hot chocolates and enjoy lunch at Jimmy’s Pop Up Chalet Barragiste, which is inspired by The Alps and will transport you into the mountains with its seasonal menu of cosy winter favourites.

Book Skate at Somerset House and Jimmy’s Pop Up Chalet Barragiste

Visit the city’s best markets

a picture of borough market
Weekend in London: Borough Market

London has some amazing markets year-round, and this time of the year provides the perfect opportunity to see them all. From Crafty Fox Market and Borough Market to Maltby Street Market, you can make a day of it and explore London’s independent businesses while enjoying a few beverages and getting a trinket or two for yourself or a loved one.

Take in the city views on the London Eye Christmas Pub Pod

a photo of people enjoying a drink on the london eye
London Eye Christmas Pub Pod

A pub in the sky? Sounds like my idea of a good time. Take in the capital’s stunning views on the London Eye’s Christmas Pub Pod, which allows visitors to enjoy two complimentary drinks per person while enjoying the 30-minute trip 135 metres above the city.

Book the London Eye Christmas Pub Pod

Where to eat in London

The Sky Pod and The Fenchurch restaurant

a photo of a table at the fenchurch restaurant
Weekend in London: Fenchurch Restaurant

Make an evening off it and head to Fenchurch Street for the ultimate London dining and drinking experience.

Start off at the Sky Pod, located 35 levels above the city, and enjoy the alpine-themed space, which includes live music and dance-worthy DJ nights running every Monday – Saturday evening. 

Boasting frosted-wreath archways, tree foliage and twinkling lights, the Sky Pod is filled with Instagram-worthy moments, and you’ll be able to take the best pictures while enjoying an alpine-themed beverage.

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Afterwards, move a couple floors up to the Fenchurch rooftop restaurant, which serves contemporary British menus and is a foodie experience not to be missed.

Showcasing the finest new culinary talent, Fenchurch has an incredible head chef at the helm in Michael Carr, and you’re sure to enjoy the innovative flavour combinations and beautiful presentation while taking in the sights.

Book the Sky Pod and Fenchurch Restaurant

STK Strand

food on a table at STK
Weekend in London: STK Strand

If you’re looking for a buzzy atmosphere with delicious food to boot, STK has got you covered. The Strand location features stunning interiors and a brilliant DJ spinning tunes that’ll make you feel like you’re in a club (without any of the hassle).

We’d highly recommend trying its brand new speciality Wagyu beef menu, which is curated by the restaurant’s renowned chefs for meat lovers everywhere. Oh, and don’t forget to get the mac and cheese and creamed spinach as a side – thank me later.

Book STK Strand

Images: Jack Hardy; Pan Pacific Hotel London; David Jensen; Getty; lastminute.com; STK Strand

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