Things to do in London between Christmas & New Year’s Eve
The days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve are definitely strangely quiet in London, with many venues, restaurants and things to do closed for the holiday and friends and family out of town. If you’re at a loose end and wondering what to do, here’s The Resident’s suggestions…
1 Light Trails & Festive Light Displays
A family activity not just for kids and children, London has some of the best Christmas light displays around. Kew Gardens always put on a cracking display, although tickets are now scarce. For a cheaper option, that you can mix in with as bit of shopping or strolling about town, hop on one of the Mayor’s festive bus routes or pick a trail from The Resident’s round up of the best light trails in the capital.
2 Dine out
While many restaurants shut up shop for a well-deserved break, many joints remain open. Bancone in Covent Garden and Golden Square will continue to serve up its top notch pasta during twixmas to those looking to treat themselves with a meal out after Christmas lunch is out of the way. Bermondsey Italian seafood place, Baccala will also open it’s doors to diners, as will Hoppers across the Sri Lankan restaurant’s three sites in Soho, Marylebone and Kings Cross, as is The Palomar, The Barbary and The Barbary Next Door (from December 29) should you fancy modern dishes inspired by Middle Eastern and North African cuisines and flavours of the Levant.
3 Ice Skating
A perfect wintery activity to get you out and about in the crisp fresh air. London has no shortage of ice-skating rinks either. From Somerset House to the rink at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, The Resident knows where the best ice-skating rinks in London are.
4 Go to the cinema
For a plush cinematic experience, Everyman Cinemas have just opened a new cinema at Borough Yards near London Bridge Station, adding to its Broadgate, Islington and King’s Cross venues. It will be open during twixmas, but closing early on New Year’s Eve. Picturehouse Central will also be open and screening quirky heartwarmer Hunt for the Wilderpeople by Taika Waititi, Backyard Cinema in Wandsworth has Christmas Classics lined up, and the Prince Charles cinema in Leicester Square is screening a host of films over the break including Petit Maman, Lamb and Dune.
5 Kew Garden, Richmond
Getting out in the fresh winter air is great and Kew Gardens lets you do just that. Stroll around the beautiful grounds and bask in the glory in its impressive collection of plants. Stroll through the vast glasshouses and catch Zadok Ben-David’s installation, Natural Reserve as well. Nearby, Richmond Park is idyllic, should you want to take a walk along the Thames before or after.
6 Indoor Entertainment Centres
Gravity Southside in Wandsworth has digital darts and electric go-karting as well as bowling and golf simulators. It also has three bars and a Japanese noodle kitchen. Clays in Moorgate is an indoor clay shooting ranges with a bar and kitchen, state of the art technology and private booths to play in. And for the cricket fans amongst us, Sixes in Fulham and Fitzrovia is an indoor cricket simulate that even has UV cricket.
7 Do Festive Things
Tickets are still available to see The Gingerbread City exhibition in Belgravia by the Museum of Architecture. An utterly charming – and edible – exhibition for adults and children, this year’s fantastical city explores the theme of nature in the city which asked the architects, engineers and designers who created the city explore ways of bringing in green space and nature into our urban jungles. There’s plenty more Christmassy things to do these holidays as well.
8 Go to a Gallery
Tate Modern is currently showcasing Turner Prize winning artist Lubaina Himid (ticketed), and Anicka Yi’s giant blobby jellyfish-like installations (free but ticketed). Over at Tate Britain, you’ve got the gallery’s great permanent collection of British Art (free), as well as an exhibition on 18th century artist William Hogarth and a colourful exhibition showcasing contemporary artist Heather Phillipson’s work. It’s your last chance to see the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy (reopens Dec 28), which wraps up on January 2, 2022. The V&A has several exhibitions on between Christmas and New Year, including Known and Strange: Photographs from the Collection and Fabergé in London.