Four can’t-miss plans for this winter in London
The British capital doesn’t rest after the holidays. The best plans for enjoying London in winter extend into February, with fun options such as ice skating, Pancake Day, Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown and themed parties on the hottest rooftop, paying tribute to the exoticism of Marrakech.
Break the ice
In winter, ice rinks become the stars in some of the city’s most emblematic places. The Canary Wharf rink doesn’t close its doors until 24 February. Glide across the 1,300 sq m rink surrounded by the city’s skyscrapers. Next, get your strength back in the winter-themed bar with a classic spicy mulled wine and relax while the children enjoy skating on the kids-only rink.
If you get there before 14 January, you can glide around the centre of Somerset House. And if you make it before 7 January don’t miss the National History Museum’s ice rink.
This year, it’s a dual celebration
If you were born in 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994 or 2016, besides being faithful, loyal and brave, this is your year – the Year of the Dog, according to the Chinese tradition. The largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of Asia will take place on 18 February (although the official date is two days earlier). There’ll be floats in the city centre, parades and performances in Trafalgar Square, dragons and lions decorating the entire Soho district and the menus designed especially for the occasion in Chinatown will you whisk you away to the People’s Republic.
Chinese tradition dictates that buying something red is a symbol of good luck. You won’t find a better opportunity to buy yourself a souvenir in any shop in Chinatown.
Medina on high
In China, another way to encourage good luck is to greet the year from above the rooftops. What better way to follow this advice than taking the lift to the hottest rooftop in the city – The Queen of Hoxton – and enjoying the views of the buildings along busy Liverpool Street. This place (which changes every six months) has become a Moroccan refuge for the winter. Cocktails such as the Casablanca Mint Tea, and the food offerings, including grilled halloumi and falafel will make you feel like you’re in Marrakech, and its décor, based on an Arab medina, will transport you to the Red City.
In addition, it’s located right in the centre of one of the city’s youngest and most urban-art-filled districts: Shoreditch.
If you go at the weekend, get there early. When there are lots of people, entry is limited and there are large queues.
This was traditionally the day when everyone cleaned out their cupboards before Lent. All that was left were staple foods such as eggs, sugar and butter. Mixed together, these ingredients make delicious pancakes. The menus at London’s restaurants and cafés feature pancakes, and activities and races are held with the aim of collecting money for people in need of a helping hand.
At Where the pancakes are, near London Bridge, you won’t find the usual pancakes topped with syrup or cream. This eatery combines the ancient art of making pancakes with updated culinary trends.
Feel like playing? At The Breakfast Club, if you can eat 12 pancakes in 12 minutes, you won’t have to pay for them. If you don’t make it, you will have to pay for them – about £20 – but the restaurant will donate that amount directly to an charity.