Winter in London, It’s Not So Bad

Alright, I confess, I love winter. I know, I know… It’s weird. Bear with me though, hopefully you’ll start to see a little of the reasoning behind my love for the coldest, darkest, bleakest season of all and why I love experiencing it in the greatest city on Earth.

Southbank in winter
The Southbank looks stark, but beautiful

First up, yes it’s cold, but really London is comparatively warm compared with any other city on the same latitude or within a degree of it (51ºN) such as Kiev, Ukraine, Saskatoon, Canada and Irkutsk, Russia, which are all actually cold in winter. Sure we get some snow and once upon a time the Thames used to freeze (the last time was in 1963), but we really can’t complain. We work in centrally heated, well insulated buildings and really the cold is a reminder of where we’ve come from and what many people around the world are still living with.

Snowy train tracks in London
London transport in the snow

On a lighter, more sartorial note, winter is a fantastic time of year to strut your stuff and wear the most amazingly intricate layered outfits you could never get away with at any other time of year. I love wearing my massive, bright orange down coat over a suit on my way to work or fresh pair of jeans and brogue boots on a day off. Team that up with a scarves, hats, cloves and even sunglasses on the brighter days and really what’s not to love?

Winter makes everything beautiful. From carparks to skyscrapers to the Thames. The whole city sparkles and shines when cold. The tarmac twinkles in the streetlights, the verges and parks crackle underfoot and the lightest dusting of snow makes days off work and school a joy for all ages. Who doesn’t like a snowball fight or the chance to go tobogganing?

Embankment in winter sun
The Embankment bathed in winter sun

If you are really determined to hate the cold and everything it brings, winter provides the perfect impetus to start planning your next year’s holidays and think of all the lovely warm, sunny places you are going to visit. Even the most miserly and intense hater of winter cannot fault the appeal of a warm pub, complete with log fire and mulled wine or cider. It’s one of the best things in life, full stop. No matter where. The flush of colour to cheeks and the warmth are things that we only appreciate because it is cold outside and it would not be the same without.

Finally, for me anyway, although it is not strictly to do with London I will admit, I love winter because it means one thing – skiing. The best sport in the world and definitely the best way to take advantage of everything the winter brings. Even if it is just taking an old skateboard to a park and hurtling down a hill, or, on that rare occasion we get enough snow, actually cracking out the skis and doing some urban skiing there is no topping the thrill that skiing brings and the chance to really get to see the best of winter.

Putney Bridge in winter
You’d hardly think it was Putney Bridge

If that hasn’t convinced you, take a look over this winter and see if you can’t see some beauty in it. Leaves crunching, frost bleaching and breath steaming are all side-effects of this most wonderful season that exaggerates every detail and should really make us all appreciate the world around us in its crispest detail.

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