Best things to do in London in February (2023 guide)

A view of the River Thames on a winter's day. The London Eye is in the background.

Are you looking for things to do in London in February? 

Whether you fancy taking a cruise down the River Thames, visiting London’s best historical attractions or trying some of the best food and drink in the country, there are tonnes of things to do in the British capital during this month. 

It’s a little colder and darker than other months, sure, but most of London is still open in February.

However, the fact that the weather isn’t at its sunniest and that there aren’t any major events means that the capital is quieter and that prices of hotels, restaurants and flights are often cheaper.

Plus, London never truly stops – but visiting in February might help you to have a more local experience!

Read on, as we go into all you need to know about visiting London in this season, including what to do, what weather to expect and where to stay.

What’s London like in February?

Girl smiling infront of Tower Bridge in London. She's wearing a bright yellow jacket and the River Thames is in the background.

London in February is a little cold and dark, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting!

January and February are traditionally London’s quietest months, which depending on your travel tastes, can be a good or bad thing.

There’s not as much atmosphere as in the summer or at Christmas, but you won’t need to wait in long queues for London’s best attractions. 

Most of London’s attractions aren’t weather-dependent and are open in the winter months, they’re just a lot quieter. This makes it a great winter city break.

However, one thing that’s worth noting is that kids have a week of school holidays in February. This is usually a busy week, especially at kid-friendly attractions. You won’t find it too busy in places that are tailored towards adults. 

Also, be wary of booking in advance if you are visiting London on 14th February; this is Valentine’s Day, and it’s likely that many restaurants and romantic hotels will be booked in advance.

It also means that rates for luxury hotels will usually be inflated just for that night.

My birthday’s the day after, 15th February, so we always find it challenging to find accommodations that don’t cost the earth if we want to go away for a few days! 

Weather in London in February

Girl looking out over the River Thames wearing a grey jacket. The London Eye is in the background.

The average highs in London in February are 8°C/ 46°F and the average low is 2°C/ 36°F.

Officially, there are nine days of rain in the month, although there can be quite grey, gloomy weather for most of the month. 

With climate change, the average temperatures are fluctuating, sometimes dropping well below freezing and other times even into the early teens/ fifties Fahrenheit. 

Does it snow in London in February?

It doesn’t often snow in London and South England during February, but it does sometimes!

In fact, it’s one of the months with the most likelihood of snow.

However, it usually only snows for a few days each year in London, if that. 

If you do experience snow in London, and you’re from a country that sees much more of the white stuff, you’re going to laugh at us. The country does struggle with snowy and icy conditions, and often attractions and transport are shut due to adverse weather. 

However, I’ll stress that this isn’t likely to happen – my birthday’s in February and I can’t recall ever having a snowy birthday! 

Things to do in London in February

Explore Westminster Abbey

North Entrance of Westminster Abbey, City of Westminster, London

Westminster Abbey is one of the most iconic British landmarks. 

Dating back to around 1042, although there was a church on the site before, Westminster Abbey has been the site of monarch’s coronations since 1066, the last resting place of members of the Royal Family and some of Britain’s most loved people and it’s been the location of 16 royal weddings. 

Take a walk into the magnificent historic building and take in the Gothic architecture, looking at the stones inscribed with details about the people resting there and marvelling at the Coronation chair. 

A sense of magic and awe will descend on you as soon as you step into Westminster Abbey. You can purchase your Westminster Abbey entrance ticket online on Get Your Guide.

Take a free walking tour with SANDEMANS New Europe Tours

View of City of London with the gherkin in the background

Whenever I’m in a new city, I always do a SANDEMANS New Europe Tour. 

I’ve not actually done one in London (it’s always the way that you don’t see parts of your own city!), but I’ve never done a bad one in another country!

This walking tour is a fantastic intro to the city, where you’ll learn about London characters throughout history including Guy Fawkes and Winston Churchill and walk past landmarks like Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. 

SANDEMANS also have an Old City Walking Tour and a Grim Reaper Walking Tour. 

All of these tours are tips-based, which means that you don’t pay a set upfront fee for the tour, but you should leave a generous tip – for whatever you think the tour’s worth! 

Walk around St Paul’s Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral in London Photographed from One Exchange

St Paul’s Cathedral is London’s other iconic religious building. The current cathedral was built by Christopher Wren in 1675, although there has actually been a religious building on the site since 604 AD.

It was destroyed four times until the current cathedral was built – luckily, the current building has stayed standing since then! It was even restored in 2011 to ensure that it’s as strong and sturdy as possible.

It has the world’s second-highest cathedral dome, with 528 steps to reach the top (yes, you can climb up it!).

It’s not seen as many royal weddings as Westminster Abbey, although the fateful wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana took place here in 1981, as did the also eventful wedding of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon in 1501 (he died shortly after, and Catherine of Aragon married the soon-to-be king, Henry VIII who was Prince Arthur’s brother!).

It’s open year-round, and you can pre-book tickets to avoid queuing. Click here to book skip-the-line tickets on Get Your Guide.

Ascend on the London Eye

London, UK - November 23rd 2021: beautiful sunset view over the city of Westminster and river Thames from top of the London Eye with a gondola in the foreground and people enjoying the ride

One of London’s more modern attractions, the London Eye is essentially a giant ferris wheel where you can take in incredible views from virtually every angle. 

If you’re looking for romantic things to do in London on Valentine’s Day, then this is one of the best London date ideas! 

However, it’s worth visiting if you’re with a group, family or even a solo traveller too! 

You can pre-book your tickets here, which will help you to skip the line.

See London’s best free museums

Blue Whale skeleton at the British Natural History Museum. It overhangs the Hintze Hall

One of my favourite things about London is that not only are there lots of museums, but many of them are FREE – so you can learn lots on a budget! 

Ideal if you’re visiting London in winter, my favourite museums in the capital include: 

  • Natural History Museum: An impressive selection of exhibitions about natural geography around the world.
  • V&A Museum: An art and design museum focusing on the Victorian age.
  • Imperial War Museum: Exhibitions about wars that the UK has fought in.
  • The British Museum: A selection of exhibits from all over the world – this is a controversial place due to the number of items stolen from British colonies around the world.
  • The National Gallery: The largest art gallery in the country.

Get your Harry Potter on at the Warner Bros studio tour London

Girl at the Warner Bros Studio tour in London in February, taking a photo opportunity of pushing a trolley to platform 9 3/4

Calling all Potterheads!

The Harry Potter Warner Bros. studio tour is a must-do. 

Situated in Watford, which sits to the north of the capital, these studios are a must for anyone who’s a fan of Hogwarts and the magical world. 

Stroll through Gringotts, go window shopping at Diagon Alley and explore the rooms of Hogwarts. It’s a fully immersive experience and will help you see Harry Potter in a completely new light! 

The studios change with the seasons, with a new theme to learn about whenever you visit. When I visited in February a few years ago they were Valentine’s themed!

You can either take the train from London to Watford Station, where there’s a free bus to the studios. Tickets must be booked far in advance (they’re often sold out, even in February!)

If tickets are sold out or if you don’t want to have to sort out transportation independently, there are day tours available on Get Your Guide which includes transport and the entry ticket. 

Girl drinking a butterbeer at the Harry Potter Studio tours in London. She is standing next to a barrel. The Knight bus is in the background.

Learn about London’s history in the Tower of London

When people ask me about the best attraction to visit in London, I’ll usually mention the Tower of London. 

Tower of London at night, UK

If you have any interest in history, run, don’t walk to the tower of London, where you’ll step into centuries of the nation’s past. 

The Tower of London dates back to just after the Norman Conquest in 1066. It has been used as the Royal Mint, a prison (Henry VIII’s unfortunate wife Anne Boleyn stayed here before she was executed), an armoury, a treasury and even a zoo! 

Nowadays, it’s primarily a tourist attraction, although the crown jewels are still kept here. 

This impressive sight is the first place to visit if you want to learn about Great British history. 

You can book skip-the-line tickets by clicking here.

Enjoy London’s best afternoon teas

London: Afternoon Tea Bus with a Glass of Prosecco

Two birds, one stone and all!

This afternoon tea bus means that you can see the best parts of the city while enjoying delicious finger sandwiches, pastries and cakes, along with tea and a glass of bubbly. It’s definitely dining with a view! 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea 

If you’re a cocoa fan, check out this chocolate afternoon tea! 

Taking inspiration from Roald Dahl’s most famous story, this afternoon tea includes snozzberry jam, roast beef and horseradish sandwiches, mallows, sweets treats, lemon sherbert tea and cocktails.

If you like a sweet tooth and hearty dishes, don’t miss this iconic afternoon tea! 

Ritz afternoon tea

Fancy dining at one of the best London hotels in the city? It’s on the pricy side, but Ritz afternoon tea is one of the best places to dine in the city. 

Try traditional sandwiches, scones and cakes, along with perfectly blended organic tea. 

Served in a grand dining room with archways and chandeliers, this is one of the fanciest experiences you can have in London!

For great-value afternoon teas, check out my friend Candace’s post on the best affordable afternoon teas in London.

Try a bottomless brunch

If brunch is more your thing, there are hundreds of fantastic places to toast to the weekend in London!

Bottomless brunches are a type of meal, often breakfast or brunch type of food, with unlimited drinks. This is normally prosecco or beer, but some bottomless brunch venues even offer bottomless cocktails!

Check out this post which details all of the best bottomless brunches in London, including options with sushi and cocktails!

Take in the best views of the city from Sky Garden or The Shard

Sky garden with plants inside and an amazing view from the top.

Searching for the best views in London? Head to the viewing platform at The Shard, one of London’s most iconic buildings. At the 72nd floor, it’s the highest platform in Western Europe, and you can see all over the city and into the surroundings on a clear day.

Click here to book tickets.

Tickets to the shard are £25-30; if you don’t want to pay, you can visit Sky Garden instead. Situated in the “walkie talkie” tower, this bar is full of greenery and provides tremendous views over the capital. 

It’s completely free to visit the Sky Garden, but drinks can be quite pricey and there can be queues, especially during busy times.

As February is the quiet time of year, you might get away without queueing too much, but if you’re pressed for time, I’d recommend visiting The Shard over Sky Garden. 

See the guard change at Buckingham Palace

Girl standing in front of part of Buckingham Palace in London

They’re changing the guard at Buckingham Palace…

The home of the British monarchy, there’s nowhere quite as iconic as Buckingham Palace. 

Dating to the 18th century, Buckingham Palace is only open to the public two months a year in the summer (and getting the tickets is a complete lottery!). 

However, you can see the guard change all year round. 

In February, the guard change takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 11:00am. 

Day trip to Windsor Castle

Girl walking towards Windsor Castle on a warm day in February

February is the perfect time to head to places like Windsor Castle, which is the other royal residence of the British monarchy! (yes, there are a few…). 

Unlike Buckingham Palace, you can go into some parts of Windsor Castle, including the state apartments, Queen Marys dolls house and St George’s Chapel, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married. 

Also, don’t miss walking down the Long Walk, which leads to the castle!

You can either get to Windsor by taking a train from Waterloo or click here to take a look at a tour which includes transfers.

Explore Kew Gardens

If you have a clear, crisp winter’s day, head out to Kew!

These botanical gardens spread over 500 acres and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While most of the plants aren’t native to the UK, it’s one of the most impressive – and diverse – selection of fauna on the planet.

Kew is a popular place to visit in London at Christmas, thanks to its light show, but in February the crowds will be a lot thinner!

Cruise on the River Thames

Tower Bridge spanning over the River Thames, the perfect place for cruising!

Is there a more quintessentially London experience than cruising down the River Thames?

On this River Thames cruise, you’ll learn all about the capital’s history while sitting undercover with a hot cup of tea or coffee in hand.

If the weather’s not great (we do get a lot of drizzle!), this is the ideal way to still sightsee but keep warm.

You can read more about the cruise here.

Enjoy London’s food scene

British cuisine gets a bad rep. 

However, hearty food like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and roast dinners are ideal for the cold winter months. 

Fish and chips in London

If you’re veggie, there are plenty of meat-free options throughout London!

However, London is also an excellent place to try food from all over the world. It’s a dynamic, cosmopolitan city with authentic dishes from virtually every corner of the globe. 

So whether you fancy a curry on the famous Brick Lane, dim sum in a Chinese restaurant or hummus and fatoush in a Lebanese eatery, you’ll find plenty to tantalise your tastebuds in the British capital! 

Cosy up in a traditional pub

If you’re after a quintessentially British experience, head to the pub! 

Culture in the UK revolves around the pub. Had a bad day? Pub. Celebrations? Pub. Need a good feed? Pub. Friday night? Pub. 

This is the number one way to engage in local life, pubs have oodles of history and great atmosphere. 

And, in February they’re warm and welcoming! 

My favourite pubs in London include The Sun of Camberwell and the Cutty Sark Tavern in Greenwich. 

Tour London’s neighbourhoods

A food stall of the One Love Cafe in Brixton

One of the best free things to do in London is to simply take a tube or bus to a set destination and stroll around. There’s plenty to see, and it’ll help you get a snapshot of local London life. 

Some of my favourite areas include: 

  • Brixton: This thriving South London neighbourhood has a dynamic international community, with food from all corners of the globe. With excellent street art and a lively music scene, you won’t be bored here! It’s also the birthplace of David Bowie. 
  • Notting Hill: Famous for its streets lined with colourful houses, Notting Hill is a charming community that is home to Portobello Road Market and the annual Notting Hill Carnival. 
  • Shoreditch: Most famous perhaps for its street art, Shoreditch is an effortlessly cool East London neighbourhood. 
  • Camden: This north London suburb is another incredible place to go if you want to sample cuisine from all over the world! Camden Lock Market is situated around the scenic riverside of the suburb and is home to food stalls with cuisines from all corners of the world. 
  • Kensington: This upscale neighbourhood has leafy streets and million-pound houses. 

Day trips from London

If you have some extra days in London, do a day trip! Yes, there are plenty of winter day trips from London, some of which you can access by rail and others that are perfect on day tours.

Stonehenge and Roman Baths Tour

I live in the West Country nowadays, and while most of the South West is too far to pop over for just a day, there are tours that you can take that tick off some of the best spots. 

This tour traverses from London to the Salisbury Plain, where the ancient Stonehenge circle is located.

One of the most iconic sights in all of England, it dates back around 5,000 years; the stone came all the way from South Wales, and nobody’s 100% sure about how they got there.

People aren’t sure about what Stonehenge was used for, either; it could have been a sacrificial site, burial place or solar calendar! 

Stonehenge is quite exposed, so if the weather is particularly wet or windy you might need to wrap up or bring your waterproofs! However, it is still popular for anyone who’s visiting England in winter.

The tour then goes to Bath, one of the UK’s most famous cities. With Georgian architecture, ancient Roman Baths and a Medieval abbey, there’s plenty for all architecture and history fans to feast your eyes on here. 

If you don’t want to do the day trip, you can also take a train from London Paddington straight to Bath Spa – although you wouldn’t be able to see Stonehenge on the same trip. 

You can click here to read more information about this tour.

Cotswolds Tour

The Cotswolds is one of the most visited areas outside of London. Due to their relative proximity to the capital, it’s easy to visit on a day trip.

This London to Cotswolds day trip traverses from the city centre to the heart of the Cotswolds AONB. 

Visiting charmingly named villages like Bourton-on-the-Water, with charming cottages lined up along the canal (it’s been called “The Venice of the Cotsowlds”) and Stow-on-the-Wold which is home to one of the oldest pubs and most unique churches in the country, this tour is a full-day excursion from the capital. 

Click here to read more about it.

White cliffs of Dover and Canterbury Tour

Canterbury, UK - Jan 29 2018. A view of Canterbury Cathedral at the bottom of the cobbled Butchery Lane. The cathedral is the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury

Venturing south and south east of the capital, this tour traverses to the ecclesial heart of the county, Canterbury. Home to the glorious Canterbury cathedral, which was a site of pilgrimage after Thomas Beckett was murdered in the 12th century. 

This tour also travels to Dover, famous for its dazzling white cliffs. This is where the ferries to Calais depart from. 

You could visit Canterbury independently, but it would be difficult to see both Canterbury and Dover by public transport in the same day. 

Click here to read more about this tour.

Where to stay in London in February

Z hotel, Soho

If you’re looking for somewhere budget-friendly but don’t want to sacrifice on quality, I highly recommend the Z Hotel brand.

They have small but comfy rooms with cosy beds, tea and coffee facilities and en-suite bathrooms.

Check out the one in Soho by clicking here.

Dorsett City London

If you want to stay in the city, check out Dorsett City London. This hotel boasts gorgeous views of some of London’s best landmarks, along with comfy beds, a gym, bar and restaurant.

Check it out here.

Covent Garden Hotel 

Covent Garden Hotel is a cosy place to stay in Central London, perfect if you want to be in a good location for all the amenities. It’s a five-star property with cosy bedrooms bedecked in period features, a gym and restaurants. 

Click here for rates and to reserve. 

Festivals and events in London in February

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a fairly big deal in the UK, with couples often going out for dinner or enjoying a night’s holiday.

Sometimes, it’s celebrated on the weekend before or after.

It’s also getting more common to do something for “Galentine’s”; i.e. to celebrate your friends!

However, it’s not celebrated universally; just be aware that if you want to go for dinner sometime around the 14th February, and especially the day itself, you might need to book!

Pancake Day

Pancake Day, or shrove Tuesday, usually falls in February! It is what it says on the tin – a day when people eat pancakes. Generally people cook pancakes at home, but some restaurants may do special menus.

Visiting London Tips & FAQs

How to get to London

View of London flying high above from an airplane window.

London is served by five airports, which makes it an easy city to reach from virtually anywhere in the world.

Heathrow is the biggest airport, with connections to cities from Buenos Aires to Bangkok. Gatwick also serves a mixture of long and short-haul flights.

If you’re flying with budget airlines like RyanAir and Whizz Air, you’ll likely land in Stansted or Luton. If you’re flying from business-focused destinations like Zurich, you may land in London City Airport.

London is also connected to continental Europe by the EuroStar and various bus networks, including Flixbus.

You can also take a train or bus from any major UK city to London.

How to get from the airport to London city centre

London city centre, with red London buses and historic buildings.

If you’re landing in London, here’s how to get to the city centre from any airport:

  • Heathrow: Take the tube (subway); the Picadilly and new Elizabeth Line calls at the airport.
  • Gatwick: Take a train to London Bridge (usually cheaper) or the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station.
  • Stansted: Take the Stansted Express train to London Liverpool Street.
  • Luton: Take the bus to Luton station and then hop on a Thameslink train to London Birdge.
  • London City: Walk to Canning Town and take the DLR or Jubilee Line.

How to get around London

Two trains on each platform at Waterloo East station with the London Eye in the background.

London’s easy enough to get around! Most locations are well-connected by the tube (which is what we affectionately call our metro system), overground trains or our famous double-decker red buses.

Tourists can grab an Oyster card and preload a certain amount of money onto it, before using it to hop around the public transport network.

A lot of London is also surprisingly walkable, and there’s always plenty to see on the way.

Is it cold in London in February?

It can be, although it depends on your definition of cold!

If you’re from Northern, Central or Eastern Europe, north USA, Canada or north Asia, it’ll probably feel quite balmy.

But if you’re from anywhere south of the UK, it might feel very chilly!

Temperatures can range wildly in London in February, from below freezing to 16C (61F) or even higher. In fact, in 2019, a temperature of 21.2C was recorded at Kew Gardens on 26th February 2019.

Girl sitting on bench in Windsor in February with daffodils in the background.
This was taken right at the end of February, when the daffodils were out and the weather was warm!

What is London’s coldest month? 

The coldest month is January, so if you’re visiting the UK later on in February, the weather might be milder than anticipated!

Is the Tower of London open in February? 

Yes, the Tower of London is open until 4:30 pm every day in February (the last entry is at 3:30 pm).

Free things to do in London in February

view of Nelson's Column in London in the dark

Walking around London and seeing its highlights is, of course, always free of charge, but if the weather’s really not great on your February trip, don’t worry!

London’s best museums are all free of charge – no catch. You can explore millenniums of British and global history by visiting the Natural History Museum, V&A, Imperial War Museum, and many more!

Are you ready to visit London in February?

While London can be a little colder and darker in February, the city never really stops, and you can absolutely enjoy all of the capital’s best attractions throughout this month.

Plus, if you’re lucky and visit later in February, you’ll have longer days and maybe even a little spring-like weather!

Don’t forget to take a look at my United Kingdom archives for more information on visiting this European island in the cooler season!

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