I’m going to let you in on my worst kept secret: I don’t like winter. Cold weather, short days, and layers upon layers of clothing aren’t really my thing. But sometimes when I’m on the brink of booking myself a one-way flight to the tropics, I am reminded that there are a few good things about winter in London. This weekend was no exception. Here’s why.

Ice Skating in London

On Saturday I was invited on an all-day adventure to discover some of London’s winter highlights. The day consisted of three parts: food, drinks, and fun, all of which seem like good elements for surviving the short, freezing days ahead.

Chocolate truffles

I started at a chocolate making class. Chocolate isn’t the most wintry of foods, but given that the day was created by Switzerland’s tourism board, I could see the connection. The class was all about making chocolate truffles, which appealed. The fact that it was run in a conference room with no sink and that we weren’t even asked to wash our hands before passing around communal bowls of chocolate did not.

Cocoa and sprinkles

Sanitary lapses aside, the class was both informative—we learned that the world’s first chocolate bar was made in the UK—and fun—we stirred, rolled, and coated our very own truffles. If this was winter, I was on board.

Chocolate truffles

From there we moved on to the drink part of winter in London. This took place at the Icebar, a Swedish establishment just off Regent Street that featured a bar made entirely of ice. Entry was timed, and attendants literally threw a giant furry poncho over each guest’s head before she or he went into the frozen bar.

Icebar London

Inside the temperature was -7 degrees Celsius (that’s 19.4 degrees Fahrenheit for all you Americans out there). It was really cold. Really, really cold.

Icebar in London

But also really beautiful. The room glowed in blue and purple light, and the whole place felt like a winter wonderland. From ice tables and sculptures to an ice bar and ice glasses, the concept was a frozen Gesamtkunstwerk.

Icebar London

Sadly, my freezing fingers only lasted about 10 minutes before they had to press the exit button and decamp to warmer climes. I sat at the exterior bar while waiting for the rest of the group, and then we headed downstairs to the restaurant for lunch.

Icebar in London

Which was disappointing. My scallops were overpowered by an incredibly strong garlic sauce and my duck was tough, fatty, and flavorless. Add to that the strict one-starter, one-main policy, and I left the restaurant as hungry as I entered it.

Penguins ice skating London

Thankfully the day looked up from there. How could it not with a trip to the ice skating rink at the Natural History Museum? As we glided across the busy ice, the sun set behind the building, illuminating the sky in a cascade of yellow, pink, purple, and blue.

Natural History Museum London

At the end of the day, I left with a feeling of optimism about spending winter in London. Hopefully it will last until the weather warms up (probably sometime in May), but if it doesn’t, I can always drown my Seasonal Affective Disorder in chocolate truffles, numb it in the Icebar, or warm it up with a skating session. Bring on the cold!

6 Comments on Lady Indulges in Winter

  1. Charu
    November 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm (5 years ago)

    I would LOVE to go to the Ice Bar in London! I miss it so much! Winters were cold there but not freezing. Lovely post dear.

    • aladyinlondon
      November 15, 2012 at 3:27 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks Charu. The bar was great, and definitely a good place to go in the winter!

  2. Gretchen
    November 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm (5 years ago)

    Feel free to decamp and head to DC for a change of scene if you get the SADs 🙂 Wish I had someplace warmer to offer you!

    • aladyinlondon
      November 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks! I would love to visit you in DC, rain or shine!

  3. Alyson
    December 20, 2012 at 10:50 am (5 years ago)

    I just moved to London a few weeks ago and am glad I stumbled upon your blog! I’ve enjoyed all the winter (and Christmas) festivities happening all around London.

    • A Lady in London
      December 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm (5 years ago)

      Hi Alyson! I’m glad you found the blog, and hope you find some inspiration in it!


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