During December it’s pretty much safe to say that London turns in to one big Advent calendar. There is a constant hive of activity, fairy lights and festive music with events popping up all over the place.
Narrowing down the multitude of events and activities to see can be a harder task than getting out the red pen and circling your favourites in the Christmas issue of the Radio Times, so to make your pre-Christmas plans easier we have done it for you. Discover the best of London this festive season with our top tip of things to see and do for any age.
- Pop up Cinema
At various locations across the city, stop being a Scrooge and rediscover your Christmas spirit by watching classics such as Home Alone, The Grinch, Elf, Nightmare Before Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life and Love Actually. Located within Hackney Showroom, these cult movie showings are on selected dates throughout the month. Look out for the full bar showcasing tasty hot chocolate, delicious brownies, mulled wine and popcorn! Tickets are £20 for adults & £10 for kids.
- Pre-Christmas Spa Treats
Christmas activities and preparation can leave us feeling stressed, overwhelmed and run down, especially if you’re tackling the hurdles of Christmas shopping in Westfield. Take time out to unwind and avoid the bustling Christmas crowds by indulging in a pre-Xmas spa visit.
Treat yourself to an array of treatments aimed to pamper from top to toe; from thermal spas to hot stone massages, facials, pedicures, aromatherapy and eyebrow treatment. Quite surprisingly, spas aren’t that busy in the lead up to Christmas as they’re busy selling vouchers as presents. From experience, if you do a quick search for spa vouchers at the start of the month you’ll find that top London spas have reduced deals in December that you should snag up.
- Christmas Carol Concert
Soak up the Christmas Spirit at Eltham Palaces annual carol concert. Staged in the childhood home of Henry VIII, the Great Hall is the venue for this beautiful show. Featuring a slew of traditional festive carols, this musical performance is surprisingly heart-warming and a lot better than having to pretend you’re not at home when carollers come knocking on the door.
- Regent Street Christmas Lights
It’s hard to choose a favourite venue to marvel at the twinkling Christmas lights this year but Regent Street edges close to being the best around. A spectacular kaleidoscopic of over 300,000 lights in this year’s glittering display also swings into the surrounding streets of Piccadilly for the first time, making it one of London’s largest Christmas displays ever. The lights get turned in the middle of November, but just wait until December if you’re like me and can’t stand seeing Xmas displays pop up in shops way too early.
- Ice Skating at Somerset House
No Christmas season would be complete without a visit to that ice skating rink. Set against the marvellous backdrop of the impressive architecture of Somerset House, this is one of the most beautiful outdoor ice rinks in London, open daily from 10am to 10.15pm. Every age is catered for with a weekend skate school for kids. In the evening the DJ sets to give it a weird mood to be skating but it’s still always a laugh. If you’re more an après-ski kind of person, splurge in some festive food and drink at Fortnum and Mason’s pop up lodge or pick up a unique gift or treat or tree decoration at the pop-up shop. It’s the best place to be if you want to get a real life You’ve Been Framed on the go and watch people fall on the ice over and over again.
- Sail with Santa on the Thames
If you are looking for a unique way to see Father Christmas this year, then how about doing it on a boat. Sail with Santa down the Thames for a festive party to remember where you can sing-a-long to favourite Christmas songs and carols, meet Santa and receive a special prezzie which hopefully isn’t a life jacket. I wouldn’t recommend standing out on deck though as the middle of the Thames in December is beyond cold.
There you have it. Six unique ways to get the lead up to Christmas in London off to a truly festive start.