I Never Wanted to Move to London.
It’s true! I’ve always been a bit of a homebird, not interested in the busy, tube-getting, smog-breathing, rush hour-tackling, £5-for-a-pint London Life. I think there are “London People” (those people on Insta who are always waxing lyrical about the capital and how much they miss it when they’re not there) and then, there are “not-London People”. Like Me. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in a city as much as the next gal, but something about the sky high prices of rent, the lack of a Big Tesco and the fact that you’ve got to jump on the tube to get Pretty Much Anywhere didn’t fill me with enthusiasm.
However, living here for coming on for two years, and I have changed my mind.
I’ll never be a “London Person”, but I have come to learn that living thise close to The City has it’s perks - it’s actually really nice to be in the thick of it all. You can visit that beautiful, instagram-perfect cafe, you can check out what’s popped up in Chinatown this week, and all those chic, London novelties like pop up cinemas and rooftop bars are actually an option, that doesn’t require a 2 hour journey and legging it for the last train at midnight.
Now I may not be a London Person, but we all know I am a Christmas Person, and I must admit, London certainly does Christmas in style. I was blown away by all the festive things to do and see (beyond fighting the crowds at Hamleys and Harrods) for Christmas in London. What I also noticed - when checking my insta stats one day - is how many of you are also living the London Life, so I resolved to put together a list of things to do in London this Christmas that look right up my street, and hopefully yours, too!
So - if you’re a London dweller, or making the trip here to do something festive this Christmas, check out my favourite picks of things to do in London this Christmas.
Brave Winter Wonderland
Lets get the obvious out of the way first! This feels like a Christmas-in-London right of passage, but I’ve never done it. Queues and crowds never sound that appealing to me, but there’s something about what is essentially a gigantic, london-ified version of a Christmas market that makes me very tempted by Winter Wonderland! Open 10am - 10pm from the 23rd November at Hyde Park, they have shows, skating, stalls, rides, bars and more. My heart is singing for a cup of mulled wine inside the ice bar. Yes please!
See the Christmas displays in Central
Another classic! I will admit I did a lot of my Christmas shopping online last year as I like to shop with small businesses as much as possible, but I couldn’t pass up the Christmas shopping in central experience - at least once! I didn’t get much actual shopping done, but the beautiful displays, the grand old buildings and the distinct Christmassy vibes were definitely still enjoyable. Hit up Oxford Street, Fortnum & Masons, Selfridges and Harrods for unparalleled festive decor.
My best tip is to just go with the flow. If you need to do some serious shopping go elsewhere - almost all the shops can be found in other places/online without the reams of tourists, and trying to power walk through ambling shoppers never did anyone’s blood pressure any good. Grab a festive coffee (to-go) and spend a day browsing and walking at the same speed as everyone else!
Hit up Peggy Porschen for their Amazing Window Display
A bit of a blogger-y one for you! Every time I see another glorious window display from Peggy Porschen I ask myself how on earth I haven’t been there yet! (Did you see the BEE THEME they had in summer?!) If you’re out Christmas shopping and need a break and a serious treat, be sure to seek out Peggy Porschen for picture-perfect baked goods, hot chocolates, and a fight to the death to snap a photo with no members of the public in ;)
Pergola on the Roof, Paddington
Went in summer last year. Great fun, can confirm. Popping up on rooftops all over London, I can’t get over how cosy a heated, rooftop bar looks! With bookings available for up to 199 people (yes, you read that right) it’s perfect for parties - especially due to the long, feast-like tables, and food available from stalls rather than off a menu. Take yourself and a group of pals for some grown up festive fun.
Wintry Afternoon Tea at Dalloway Terrace
If you’re in London for a truly special occasion, check out this festive afternoon tea at Dalloway Terrace. With displays that change with the seasons, sign me up for a table for two, and make sure you get a nice snap of me in front of the decor, ok?
Christmas At Kew Gardens
I don’t know how it took me almost 2 years to make it to Kew Gardens, but once I visited I realised exactly why they offer annual meberships. It’s huge, its always changing, and honestly it’s plant heaven. They’ve combined my two favourite things - Christmas and Plants for Christmas at Kew and something about the nightime setting makes it feel like it would be very special and festive indeed.
Take the Mean Girls Jingle Bell Rock Dance Class at Drink Shop Do
I’m not much of a dancer myself (or a move-er in general!) but how could I not include this, the most fabulous festive activity in all of London?! Live out your Cady Heron dreams and learn the Mean Girls Jingle Bell Rock dance moves at Drink Shop Do upon a December morning!
Watch Home Alone at the Rivoli Pop Up Cinema
Ornate, historic cinema. One of the most iconic and nostalgic Christmas films of all time? What’s not to love? Hit up the Rivoli Pop-up Cinema to catch a screening of Home Alone, or check out one of the many other festive pop up cinemas in London for The Holiday, Elf, Love Actually and more festive nostalgia.
Do a “Christmas Coffee” Tour
This one’s not specific to London, but it certainly helps that there are coffee shops within 5 feet of eachother across the city. Back in my uni days, Martin and I would do a taste test of all the Christmas coffees that the chain coffee shops bring out over the festive period! I’m not suggesting you do it all in a day (you would literally overdose on Christmas) but every Friday we would meet after uni bundled in our coats, settle down for a late afternoon coffee (and maybe a mince pie or a slice of carrot cake) and test out a toffee nut latte, a orange hot chocolate, or a gingerbread latte. It became a lovely little ritual (something I actually really miss) and suited our student budget nicely. I’m not entirely sure we sampled every flavour of Starbucks, Nero and Costa, but we certainly got close! Make it a date with your partner or a pal, and crown the King of Christmas Coffees at the end of the month.