Christmas spirit is filling the capital this month, so it’s time to get your plans in order. From ice skating in an 18th century manor house to running through Battersea Park in a Santa suit (yep, really), we’ve hand-picked the best things to do in London this December.
Christmas market at the Tate Modern
You don’t need to book an EasyJet flight to Germany to experience an authentic Christmas market this December, as you’ll find a pretty little setup on London’s South Bank, right outside of the towering Tate Modern. Rows of cute wooden chalets offer the best in Christmassy knick-knacks, from wooden toys to jewellery, and, of course, roasted nuts, bratwurst and glühwein.
Bankside, London, until December 23 – free
Urban Food Fest
If you’re bored with your standard takeaway order, be sure to head down to this foodie heaven in an old car park in East London this month. This daily event sees a rotation of street food vendors serve dishes from across the world in one location, from Venezuelan meats to vegan pizza and beyond. Plus, there are plenty of cocktails, craft beers and champagne to get stuck into.
Euro Car Parks, Shoreditch High Street, until December 19 – free
Ice skating at Somerset House
Somerset House, the former home of London Fashion Week, has planted a giant ice rink in its front courtyard for another year running, offering one of the most picturesque skating experiences in the capital. With 900 square metres of ice to glide upon, and exclusive club nights and events to enjoy, your only task is to try to keep on your feet for the night.
Somerset House, until January 10 – tickets from £17
Hyde Park’s Christmas Winter Wonderland extravaganza is back for another year, setting up shop in its usual central London location. For 2015, you can expect more exciting fairground rides, market stalls and live music, as well the child-friendly Santa Land complete with grotto, two circus attractions, a huge ice rink and themed bars for the grown-ups. Tackle it during the week for a less crowded experience.
Hyde Park, until January 3 – free entry, prices for attractions vary
Le Bun at Le Zetter
Street food duo Le Bun has taken up a five-week residency at Farringdon’s quirky Zetter Hotel, serving its unique blend of French and American cuisine to hungry punters from breakfast through to dinner. Old favourites, such as its Le Bourguignon Bun, will be joined by new dishes, including the Le Bun Hot Wings and the Fillet Cheese plate, offering a culinary experience like no other. Prepare to join a very long lunch queue.
Clerkenwell Road, until December 20 – prices vary
Hogwarts in the Snow
If you can make the journey to the outskirts of London for this attraction, you’ll be met with a Harry Potter experience on steroids. The Great Hall has been decked out with Christmas trees and decorations galore, complete with a too-good-to-eat replica banquet on the tables, while special effect fires roar in the common rooms and the classic Hogwarts castle is covered with a blanket of snow. You’ll even get to feel the different faux snow types used across the epic movie franchise.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour, until January 31 – tickets from £35
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty
Choreographer Matthew Bourne is renowned for taking classic productions and giving them a modern, somewhat gothic twist, so be sure to expect nothing less from his new adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s 1889 Sleeping Beauty. This fresh take on the ballet sees Princess Aurora’s story set off differently, waking up in 2011 with no love-at-first tale to tell. Don’t expect the Disney version, that’s for sure.
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, until January 24 – tickets from £12
Another month, another charity run, so what better way to sprint (literally) into December than by working up a sweat in a Santa suit? This 6km course is open to runners of all levels, raising money for Disability Snowsport UK, a charity which helps less able people experience the thrill of winter sports. Plus, at the end of the track, you’ll be greeted with mulled wine and Christmas cake. Where do we sign up?
Battersea Park, December 5 – £22
London Illustration Fair
Fifty up-and-coming artists will see their work exhibited to the public this month, as the doors open on the London Illustration Fair for a third year running. Hand picked by a panel of judges, the featured talent will be selling original pieces alongside some exciting pop-up shops from creative partners, with crafty workshops also on offer. A great place to pick up (or make) any last-minute Christmas cards.
Bargehouse, Oxo Wharf Tower, 4-6 December – £5
New Year’s Eve fireworks
Make 2015 the year you get to see London’s big-budget firework display in the flesh. Thousands of people line the streets along the River Thames, all ready to cheer in unison as Big Ben chimes us in to 2016. While this is a ticketed event, you’ll be able to catch a glance from miles away – head further along the river to avoid the crowds or, if it’s too chilly outside, watch it from the comfort of your sofa.
Victoria Embankment, December 31 – tickets from £10