So, this is probably a little late on, but with Christmas a week away and there still being time after the big day (a post Christmas pick-me-up if you want)- I thought I’d put together a little guide of some of my favourite things to do to feel festive in the capital. Okay, these aren’t exactly secrets or hidden gems to everyone- and you’ve probably heard or seen these across the net, on Instagram or on Time Out- but these are some of my favourite things to do in London if you have a little time, or an evening to spare. I was also thinking of doing a ‘Post Christmas London guide’ with things to ease the January blues- so let me know if you’d like to see that too!
To be honest, although I did ballet as a little ‘un, I never really fell head over heels with it. I was far too shy and lazy growing up to pursue any dancer dreams, and pretty much only enjoyed wearing a tutu and pretty ballet slippers (cheater)! Anyway, last week I saw The Nutcracker, and in short- I’d be happy to see it every day throughout December if money/seating was no object. It was the most festive thing I’ve possibly done this month, and was the most magical way to spend an evening. It’s on until the 4th of January, so I’d recommend booking ASAP, but it’s truly worth it.
Find it: London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES From: 11 Dec – 4th Jan ’15
Perhaps not necessarily the most festive place to unwind (which isn’t always a bad thing), this little hideout near Seven Dials is certainly an absolutely delicious place to get some dinner pre or post theatre (especially if you hit up The Nutcracker), and their Christmas set menu is a wonderful twist on your classic roast, too. Joe and I feasted on their delicious burger sliders, salted caramel ice cream (as good as it sounds) and steak- and left feeling suitably full and ready to go back and sample more- bon appetit!
Find it: 4a Upper St Martin’s Lane, London
Covent Garden Market
It would be rude to do any kind of Christmas guide and leave out Covent Garden’s beautiful Apple Market. Joe and I came here one evening, when it was a little more quiet, solely to admire the decorations and it was absolutely stunning. During the day there’s different stalls serving everything from mince pies, salted caramel tarts and everything in between (plus there’s REAL reindeers there this weekend)- which is pretty special too. That’s of course without mentioning the shops that line the market- Chanel, Burberry and Laduree anyone?
Find it: Nearest tube, Covent Garden or Charing Cross
St Paul’s Cathedral
This may not be quite for everyone, but if you’re a fan of exercising those lungs, or simply want some traditional Christmas goodness- than popping by to a reading or carol service at St Paul’s Catherdral is certainly one way to get in the spirit, and that’s without even mentioning the breathtaking building itself. There’s something completely special about spending time here, and after visiting for their annual Carol Concert earlier this week (and singing my tiny heart out to ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing) I’m determined to go back again very soon.
Find it: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
Southbank Christmas Market
Another not-so-secret pick but gorgeous during the evening (don’t arrive during the day without checking opening times, as I learnt arriving to lots of closed attractions), this strip along London’s Southbank is scattered with traditional log cabin stalls, laden with hot chocolate, mulled wine, more churros than you can shake a stick at- and a Christmassy carousel to boot. Also perfect if you fancy a Christmassy ‘Love Actually’ style stroll along the river before the big day.
Find it: Southbank Centre SE1 8XX From: 11 Nov – 4th Jan ’15
If that’s not enough…
– Head to Camden Market to visit their Christmas stalls as well as hit up their incredible Stables Vintage – As well as Somerset House and the Natural History Museum, Vauxhall have an awesome new rink and Christmas tree maze – If Winter Wonderland is too busy, head to East London’s Winterville for street food and festive goodness, including cult-foodie-favourite VooDoo Rays!- I also love Borough Market during December to pick up supplies and to try new festive treats!-