As term winds down for the winter holidays, take time to experience all the city has to offer this season. Have you had to cancel your festive dinners and end-of-year parties? Here are some ideas to enjoy your time off safely and mainly outdoors.
December in London has it all: Christmas markets, pop-up food stalls, mulled drinks and ice rinks. So wrap up warm, don your face mask and go and explore!
Wander Around the Winter Markets
- For those near campus: Christmas under the Canopy at King’s Cross
Until 23 December, duck under the canopy to discover a whole host of festive crafts, last-minute gifts, street food and warming drinks.
- For a fairy-lit walk by the Thames: Southbank Winter Market
The stalls aren’t the best part of this market. Follow the string of lights along the Southbank, all the way from Charing Cross to London Bridge for a festive-filled walk. Pop into the Tate Modern on the way or just grab a hot drink and watch the world go by.
- For avid foodies: Borough Market
It may be open all year round, but this 1,000-year-old market by London Bridge brings out the seasonal spirit for its artisan goods. It’s also a great chance to make the most of the free tasters. Check the opening times, so you don’t miss out and go hungry!
- For craft lovers: Greenwich Market
Greenwich Market is best explored at the weekend when its top-selling stalls make an appearance. Explore a range of homemade goods, unique crafts and food from around the world. Make sure to take a stroll through Greenwich Park, and up to the Observatory to discover why UK time is called GMT.
Meet Some Deer (and Pretend They’re Reindeer)
If you fancy a day trip that feels like you’ve escaped the city, head to Richmond Park. This vast 2500 acres of land is the perfect sight for deer and rare species of fungi, birds and wildflowers. Importantly, it is also home to the decade-old viral clip of the wayward dog, Fenton.
Skate or Shuffle Your Way Around an Ice Rink
For one month only, ice rinks pop up across London. You have lots of choices to take part from Somerset House and Canary Wharf to Hampton Court and Winter Wonderland (be wary of this one as it can get very busy). If you want an extra special trip, head to the Natural History Museum as the ice rink will be closed forever from next year to make room for an urban garden.
Discover Local Music at a Small Gig*
Sofar Sounds London hosts intimate gigs in unusual venues with a small, inclusive audience. Each gig is a surprise, you’ll discover new artists across genres and watch from a shop, a garden or from someone’s living room, Sign up near you for a gig you’ll remember. Entry requires a vaccination card or negative test and mask-wearing. Read their COVID-19 measures. *Dependent on COVID-19 rates and restrictions.
See London Illuminated
There are the classic festive lights of Oxford Street, Regent Street and Covent Garden. However, if you’re avoiding the crowds and want a bit more space, head to Wembley Park for Winterfest: Reunited in Light. Or, simply, wander around the city and find your own favourite spots lit up for a festive winter.