"We Londoners begin our annual ritual of rugging up and seeking out warm spaces."
With winter kicking in and the days becoming shorter ever-so-quickly, we Londoners begin our annual ritual of rugging up and seeking out warm spaces with the promise of mulled wine and spiced cider guaranteed to raise our spirits. And in this city, there’s an abundance of choice.
From the rambling woodland at Syon Park and ice skating outside the beautiful Somerset House, to bustling through Christmas markets before settling down by a warm fire in a pub. London is always a hive of activity and so we set out to find the best of these cosy spots, plus the ones offering something a little different. And as always, London delivers.
The Magic Roundabout, Old Street EC1Y
The Magic Roundabout is in fullswing for this year’s winter adventures, taking a jump down the rabbit hole and into a time warp through the decades. One room is inspired by the 60s, adorned with Woodstock peace banners and rainbow flowers; the next features a 70s Playboy lounge, before the 80s take hold with disco balls and legwarmers where even the fairy lights are replaced with slinkies.
The final room is the VIP area which, perhaps most aptly, hails to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air of the 90s. Of course, The Magic Roundabout wouldn’t be true to its reputation without its incredible DJs, event nights and the all-important street food. Smokin’ Lotus Asian BBQ, Burger Bear and Loaded Skins baked potatoes have all settled into their new home for the winter, and who can say no to such warming fare after a night of dancing?
Coppa Club, Tower Bridge EC3R
When winter comes knocking we all love nothing better than wrapping up, getting snug and tucking into a good, hot feast. And Coppa Club is delivering this in the form of igloos lining their outdoor terrace, right on the edge of the river.
A collection of fairytale-like domes made from timber frames and perspex coverings, they can be a romantic hideaway to take a date, or somewhere enchanting to share a meal with friends. Fully heated and seating up to eight people each, the igloos are filled with soft rugs, sheepskin blankets and speakers, perfect for some star gazing, a meal, or perhaps a cocktail or two (a ‘Gingerbread Old Fashioned’ anyone?) making this a must-visit this winter.
Queen of Hoxton, Shoreditch EC2A
This year, escape the cold London weather and delve into the Sahara at the Queen of Hoxton. The well-loved venue is turning its iconic rooftop into ‘The Moroccan Medina’, complete with teepee and cacti and making that quick pseudo-getaway ever-so-easy. Climbing into the main snug, you’re greeted with pouffes gathered around low silver tables, patterned rugs and Moorish designs reflecting off dancing lights.
Outside pays homage to Jardin Majorelle – also known as the Yves Saint Laurent garden – featuring its unmistakably cool cobalt blues and startling sunflower yellows. Meanwhile, Moroccan spices and Shisha waft across the rooftop where you can enjoy Spiced Hot Buttered Rum or a Sweet Cardamom Spiced Coffee while huddled around one of the many Chiminea fireplaces.
Skylight at Tobacco Dock, Wapping E1W
In winter, is there anything better than ice skating? How about on a rooftop? Skylight at the Tobacco Dock has fused the two together this year, creating the first of its kind in London, and it’s something that definitely needs to go on your to-do list.
A former carpark, Skylight has swapped its usual summer bowls for a winter dreamland. Wrap up, have an ice skate, then treat yourself to a hot drink, seasonal cocktail or even fondue. If there was ever a winter activity to get into, this is it.
The Clapton Hart, Clapton E5
The Clapton Hart is the cosy pub every Londoner craves for on those lazy Sunday winter days. Or a Thursday night. Or a Friday afternoon, because let’s face it, winter is pub season. Set across an assortment of different rooms, it has an intimate vibe.
Small parties of friends huddle around vintage tables and in intimate nooks amid low lighting, and in one corner lies an old piano (playable if you don’t mind the odd key missing). Comfy couches beckon to guests , nestled into little corners as a fire rumbles in the hearth. Take a book, take a friend, take the family and spend a good long afternoon here that spills on into the evening. And of course, they serve the winter staple: mulled wine.