It’s the season to be jolly, but the endless succession of parties can get tiring- especially for your liver. Luckily there’s no shortage of alternative festive fun in Wildgoose’s UK home city of London. If you’re visiting the capital this year, check out our top picks for unique Christmas activities.
Natural History Museum’s winter ice rink
Get ready to dig out your mittens and take a twirl around the Natural History Museum’s iconic ice rink. Surrounded by pretty lights and a sparkling, nine metre Christmas tree, the venue’s iced gardens are also home to a fairground carousel for little (and big) kids. And if your skating style is more ‘Bambi learning to walk’ than ‘Dancing on Ice’, never fear- just take a trip to the cafe where you can warm up with a hot drink or glass of wine. The ice rink and cafe are both available for private parties and events, as well as skating classes and chocolate workshops.
When? Now until 7th January
Winterville in Clapham
Winter Wonderland is popular, but the crowds and queues can be hard to handle. For something a bit more low-key try Winterville, a Christmas festival in Clapham opening at the end of November. From live music and comedy to some of the city’s best street food, even the biggest Scrooge will find something to entertain them here. As well as a fairground, market and roller disco, the venue is going to be home to the Backyard Cinema’s Winter Night Garden. Accessible through a wardrobe door and a secret tunnel of trees, the heated, indoor cinema will be showing a range of Christmas movie classics throughout the festive season.
When? 23rd November to 1st January
Christmas at Kew- Kew Gardens
For anyone who’s after a real-life fairytale (or just an escape from reality), Christmas at Kew Gardens might be the answer. Open from nightfall, the famous botanic gardens are transformed for the season, decorated with more than a million twinkling lights. From singing trees to giant baubles and a fire garden, lucky children might even catch a glimpse of Santa and his elves at the North Pole village. Visitors can also enjoy a light show at The Palm House, featuring laser beams and kaleidoscopic projections. Don’t forget to bring your camera- there’ll be some seriously Instagram-worthy moments to capture.
When? 22nd November to 1st January
Bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘pop-up’, London is taking inspiration from the Arctic again this year, with temporary igloos available to hire across the city. Those in central London can try out Coppa Club’s transparent, heated pods, offering views of Tower Bridge and an extensive cocktail menu. Over in West India Quay, The Sipping Room has six pop-up igloos for hire, each decked out with electric heaters, blankets, hot water bottles and jumpers. Seating up to eight people, visitors can warm up with a selection of festive treats including pigs in blankets, stilton tarts and Christmas drinks.
When? Throughout December
Charity Christmas Carol concert
If your ears can’t take another round of Slade’s Merry Christmas Everyone, why not check out one of London’s charity carol concerts? In early December animal lovers can support Battersea Dogs & Cats Home at St Luke’s Church in Chelsea or head to St Bride’s Church on Fleet Street to raise funds for AdFam, a charity supporting the families of addiction sufferers. Later in the month, head along to Street Child’s Christmas Carol Concert, which is taking place at the Holy Trinity Church in Sloane Square and the Church of St Peter and Vincula at the Tower of London. Candlelit carols and readings will be followed by festive refreshments and all proceeds go to the charity’s Legacy of Ebola Appeal.
When? Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Carol Concert- 4th December
AdFam Carol Concert- 6th December
Street Child’s Christmas Carol Concert- 18th December at Holy Trinity Church in Sloane Square or 19th December at Tower of London.
Christmas treasure hunt
A festive treasure hunt makes a fun option for group events, parties and team building, with plenty of time to stop at your favourite bars along the way. Whether you’re chasing virtual elves or working together to solve a series of clues, you can hold these treasure hunts anywhere in the city- giving you the flexibility for creativity. Available for indoor and outdoor use, treasure hunts can include photo and video challenges- which is guaranteed to give your team a laugh once you’ve finished the turkey and wine on Boxing day. Games lovers might also enjoy a Christmas-themed escape room, which can be downloaded on phones and enjoyed across London.
When? Throughout November and December