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Happy Boxing Day! Always a festive date in a festive season. But another phenomenon that helps keep that festiveness going all winter are the various cool pop-ups - restaurants, bars, galleries, shops, quirky experiences - always coming along to keep us entertained. Spring brought us all kinds of chocolatey treats and summer had its beach bars, but the chilly season in some ways brings us the most exciting new pop-ups of all. It’s time to get cosy with open fires, snug cinemas and a whole load of twinkling lights.

Southbank Sauna

The Southbank Centre hosts its annual Wintertime Festival, bringing bars, Christmas markets and more to this great spot by the Thames. The highlight this year has to be the Finnish sauna, installed in the roof garden of Queen Elizabeth Hall. The idea of stripping off in wintry weather might not sound so appealing at first, but it’s worth it once you’re in the sauna enjoying the steamy 90-degree heat. Once you’re all warmed up, you can indulge in mulled wine or hot chocolate under a blanket in the Scandinavian rooftop bar. The views of the Thames and the city from here are gorgeous.


Skylight hosts London’s first rooftop ice rink at Tobacco Dock this year, with plenty of other festive treats on offer too. Try your hand at ice hockey penalty shooting to win prizes, get your mitts on some delicious street food and grab a drink at one of several bars. The fondue station is a highlight, serving chocolate as well as cheese fondue to warm you up from the inside. With heaters aplenty and mulled wine available too, you shouldn’t find it too hard to stay toasty up here.

Backyard Cinema: Snow Kingdom

This winter, the Backyard Cinema’s permanent home of Mercato Metropolitano in Borough has been transformed once again, this time into an enchanted castle aptly named the Snow Kingdom. You enter through a secret entrance at the foot of a mountain, past snowdrifts, an ice cave and a frozen lake before reaching your destination. Once you’ve arrived in the grand ballroom, you can settle on a giant bean bag and cosy up under a blanket to watch wintery classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life and Frozen. Other films on the line-up include Harry Potter, Titanic, Tangled and Wonder Woman.


You may have visited Neverland earlier in the year and experienced Fulham’s summery beach pop-up. It’s barely recognisable now that it’s been transformed into Winterland, an enchanted forest setting with wintery lodges, heated igloos and super soft sofas. There are four neon lit curling lanes, mini golf and prosecco pong as well as ski-inspired street food in the form of fondue and raclette burgers. If visiting on a Thursday, Friday or Sunday, you can bring your own booze and pay only the £5 entry fee. There’s also a bar serving everything you’d expect, including all the wintry warmers we love at this time of year.

Roof East

Sliders is back at Roof East this year after proving so popular last winter. With neon curling lanes, themed cocktails and cosy igloo dining for keeping warm, this is a snug rooftop treat for lovers of winter sports and all things festive. A variety of street food is available, with raclette and hog roasts keeping up with the wintry theme. The ski lodge bar serves hot toddies and there’s also a heated area to take cover in if you’re feeling a bit too chilly.

And if you’re looking for something more sophisticated than street food after your wintry adventures, why not visit M Restaurant Victoria for delicious seafood and the best steaks in the city. Located centrally and perfect for those looking for the best pre-theatre dinner in London, why not take a look at the pre-theatre dinner menu today atM Restaurant Victoria

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