Brrr, the cold has finally started to hit us, with car windows frosting over in the morning, heating turned on to the max and hot drinks being made left, right and centre. As I sit down with my cup of tea (how can a yorkshire girl not?!) I’m looking out of the window and planning the coming winter weekends.
Of course there are days when we all want to sit in with our feet, but I think many of us let our winter just slip away in the midst of Christmas and new year bills. Travelling may not be possible for all of us during these winter months, so travelling within the UK always seems like a good idea.
Now that I’m living in the south of UK, its not too far to get to London, and given the fact that its a busy bustling city means that there is always something to do there. So what are the top activities you can do in London?
- Winter Wonderland
If you have heard of this or not, Hyde park becomes a lit with Christmas magic during the winter time. With rides for kids and adults and little huts with cafes where you can enjoy a cheeky baileys and hot chocolate or some well deserved mulled wine to enjoy the Christmas cheer.
There is loads to do here! My personal favourite, and what I wanted to see this year was cirque berserk, which had showings late (8pm and 9pm on a Saturday and 7pm onwards on other days). The show didn’t disappoint either! Acrobatics and gymnasts creates a beautiful environment and enthusiasm which erupts in the room.
Although entry to the park is free, each individual event costs money and many of them are pre-bookable. This is often suggested as the queues can get very long! Prices and times differ for each event, but be prepared to pay up to £15 for each activity.
It is a very busy attraction, so get there early! 6pm onwards the queues aren’t going to be pretty!
2. Go Ice skating
Its not the activity I’m most skilled at, and its fair to say I’ve had my own share of bottom shuffling on the ice, but it never fails to put me in the Christmas spirit.
There are a few ice rinks in London including the well known national history museum. My favourite however is Somerset house!
I visited Somerset house this year. It is honestly stunning and a great place to just enjoy the beauty of London.
3. HYPER JAPAN Christmas
Yes, I can almost see the look of puzzlement across your face. Japan?! What has that got to with Christmas? But just bare with me on this one.
This is an amazing biannual event that showcases all the traditional and modern sides of Japan. If you know anything about Japan, you will have heard of Ramen, delicious katsu curries and other amazing food that is sold there. Not to mention traditional Japanese singing, as well Japanese pop music, calligraphy and even anime cosplay. Vinny and I attended this for the first time 2017 and were very surprised as to how much there is to do and just how much of the Japanese culture they show us! Of course if you are an anime lover then I think you will love this even more. Many of the people that came dressed up in cosplay to enter the competition here, again a really interesting sight to see and definitely something that would be great to see with family. Me and vinny bought so much stuff, with my personal favourite being the calligraphy of vinny’s name.
Creative events you can just turn up for, however I would definitely recommend checking the timetable online before you go. There is pretty much something going on all the time, but things like painting and other arty activities can sometimes be missed if you don’t know when (or where) they are.
It is usually on the last weekend of November, so if you are interested look well before to make sure you can go. Tickets are sold on the day as well, but will be more expensive.
4. Visit the magical lantern festival at Chiswick House
Lights, camera, action. Seriously the lights here are glorious.
The whole park is transformed into a lantern theme park. Huge lit structures of Chinese castles, Bambi and of course Santa himself. It is very very romantic to walk through, but is also great fun for children (all the children around us kept trying to figure out what the next structure would be). And if this wasn’t enough, at the end of this there is a little santas grotto, food (yesss!), and rides including my favourite the bumper cars.
Runs from 24th November to 1st January every year. The park opens at 5pm and doesn’t close till 10pm but if you want to enjoy the place, get there at 5pm. There are queues and by the time we walked all the way round (and took our photos), it was already 9pm!
5.. Visit Harrods
Harrods lights up beautifully during this time. As poor as you may think you are, people of all different backgrounds come and visit here. There are some lovely cafes inside (my personal favourite is still laduree). The whole atmosphere is so beautiful, its hard not to get in the mood of Christmas.