A Guide for All Things Festive in the City of London
By Afro (follow her on Twitter: @graphiclondoner)
An e-mail went around the office this morning stating that we are only 5 weeks away from Christmas. Starbucks’ red cups are out, seasonal adverts from all major retailers play non-stop and Selfridges have their Christmas windows up. This it is folks! We are counting down to Christmas!
I was initially asked to write a post about the best Christmas markets, but then we thought: you know what? You probably know all you need to know about Christmas markets in London already, and if you don’t, our friends over at Londonist have written an article that consolidates them all (Kelly has also written an article on her all-time favourite markets, so have a read if you’re starting to plan your gifts!)
But we have a special task here which is to prep you for those jolly days. We know working in London takes up most of your energy so we’ve made a guide with all the Christmassy things you need to do (without sparing any detail) to make sure you live this period to the fullest while having fun – now put on your Christmas jumper and get out there!
#1 Citydash | 20th December | Greenwich (£15)
This is the Christmas special version of Citydash–all the usual features of running and solving clues including Christmas lights, shiny checkpoints and an army of Bad Santas (in their own words!). Run, escape and may the best team win! Not for the faint-hearted!
#2 Winterville |2nd December – 1st January | Victoria Park
Everyone is already talking about Winterville (the big sister of Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland). This one has gone all the way east to Victoria Park and promises a variety of events and attractions that will make you sing ‘Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree!’
#3 Enchanted Woodland |21st November – 7th December | Syon Park (£7)
Enjoy a stroll among magically illuminated trees and feel like you truly are in an enchanted woodland. I’ve been meaning to visit this park for a few years now and I feel that the time has come. It takes about half an hour to walk through this colourful trail but if you like pictures (like me!) it’s wiser to allow more time for your visit!
#4 Christmas Tree Maze | Vauxhall (£4)
A Christmas Tree Maze appears to be quite popular this year but Vauxhall’s is probably the biggest: 1 square km of illuminated trees. Say no more! See you there!
#5 Incarnation | 5th December | Departure Café | Limehouse
Celebrate with the team behind Husk Café (previously known as Departure). This is one of my favourite community cafes in London – particularly because of the cosy atmosphere. This night, there will be mince pies, live music, comedy and poetry. The perfect Friday evening!
#6 Roman Road London | 4th – 7th December | Mile End
This small market in East London is a top-kept secret. They have prepared a weekend full of interesting events including classic Christmas film screenings in participating coffee shops (check their schedule and book your seat in advance), handmade gifts, mince pies, hot mulled wine, apple strudels, Christmas lights and carols!
#7 Midnight Apothecary Christmas Singa-Longa |20th December| Rotherhithe (£5)
Midnight Apothecary – the herbal gardenwith the amazing cocktails above Brunel museum- is back once a month throughout winter. Their December event promises a roaring fire, marshmallows and lots of Christmas sing-alongs to keep you warm! Wrap warmly and enjoy a cosy evening!
#8 Christmas Carols for shoppers | 13th December | St Martin-In-The-Fields
Nothing says traditional British Christmas more than some nice Christmas carols. Plenty of options around the city (ticketed or for free). This is our favourite because it makes for an excellent break among your Christmas shopping 🙂
#9 Intrude | 6th December – 11th January | Southbank
This art installation by Australian artist Amanda Paper is part of Southbank’s Winter Festival. Amanda has been selected four times for the Blake Prize, as well as for the Glover Prize in 2008, 2012 and 2013. Intrude sees startlingly beautiful creatures enlarged and frozen within our Winter Festival habitat. I mean I don’t know about you, but I am totally convinced by the picture and it vaguely reminds me of a mystical Alice in Wonderland scene!
Outside Terraces, across the Southbank Centre site.
#10 Christmas Past: 400 Years of Seasonal Traditions in English Homes | 25th November – 5th January | Geffrye Museum
Step back in time and see for yourself how Christmas decorations have evolved through British history. Geffrye museum transforms 11 period living rooms with authentic festive decorations, lighting, music and greenery to give visitors a magical glimpse into how Christmas has been celebrated in English middle-class homes over the past 400 years. Some people have made this their annual tradition! Is this your turn?
Extra Tip: Another excellent activity is to attend a silent disco event. Check out the latest Silent Disco events in London.