When it comes to festive things to do in the capital, it really is the more the merrier – we love a full calendar come December! Which is why we followed up on our own list of wintery activities by asking you guys what you like to do in London at Christmas time.
The people have spoken (and you did not disappoint!). Featuring everything from cold-water swimming to the best roasts around, there’s a wonderfully wintery pastime for every occasion. Keep reading for inspo for your Christmas countdown!
Go for a (pre) Christmas roast
Many people (including us) will begin fantasising about their Christmas roast months ahead of eating it. And whether your main event is a turkey, a nut roast or you’re just here for the trimmings, London has a bountiful supply of places where you can tuck into this magnificent meal throughout the festive period. Some particularly popular audience suggestions were The Prince Arthur in Hackney and The Prince Regent in Herne Hill, but you can browse a whole list of excellent spots here.
Indulge in some pampering
Back to back drinks ‘dos and family engagements are part and parcel at this time of year. And you definitely won’t catch us complaining – that’s what it’s all about right? But we weren’t surprised to learn that you guys are also partial to a spa visit during the Christmas period. You’ve got to make time for some well-earned relaxation in the midst of all the merriment! And luckily, you can enjoy 22% off a 2 for 1 spa day with a 25 minute treatment across a range of London locations with this SWR reward. So grab your spa buddy and prepare for a day of blissful rejuvenation. You might just start January feeling refreshed after all!
Take a bracing alfresco swim
During the summer months, London’s outdoor swimming spots are brimming with people. But when December rolls around, only the feisty and fearless remain. Skip your morning coffee and get straight down to your nearest body of water to take the plunge. Aside from the numerous health benefits, it’s also a pretty lovely way to start your day (once you’ve warmed up). Then you can reward your bravery with a big slap up breakfast.
Grab a festive babka from Painted Dog Bakehouse
We love hearing about your guys’ favourite foodie treats (festive or otherwise). But this Babkastollen from Painted Dog Bakehouse simply had to get a shout out. Marrying the Stollen’s Christmassy flavours with this irresistible Jewish food staple, it’s a pairing we firmly support. The Painted Doghouse is based in Selfridges – but you can find their Babka at Melrose & Morgan in Hampstead and Primrose Hill, as well as Frank’s Canteen in Highbury.
Celebrate Christmas at Kew
There’s few things more enchanting than seeing the beautiful botanicals at Kew Garden drenched in lights. This magical winter trail includes sparkling tunnels, dancing lakeside reflections and so much more to feast your eyes on. But you can also enjoy an array of tasty morsels throughout the light-filled adventure. Visit the independent street food stalls and tuck into hot food, sweet treats and winter warmers while you explore.
Have a happy hump day on Columbia Road
Known for its gorgeous flower market and adorable boutiques, Columbia Road is a wonderful place to while away a Sunday afternoon. But on the four Wednesdays before Christmas, the street’s shops will open from 5pm-9pm in the name of Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays. It’s the perfect opportunity to sneak in some last minute Christmas shopping, as you’re guaranteed to find lovely, unique gifts across the road’s 50+ independent retailers.
Skate Late at Somerset House
Ice skating was always going to get a feature here, it’s a quintessential Christmas activity after all. But Skate Lates at Somerset House is far from your bog standard rink. With a specially curated line-up of leading contemporary live DJ’s, collectives and artists, you can skate in front of the beautiful backdrop of Somerset House, and have a right old party while doing so. Book your ticket here.
Chant and cheer at a Christmas panto
Taking fairy tales as old as time and transforming them into utterly outrageous slapstick comedy, a panto at Christmas is an absolute must (oh yes it is). Take a big dose of childhood nostalgia, mix it with some good old audience participation and you’ll have yourself a great time. Plus, you might even catch your favourite dancer from last year’s Strictly dressed up as a wicked stepmother!
Spread Christmas cheer with a charity
It was extremely heartwarming to hear lots of you like giving a little something back at Christmas. From using the skills you already have to help others with Crisis, to cooking and delivering surplus food with The Felix Project – there’s all sorts you can do to make a difference to someone else this Christmas.