Winter Chills

Five ways to beat the bitterness out of the UK winter

From warming yourself from the inside to finding the perfect roast, we’ve got you covered this winter. ‘Cause how can you be glum when there’s glühwein in your tum?

Winter Chills

No matter how much fleece, down or wool you layer on your body this winter, for those of South African blood, winter in the UK can become unbearable. Here are a few ways to warm (and enjoy) yourself this winter.

Light up at the Kew Gardens

Get your blood pumping with a one-mile stroll through the twinkling botanic gardens. Giant snowflakes guide you along your path as you encounter seasonal illuminations, giant light sculptures, a tunnel of lights and a garden of fire. Festive treats and Christmas rides are aplenty and, if you’re lucky, you will get to sit on Father Christmas’s lap and whisper sweet nothings into his ear at Santa’s Snowflake Grotto.

Christmas at Kew Gardens

Skate ‘til late at Somerset House

Skate in the hugely popular neoclassical courtyard ice rink by day (if your budget allows for it) and skate to the likes of house, hip-hop or disco, when DJs take to the rink-side decks at night. Live entertainment, yuletide treats and late-night shopping for personalised gifts are on offer at Glad Tidings Tuesdays. For the frugal, there are free photography exhibitions in the surrounding buildings.

Skate at Somerset House

Glug down some glühwein

There is nothing better than getting merry around Christmas on a steaming mug of glühwein. For an authentic mulled wine, the Bavarian Beerhouse is your best bet, because, being German, they aren’t allowed to get it wrong! For a more vintage experience try The Salisbury in Convent Garden – their glühwein is based on a homemade recipe. And, if you’re feeling ambitious, try making it yourself by throwing some cheap red wine, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, orange and lemon together.


Turn your moping into moving

Instead of locking yourself indoors to avoid the chilly Christmas cheer outdoors, get active and work off your Christmas lunch a couple of weeks in advance. Join a park run, a free weekly, 5km timed run, at a park near you. Join a free walking tour, or, explore London on a “Boris Bike” by picking up a bike from a docking station and pedaling away. You don’t even have to drop off the bike at the same docking station (which is a win if you’re trying to save money).

Park Run

Find the perfect roast pub lunch

Whether you’re a lamb, pork or beef person, South Africans will always be meat snobs. Chewy, grey, over-cooked meat just won’t do. For the full, affordable experience (including an after-lunch scrabble game) try The Charles Lamb in Islington where the Sunday Roast is best accompanied by a “bloody good Bloody Mary”. Or if you fancy carving your own meat at the table with a group of friends, give the Old Red Cow a go. Be sure not to miss the opportunity to wash down your roast with a selection of their fine craft beers.

Beef Roast on Rotisserie