things to do between christmas and new year

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.

Need more child-friendly inspo? Here’s what to do with the kids over Christmas.

things to do between christmas and new year: Backyard cinema

Backyard Cinema 

Fall in love with the magic of cinema once again this Christmas. Backyard Cinema’s magical makeover has commenced. Hop onto the 1920s-inspired steam train, before stepping through the constellation of stars toward the Northern Lights. You’ll find a giant bean bag waiting for you at the finish line, surrounded by snow-topped trees and your favourite festive movies.

Bookings are now open for the festive season – expect to find all of your favourites, from Elf to The Polar Express, The Grinch to Home Alone.


The London New Year’s Day Parade

What better way to ring in the new year than an iconic London tradition: The New Year’s Day Parade. Since 1987 this extravagant parade has been entertaining those on the streets of London’s West End. With humungous blow-up balloon characters, sing and dance performances, and celebrity appearances, the kids with love it and it makes a great opportunity for some quality friends and family time, which is what the New Year is all about.

If you can’t pull yourself out of bed, we don’t blame you but do not fret the Parade is being streamed by PBS and BBC radio. Tune in a 12pm to embrace the New Year’s cheer.

When: 1st January 2023
Where: London’s West End

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

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.


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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.

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 underfoot 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 are abrim with wreaths, garlands and trees topped with witches on miniature broomsticks.


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 3rd December to 2nd January, head down to get inspired by the creations, from the adorable little houses to windmills, and skyscrapers to cars. This year’s theme is ‘Nature in the City’, helping to raise awareness of pollution and the environment.


Christmassy Venues

Christmas may have passed but that doesn’t mean you can’t still soak up the festivities during the period between the 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 Annabel’s fun-fair carousel, here’s where to feel festive between Christmas and New Year.

Take a trip outside London

There is no denying that the time between Christmas and New Year’s can be absolutely exhausting. Take a vacation from your vacation, and venture outside the city for a day or an overnight escape. From the Cotswolds to the coast there are endless options to choose from. We’ve got you covered with all the best places to stay, eat, drink, and soak up that invaluable festive time.

Start planning your holiday staycation


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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

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.



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.


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 is extraordinary, from The Lanesborough’s charming edible baubles to TĪNG Restaurant’s out-of-this-world tea. 

Embrace a Dazzling Light Show

London is famous for its twinkling holiday light show. If you haven’t seen one already this holiday season, the week between Christmas and New Year’s is the perfect time to do so. With so many to choose from, it can be quite overwhelming, so here are two of The Handbook’s favourites.

Lightopia returns this winter, bringing a magical instalment of mesmerising light displays, interesting trails and plenty of family-friendly fun. The light display takes over Crystal Palace Park every year, with a brilliant line-up of immersive installations and pretty lights to explore. Perfect for kids, teens and parents, this is the ultimate day out to book this season.

Skip the Kew and grab your tickets now for the most enchanting light installation at Kew Gardens. Now in its tenth year, Christmas at Kew is littered with glittery spiral trees, wow-worthy laser projections and endless tunnels of fun. The kiddies can dive into buckets of moreish churros and hot chocolates while the parents enjoy a glass of mulled wine or two.

Click here to find more of London’s light shows.

Where: Hart St, Henley-on-Thames RG9 2AR

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 of champagne on arrival.

Don’t forget your dancing shoes, as after dinner there will feature live music and dancing- here’s to 2023!

drag brunch

Play a Sassy Game of Bingo

Proud Cabaret will give you a naughty twist to a game of bingo! Enjoy dirty jokes, and fabulous drag performances, and maybe even find yourself singing and dancing along. Sip on carefully crafted cocktails or prosecco and indulge in a fine dining experience. With brunch and dinner shows, there are many options to choose from this festive season. Whichever option you choose will not disappoint with a raunchy, and endlessly entertaining drag-drenched bingo!

Where: 1 Mark Lane Opposite Fenchurch St Station, 1 Mark Ln, London EC3R 7AH


Where: 10a Northumberland Ave, London SW1A 2BD

Step Into a Wintery Haven

The Winter Garden is an outdoor oasis here in the heart of London. Offering immersive dining experiences for every season, it is the perfect destination to treat yourself and your loved ones.

Enjoy the ambient terrace filled with twinkling lights, mosaic detailing, roaring fireplaces and blankets to keep warm. While taking in the ornate terrace, indulge in the finest pre-embargo Cuban cigar and the alpine-inspired menu.

Visit the Home of Ping Pong

There is nothing more festive than a little competition between friends and family. Head over to Bounce to play not your average ping pong game. Create memories around the table with high-tech games for an experience you won’t forget.

You can keep it classic or let your university alter ego come out with a game of beer pong. Sing along to your favourite festive tunes this holiday season at Bounce.

Bounce is currently running a campaign that offers guests £12 ping pong and house drink, with a pizza on them. (T&Cs: Pre-booked only, minimum group size 4).

Book now to receive this amazing holiday deal!


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Where: 241 Old St, London EC1V 9EY

A Gatsby Christmas at The London Cabaret Club

Plunge yourself into the world of one of the greatest stories from the 20th Century. Step back in time into a heart-racing and immersive adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal Jazz Age novel that places you in the centre of the action.

Slip on your dancing shoes and watch the story unfold in this unique blend of fine dining and sensational entertainment. The champagne is flowing, the music is playing and a mysterious millionaire has invited you to the most extravagant evening in town.

Expect mystery, scandal and dazzling innovation.

Book now for shows on Thursday 29th December or Friday 30th December.

Where: Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, London WC1B 4DA, UK


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