London can be a lonely place, especially at this time of year. Everyone is gearing up for Christmas and leaving London for their family homes in the shire while most Kiwis are still deciding what to do. Normally New Zealander’s with no plans at Christmas will find some mates who are in the same boat and get together and drink heavily and perhaps eat a little too.
But what if you want to do something a bit different? London is full of great activities that you can do solo or with some friends, so we have compiled a list of the best Christmas activities the capital has to offer for the poor souls who don’t have any family to spend it with.
Gallivant in Richmond Park
What could be more Christmassy then going for a country walk with wild deer and hopefully a touch of snow? OK the snow might be wishful thinking but if you haven’t been to Richmond park yet, Christmas is the time to do it. There are herds of wild deer and it’s a lovely place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and really feel like you have stepped into a Christmas film.
Don’t get too close to the deer as you may get gored by one of the stags but do enjoy the scenery and once you are done check out one of the local pubs in Richmond for an ale and a mince pie. My recommendation are either the Roebuck with great views over the Thames or the Victoria Inn for something a little more traditional with a roaring fire and dart board.
Visit Prince Charles Cinema
The Prince Charles is located just off Leicester square and has been showing classics and modern films with a twist for years. Its dirt cheap compared to the other cinemas in the area and they play the best movies. They have horror all-nighters and Arnie marathons, singalong screenings as well as showing Christmas classics such as Muppets Christmas carol and Home Alone.
Eat, drink and be merry
Depending on what you want to eat and where you live you shouldn’t be short of options as many restaurants are open on the 25 December in London.
One of my personal favourites in the capital is Tayabs which does the best curry in London (some people prefer Lahore) and is very reasonably priced. Another bonus is that it’s BYOB so you can do something a bit different and have a curry and a few bottles of Cobra instead of the traditional turkey and mulled wine. Definitely ask for the mixed grill starter if you are into meat.
Another fine establishment which will be serving on Christmas Day is Duck & Waffle which is open 24 hours a day all year round. It basically never closes and the views over London are worth the price of the meal itself. You could also ride the glass elevator up and down a few times and pretend that you’re at an amusement park. I may have done this once or twice…
Finally, many pubs will be open with restricted hours so you should be able to find a local boozer for a pint or two.
Participate in (or watch) the Peter Pan Cup
Members of the Serpentine swimming club have been meeting in Hyde park since 1864 to compete in this freezing midwinter swim. Its named after the Novelist J.M Barrie who donated the first ever cup the same year his play Peter Pan made its debut. Spectators are welcome to bring along a thermos of mulled wine and cheer on the crazies.
Tour Ripley’s believe it or not
Most attractions are closed on Christmas but, believe it or not, Ripley’s is open! So go check out some weird and wonderful exhibits over six floors right next to Piccadilly station. You can get lost in a mirror maze or marvel at a life-size knitted Ferrari.
Skate your sorrows away
Most of the ice rinks are closed on Christmas but low and behold the Jewish centre in north west London is open for business and not only does it have it an ice rink, but a café too, so you can get your skate on while eating a bagel.
Or just do something nice
I mean it is Christmas, wouldn’t it feel good to actually make a difference to someone that can’t afford to have a nice Christmas or doesn’t have anyone (like you) to spend it with? Christmas day is a very busy time for charities and they need people to help out but they also need to be able to organise this in advance so find a charity that you want to help and make yourself feel good this year.
So that is the list, enjoy Christmas and make the most of it. Just think, you could be on the beach sunning yourself or BBQing back home, but you have chosen to spend it in the UK in the height of winter so make the most of it and if you are getting depressed, watch Bad Santa or Elf. They never fail to cheer.