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. And with the addition of fairy lights, comfy blankets, and delicious grub, they make for the ultimate, cosy, memorable winter night out. (Plus, they look great on the ‘gram.) Here’s where to find igloos in London this year!
1. Willows On The Roof, Soho
This year’s return of the Willows on The Roof festive makeover has been made all the more fantastic by the arrival of rooftop igloos. Rooftop! Igloos! You’d think just being able to have a drink on the roof of John Lewis’ Oxford Street store would be enough of a draw, but who can resist now? Seasonal cocktails and food courtesy of Tacos El Rey and Local Greens will jostle for attention, but it’s likely that you’ll order and then forget all about it as you drink in that panoramic view instead. We recommend the “Mulled Gin & Juice”, which mixes Mulled Spiced Organic Somerset Apple Juice, Bombay Bramble Sapphire Gin, and lemon juice if you can tear your eyes away from the city lights.
John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, W1C 1DX. Nearest station is Oxford Circus. Book here.
2. Aviary, Finsbury Square
Rooftop bar Aviary joined the London igloo scene a while back, and regularly make their transparent pods a feature of the winter season. Located on the 10th floor of Montcalm Royal London House Hotel in Finsbury Square, they’ve got dedicated igloos for sit-down meals and more laid-back drinking globes. A new partnership with Monkey 47 Gin ensures the drinks will be delicious – and be sure not to miss the fondue. Cosy up with faux fur throws beneath twinkling fairy lights and enjoy the sweeping views of London!
10th Floor, The Montcalm, 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX. Nearest stations are Old Street and Moorgate. Book here.
3. Glide at Battersea Power Station, Battersea
London’s coolest new opening (Battersea Power Station… Obviously!) is now host to London’s coolest ice skating rink, and along with all the fairground rides and sights to take in, they’ve also found space to plop down some rink-side igloos. They’re the perfect place to warm up after a bout of ice-skating, or to relax and watch the others glide on by. Bookings for an eight person igloo will only run you £15, and come with a complimentary welcome drink to boot! Do be aware, though, that ice skating must be purchased separately.
Nine Elms, Battersea, SW11 8EF. Nearest station is Battersea Power. Book here.
4. The Secret Garden, Kensington
Can it be classed as an igloo if they’re here all year round? (I mean, clearly yes. We insist on it!) 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. A variety of food options, from British classics to Pan-Asian and Middle Eastern delights, are available at the moment. And obviously the occasion just demands an accompanying bottle of bubbly!
100 Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 4ER. Nearest station is Gloucester Road. Book here.
5. Bar Elba, Waterloo
Bar Elba is a prime rooftop hangout year-round, 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. Plus, you can plug in your playlist and control the tunes in your pod, which is sure to lead to impromptu singalongs…
111 Waterloo Road, SE1 8SG. Nearest station is Waterloo. Book here.
6. Skylight Tobacco Dock, Wapping
Skylight’s true ace in the hole is their rooftop ice skating rink, but their rooftop igloos are equally inviting after a skating session out in the cold. Spread across two levels, 18 igloos are decked with blankets and heaters to keep the winter chill away, while mulled wine and street food keep you warm. Last year they even opened up more cosy igloos on the Tobacco Dock canalside, which we’re crossing our fingers for again this year!
Tobacco Dock, London E1W 2SF. Nearest station is Shadwell. Book here.
7. Mercer Roof Terrace, City of London
Mercer Roof Terrace sits atop the Vintry & Mercer hotel, which also boasts slick cocktail spot Do Not Disturb. Amongst the landmarks to be glimpsed from the open terrace are St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard, making it a jolly nice place to be — especially once the winter igloos and cabins make an appearance. Their igloos can accommodate up to eight people, while the cabins are available for smaller groups of four. Faux fur blankets and flickering candles are a lovely addition to the twinkling city lights!
20 Garlick Hill, EC4V 2AU. Nearest station is Mansion House. Book here.
8. Fire And Fromage at Jimmy’s, South Bank
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, boasting beautiful snow globes made for private dining experiences, each seating up to ten people. Fire And Fromage at Jimmy’s is the perfect spot for Christmas get togethers and festive parties, with guests invited to tuck into gourmet food.
Fire & Fromage, Jimmy’s Pop-Up, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest stations are Waterloo and Embankment. Book here.
9. Wagtail, City of London
Two enchanted wintry igloos have hit the skies at Wagtail‘s terraces, allowing guests the chance to add a festive touch to their time at the luxury central London rooftop bar. Oh, and don’t worry, if you don’t snag a seat in an igloo they’ll be heating the whole rooftop bar, so you can still enjoy the ridiculous 360° views that the bar offers without fearing the alpine chill up (almost) among the clouds. Johnnie Walker Blue will be on hand, serving bespoke cocktails from their cocktail trolley so you can warm up inside and out! We’ve got our eyes on the Golden Colada, which mixes up Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky with pineapple, cream of coconut, and lime.
68 King William Street, City of London, EC4N 7HR. Nearest station is Monument. Book here.
10. The Waterway, Maida Vale
Maida Vale’s The Waterway is located in the heart of Little Venice, with a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the Grand Union Canal. During the holiday season, it transforms into a Winter Wonderland Garden, with one single igloo lighting up the night. The ‘Little Venice Igloo’ seats up to six people for drinks and dinner with canalside views, and heaters, music speakers, and a dedicated waiter or waitress complete the cosy Christmas experience. Since it’s only one igloo though, we recommend booking it in advance to avoid missing out!
54 Formosa Street, W9 2JU. Nearest station is Warwick Avenue, a short walk from Paddington and Royal Oak stations. Book here.
11. Vinegar Yard, London Bridge
Head to London Bridge’s food and drinks hub, Vinegar Yard, if you want a luxe igloo experience situated on a mezzanine overlooking the Shard. And, let’s be honest with ourselves, who doesn’t want that? Four heated winter igloos, transformed for the occasion by Grey Goose, await guests with an après-ski theme and plenty of plush cushions and blankets. You can cosy up as you enjoy festive drinks and dishes from the resident street food traders, including Nanny Bill’s, Nik’s Kitchen, and Baba G’s.
72-82 St Thomas St, London SE1 3QX. Nearest station is London Bridge. Book here.
12. Thor’s Tipi at Winter Wonderland
Okay, so it’s not an igloo. And this is an article about igloos. But the experience is similarly delightful, and we figured you wouldn’t want to miss it! Thor’s Tipi is a pop-up bar that travels around the UK for a god-ly drinking experience. Keep warm by the roaring fire and with cups of mulled wine or hot cocoa as you while away the winter hours in a tipi fit for a Viking deity. Extra points for being nestled inside Winter Wonderland, so you can make a full day of it!
Find Thor’s Tipi at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, bookings are not available as it is walk in only. No bookings, but find out more at their website.
Also published on Medium.