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The Collective Recommends: 10 fun things to do in London this festive season

It’s almost Christmas and we’ve just had our first snow day. Where have the last 12 months gone? 

We can all agree 2022 has been a year to remember for a variety of reasons. The Collective are here to help you send it off in style. 

We want you to make the most of this magical time of year, so we've collated a list of fun festive activities, events and locations for you to explore in London over the holiday period and beyond into the winter months.

1. Take in London’s stunning Christmas light displays

The city truly comes alive at this time of year with twinkling displays. Here are three of the best:

  • For quirky themed lights, head to Carnaby Street and the surrounding area and get some shopping done along the way
  • The Winter Festival lights at the Southbank change each year and you’ll be able to grab a hot drink and bite to eat at the nearby food stalls
  • Join one of many walking tours specifically designed for London lights appreciation mixed with a bit of history. Any Dickens fans? 

2. Shop for unique gifts at a festive market

London has established itself as a global shopping destination, and Christmas time is no exception. If you’re looking for unique gift ideas and perhaps want to support independent businesses, head to either The Hackney Christmas MarketMaltby Street Market or Pop Brixton

3. Enjoy a mulled drink in one of our favourite bars

  • The Queen of Hoxton: This Shoreditch bar has a fantastic rooftop space which gets a festive transformation around this time of year. Be sure they'll put their signature twist on mulled wine, which will definitely keep you cosy. 
  • Santa’s Cave at Cave Cuvée: A hidden winter wonderland of wine, Bethnal Green's subterranean cellar Cave Cuvée is transforming into an over-the-top tinsel wrapped and bauble laden Santa’s grotto to help get you in the seasonal spirit. Alongside the usual natural wine selection, they’ll be serving their own 'special house mulled wine' which is sure to warm you up. 
  • Lord Palmerston: The perfect spot to cosy up next to a roaring fire and sip on a mulled drink after a long winter walk on Hampstead Heath.

4. Lace up your ice skates at an outdoor rink 

  • Skylight Tobacco Doc: Head to Europe’s only rooftop ice rink for a truly unique skating experience accompanied by impressive views. Thursdays - Saturdays (Sundays, staring April)
  • Don't miss the enchanting setting of Somerset House: Skate in the 18th-century courtyard with people from all over the world. 16 Nov-15 Jan 2023
  • Glide gracefully across the ice at Ice Rink Canary Wharf: Somewhat of different setting amidst the ever changing surroundings of Canary Wharf's glistening glass towers. 22 Oct-25 Feb 2023

5. Venture outside with family or friends

As the weather gets colder, it’s tempting to want to hibernate indoors. However, London has a lot of outdoor fun on offer, if you’re willing to wrap up warm. 

  • Kenwood House or Kew Gardens light displays: both locations are offering enchanted light displays integrated into the beautiful outdoor settings. Book ahead to avoid disappointment. Kenwood runs until 1st Jan and Kew 8th Jan 2023
  • The Canary Wharf Winter lights festival: London’s Winter Lights festival is the largest of its kind in the city, translating Canary Wharf into a winter wonderland with over 20 eclectic installations, brightening up the dark January evenings. January 18 – 28th 2023
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try an outdoor London treasure hunt?

6. Enjoy a festive performance

  • If you’ve never experienced the ridiculously camp and gaudy fun of a Christmas Panto, then what have you been doing with your life? Make Christmas 2022 one to remember by booking a ticket to see one of London’s many silly shows, great for adults and young audiences alike. 
  • See a captivating ballet performance of The Nutcracker: The Royal Albert Hall hosts Tchaikovsky's timeless classic, performed by the Birmingham Royal Ballet. 28-31 Dec 2022
  • Join the ultimate Christmas party at Jingle Bell Christmas at Barbican Hall: Hear all your festive favourites performed live such as White Christmas and Jingle Bell Rock. 23 Dec 2022

7. Ring in 2023 watching the fireworks

Tickets to see the world-famous fireworks on the Thames have unfortunately sold out, however there are other ways of viewing the displays for free and from afar. The capital is dotted with vantage points to observe the skyline and these are great places to ring in the new year if you’re willing to brave the cold. Head to either Primrose Hill, Parliament Hill, Alexandra Palace and Telegraph Hill for the best views.

Alternately, if you don’t fancy braving the cold you can always invite some friends or family over to watch the display from the comfort of your home!

8. Go on a New Year’s Day walk

What better way to start the new year than a long walk in one of London’s many natural outdoor spots. Richmond Common, Hampstead Heath and Greenwich Park are the perfect places to explore and blow away the cobwebs. You’re bound to spot runners on charity runs, so cheer them on!

9. Soak up some exciting culture 

London’s galleries and museums are ever changing and always exciting. Best of all, many exhibitions are either free or affordable, so you have no excuse not to go out and get your injection of culture.

Here are a few suggestions:

10. Set some intentions for the year ahead 

New year, new you, right? Start as you mean to go on with some of these suggestions we gathered on how to make 2023, your year:

  • Aim to live more sustainably by following these suggestions from Unsustainable Magazine.
  • Amplify your career in 2023 with these tips from Forbes.
  • Lastly, we encourage you to make the most of living in London. If you’re lucky enough to call this capital your home, it would be a shame to not take advantage of what is on offer. London has over 170 museums and galleries, close to 3,000 parks and open spaces of varying sizes, and well over 22,000 pubs, café’s and restaurants to explore.

Here’s wishing you a very Merry Festive Season and Happy New Year. 


The Collective