January in London: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

Westminster Bridge and Big Ben in snow, London,UK
Doug Armand/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

While you may be cold in London in January, you also might catch the tail-end of the city's charming holiday decorations. January in London is among the best times to visit this notoriously pricey city if you're on a budget. The January sales will satisfy the most dedicated shopper, while hotels also offer discounts on room rates during this quiet month.

As long as you dress warmly, January is also an ideal time to visit popular attractions without becoming overwhelmed by crowds.

The weather is cool and wet, but still generally warmer than many other northern European countries. 

Read on for what to expect weather-wise, our recommendations on how to stay warm, and seasonal events to check out:

London Weather in January

While London is always a bit damp, January is especially cold and wet. Temperatures usually average around 44 F (7 C), with occasional days that are warmer. The average low is just above freezing, usually approximately 35 F (2 C) although it typically only drops this in the evenings. London typically experiences 11 days of rainfall in January and receives only eight hours of daylight throughout January. Snow isn't widespread in London but does occur.

What to Pack

Wrap up warm in plenty of layers. January and February are the coldest months in London—and you'll always want to bring an umbrella when exploring London! On the coldest days, a heavy winter coat is necessary.

Sturdy, waterproof walking shoes are still a must-pack for London.

January Events in London

  • New Year's Day Parade (January 1): See marching bands, cheerleaders, dancers, and acrobats take to the streets as part of London's famous New Year's Day Parade. 
  • London Boat Show (early January): More than 500 exhibitors showcase the best boating innovations, equipment and holidays at this massive celebration of all things nautical at ExCel London.
  • Twelfth Night Festival (early January): This free event marks the end of Christmas and welcomes in the New Year with a program of events based on ancient seasonal customs. 
  • Get Into London Theatre (January and February): Grab discounted tickets to 50+ London theater shows as part of this annual promotion. 
  • London Art Fair (mid-January): Billed as the U.K.’s premier modern British and contemporary art fair, this event at Islington's Design Centre brings together over 100 galleries and features talks, tours, and large-scale installations. 
  • Chinese New Year Parade and Festival (late January to mid-February): Celebrate the most significant event in the Chinese calendar by following the lively parade along Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. The celebrations culminate in Trafalgar Square, and you can enjoy plenty of free entertainment and delicious food in Chinatown. 
  • London International Mime Festival (throughout January): The longest running festival of its kind, this celebration of the silent art form takes place in various performance venues across London including the Barbican and Soho Theatre.
  • Commemoration of Charles the Martyr (January 30): This annual commemoration of King Charles I's' 1649 execution takes place in the Banqueting Hall on Whitehall and includes a wreath laying and prayers. A choir usually accompanies the service. 

January Travel Tips

  • When you're packing for your January trip to London, pack as if you're visiting a typical winter destination. That includes a hefty scarf, gloves, coat, and hat.
  • London has no shortage of free attractions—in fact, many of the best things in the city are free or low-cost. Winter is a great time to take advantage of normally crowded attractions like the British Museum.
  • If you're planning a trip to London for later in the year, booking your trip in January can still pay off big: International trips booked in January are often up to 36 percent cheaper than trips booked during other months, according to Skyscanner.
  • If you visit in early January, festive Christmas decorations will still be on display. Walk down Carnaby Street, Regent Street, and Oxford Street to see the best decor.