Tis the season!
By Jen (follow Jen on Twitter: @JenBarnes207)
I love December – almost as much as I love January (but only because January is my birthday month). I love winter, I love the holiday spirit and I love all of the fairy lights that appear draped across every inch of London. As you can see- I have lots of love for this time of year. Not surprisingly, December’s list is full of markets, mince pies and more lights so prepare yourselves for some holiday cheer! As always, some of my fellow BrokeinLondoners have some more ideas for you in the Free Entertainment in London section.
#1 Tintin: Hergé’s Masterpiece | All Month
Who doesn’t love Tintin!? And if you don’t know Tintin- I promise you’ll love him. The free Tintin exhibition at Somerset House introduces you to the intrepid young reporter who became one of the world’s most iconic comic-strip heroes. You’ll also learn more about Hergé, Tintin’s creator, using items from the archives of the Hergé Museum in Belgium. Don’t miss out- you’ll definitely leave smiling.
When: Daily, 10am – 6pm
Where: Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA
#2 Monocle Christmas Market | 5th – 6th December
If you’re anything like me- you appreciate somebody else taking the time to curate your Christmas shopping, far away from Oxford Street, so all you have to do is wander amongst beautiful things. The Monocle Christmas Market will be full of lovely, well-designed items that will probably make your life better. They won’t be free- but window-shopping doesn’t cost a penny!
When: 5th -6th December, 11am – 5pm
Where: Midori House, 1 Dorset Street, London W1U 4EG
#3 Christmas Light Switch-On and Christingle Service | 2nd December
More fairy lights! 3,000 metres of them to be exact – at the Borough Market Christmas Light Switch-On. There’s a traditional Christingle Service at Southwark Cathedral at 530pm followed by the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Middle Road. The Cash Cows will be playing live music mulled wine and mince pies will be available from the Cartwright Brothers and Konditor & Cook on a first come first served basis. Get there early!
When: 2nd December November, from 1730pm
Where: Borough Market, London SE1 1TL
#4 London Bridge City Christmas Market | All Month
Wooden chalets, hot chocolate, mulled wine and craft beer are all on offer at the London Bridge City Christmas Market this year. More London will be hosting free viewings of holiday favourites like Love Actually and on Friday 18th December you can have a photo taken in a giant snow-globe for Save the Children and Cambridge House.
When: 30 November 2015 – 3 January 2016 – 10am-8pm daily (closed on Christmas Day)
Where: Tower Bridge & London Bridge City | More London, London SE1 2DB | Hay’s Galleria, London SE1 2HL | London Bridge City Pier, London SE1 2QN
#5 Gabriel’s Wharf Magical Christmas | 6th December
Yes-it’s another market, but Gabriel’s Wharf Magical Christmas involves a bandstand and complimentary mulled wine while you do your Christmas shopping. There will also be free crafting where you can make your own Christmas decorations to add to the Christmas tree!
When: 6th December, 11am-7pm
Where: Gabriel’s Wharf, London SE1
#6 Crafty Fox Christmas Markets | Various Dates
Crafty Fox Christmas Markets are the best. There are a handful of Markets across London in Brixton, the Docklands, Peckham and Hoxton so you never have to travel far. Entry is always free and there’s DJs, a café and a bar to keep you entertained while you browse stalls from designers and makers across the UK. You can do your present shopping while supporting local designers – everybody wins! Except you- so buy yourself something, too.
When: Various Dates
Where: Brixton, Docklands, Peckham, Hoxton
#7 Balibart Pup-Up | 8th – 24th December
If you’re passing through Old Street, or even if you’re not, make sure you visit the Balibart Pop Up Shop. The store will showcase 50 artists’ work from their portfolio of 200. You can browse or you can buy prints, greeting cards and arts book – you might even be able to get it signed by the artist!
When: 8th – 24th December, Monday-Friday 8am-7pm/Saturday-Sunday 10am-6pm
Where: Old Street Station, Unit 18, London
#8 Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square | 7th – 23rd December
Trafalgar Square transforms into a Winter Wonderland during the holiday season and it’s the best place to listen to free Christmas Carols in the capital. All of the choirs are singing to raise money for charity, so make sure you have some pounds to spare after you buy drinks to keep you warm. Tis the season for giving, afterall.
When: 14th December, doors at 615pm
Where: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
#9 Chanukah in the Square| 6th – 14th December
December isn’t just about Christmas- there’s another festival of lights and you can celebrate Chanukah in the Square for every night of the festival. There’s a giant Menorah, free doughnuts, music by the Maccabeats on Wednesday the 10th December– what more could you ask for?
When: 6th – 14th December
Where: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
#10 New Year’s Eve | 31st December
London is pretty good at fireworks- and none are better than the New Year’s Eve fireworks. They are ticketed again this year- but find a good view of the Thames and you won’t miss out on the show. Design My Night has a list of free and budget New Year’s Eve Parties in London to get your night started!
When: 31st December
Where: Along the Thames