Of course I have read of the dreary weather in England in the winter, but am still contemplating travel in January when the family has freedom to go. My husband, college age daughter and I are not afraid of the cold because we love skiing, and live in the mid-Atlantic. Would anyone like to share their experience with travel to London that time of year? We have never been to England and will want to do the museums, churches, pubs, etc. If possible we will look to visit some towns outside London which we could access via car rental. I anticipate having 10 days on ground at most.
It might or might not be dreary, and could be anywhere between freezing cold and really quite mild. The only thing for certain is short-ish daylight hours. Between November and February, I leave for work in the dark and leave for home in the dark. The weather will have no effect on London sights and even in the event of snow settling, which only happens in central London about once a decade, you'd be able to walk to most of them unless you stay outside the centre. A decent country pub in winter is a nice experience, so if you're travelling outside London get a good pub guide and look for one near where you're going which says there is a good atmosphere--which usually coincides with good beer and food.
are not afraid of the cold because we love skiing
Skiing weather is cold, crisp and often sunny. England in January is damp, hovering around 0-5°C, cloudy, grey, and it gets dark around 4:30 pm. It is normal not to see the sun for days on end.
Now we've done the statutory warning, there is nothing to prevent you visiting in January. All the same places will be available in London, you just won't be able to sit outside.
visit some towns outside London which we could access via car rental.
You do not want to be driving into or out of central London. Some places around London can be visited by train; or you can spend a few nights outside London, with a car, touring those places.
Suitable places for a day trip by train are the same as the rest of the year, allowing for it getting dark by 4:30 pm:
Cambridge, Oxford, Bath, Salisbury, Canterbury, Winchester and lots more.
Hope this gets you started.
My husband and I spent a week in London for our honeymoon in January 2004. The weather was okay most of the time. There were some drizzles, and some cold weather. But nothing that kept us from seeing everything we wanted to see. We took a tour to Stonehenge and that day was beautifully clear and sunny, but very cold and windy! We enjoyed our time in England very much. Go and have a great trip!