If you’re contemplating a February London visit, you’re in for a unique experience. As someone who grew up in London and has lived here most of my life, I can share firsthand that this time of year brings a different charm to the city.
February in London is a period of transition, where the post-holiday calm blends with the approach of spring. The weather can be brisk, but that rarely dampens the vibrant energy of the city.
London in February offers a more relaxed pace compared to the bustling tourist seasons. You’ll find the streets and attractions less crowded, providing a great opportunity to explore the city with more ease.
It’s a time when you can enjoy the city’s parks, still serene and bare, or wander through its historic streets without the rush of peak tourist crowds. Also, this month is marked by exciting events and festivals, reflecting London’s diverse and dynamic culture.
While the weather may require a few more layers of clothing, the indoor attractions, from world-class museums to cosy pubs and cafes, provide plenty of warm havens.
In summary, visiting London in February is a chance to experience the city’s enduring charm, with fewer crowds and a more laid-back atmosphere, all while the city begins to hint at the coming of spring.
Why Visit London in February?
1. Fewer Crowds, More Comfort: February is a great month for visiting London (although there’s really no bad time in this city)! With the holiday season behind us and spring not quite in the air, the city is less crowded.
This means more comfort and space for you to explore iconic landmarks like the Tower of London, the British Museum, and the Tate Modern. You’ll have the luxury of enjoying these spots without the usual throng of tourists.
2. Cultural Events and Festivals: London’s cultural calendar doesn’t pause for the cold. February hosts a variety of annual events and festivals that showcase the city’s diverse culture. These include Chinese New Year and London Fashion Week
3. Attractive Deals and Offers: Travelling to London in February can be more budget-friendly than the summer months. Airlines and hotels often offer attractive deals post the holiday rush. This can mean significant savings on your travel expenses, allowing you to allocate more of your budget to experiences and exploration.
Weather in London in February
When you visit London in February, be prepared for the quintessential British winter weather. The temperatures in February are usually on the cooler side, often ranging between 2°C to 8°C. While it’s not the coldest month of the year, it’s wise to dress in layers to stay comfortable while exploring the city.
The city experiences a mix of grey, overcast days and occasional bright, crisp winter sunshine. Rain is a common feature in London’s weather, so carrying an umbrella or a waterproof jacket is advisable. Snow is very rare in February.
The daylight hours start to increase gradually in February, giving you more time to enjoy the sights.
Top Activities to Enjoy in London in February
Exploring London in February offers a blend of unique activities, some of which differ from what’s recommended for January. Here are some of the best activities to consider:
1. Stroll Through the City
- Historical Walking Tours: Experience London’s rich history through guided walking tours, uncovering stories behind famous landmarks and lesser-known sites. London is a fantastic city to explore on foot, and that is best done when the weather is cooler. Walking for miles around the city in the middle of summer will just leave you sweaty and tired.
- Visit Outer Neighbourhoods: Wander through areas like Hampstead and Primrose Hill, each offering a distinct vibe and charm. Hampstead has several fantastic pubs that are perfect for a drink in colder weather.
- Explore central London: head to Covent Garden to see the street performers and shops. See the sights from the South Bank.
2. Enjoy the Arts and Culture
- Museums and Galleries: If you find yourself in a downpour, you’ll never be far from a free museum to enjoy while you ride out the rain. The British Museum, Tate Modern, National Gallery and Natural History Museum are all great choices, and if it starts to rain you can just wander in.
Or you know, head in if the weather’s good. Free museums are one of the best things about London and I will always recommend you visit at least one.
- Theatre and Musicals: London’s West End buzzes with a range of shows, from classic plays to modern musicals. As February is generally a quieter time of year, you should find it easier to get last-minute tickets. It’s also a great choice for an evening activity when it is still getting dark relatively early.
3. Culinary Adventures
- Food Markets: Borough Market is London’s most famous food market, and offers a taste of London’s diverse culinary scene. Another great choice is Camden Market, with a variety of street food stalls, as well as independent clothing stores.
- Gourmet Experiences: Indulge in Michelin-starred dining or unique eateries across the city. Check out Circus for a combination of food and entertainment, with acrobats and cabaret acts performing as you dine. The quieter months can also make it easier to get reservations for Michelin-starred restaurants such as the Sketch Lecture Room and Library.
4. Celebrate Special Events
- Annual Orchid Festival at Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens is one of my favourite places in London, and the Orchid Festival is particularly beautiful. Access to the festival is included in your general Kew Gardens ticket, but you may need to book a timeslot to access the festival area.
- Chinese New Year Celebrations: Experience the vibrant festivities in Chinatown. The Chinese New Year celebrations (usually in February, but occasionally in January)in Chinatown are vibrant and full of energy. The London event is the largest Chinese New Year celebration outside of Asia.
- Fashion Week: For fashion enthusiasts, London Fashion Week offers a glimpse into the latest trends. Admittedly this event isn’t open to everyone as many shows are invite only, but you will often find corresponding events at museums such as the V&A and the Fashion and Textile Museum.
- London Classic Car Show – This niche event usually takes place in February at London Olympia. Unfortunately, in 2024 it will be delayed and at an alternative venue as London Olympia undergoes upgrades so bear this in mind if it is one of your planned events.
- Six Nations Rugby: When travelling to other countries I like to watch a match in that country’s favourite sport. Rugby is a great choice for a UK sports spectacle, with matches between England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy.
If you can get tickets to a match at Twickenham it’s a great experience. Otherwise settle down in one of London’s many pubs, which will undoubtedly be showing the matches.
5. Valentine’s Day
- If you are in London with your partner and seeking some romance, London is a great city for it. Whether you go all out for a fancy dinner (perhaps Bob Bob Ricard with their famous Press For Champagne buttons) or keep an eye on your budget and get free tickets to watch the sunset at Sky Garden, there are plenty of options.
- If you are visiting London alone around Valentine’s Day, don’t despair. There are plenty of options to take your attention away from the romance. Visiting a comedy performance would be a great choice.
Pamper yourself at a London spa, such as at The Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental. Or just order room service, watch a film and ignore the outside world for the evening!
Practical Travel Tips for February in London
Visiting London in February requires practical planning for the best experience. Here are some factors to consider when planning and packing for your visit:
- Weather Prep: Expect chilly and possibly wet weather. Pack warm layers, a waterproof jacket, and comfortable waterproof shoes.
- Transportation: Utilize London public transport, like the Underground, for efficient city travel. Use Contactless card payments or an Oyster card for cost-effective fares. Black cabs can also be useful, but the Tube is generally the best way to get around the city.
- Accommodation: Book in advance for better deals. Central locations offer convenience, but outer areas may provide cost savings. There are also a few good hostels around to keep your costs as low as possible.
- Health and Safety: Keep basic first aid supplies handy and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. London is generally very safe, but it pays to be aware, and always get travel insurance.
- Cultural Etiquette: Familiarize yourself with local customs, tipping practices, and public transport etiquette for a smooth visit. Stand on the right side of escalators for people to pass you on the left. Have your payment method ready to use at Tube stations and buses to avoid creating a queue while you search through your bags.
Where To Stay In London
This hotel is very central and reasonably priced. That does mean that the rooms are not very big, but as you’ll be exploring the city you don’t need more than a comfortable place to stay in a great location.
Visiting London in February offers a unique and enriching experience. With fewer crowds, you can comfortably explore the city’s historical sites, cultural events, and cozy indoor venues. Embrace the winter weather by dressing warmly and always be prepared for rain.
Take advantage of the quieter streets to uncover the city’s hidden gems, and don’t miss out on the special events that make February in London special. With these practical tips and activity suggestions in mind, your trip can be both enjoyable and memorable.