Struggling to think of ways to keep the visiting in-laws this festive season? Need an excuse to not cook for the whole extended family? We’ve got your back with our guide of the very best things to do in that awkward bit between Christmas and New Year. 

From UV cricket to Hogwarts in the Snow, ice skating to the ultimate brunch hangover cure, here’s what to do.

Wave at Greenwich Peninsula 

Zoom over to Greenwich Peninsula this December to catch Wave, an interactive sculptural light installation. Designed by the British experimental lighting designers at Squidsoup, the installation is home to 500 individual suspended orbs in the form of a sculptural wave through sound and light.   

A magical experience for all ages, head down and see the colourful installation illuminate in front of your eyes. The 20-metre sculpture will be situated in Peninsula Square, by the entrance of the Design District between NOW Gallery and new food hub Canteen.

WHEN: Until 9TH JANUARY
WHERE: PENINSULA SQUARE, GREENWICH PENINSULA,
WEBSITE: WWW.GREENWICHPENINSULA.CO.UK

The Snow Kingdom & The Winter Night Garden, Backyard Cinema 

Fall in love with the magic of cinema once again this Christmas as Backyard Cinema’s The Snow Kingdom and The Winter Night Garden return with Christmas film classics. From the Home Alone franchise to Will Ferrell’s iconic Elf, The Muppets Christmas Carol to Love Actually, make sure you reserve your tickets now because many screenings have already sold out.

WHERE: CAPITAL STUDIOS, RAM QUARTER, 13 WANDSWORTH PLAIN SW18 1ET
WEBSITE: WWW.BACKYARDCINEMA.CO.UK

La Fiesta Brunch at Aqua Nueva

For the brunch fiends, look to Aqua Nueva and their popular La Fiesta brunch. Available daily between Saturday 18th December and Saturday 1st January, book in to spoil your visiting family with a feast. 

Start with tapas before devouring matured beef sirloin with mustard sauce, roast potatoes and mixed leaf salad; and chocolate churros with candied orange to finish.  You can also add some festive cheer with the addition of free-flowing cocktails and bubbles including the brilliantly vibrant Manzana Martini mixed with Tio Pepe, apple juice & lime.

They’ve also launched a festive cocktail menu! Split into five sections – Spirit of Christmas, Fuyu Terrace, Inspirations, Creations and Classics – the new menu at Aqua Spirit Bar aims to guide guests through the style and flavour of each cocktail. From the deep and sumptuous to the wicked and spicy, find your perfect drink to toast the festive season.

Hidden above Oxford Circus, the Aqua Spirit Bar offers technical and creative cocktails, as well as fine wines and beers. Open for reservation and walk-ins- the ideal way to round off a busy day of Christmas shopping!

When: 19th December – 1st January
Where: 5th Floor, 240 Regent Street, W1B 3BR
Website: www.aquanueva.co.uk

Sixes Social Cricket

Have family visiting over the festive period but are running low on ideas on how to keep them entertained? Head to Sixes Cricket Club to heighten the competitive nature between you and your cousins….

Sixes Cricket Club is a super fun venue that allows you to place cricket and dine all in one place. Home to the Sixes Cricket Simulator which draws on influences from Top Golf, Flight Club and Puttshack, there are three options to choose from – cricket battings nets, UV cricket and virtual cricket. 

Co-founded by Mac and Wild’s Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon, you know you’re in good hands when it comes to the food too. Think gastro-pub vibes – expect burnt end nuggets with beef gravy; beef short rib on bone marrow toast; and mac and cheese croquettes.

Where: Fitzrovia & Fulham
Website: www.sixescricket.com

Winterfest at Wembley Park

Winterfest has returned to Wembley Park! This December roam the winter lights trail and fall in love with the 25m LED Christmas tree and its 100,000 mesmerising lights. And the best part? The trail is free to explore. 

This year’s lights theme is ‘Reunited in Light’, a nod to the reunions we’re all experiencing this Christmas season after last year’s lockdown restrictions and hiatus.

WHEN: UNTIL 2ND JANUARY
WHERE: 2 WEMBLEY PARK BOULEVARD, WEMBLEY PARK, HA9 0HP
WEBSITE: WWW.WEMBLEYPARK.COM

Hogwarts in the Snow 

From flaming Christmas puddings to glittering Christmas trees, prepare to dive headfirst into a Christmas wonderland as the Harry Potter studio is transformed into Hogwarts in the Snow.

Whizz over on your Nimbus 2000 and fall in love with the epic Hogwarts castle model that’s been covered in a dusting of snow, before making your way through the Gryffindor common room and Boys’ dormitory. It’ll be as if Harry and his friends are still living in the space, with original props including handmade Christmas cards on display. John Richardson and the SFX team have used their expertise to create fireplaces that flicker and appear lifelike.

New for 2021, the Forbidden Forest will be given a festive makeover draped in layers of snow. Even the cobbled stone walkway and shop fronts of Diagon Alley will be adorned with filmmaking snow, for the first time ever. It’s so realistic that you’ll even hear a crunch under foot and snowflakes floating around you.

A huge part of the Hogwarts experience sits inside the Great Halls, that’s been given a Winter makeover and is abrim with wreaths, garlands and trees topped with witches on miniature broomsticks.

WHEN: UNTIL 16TH JANUARY
WHERE: STUDIO TOUR DRIVE, LEAVESDEN, WD25 7LR
WEBSITE: WWW.WBSTUDIOTOUR.CO.UK

Gingerbread City 

Need some inspiration for your festive gingerbread creation this Christmas? Look to the Gingerbread City, the annual exhibition that sees architects, designers and engineers build a city out of gingerbread. 

Running from 4th December to 9th January, head down to get inspired by the creations, from the adorable little houses to windmills, skyscrapers to cars. This year’s theme is ‘Nature in the City’, helping to raise awareness of pollution and the environment.

WHEN: 4TH DECEMBER – 9TH JANUARY
WHERE: 6-7 MOTCOMB STREET, BELGRAVIA, SW1X 8JU
WEBSITE: ​​WWW.THEGINGERBREADCITY.COM

Christmassy Venues

Christmas may have passed but that doesn’t mean you can’t still soak up the festivities during the period between 25th and 31st. Eke out every ounce of the festive season with a trip to one of London’s most Christmassy restaurants and bars.

From Daphne’s bauble paradise to The Ivy Chelsea Garden’s Whoville makeover, here’s where to feel festive between Christmas and New Year.

Boxing Day Brunch at Hithe + Seek

Let Hithe + Seek take the hassle out of throwing a banquet and book in for their special Boxing Day Brunch. The good times will keep rolling thanks to their free-flowing mimosas, along with a menu full of warming, seasonal specials. 

Available on 26th December, you won’t have to worry about tackling yet another roast dinner or ‘picky bits’ tea as everyone will be fuelled for the day thanks to their tasty brunch, and with views stretching over the River Thames, it’s guaranteed to impress.

When: 26th December
Where: 60 Upper Thames Street, EC4V 3AD
Website: www.hitheandseek.com

Barnett Hill

The days between Christmas and New Year are spent catching up with family in your PJs, choccy for breakfast and sipping on your favourite festive tipples. Take the everyday escapism one step further this Christmas and head to Barnett Hill for board games by the fire, hearty breakfasts and frolics with the family as you explore the stunning Surrey Hills.  

If you need some ideas to get you out and about, head to their website to find out more…

Where: Barnett Hill, Blackheath Lane, Guildford, GU5 0RF
Website: www.alexanderhotels.co.uk

Skate at Somerset House 

Grab your skates and whizz on over to Somerset House to experience the capital’s most magical Christmassy experience. 

Perfect for budding ice skaters or for just making a fool out of yourself, the ice rink is arguably the best in London, and is complete with a giant 40ft Christmas tree. You’ll find food and drink offerings waiting for you at the finish line too, helping to warm you up with comforting favourites.

WHEN: UNTIL 16TH JANUARY
WHERE: SOMERSET HOUSE, STRAND, WC2R 1LA
WEBSITE: WWW.SOMERSETHOUSE.ORG.UK

Nutcracker 

A London Christmas staple, the Nutcracker returns to the London Coliseum for a limited run of performances. See over 100 dancers and musicians perform in front of what’s set to be a sold-out audience. 

Expect stunning set design and Tchaikovsky’s score to be performed live as you follow Clara and her Nutcracker’s story unfold. Book your tickets early as the return of the Nutcracker is set to sell like hotcakes.

WHEN: 16TH DECEMBER – 8TH JANUARY
WHERE: LONDON COLISEUM, ST MARTIN’S LANE, WC2N 4ES
WEBSITE: WWW.THEATRETICKETSDIRECT.CO.UK

The Lane

Experience theatre like never before with a late night tour of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, the world’s oldest theatre in continuous use. The hour-long guided tour takes guests on a journey through the historic London landmark, and throughout December, there’ll even be hidden tales and conspiracies being told about the ‘ghosts of Christmas past’. 

Keeping in tune with the festive season, guests are invited to enjoy mulled wine and a mince pie in the Cecil Beaton bar, whilst tour actors unearth the hidden tales. And you never know, you might even see a sighting of the theatre’s most famous ghost… 

Christmas tours are available from 6th – 9th and 14th – 16th  December. Daily tours of the theatre are available Wednesday and Friday at 10:30am, 12pm and 2:30pm, Thursday and Saturday at 10:30am and 12pm, and Sunday at 10:30am.

Where: Catherine Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5JF
Website: www.thelane.co.uk

TRDL event 6-8-21

Festive Afternoon Tea 

You’ll find all of your favourite festive teas last longer than you think… If you’re looking to take your visiting nan out for a pot of tea or want to entertain the kids during the period between Christmas and New Year, try one of London’s festive teas. 

This season’s selection of festive afternoon teas are extraordinary, from The Lanesborough’s adorable gingerbread cupcakes to TĪNG Restaurant’s Alpine inspired element. And The Milestone, famed for its sweetshop tea, even has a special selection of treats for the little ones.

A Christmas Carol at Alexandra Palace 

Christmas Day may have passed but that doesn’t mean you can’t still soak up the best of the festive classics, including Alexandra Palace’s take on A Christmas Carol.

Shows are running until 9th January so you can catch your chance to see just how Ebenezer Scrooge bodes on his unexpected journey to Christmas past, present and future.

When: Until 9th January
Where: Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY
Website: www.alexandrapalace.com

Where: Hart St, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2AR
Website: www.therelaishenley.com

New Year’s Eve Candlelit Dinner At The Relais Henley

If the usual nightclub NYE scene isn’t your style, then a romantic candlelit dinner might be the ticket. Enjoy the last of the festivities over a four course dinner, with a glass on champagne on arrival.

Don’t forget your dancing shoes, as after dinner there will feature live music and dancing- here’s to 2022!

 


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