Top Ten Ways to have Winter Fun in London

Heading to London for a winter break brings thousands of possibilities with it. Whether you have plans to pound the streets hunting Christmas gifts or simply want to enjoy the festive atmosphere and relax in one of the many warm winter hangouts, London is jam-packed with more festive fun and activities than anywhere else this season. Here are our top 10 ways to squeeze the most festive fun out of London this year.

1. Explore Winter Wonderland
We all start getting a bit giddy with Christmas excitement when Winter Wonderland opens in Hyde Park. Fun fairs, ice rinks, Santa’s Grotto and miles of markets combine in a real celebration of all things festive. And this year, they’ve just upped the ante! A mini alpine-style village is set to arrive along with Karaoke huts and cocktails, a Magical Ice Kingdom, Cirque Berserk will be in residence performing death-defying feats and if that weren’t enough, Cinderella will be on ice!!

2. See Hogwarts in the Snow
Combining the magic of Christmas with the magic of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World the festive season bursts into enchanting life at Hogwarts in the Snow, at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. From 18th November – 28th January the iconic Harry Potter sets will be decked out and snow covered. The Great Hall will appear as it was for the famous Yule Ball, lined with Christmas trees and a sumptuous replica feast, and the a blanket of film-making snow will adorn the Hogwarts castle. An experience not to be missed…

3. Christmas at Kew
A million twinkling lights will be glistening at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew this Christmas. Experience a choir of Christmas trees, be dazzled by giant crystal flowers, pass through the mesmerising tunnel of dancing lights and follow the illuminated pathways as these beautiful gardens are transformed. Festive tunes pour from the karaoke jukebox and a kaleidoscopic light, music and water display will end your day with a bang outside the famous Palm House.

4. Enjoy the Wintry Weather in a London Park
Despite our rainy reputation, London’s crisp bright winter days are actually some of our favourite, and with so many huge green spaces to enjoy, a brisk wintry walk is a wonderful way to enjoy the greener side of the city. Free, relaxing and refreshing, enjoy beautiful views of the London skyline out at Primrose Hill, spot herds of deer at Richmond Park, or explore the great Royal Parks and their surrounds with easy access to some of the city’s most popular galleries and museums.

5. Explore the Southbank Centre Christmas Markets
The South Bank of the River Thames comes alive with festive charm as the Christmas markets arrive. Dozens of traditional wooden chalets are packed with fantastic festive treats and of course a cup of mulled wine or two. Among the gems this year is a Finnish rooftop sauna to warm up and unwind in and ‘Night Light’, a magical theatrical journey for the kids. Even Santa Claus himself wouldn’t miss this so will of course be there too!

6. Warm up in a Traditional London Pub
After an exhausting few hours shopping or simply because you want to enjoy a bit of British tradition and perhaps even a roaring fire, there is no place quite like a good ‘ole London pub in the Winter. Try a local ale, cider or festive mulled wine in one of our very many watering holes. Some of the top pubs to visit include The Mayflower, Princess Louise, The Old Bell Tavern built by Christopher Wren himself or Gordon’s Wine bar (the oldest wine bar in the city). But you’ll surely discover many more as you explore the city…

7. Join the Annual Christmas Carol Sing-a-Long
Every year the Royal Albert Hall puts on a festive sing-a-long extravaganza and this year it is back with great applause from us. All the most popular carols are sung by the whole audience and this year’s performances begin on 16th December. Nothing gets the festive cheer going like a sing-a-long of all the classics and how special to be accompanied by the London Concert Chorus and the London Concert Orchestra at the incredible Royal Albert Hall!

8. Ice Skating
One of the most popular and exciting of all winter events across London, outdoor ice skating, takes place at a wide and wonderful range of venues around the city. Glide (or wobble) around some of of London’s most iconic landmarks this year. The most popular rinks include the historic Tower of London, the beautiful Somerset House courtyard, the grand Natural History Museum and the very regal Hampton Court. Go on, get your skates on!

9. Winter Film Club
The popular Rooftop Film Club at Peckham’s Electric Theatre becomes the Winter Film Club showing off a selection of seasonal favourites throughout December. The atmospheric surrounds of the Electric Theatre are the perfect setting for enjoying real Christmas classics and box office hits. A licensed bar ensures you can enjoy a festive tipple or two as you enjoy the films and freshly cracked popcorn is also on sale.

10. London Christmas Shopping
A visit to London is not complete without at least a little retail therapy. Regent Street, Oxford Street, Carnaby and the many other shopping areas are lit up in their festive glory, and all the department stores have decked out their windows in extravagant style. London offers flagship high street stores alongside world class independents and seasonal pop-ups alongside quirky boutiques. There is something for every kind of shopper and a diverse range of options for Christmas gift buying.

If you’re looking for the ideal place to stay in the heart of the festive action this season, find yourself a cosy home from home at one of our 7 central London Thistle hotels. Plus, exclusively on Thistle.com you’ll get a range of benefits for booking direct like free breakfast or an extra 10% off – all you have to do is sign up or log in and then make your booking.