Why fantasise about hitting crisp Alpine slopes or soaking up the sun on a far-flung beach this Christmas? London reaches whole new heights in the winter months; we’re treated to an enchanted city that’s brought to life with twinkling fairy lights and festive cheer at every turn. Pair this bedazzled city with a whole host of weird and wonderful seasonal events and we really can’t think of a better place to be.
Carols, Christmas markets, film screenings, quirky exhibitions…there are almost too many things to choose from once you’ve factored in the compulsory eating of mince pies and drinking of mulled wine. If you’re struggling to get all the dates in the diary, you’re in the right place; we’ve already done the research.
What is the festive season without taking a peek at some of the capital’s most spectacular lights? Head down to Oxford Street to glimpse the world-famous display, but if the crowds sound a little daunting, then Carnaby’s are just around the corner; the cobbled streets will be lit up, glittering with an eclectic carnival theme. Christmas at Kew Gardens is a real sight to behold as well; picture its acres of greenery sparkling with over a million twinkling lights, a sculptural fire garden and beautifully moonlit woods.
A night at the ballet or the theatre is always a treat, but is somehow even more special at Christmas. The Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall is truly the pinnacle of all things festive, beautifully encapsulating all of the wonder of the season on stage. Another classic is the production of A Christmas Carol, bringing Charles Dickens’ timeless novel to life at the perfect time. Not strictly a production, but certainly where the magic happens, is Hogwarts in the Snow; nothing will get you in the Christmas spirit quite like experiencing the wizarding world in all its frosted glory. We promise that it’s both adult and child friendly, although the butterbeer is non-alcoholic, unfortunately.
It’s not called the most wonderful time of the year for no reason. A key component of this is snuggling up with an obligatory box of Celebrations and a Christmas film . Although it’s nice to be stuck to your sofa, sometimes it’s even nicer to be in the cinema, or makeshift cinema. Come November, pop-ups all across the city will be showing feel-good favourites, some of the highlights include: It’s a Wonderful Life at One Aldwych, Home Alone at The View from the Shard, and Love Actually, which has the unique addition of a live orchestra, at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
‘Tis the season for feasting. Could there be a more novel way to do that than in an idyllic igloo? The terrace of Coppa Club has been transformed into a cosy winter wonderland; igloos are decked out for dinner and drinks with fluffy blankets, sheepskin rugs and incredible views of the city of London. If you would rather a wintry day out, look no further than BBC Good Food’s Feast which will take place in the historic grounds of Hampton Court Palace. Taste your way around artisanal food and drink stands, get inspiration for your Christmas dinner from live cookery demonstrations, then once you’re feeling merry and bright have a spin on the beautiful open-air ice rink.
The V&A has decided that gingerbread is not simply for eating. From December 8th visitors will be able to peruse the most delicious of exhibitions: The Gingerbread City. It is exactly what it says on the (biscuit) tin; a whole city crafted from gingerbread, constructed with the aim of connecting the public to architecture in a fun and innovative way. If you count yourself an architect or designer you can even buy a plot to design yourself, perhaps on one of the notable landmarks of the Swiss Roll-ing Hill or Central Slice.