Best things to do in West London in winter
When people mention West London, I immediately think of museums, shops and bumping into the Royal Albert Hall. So … here are some suggestions for the best things to do in West London in winter.
Start at South Kensington underground station. From here, you can follow an underground walkway to get to the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum, three of West London’s biggest attractions in the area known as Museum Mile.
The Science Museum has over 300,000 items and offers lots of interactive galleries, making it ideal for children. Don’t miss the ‘Making of the Modern World’ exhibition, where you can find Stephenson’s Rocket and a Model-T Ford, and the new ‘Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World’, which was opened by the Queen in October 2014 when she sent her first tweet!
The Natural History Museum is housed in the impressive Waterhouse Building. It holds the world’s biggest and best natural history collection, with the dinosaur gallery being a particular favourite (filled with real dinosaur bones, moving replicas and interactive ways to learn). You must also visit the new Treasures Gallery, displaying the Natural History Museum’s most important items, such as the skull of the now extinct Barbary Lion and an Emperor Penguin egg collected by Captain Scott. The Museum’s Christmas ice-rink is this year open from late October 2014 to early January 2015.
Next on your list should be the Victoria & Albert Museum, dedicated to style and design. Located in another impressive building (this time designed by Aston Webb), the collection is arranged into five themes: Asia, Europe, Materials and Techniques, Modern, and Exhibitions. Must-see items include the 11-metre high Chihuly glass chandelier in the Museum’s entrance, the Ardabil Carpet (the world’s most famous Persian rug) and the Great Bed of Ware (made famous by Shakespeare).
Once you’ve got museum fatigue, why not head to the Royal Albert Hall? Opened in 1871, this is the world’s most famous classical music venue, with a capacity of 5,272. The Royal Albert Hall hosts the Proms each summer. Around the Christmas season, it puts on a series of Christmas carol concerts (where audience participation is encouraged!).
And for Christmas shopping, where could be better than Harrods? Found on a five-acre site in Kensington’s Brompton Road, this is the world’s best department store. Harrods has everything: 12,000 employees; 330 departments; 30 eateries; and a dress code to get in! Little wonder it attracts 15 million shoppers each year. Alternatively, you can snap up a bargain at Harrods’ Sale, which starts on boxing day each year.
Other great West London attractions in winter include the Saatchi Gallery and Kensington Palace.