Come Christmastime, igloos fill the rooftops and riversides of London…
If there’s one life lesson we learned from Pingu, it’s that igloos are brilliant hangout spots. Sometime around 2016, London took this advice to heart, and since then, a glorious wave of igloos routinely pop up every winter, offering festive revels within your own cosy private sanctuary. In 2020, they’re even more enticing as bubbles to dine in with your bubble, but the addition of fairy lights, comfy blankets, and delicious grub elevates them to a memorable winter night out. (Plus, they look great on the ‘gram.) Here’s where to find igloos in London this year!
1. Coppa Club, Tower Bridge (open now)
Coppa Club’s Thames-side globes have some of the hottest tables in town, so a pandemic was always unlikely to prevent their return. The beautiful perspex capsules offer crystal clear views of Tower Bridge and The Shard, while keeping your squad satisfyingly snug. Each cosy pod is decked out with sparking lights, fluffy blankets and festive decorations and the result is a stunning and perfectly Instagrammable setting for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. 2020 sees a special champagne cocktail menu on the bill, and whilst bookings for October and November have flown out the door, a second second booking period for the coveted December dates opens on November 25. They usually sell out in a hot minute, though, so you’ll need to be quick! Find out more here.
3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street, EC3R 6AH. Nearest station is Tower Hill.
2. Bar Elba, Waterloo (opens November 7)
Bar Elba have been rocking Waterloo since reopening in July, but their winter season kicks things up to the next level. Known for their laidback, fun-loving approach, igloos here are known as ‘party pods’, and make for excellent places to hunker down during the winter and feast on burgers, fries, and bottomless drinks. For instance, £30 can net you an hour of bottomless cocktails from their exhaustive list, which includes porn star martinis, zombies, margaritas, and a potent mix of Jägermeister Manifest, blackberry liqueur, chocolate liqueur, sugar, milk, and cream that’s dubbed ‘Calamity Jane’. Plus, you can plug in your playlist and control the tunes in your pod, which is sure to lead to impromptu singalongs… You can book your party pod here, or pop along for their brilliant rooftop bottomless brunch.
109-117 Waterloo Road, SE1 8UL. Nearest station is Waterloo.
3. Jimmy’s Lodge, South Bank (open now)
The opportunity to fill your face with fondue in picture-perfect snow globes should never be turned down. This fan favourite Alpine pop-up overlooks the Thames, as Jimmy’s Lodge boasts four beautiful snow globes made for private dining experiences, each seating up to six people in line with social distancing rules. It’s the perfect spot for Christmas get togethers and festive parties, with guests invited to tuck into gourmet food. They’re Insta-famous for good reason, and you can read all about them here.
Queens Walk, Waterloo Bridge, SE1 9PX. Nearest stations are Waterloo and Embankment.
4. Winterland, Fulham (opens November 5)
Winterland is clearly one of those places that can’t decide what to do come Christmas, so instead opt to do it all. In 2020, they’ve opted for an Alpine forest theme – which means forest igloos, forest cabins, a Bavarian beer tent, Alpine lodge tables, ski-lift bubbles, and fur-covered sofas. Short of perching on a snowbank propped up against your skis, they’ve covered every conceivable aspect of an Alpine ski resort here, and have even thrown an outdoor fire pit into the mix for marshmallow toastin’ good times. So, no bad options, but we’d recommend parking yourself in an igloo or Alpine cabin, and settling in for bubbling cheese fondue with dippable snacks, and rounding off your evening with Schnapps. Book those here, although their bottomless prosecco and Alpine brunch is also a seriously strong option.
Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6 2TY. Nearest stations are Putney Bridge and Imperial Wharf.
5. Skylight, Wapping (open now)
Skylight’s true ace in the hole is their rooftop ice skating rink, but with the return of that still a couple of weeks away, their rooftop igloos are taking centre stage for the moment. Spread across two levels, the igloos are bookable for groups of up to six (a running theme this year, no doubt), and will cost £30-£90 for those on the lower level and £60-£120 for those on the “premium mezzanine”. Happily, the fee also nets you welcome drinks and the ability to upgrade to bottles of champagne, and street food joints Hikari and State Side are on hand to serve food. Blankets and heaters keep the winter chill away too!
Pennington Street, St Katharine’s & Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest station is Shadwell.
6. Aviary, Finsbury Square (open now)
Rooftop bar Aviary joined the London igloo scene a while back, and regularly make their transparent pods a feature of the winter season. Currently, they’ve got four igloos open for booking, but will add a second quartet on November 2 that’ll give them eight spread across two panoramic terraces. Winter igloo packages that show off Aviary’s selection of drinks, canapes, and cocktails are also on the horizon, and the views aren’t to be sniffed at either.
10th Floor, The Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX. Nearest stations are Old Street and Moorgate.
7. The Sipping Room, Canary Wharf
As you may have noticed by now, London’s igloos broadly split into rooftop inhabitants and riverside dwellers. Continuing that trend are a cosy pair of domes out in Canary Wharf, as The Sipping Room’s igloos sit on West India Quay. Dramatic night-time views of Canary Wharf are on offer here, and whilst the cavernous bubbles can host up to sixteen seated guests, you’re unlikely to see quite that many this year. Still, that means plenty more room to stretch out!
16 Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf, E14 4AX. Nearest stations are Westferry and West India Quay.
8. The Secret Garden, Kensington
Can it be classed as an igloo if they’re here all year round? Whatever the case, this lot are a dome for all seasons. The Secret Garden in Kensington has a lawn full of secluded private domes that double up as London’s cutest and quaintest little restaurants, and they’re somehow even more charming in winter. Menus stuffed with British classics and Middle Eastern delights are available at the moment, and the occasion just demands an accompanying bottle of bubbly! You can snag yourself a spot in one here.
100 Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 4ER. Nearest station is Gloucester Road.
For even more excellent dining options this autumn and winter, check out our guide to London restaurants with heated terraces!
Also published on Medium.