Christmas looms ever closer on our calendars so it’s time to start working our way through those wish lists…
Santa can step aside for a second, we’ve got your Christmas covered. Instead of labouring over hours of frustrating present wrapping and scouring your fingers on scissor blades as you try to perfect a ribbon curl, you can give someone the gift of an experience. London is chock-full of fascinating things to do, ticking all the boxes for a memorable day or night with immersive events, mesmerising art exhibits and gripping adventure games. We’ve rounded up some of the best experiences in the city that will have your loved ones forgetting all about that rilimited edition vinyl you’d lost all hope in tracking down.
An invitation to the most eminent ball of the season would be a pleasing sight for many to behold and you can be the one to deliver it. From February 16, the frills-and-lace world of Bridgerton will arrive in London, giving fans a chance to step into the empire-waist dresses and double-breasted tuxedo coats of the people of the Ton. If you can get your hands on one of the prestigious tickets, you can gift someone an enchanting evening full of dance, drinking and, of course, a dash of delicious scandal. Those that stray from the ballroom are likely to stumble across a life-drawing room or duelling practice, and may even choose to partake in a game or two in an effort to win the Queen’s attention. Tickets are disappearing quicker than the swish of a ballgown, so don’t dilly dally, grab them now.
We’ve all wondered what it would be like to tumble into the pages of Harry Potter and this immersive experience gives you the chance to do just that. You can escape the city and head up north to a bewitching wilderness in Cheshire, where a stunning light trail takes you through a thick tangle of trees that has been transformed into the Forbidden Forest. Lurking in the shadows are all manner of mystical beasts and creatures waiting to be discovered, so shrug on your invisibility cloaks, keep an eye out for those mischievous Nifflers and make sure to have your wand at hand for the chance to perform a Patronus. At the end you can warm cold hands on a hot drink and tuck into some delicious food at the Village. Find tickets here.
If you know someone who fancies themselves a criminal mastermind or recently shut themselves off from the world to binge Money Heist, then this experience will be a dream present to find under the tree this Christmas. They can shimmy into a red jumpsuit and don the moustachioed masks to become one of the money-hungry gang. There, professional actors immerse you in the Money Heist world, performing scenes and tasking you with breaking into a former auction where there is believed to be an epic treasure. Once you’ve completed the heist you can reward yourself with Havana Club cocktails based on the Netflix show’s charismatic characters. Grab tickets here.
Treat a loved one to top-tier cocktails with one of these handy Smirnoff cocktail kits. The Moscow Mule box is inspired by the birth of the iconic drink in 1940s LA, while the Vodka Martini kit is an ode to glitz and glamour of 1950s New York. Each bespoke cocktail box contains all the ingredients needed to make four tasty serves – perfect for a sophisticated night in this winter! Get a Moscow Mule Box here or a Vodka Martini Box here.
Art aficionados will love a ticket to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece up close in London. A fusion of high definition photos and a special printing technique have allowed for the fascinating frescoes to be re-created for people to view up close. This is perfect for those who might have been turning out their pockets and dreading the idea of a turbulence-ridden plane journey, to witness a beautiful piece of Rome without stepping foot outside London (for the time being). If you are looking to wrap up a long-desired culture fix and a front row seat to one of the most famous pieces of art in history, this immersive exhibit is the answer. Get tickets here.
Nothing says Happy Christmas like the chance to solve a murder. There’s many people who have recently found themselves consumed by the likes of Line of Duty, scrawling down acronyms in notepads and trying to memorise every face that has appeared over the course of the entire series. Got someone in mind? Set in the tunnels of Clerkenwell Sorting Office, this gripping murder mystery experience lets you put yourself in the trench coat of a detective as you uncover clues, interrogate suspects and put the pieces together. Plus, there’s also the chance to ride the Mail Rail’s underground train. Discover tickets here.
With his signature style of swirling brushstrokes and colourful Post-impressionism, Van Gogh’s masterpieces give us a glimpse into his fascinating mind. This 360-degree digital art exhibit takes it up a notch, plunging you into his world with a dash of technological wizardry and of course a sprinkle of creative flair. You can invite a loved one to climb inside his iconic paintings, whether it’s taking a digital wander using a VR headset or taking a seat in an immersive room where his artwork has been brought to life with projection mapping – watch as Van Gogh’s almond blossoms rustle in the breeze and boats from Starry Night Over The Rhône bob on moonlit waters. Grab tickets here.
The true tale of the Titanic goes far beyond the doomed romance of the baby-faced Rose and Jack. This fascinating exhibition leads you on a narrative journey through the scrawled letters, personal keepsakes and fading photographs of the people on board. The tragic events that transpired on that fateful day in 1912 are recounted through audio testimonies from survivors, while recreated cabins highlight the gulf between first-class and third-class down to every last gilded detail and cramped condition. Those with an invested interest in the events of the Titanic will be immersed in the story of its first and last voyage, putting themselves in the shoes of the passengers more with every new piece of information. Know someone with a passion for history? You can find tickets here.
There’s something about a trip to the theatre: excitedly making your way there, wrapped up against the wintery chill, stepping into a warm lobby filled with buzzing crowds and plastered in colourful merchandise, taking a seat in front of grand red velvet curtains waiting for the show to begin. Then, music plays, the stage lights up and a story unfolds before your very eyes. Treat a musical lover to a ticket this Christmas and over the coming months they could be singing along with witches in Wicked or witnessing someone make a big mistake, huge, in the musical adaptation of Pretty Woman.
Whether it’s a present for a fellow fan of RuPaul’s drag race or you can’t wait for your friend’s pay day and have decided to cover the costs as a festive good deed, this Bougie Drag Brunch will be sure to put a smile on their face. The glitter-dipped soiree is an eleganza extravaganza with sickening drag performances, live music from DJs, delicious food and 90-minutes of bottomless cocktails to really get you in the mood for a boogie. This dragtastic experience should star on everyone’s Christmas list.
Fancy putting someones talk of zombie-killing prowess to the test? It seems to be that once someone has cleared a few levels of Resident Evil or watched Dave Bautista slay swarms of flesh-eating zombies with ease that they get some grandiose ideas in their head. Whether it’s a claim of deadly accuracy or a high kill count, you can give your friend the chance to prove their ability on the zombie battlefield with a ticket to this amazing mixed-reality experience. A combination of realistic props, immersive special effects and a life-threatening mission to save civilians will plunge them into Zach Snyder’s Army of the Dead where they will either sink or swim in the world of zombie-shooting. Find tickets here.
The game is afoot. Fans of the hit BBC show will be in their element at this immersive escape room experience. You can don the the sweeping black coat and royal blue scarf (from Benedict Cumberbatch’s iteration) of the iconic detective for 90-minutes of complex clues, mysterious codes and puzzling conundrums. This is an ideal gift for those who abhor the dull routine of existence and often found themselves swept up in the cases on the show: polishing their observational skills as they watched, eagle-eyed, in an effort to uncover the culprit before Sherlock himself. Over the course of the experience you will even receive some help from the cast themselves and visit familiar sets from the show. Grab your tickets here.