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The London Winter 25

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The London Winter 25

Sometimes London can feel like it’s in a perma-state of winter. It’s grey, it’s drizzly, spag bol is on weekly rotation, and Holland & Barrett is out of vitamin D supplements. But winter isn’t all doom and gloom—it just requires a little more thought, be it seeking out London’s most adult hot chocolate or eating schnitzel and singing over the sound of cowbells.

Sometimes London can feel like it’s in a perma-state of winter. It’s grey, it’s drizzly, spag bol is on weekly rotation, and Holland & Barrett is out of vitamin D supplements. But winter isn’t all doom and gloom—it just requires a little more thought, be it seeking out London’s most adult hot chocolate or eating schnitzel and singing over the sound of cowbells.


Nothing raises the spirits like sugar, cream, and butter. Especially in the form of London’s finest treacle-based pudding. A paddling pool of warm toffee sauce and a dainty quenelle of clotted cream make this already moist sponge morale-raising with every spoonful. Head to one of Hawksmoor’s seven locations for this perfect pick-me-up sticky toffee pudding.

A bowl of sticky toffee pudding
A bowl of sticky toffee pudding with a spoon

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photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch


Deep, rich, salty-yet-sweet, and finished with a dramatic flourish—Maya's hot chocolate is properly grown-up. The Tulse Hill bakery’s smooth cup of cocoa is topped with a giant marshmallow which is blowtorched with the kind of intensity usually reserved for welding.


If juicy bratwurst, flowing schnapps, and lots of lederhosen is good enough for the likes of Kate Moss, then it should be good enough for you. Notting Hill’s Austrian cavern is like an après-ski retreat of the most raucous variety and it’s beloved by celebrities, locals, and tourists. Prepare for cowbell performances and mass yodelling.


Live out your chic winter fantasy without the cold at this Bloomsbury conservatory with russet-coloured foliage. There are sheepskin throws, dangling lanterns, and herringbone blankets that are thick, fringed, and softer than an Andrex puppy.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch


Your nose is method acting for a future part as Niagara Falls and the Lemsip isn’t hitting. Head to Elephant and Castle on the weekend for some maternal medicine. A portion of heartwarming hospitality and Guyanese pepper pot—a comforting meat stew full of cassava, cinnamon, and cloves—will work wonders.


The disorganised always lean on the pub, so brighten up the dreary midweek in Clerkenwell’s most romantically combustible ye olde boozer. The Holy Tavern is strictly lit by candles every Tuesday, and it makes for a unique, twinkling little spot for a few after-work pints.


The Chaotic Cuffing Season Bar Crawl


Gravy is the gluggable alternative to fluffy socks. And the jerk beef Sunday roast at Caribbean spot Guanabana comes with enough rich, smoky gravy to drown everything from the misshapen yorkshire puddings to your fear of not having enough layers on.


At Apollo Banana Leaf in Tooting, the windows are blurry from condensation, the staff will lift your spirits and crack jokes with you, and the ceylon chicken curry will warm your naan-gripping fingers, as well as your heart. The chicken is tender and the creamy, aromatic sauce should be licked clean off the plate.

photo credit: Koray Firat


Snug mornings at this Hammersmith cafe include Barbour-clad dogs, Scandi plates, and Hugh Grant lookalikes. Collapse into a pile of cushions like a lovesick Brontë or take your latte hand-warmer for a riverside stroll—and ignore the threatening nimbus cloud.


Warning: you might leave this Highbury pub compelled to buy a Jeep Wrangler that won't fit down the one-way street you live on. Locals in aran sweaters perch at the bar drinking Guinness and groups pile into wooden booths, catching up over nearly melted candles and underneath obligatory wall-mounted antlers.


Escape the gloom, recreate that impassioned hand against the window from Titanic, and lean into the candlelit atmosphere at Clapton’s buzziest wine bar. This tight-knit space warms up—especially as the pét nat flows—and it’s a popular choice for wannabe Jacks and Roses looking to cling to each other for warmth.

photo credit: Darren Chung


On a rainy day, sink into a cushion-covered sofa by the fireplace of this rustic tea room and tell them to keep the raisin scones coming until you see the sun reappear or they kick you out. Whichever comes first.

A lit fireplace with a wrap-around bench, side table with a lamp, wooden chair, and a mantel with trinkets, a clock and some plants.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch


‘Dining’ and ‘outside’ are two words that don’t belong together much in London, let alone in winter. But on Acme Fire Cult’s terrace, there’s a triple threat of BBQ cooking, blankets, and blazing overhead heaters. The UFO-like lamps emit such powerful rays, you’ll be peeling off the layers in no time.


You could schlep across drizzly London for so-and-so’s birthday, or you could don your cosiest hoodie, hope Screen On The Green is replaying Crazy, Stupid, Love, and tuck into a bowl of beef jerky noodle soup after. Self-care cinema visits don’t come much more plush than they do around Angel.

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli


New Year's resolutions often include some elaborate (and utterly unrealistic) money-saving scheme. Ours? Heading to this BYOB Kurdish spot, bag jingling after a pit stop at the offy, for buttery kebabs, a table full of mezze, and £3.50 corkage fee.


On a rare blue-sky weekend, seize the day. Or rather, get on the Central line and seize the sandwich. Oyster Shack & Seafood Bar is an hour’s stomp from Loughton, through beautiful Epping Forest. Get oysters and a prized surf ‘n’ turf scallop and bacon butty. A chilled Guinness from the pub next door and a flurry of smug photos is a must too.


Once you’re done hermiting and taking long baths, plan a big get-together involving bubbling Sichuan broths. Those who enjoy eye contact and feeling like a chopstick-wielding knight will like the round tables at this Mongolian-style hot pot spot. The Holborn restaurant is a more, more, more place—friends, broth, and rib-eye.


In need of a serotonin hit? Head to Sydenham, just off a mini roundabout. In a Barbie-core dining room, female power anthems play, BYOB wine is sloshed into glasses, and flaky, golden slices of parmesan-speckled burek are dunked in ajvar oil that's almost as spicy as you.


Your roommate's air guitar set is good, but Thee Dagger Debs bashing out punk anthems is better. Walthamstow Trades Hall isn’t fancy, and the jazzy carpet has more character than some of the punters, but it’s got heart. Order pizza from across the road, pet someone’s dog, and make new friends while murdering "Livin' On A Prayer."

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch


When you didn’t get up in time for a dumpling lunch, Hong Kong Restaurant is a siu mai saviour on a wintry night. Few things beat a tower of bamboo steamers, watching glistening ducks paraded around, and your comfiest outfit (the one that usually doesn’t leave the flat). If you don’t burn your tongue on the crab xiao long bao, we admire your patience.


Hotel lobbies are wonderfully transient places where you can disappear for a few hours or escape a surprise downpour, and the big, pink sofa is the best spot in The Hoxton’s. Semi-hidden behind the bar, with a squishy scalloped back and scattered with cushions, it’s ideal for retreating with a pot of tea. And no one can eavesdrop on your DMC.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch


Is it sub-zero outside? Did a hailstone the size of a small child chip your windscreen this morning? Who even knows, because you're hunkered down in a Stoke Newington basement eating chilaquiles drowned in hot sauce and listening to mariachi music.


A glass lift whisks you to the 10th floor of a stylish King’s Cross hotel, a DJ plays against an inky sky, sequins outnumber seats, and between 6pm and 7pm (hello post-work drinks) the excellent cocktail you’re drinking is 2-for-1. Be At One could never.


The bitter end is sadly inevitable and so are your shivers since your look for the night was more St. Tropez-ready than icy Edgware Road. But picking up an early morning shawarma from Cafe Helen will help. This Lebanese stalwart is open until 6am for steaming hot tea and mezze before a meditative journey home.

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