In between stuffing yourselves silly with leftover turkey, endless chocolates and one too many eggnogs, you might start getting the itch to get outta your family home and into the whirlwind that is London. From glittery Gatsby parties to theatre must-sees, we’ve rounded up the very best happening over the festive period.
Harry up and look at this! Hogwarts has had a festive makeover and we may just love it more than Ron does Hermione. The spellbinding occurrence is taking place at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter and features a festive gathering of glittering Christmas trees, flaming Christmas puddings set upon tables in a Great Hall replica and special effects galore. Instagram has already played host to thousands of #hogwartsinthesnow and we can vouch for it looking totes spectacular after having a scroll (and getting distracted from everything else we were meant to be doing!) The top section of the hall has been transformed into a Yule Ball; essentially one of the most magical places you’ve ever seen with icicles, magical instruments and more adorning the space.
You’ll be able to wander into Gryffindor common room and take in sights of Christmas treats. And there’ll also be a huge display of props from the films… whether or not you’ll wander into one of the stars themselves well, that would be Sirius-ly cool. Topping off the fun, you’ll drift past a Hogwarts castle model under a blanket of snow, making this an idyllic day-out and perfect spot to grab some snaps for the old Insta feed. For those who can’t get enough, and after the exhaustion of having so much fun, you’ll want to reload by diving into a meal amongst the magical surroundings. So, if you’re ready to have a Potter around in this enchanting space then jump on your Nimbus 3000 and visit up until 26th January.
Christmas isn’t Christmas without a snow queen making an appearance and this year it’s in the form of Elsa. Yup, the much anticipated Frozen 2 is out in cinemas this Christmas so make sure to nab, nab, nab yourself a ticket for you and the family. Frozen 2 sees Elsa the fabulous Snow Queen and her little sister Anna embark on one hell of an adventure far away from the little kingdom of Arendelle that they’d grown to know and love. Of course, they’re joined by their fiery friends Kristoff, Olaf and Sven.
Website: Showing In Cinemas Across The UK
One timeless Christmas performance that whisks us away year after year with its exquisite dancing and popular score returns for another festive season. Watch as Clara and her beloved Nutcracker doll discovers a magical world which sees her battled with the Mouse King and meet a rather handsome fella.
Wednesday 11th December – Sunday 5th January
For More Festive Theatre...
From Christmas theatrical classics to major showbiz returns, this Winter London is brimming with a hefty array of theatre must-sees. Whether you’re after a Shakespearean masterpiece, a dazzling snow queen or just a jolly ol’ time, we’ve round up nine of our favourite theatrical performances hitting the stage this Winter. Bring on the applause!
Find our theatre guide here with all of the festive shows across the city
Dine In A Winter Igloo
Love sitting outside but hate the cold? Why not Igloose yourself in the wintry world of igloos this season? Zoom on up to the tenth floor and find yourself at Aviary Rooftop Restaurant and Terrace Bar. This year they’ve teamed up with Talisker Whiskey under the tagline ‘Skye-line igloos’. Expect stunning views over Finsbury Square and London’s iconic skyline.
Find more ways to igloose yourself here
The Natural History Museum is the natural place to start any guide to London’s outdoor skating rinks. Whizz round and round under the gaze of this, one of London’s most majestic buildings, and afterwards grab a warming drink at the Café Bar.
Find more places to get your skates on here, including the dazzling Somerset House
Indulge In A Festive Afternoon Tea
It’s time for the festivi-teas to begin! After all there’s nothing better than an afternoon tea dolled up with a few Christmas trimmings! Expect a whole lotta turkey sandwiches, mince pies, and even a glass of fizz thrown in for good measure too.
Find all of the best festive afternoon teas here!
Catch A Festive Classic
Cosy up in your personal wooden hut adorn with blankets, fleecy rugs and hot water bottles at The Berkeley’s rooftop garden as you watch your favourite Christmas classics on the big screen. You’ll be glad to know you won’t have neighbours chomping on popcorn noisily as it’s the city’s only rooftop private cinema, accommodating just eight guests per viewing. Snuggle up in your wooden chalet-inspired cabin, dive into one of their festive foodie offerings all nodding to four different ski destinations, and enjoy either Home Alone or The Holiday on the big screen.
Running Friday 15th December – Tuesday 31st December
Just like excitable Edgar the Dragon from the John Lewis advert, we can’t fight this feeling anymore. We’re well and truly giving in to all the Christmas feels, whether December is here or not. If you’re keen to indulge in all things Yuletide or are a bit of a humbug in need of sparking some Christmas joy, here are the top 15 places to visit that will leave you as happy as Buddy the Elf on Christmas Eve.
Christmas is the only time of year it’s acceptable to drink cocktails every week night and live on a diet exclusively of Quality Street and things wrapped in pastry. We’re not complaining and with the wealth of festive tipples London is spoiling us with this winter, we say embrace it. From gingerbread espresso martinis to Bailey’s-infused shakes and gin-soaked drinks if you’re after something a (little) lighter, here are the best Christmas cocktails you’re sure to find in London.
Website: Cheers This Way...
Head To One Of London's Winter Terraces
Ice? Check. Fake snow? Check. Vodka to warm your cockles? Triple check.
Channeling the notorious lyrics from the famous vanilla ice song, Ice Ice Baby, the festive spirit is in full force atop the South Place Hotel wintry terrace. Stock up on your fave vodka Cîroc, snuggle down beneath a fluffy blanket and enjoy off of the festive offerings, from sparkly discos to Christmas carnivals.
We’ve rounded up our favourite winter terraces here
A party isn’t a party unless you’re dressed in a flapper dress, glass of fizz in tow, so why not celebrate in style this Christmas with The London Cabaret Club and their Gatsby themed festivities. Settle in for a night of glamour, glitter and flamboyance showcased throughout the three acts and delicious five star dinner courses.
Shop Until You Drop At One Of London's Winter Markets
If you’re still rushing around looking to get your Christmas fix whilst nabbing up the last few Christmas presents for your mum, dad and Aunty Pam, one place that’s guaranteed to tick all of the boxes is one of London’s Christmassy markets. Just expect to endure hours of the cinnamon heavy stench roaming the air…
You can eggnog yourself at more Christmas markets here
Catch The Best Festive Lights
Skip the kew and grab your tickets now for the most enchanting light installation at Kew Gardens. Now in its seventh 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 choccies while the parents enjoy a glass or two of mulled wine.
Game of Thrones and Harry Potter may be over, but we’re still obsessed with the magic. If you are too, we’ve found a secret London spot that will continue to spellbind. Enter the Hollyhock Cafe. Not only does the Richmond-based snug have the cutest name but Walt Disney surely must’ve cast eyes over it before writing Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? It looks like somewhere Hagrid would snap up and oozes total fairytale vibes.
If you’re a whizz on ice you’ll just love what QUEENS has in store for you this Christmas. Wrap up warm as you launch yourself onto the ice for their Christmas pop-up cinema experience. Seriously, it’s on the ice, so get your skates on and scoot on over. You can expect all of the Christmas classics from The Holiday to Elf, Miracle on 34th Street to Die Hard.
Think sugar, spice and all things pink this Christmas and you’ve got Fentimans Pink Gingerbread House nuzzled atop Skylight. Channel your inner Hansel and Gretel and embark on your own sugar-filled adventure scattered with candy canes, cocktails and, of course, gingerbread. It’s the perfect spot to cosy up after a glide along their iconic ice rink. If you go anywhere this Christmas make it Fentimans Pink Gingerbread House at Skylight.
If you’re planning on rocking over to London Bridge this Christmas you might meet a friendly face… or twelve. This year, London Bridge City has been taken over by twelve wonderfully adorable snowmen. Drawing influences from The Snowman, Wild in Art have partnered with Penguin Random House to design twelve festive snowmen all inspired by the Christmas classic The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Running 26th November – 5th January
Get your Christmas song requests at the ready as you make your way to The Piano Works. Champion your inner Beyoncé and sing your heart out late into the night. Or, just soak up the six-piece house band’s amazing live tunes.
Is London the food capital of the world? Or is it Paris? Or maybe somewhere in the far east, Tokyo perhaps? No, the food capital of the world is, in fact, inside the V&A. Because there’s an entire city made of actual food.
If you’ve ever spent an afternoon making Gingerbread houses, hours spent arduously trying to get the icing to stick that pitched roof together without collapsing the entire property, then spare a thought for the guys who came up with this; The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City. The annual exhibition brings together architects, designers and engineers to create an entire metropolis constructed entirely of gingerbread. The RSJ-free zone is meant to connect the public with architecture, and the best way to do that is appealing to our innate love of gingerbread. The result is intricate designs, gingerbread houses, businesses and civic buildings, and in fact everything that the gingerbread men and women who will presumably populate this city will need.
Catch it until 5th January
Have yourself a merry little Christmas at one of Backyard Cinema’s wintry hideouts this year. Their most loved theme The Winter Night Garden has returned this season at their brand new venue in Wandsworth. Pad on your finest faux-fur coat and enter through the wardrobe, uncover the enchanted forest lit up with twinkling fairy lights and rediscover your love of Christmas classics. From The Muppets Christmas Carol to Love Actually, The Santa Claus to Elf, and a few wintry favourites too thrown into the measure too.
Running throughout November and December
Nothing says Christmas more than a circus performance, aye? This festive season La Clique returns to the wonderful West End combining the worlds of circus, comedy, cabaret, subversive performance and contemporary Vaudeville.
Running until 4th January 2020
Indulge At A Festive Venue
Escape the chaos of Christmas shopping and pull up a pew at the counter side at ROBATA. It’s the perfect spot to wind-down after a stressful day in central and devour a speedy robata style menu. To champion the festive spirit, grab your friends, family or co-workers and dive into one of their sharing menus.
Cosy Up By An Open Fire
Brrr, it’s getting cold in the city! The only way we want to warm up is curling up in a ball with a nice cuppa Joe or a dreamy hot choccie, or heading to one of London’s last remaining pubs, restaurants or hotels with a roaring open fire, mulled brew in hand. We’ve rustled up a few of our favourite London fireplaces, here…
Spend The Day Exploring 30 Of London's Spellbinding Christmas Pop-Ups
Yule never believe what’s propping up in and around the city this Christmas.To help you soak up the Christmas spirit, we’ve rounded up the biggest and best Christmassy pop-ups. So, throw on your party dress, kitten heels and mittens (it’s freezing outside remember), and let’s get rocking around the Christmas tree. Here’s 30 Christmassy pop-ups to indulge in…