How to deal with the weather
London isn’t exactly known for its beautiful weather and coming from somewhere where it’s usually warm and sunny can be a bit of a shock.
Your first winter may be the hardest, but taking it easy with a little knowledge and an idea of what to expect can make it more bearable.
Plan ahead for snow
Even though it snows, London is not very well prepared for it. In the last six years, London has only experienced a handful of snowy days, and while elusive, they can be a lot of fun – but also a bit of a headache.
First all public transport shuts down (yup, that’s right, the trains just can’t handle it), then the roads get clogged with buses and you know what that means? A day off from work and school for everyone (unless you are within walking distance or work for the emergency services).
Everyone flocks to their local parks to make snowmen and throw snowballs, and all of a sudden you have a park full of grown kids making new friends.
At the other end of the scale, you experience hot summers (where everyone also flocks to the parks to sunbathe and have a picnic). And you’ll want to buy a desk fan, because there’s no air conditioning in London.
Make the most of the proximity to Europe
Cheap getaways to (slightly) sunnier European locations are just a few pounds away, sometimes costing as little as £20 return.
The idea of having several countries in a matter of hours takes some getting used to, but make the most of it while you can! There’s a whole world of discoveries to be had, and the world is at your feet for the same price as a cheap new pair of shoes.
If you are environmentally conscious and watch your carbon footprint or air miles, you can even take the Eurostar to France, Belgium or Amsterdam.
Enjoy the sun while you still can
London has some sunny days, so it’s best to make the most of them while they last.
Most boroughs have a popular park to escape to (London Fields in Hackney, Clapham Common in the south, Regents Park in the west) and there are several lidos and rooftops where you can get your dose of vitamin D while the sun shines.
If you’re looking for something a little further afield, Brighton is just an hour’s drive from London.
Brighton is one of three beaches near London, and the most popular (for good reason). They have the largest pier (full of seaside amusements), a thriving and diverse community, and some great alleys to explore.
Pack your swimsuit, some sandwiches and your bathing suit, but don’t forget some sandals or beach shoes as it’s a pebble beach (not sandy) and nothing hurts more than pebbles under your feet after you’ve softened your feet in the water.
Go outside in winter
Don’t become a homebody just because the temperature has dropped, there’s plenty to do in London during the colder months.
As the leaves begin to change, take a day trip to one of the larger conservation areas (Richmond Park, Epping Forest or Victoria Park) to see the beautiful array of color changes in the leaves. You may even see some wild deer. This is also the best time of year to spot squirrels!
As you get close to Christmas the markets start to open, the big shops (Harrods & Selfridges) open their famous Christmas windows and the streetlights are lit by C grade celebrities in most of the boroughs.
And don’t forget skating. Perhaps the prettiest of them all is Somerset House’s ice rink, with twinkling lights and dedicated staff ready to help if you’re feeling a little like Bambi on ice.