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Handling Winter Properly in the U.K.

by Richard
01/17/2018 12:01:32 P.M.

Over the course of the last 3 years, I’ve spent 3 months in London. But this trip was going to be different, it was going to be in the winter. And WHAT could you possibly do in the UK winter? 

Pretty much everything you can do in the summer, as it turns out. But even though it doesn’t snow there frequently, it can get so brutally cold. So when getting out and experiencing the lovely culture, here are some things to keep in mind:

Biking

This is the best way, in my opinion, to get around London. The roads are more suited for it than they are in big American cities, drivers have a natural respect for bicyclists place on the roads, and (as London is probably more compact than most realize) you can get to places relatively quickly—and quite a bit more so than on public transportation. It’s almost as fast as cars.

But in the winter…the cold weather is biting. All of the above remains true, but you need to make sure that your core is warm before setting off. Scarves help keep it down. Helmets help to keep heat in. And most of all, wear gloves. I was amazed at how freezing my hands got on the bike. 

So bundle up!

Royal Botanic Gardens

This might be considered a summer or spring or fall activity, but the gardens have a different allure in every season, including the winter. 

This is the largest collection of plants anywhere in the world and with that in mind, there are plants that thrive in every climate, including the harsh Albion winter weather.

But they also have a number of greenhouses that are downright hot inside. So even if you want to bounce around from one to the other, you’ll have plenty to see when you’re in there. 

But for the travel there and walking around the grounds, definitely bundle up!

Ice skating

A seasonal special. There are many places to skate across the city (including the wonderful Somerset House). The rinks tend to, unlike in America, be in truly beautiful places. So get out and try this, but when you do: 

It’s cold, so you’d better bundle up!

Museums and Plays

I try not to go to too many museums because they have the feel of tourism, plus when I have a limited number of days, I want to spend it with people I know, in parks, or in cafes. 

But this is a safe bet when the weather is stark. Find your museum or play of choice (I like the Britsh Museum), bundle up for travel there, and then arrive to the warmth. 

Plus, you can typically leave your coats at the door!

Parks

They’re even quieter and more peaceful than they usually are, which make them, in a way, even more lovely. This is the perfect time to go for a run or take a pensive stroll. Whether it's Richmond Park, Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Hampstead Heath, or Regents Park and Primrose Hill. But whatever you do, you’d better seriously bundle up, or else you’re gonna catch a cold or worse. 

Cafes and Pubs

The winter months hasten in a time of contemplation. I love this. What better place to do this (alongside parks) than a cafe or pub, like the lovely Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. Warm cultural centers that have the fire going (or the heat on) and any number of warm drinks fit for your consumption. 

And across the city there’s an are innumerable amount of these establishments. Just check Yelp! first to find the right one, bundle up for the travel (don’t mess with the cold), and make your way to your haven of choice.