As the wintery weather lingers on and it seems the cold will never leave us, the temptation to hibernate inside becomes all the more irresistible. The snow has long gone and the freezing weather just isn’t fun anymore. Although there are evenings where nothing less than a DVD, a hot drink and a blanket will satisfy that craving for warmth, we mustn’t forget that we are still in London – and in London there is always somewhere to go and something to do.
Covent Garden by Day
Covent Garden is constantly buzzing, so no matter how freezing or rainy it is outside, there are always plenty of places in the area where you can find a cosy corner to sit in. One of the cosiest has got to be The Coal Hole (91, The Strand). From the outside, the warm glow shining through the entrance is unbelievably inviting. The service is friendly and the decor is different, with a mishmash of styles combining to give the pub a unique atmosphere. It can get busy, but it’s worth a visit nonetheless as it’s the perfect place to drop by after battling against the bitter wind while crossing Waterloo Bridge.
Warm Drinks in Borough Market
For all you food-lovers, if Covent Garden doesn’t satisfy your needs, then Borough Market (Borough High St) will definitely do the trick. Don’t let the prices put you off: you can work your way around the market sampling free tasters of the delicious produce on offer, from curries to chillies. And where better to rest your feet than in the basking glow of the outdoor heaters of the unbelievably tiny pub The Rake?(14, Winchester Walk) They will warm you up like nothing else, perfect for keeping toasty while sipping on some specialist beer (which is also available from their stall on the market). The size of the pub may not impress, but the knowledgeable staff and huge selection of foreign beers more than make up for it. Who knew that you could be so cosy and still be outside? Even if you don’t buy anything, the market is a brilliant detour if you’re spending a morning/afternoon on the Southbank. More info at www.boroughmarket.org.uk and www.utobeer.co.uk
If you fancy venturing further south, Joe’s Kitchen (5-7 Marshalsea Road) is a great place to enjoy a tasty breakfast, brunch, lunch or even just a coffee. Anything selected from the tempting array of desserts will be the perfect accompaniment to a hot drink (even the indulgent hot chocolate with cream, marshmallows and chocolate flakes). So if you don’t feel up to dragging yourself out in the evening, this is one of the warmest places to stop in on a cold day.
Covent Garden by Night
Of course, if you do feel like having a relaxed night out, there are plenty of options for doing so while still keeping cosy before spring sets in. The Covent Garden branch of London cocktail bar B@1 (23 Wellington St, www.beatone.co.uk) is the perfect place to enjoy reasonably-priced and surprisingly strong drinks in a warm and lively atmosphere. Branches are scattered around London, from Richmond to Shoreditch. The happy hour 2-4-1 cocktails are brilliant: not only are they delicious, there is also a huge selection to choose from. The bartenders could not be more friendly and welcoming, and even on a Sunday it is often packed. With enough space to dance in and enough corners to chat in – it’s the perfect combination. The music is cheesy and the decor is cosy and inviting – what more could you ask for on a chilly Sunday night?
Although the weather forecast may put you off going out, don’t let it stop you – there are more than enough opportunities in London to fight off the cold and have a great time!