You know the weird in-between time after Christmas and before New Year? Well, it’s called Twixmas – from the word betwixt which is an old-fashioned word for between – and here at Secret London, we’ve put together a guide on how to make it less ‘Meh’ and more ‘hell to the yeah!’. Don’t worry about the post-Christmas blues and that ever-present Omicron threat, because there are still loads of opportunities to stretch out the magic of the season that little bit longer (the Christmas decorations are still up on the tree after all).
1. Enjoy a guided twixmas walking tour through the city
Many Londoners tend to use Christmas and New Year’s Eve as a reason to scarper and get out of the city into the countryside. But that’s good news for those that are wanting to stick around for twixmas, as you’ll have London practically all to yourself. You can wander down hidden, gas-lit alleyways past ancient pubs and UNESCO-listed sites on our very own Secret London walking tour, or explore on your own to see iconic sites including the London Eye, Tower Bridge and Nelson’s Column with none of the usual crowds. What a better chance to get some snaps and content for the old ‘gram, hey?! There are also some pretty great walks you can do around the city for that classic Boxing Day walk. Alternatively, why not try a pub crawl?
2. Pay a visit to Winter Wonderland while it’s still around
If you’ve got a Christmas activities itch that still just can’t be scratched, we recommend heading to this classic winter fairground-style pop-up before it vanishes back into thin air on January 3 for another year or so. From adrenaline-pumping rides – including the 85-metre-tall drop ride ‘The Hangover – to their legendary Bavarian beer hall, there’s plenty to see and do here during the twixmas period. One thing you can’t miss is a stroll through their Christmas markets section which has over 100 traditional chalets offering charming Christmas decorations, handcrafted gifts and culinary delights from all around Europe. There’s also bars aplenty if you’re still looking for that extra Christmas tipple, as well as the UK’s largest open air ice rink. Due to numbers, make sure you book ahead this year.
3. Explore a museum or an art gallery when the crowds aren’t there
London is famous for its museums and art galleries, so why not get your culture vulture hat on and see some of them without the crowds during twixmas? Obvious choices include the Natural History Museum – which has the ever-popular Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition and a display inspired by the magical Fantastic Beasts films entitled ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature’ on until January 2 2022 – as well as the British Museum. Other perhaps less obvious choices include Portobello Road’s Museum of the Brands, which showcases the evolution of household packaging, advertising and design from the Victorian era to the present day, as well as Greenwich’s historic Cutty Sark – the world’s sole surviving tea clipper and the fastest ship of its time.
4. Go for a thrilling twixmas spin on an ice rink
So many lovely ice rinks pop up around the capital for the Christmas period, and here at Secret London, we’re always sad to see them go – so you’d better get your skates on while you have the chance! One of the most magical is situated right outside the Natural History Museum – a video of which can be seen below – and others include the iconic Somerset House rink, the Hampton Court ice skating rink and the one outside the Queen’s House, set amongst the dreamy surrounds of a UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the city’s most recent is the rink at Skylight Tobacco Dock, from where you can enjoy views of London’s iconic skyline as you skate to your heart’s content.
5. Wander off that Christmas weight with a countryside walk
After all that ceremonial stuffing your face with turkey, pigs in blankets and mince pies, twixmas might be a good time to get a head-start on that January fitness regime! Why not wrap up in your warmest outerwear and head out of town to tackle a country walk in the rolling, green hills of England? Top walks include Surrey’s Box Hill hike, the Seaford to Eastbourne ramble – which takes in the famous Seven Sisters cliffs and Beachy Head – and Bodiam Castle, one of Britain’s most evocative castles, characterised by soaring turrets, manicured grounds and an extensive moat.
6. Brave the Boxing Day sales in person or virtually
Ok, so we don’t actually have that much information we can give you about this one, because it turns out most retailers like to keep this part of their year hush hush, so you’ll have to go and visit them to find out what their sales are like. No surprises there. But you could go to the shops if you felt comfortable doing it on Boxing Day or the other days pre-NYE. Chances are sales will be happening both in person and virtually, so you can still sit with your laptop and a glass of mulled wine and grab yourself some bargains. Camden’s Hawley Wharf is a neat new spot in which to shop, and Skyscanner will probably also be offering a few surprise flight deals if *fingers crossed* we get no more travel restrictions, so keep your eyes peeled for those here.
7. Indulge in yet more food and drink this twixmas
It’s not quite January yet, and twixmas is the perfect time in which to fill your boots with yet more food and drink. If you’ve had enough of turkey or nut roast with all the trimmings, why not try an Asian street food bottomless brunch on Boxing Day at Camden’s Tai Pan Alley? You’ll get three courses of the very best Asian homestyle cooking, with 90 minutes of unlimited cosmopolitans, prosecco or Langkawi Island ice teas – a nice taste of the tropics when the weather is at its coldest in England’s capital. You could also indulge in a fabulously-festive afternoon tea or do a pub crawl around 40 (!) of London’s best pubs with heated outdoor areas – well some of them at least!
8. Delve into London’s history under the cover of darkness
London remains one of the world’s most visited cities, and many come for its fascinating and diverse history. Many architectural gems here date all the way back to the mid-16th century, and instantly-recognisable landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London and Big Ben are all steeped in legends of days gone by. The city’s cobblestone streets and hidden nooks and crannies are also packed full of stories of ghosts, ghouls and murderous villains – see of you can find them under the cover of twixmas darkness with your very own ‘Haunted City’ exploration game.