For most of us, by the time February starts, we’re in desperate need of a beach getaway. A combination of the cold weather and dark days means we’re craving some “vitamin sea,” as they say. But maybe you’re not like everyone else, and you want to take a trip to London in February instead.
While it might sound crazy to some – doesn’t it rain all winter long in London?! – this is a great option since there are fewer crowds, days grow longer, and the weather improves as February wears on. (Also, February is not a particularly rainy month in London, which surprises many people.) Plus, there are plenty of great things to do in London in February, which is probably why you’re curious enough to be reading this post!
One of my first trips back after I moved home to the States from London was in February – yep, I specifically chose to be there during this time of year, because I know it has some special things to offer, not the least of which is the chance to see the city at one of its lowest tourism times of the year. (Mind you, this was in the days before I took pictures of myself while traveling so I don’t have any proof-of-life – but plenty of old school heavily-filtered Instagram pics!)
As others escape to warmer climes, you can escape to my favorite city, and take advantage of all the city has to offer without the hoards of summer tourists and equally high prices on airfare, hotels, and more. Sold? Here’s a guide to the best things to do in London in February, updated for you 2024 travelers.
This post was originally published in November 2022 as part of a larger guide, and was updated most recently in November 2023. You can find my tips on what to pack for London in February here.
Kew Orchid Festival (February 3 – March 3)
Kew Gardens is a delight to visit any time of the year, but, during February, it becomes extra special as it hosts the Kew Orchid Festival. Come to the festival to admire what’s arguably one of the most beautiful flowers in the botanic world.
For 2023, the festival is dedicated to the wildlife and culture of Madagascar. There will be large sculptures made with real plants, flower arrangements, exhibits on Madagscar’s wildlife and landscape, and, of course, an amazing array of colorful orchids.
Chinese New Year (February 11)
London’s Chinese New Year celebrations are the largest outside Asia – or so they claim. Apparently, New York, Sydney, and San Francisco have also made the same statement. Either way, London’s Chinese New Year is going to be one hell of a party!
The Chinese New Year always falls between late January and mid-February; in 2023, the New Year occurs on Sunday, January 22 – but the dates of the celebration itself haven’t been announced yet.
Festivities concentrate on the West End, extending from Shaftesbury Avenue down to Trafalgar Square. There will be Chinese food trucks, a vibrant Chinese New Year parade, featuring colorful floats and the largest gathering of Chinese lions and dragons in Europe, stage performances, and traditional ceremonies.
Pancake Day (February 13)
It’s always a good time to eat pancakes, and London even has a specific day to do just that! Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Since Lent is a period of abstinence, people would remove all sugars, fats, and eggs from their cupboards on Shrove Tuesday. Coincidence or not, all those ingredients are what you use to make pancakes.
While the religious motivation has faded, the tradition has stuck in the U.K., and you can find hundreds of restaurants offering some flipping good pancakes all over the city.
London Anime & Gaming Con (February 16-18)
It’s not a lie when people say London has something for everyone. Anime lovers, gamers, and cosplayers, all get together at the London Anime and Gaming Con, hosted in February.
The event organizes Q&A panels with industry figures, fun games and dances for the attendees, galleries where artists exhibit their wonderful illustrations, and rows of stands selling manga, comics, and gaming merchandise that you can not find elsewhere.
London Motorcycle Show (February 16-18)
Cycling lovers can’t miss the London Motorcycle Show. This event hosts exhibitions with classic bikes, and new 2024 bikes from all the major manufacturers, and invites International speakers from the community to give advice and inspire fellow riders. There will also be stands selling from lids and leathers to gadgets and tech.
But best of all, it’s the only event with an indoor drag race. Called the Supersprint, you’ll get to see up close and personal your favorite bikes fire down the hall.
February Half-Term with the Fam (TBA)
February in London is a great month if you’re traveling with your family. This month has the mid-term break, so the city is packed with fun activities to keep the little ones entertained.
You can get tickets to The Lion King at the West End or enjoy a good dose of magic at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. If hands-on activities are more your thing, head to the Science Museum or London Transport Museum and let your kids play while they learn. Animal lovers can pay a visit to the ZSL London Zoo and marvel at the wildlife diversity our world is home to.
London Fashion Week (TBA)
This one is a bit tricky, like most fashion weeks, London Fashion Week doesn’t have tickets up for sale. Most attendees are either important names in the industry, influencers, or celebrities. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t go to the hotels and venues where world-class designers are hosting their fashion shows and take a peek at the fashionistas who walk down the street while downing their best outfits.
Some designers also stream their shows, so you can google to see if you can catch the show from the comfort of your hotel.
7 Other Things to Do in London in February
Still have a free nook in your itinerary? Here are other cool things to do in London in February:
- Enjoy the city from a different perspective with a Thames River cruise. There are lots of different types to show you the best bits of London along the River Thames.
- Explore the heritage of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-Londoners at Mark LGBT+ History Month. Numerous museums and venues throughout the city host talks, exhibits, and seminars for everyone to understand the history of LGBT+ rights and the challenges they’re facing in the community.
- Cozy up in a pub and watch people go by while sipping a pint.
- Pop into the cinema and watch an old-time classic.
- Grab flowers for your Valentine at Columbia Road Flower Market, one of London’s top markets.
- Treat yourself to champagne afternoon tea. Here’s my London afternoon tea guide, with options for every taste and budget.
- Stretch your legs in one of the city’s parks if the weather is good. You can check out my guide to the best London parks.
Have any other questions about visiting London in February or the best things to do during this year year month? Or, do you know of another great event happening in February in London? Let me know in the comments!
(If you represent a company that is hosting an event you’d like added to this list, use my Contact Me page to reach me.)