London in January has a certain aura all of its own. Yes, it can be cold; yes, it can be grey; yes, it can be dark. But when the winter sun comes out it can lend the scene a special, rare, rather stark beauty – and let’s face it, there’s nothing like indulging yourself in a session of low-temperature-beating pampering at a spa hotel London or enjoying a hearty meal at a high-quality, well-reviewed restaurant or sampling a fine pint of ale next to an old-fashioned pub’s roaring hearth to cosily warm you up of an afternoon or evening.
Nonetheless, it’s imperative you pack properly so you might be able to enjoy all the terrific events that are going on in the capital at the beginning of the year – like the brilliantly bright illuminations of Canary Wharf’s Winter Lights festival (15th-26th January) or the rows and rows of fantastic artworks to check out at the Business Design Centre’s London Art Fair (16th-20th January). In which case, here’s a rundown of clobber you simply can’t afford to be without in winter when staying at the likes of 5 star hotels in West London…
You’re planning on visiting a city located in the north of the Northern Hemisphere in winter… you’re going to need a decent winter coat. Just packing a multitude of jumpers and expecting to be able to layer up when you step off the tarmac at Heathrow or Gatwick just isn’t going to cut the mustard in London in January.
A word to the wise: it can get windy in the winter in the UK, so make sure your coat’s thick (and, arguably, long) enough to offset windchill. On the other hand, you don’t want so bulky (and/ or elaborate) a coat that it’s difficult to get on and off at speed; in London there’s much to see and do (museums, galleries, Marble Arch restaurants and more) – and many transport options to take advantage of – so you’re going to popping in and out of the warmth and putting on and taking off your coat a lot.
Appropriate shoes/ boots
An easy mistake to make in your packing is not to ensure you have the right shoe-wear to take care of your feet – especially if you’re going somewhere that’ll be more than likely cold. After all, do you want to be the foolish one forced, all the way through your trip, to traipse the London pavements with wet, cold and achy feet instead of warm and fuzzy tootsies? Comfortable, hardy and water-proof are three adjectives that must describe the (pairs of) shoes and/ or boots you choose for the job. And, of course, don’t forget to pack enough socks; ideally, you’re going to need sufficient to cover just over one pair of socks a day – just in case your feet do somehow get wet in spite of your waterproof footwear!
And don’t forget…
• Gloves – pretty obvious; go for the ‘thermal’, windproof variety to properly keep the chill out
• Scarf and beanie hat – the ideal head-and-neck-warming combo; absolutely necessary if the temperatures drop below zero
• Umbrella – given its capacity to help you cope with the vagaries of British weather, a brolly’s simply an indispensable item to have with you while visiting London (in fact, whatever the time of year; even in the summer – yes, really!).