As the weather gets colder, stay warm and cosy in some of the many winter pop-ups the capital has to offer. Summer rooftops have been transformed, with festive wonderlands taking their place.
Enjoy cosy cabins, twinkling lights, mulled wine on the terrace and mugs of hot chocolate while wrapped up warm with these wonderfully wintery experiences. So if you’re planning a catch-up with old friends, treating the kids or a date night, find our top picks, as reviewed by the HuffPost Finds team.
Christmas At Kew
As reviewed by Natasha & Amy, Lifestyle Writers
Lights, carols, mince pies, mulled wine and a guest appearance from Santa – Kew has everything you could possibly want from a Christmas pop-up. This festive trail through the garden, beautifully lit with a million fairy lights, is a full-on sensory overload. There’s no better way to kick off the festive season than with the fragrance of spiced hot drinks and the distant murmurings of Christmas tunes.
It’s soothing, it’s magical, there’s an occasional interlude from a hooting moorhen – and as you step over the bridge, feeling a bit like you’ve stepped right into a dream, things begin to ramp up a notch. But of course the light display at the end is what we’ve all there for and it really is the grand finale.
The Christmas trail operates on timed admission between 5pm and 7.40pm. Gardens close at 10pm. Tickets for adults cost £19.50, while kids aged 4-16 get in for £12, and kids under four go free. You can grab yourself a mulled wine or mince pie to kick things off but a word of warning: it will set you back a pretty penny (note for those who go – take cash).
Open now until 5th January
Address: Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, London TW9 3AB
Nearest tube: Kew Gardens
Buy tickets here
Rooftop Wigwam at Queen Of Hoxton
As visited by Rachel, Lifestyle Writer
As you enter the rooftop wigwam at Queen Of Hoxton, transformed into a 1900s music hall, you’re hit by the smell of Christmas. Lady Celeste’s is a cosy cocoon, with decadent drapes of red satin alongside cabaret tables and a mini stage. Unlike many pop-ups, it’s warm enough inside to take off your coat. Go mid-week and you’ll be able to grab a table beneath the chandeliers without booking, but to get one a spot by one of the two fire pits in the outside garden, you’ll need to arrive early.
The bar serves a range of reasonably-priced hot cocktails, from the very moreish hot butter rum (£6.50), to the Parisian hot forest gateau (£5). Alternatively, sip on a rich, spiced mulled wine from £6.50 per glass.
You can also tuck into a Classic Raclette – a Swiss dish of melted cheese which comes with charcuterie, pickles, potatoes and bread – which is tasty but a little on the small side for £9.50. Those with an appetite (and the need to soak up a hot toddy) should opt for the burger instead, which comes with a beef patty, grilled toulouse sausage, Gruyere cheese and chips, for the same price.
Open until April 2019
Address: Queen of Hoxton, 1 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3JX
Nearest tube: Old Street / Liverpool Street / Shoreditch High Street
Find out more on their website.
The White Winter Woodland, Bluebird, Chelsea
As visited by Amy, Lifestyle Writer
The courtyard at Bluebird has been transformed into Narnia for the winter, and grabbing a cosy spot under a huge blanket meant I could enjoy a rare evening drinking outside with a pal in the cold depths of winter.
The pop-up is focused around three new heated wooden chalets, but you’ve got to book in fast if you want to reserve one. Instead, we settled down on one of the cosy sofas outside, surrounded by fairy lights, underneath a dedicated heater and a huge fluffy blanket. Sitting with a lodge tipple – a boozy hot chocolate spiked with vodka, honey, hazelnut and almond milk – I was as cosy and relaxed as on my own sofa. Even better, my friend and I shared a cheese fondue with loads of carbs; the perfect warming food for a chilly evening.
Open now until 28th February 2019
Address: 350 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5UU
Nearest tube: Sloane Square / South Kensington
To book a chalet call 0207 559 1000 or visit the website
The Snowman Experience With Backyard Cinema at Winter Wonderland
As visited by Louise, Lifestyle Writer
For parents with fond memories of The Snowman, or just for little ones watching the Christmas classic for the first time, consider treating the kids to an interactive Snowman experience brought to you by Backyard Cinema for an multi-sensory cinematic adventure.
I say treat because for a family it’s not going to be cheap. Adults (13+) cost £12.95, and children (2-12) £9.95 – and that’s before you get reach the merchandise section at the end.
The event celebrates the film’s 40th Anniversary, and visitors can watch the full-length film as well as being guided through three replica sets including the Snowman Christmas party, the snow-covered forest and the little boy’s home. It also features an appearance by a real-life snowman.
As it involves switching seats and rooms, you might find it suits slightly older children better than the tiny ones.
Open until 6th January 2019
Address: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London
Nearest tube: Marble Arch / Green Park, / Hyde Park Corner
Book tickets on the website.
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