London is the perfect winter hub for sightseeing, shopping and celebrating the festive season with tons of winter activities to keep you busy. From pop-up Christmas markets to ice-skating in Somerset House, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in London.
However, if you’ve been to London before, there’s a good chance you’ve already done the usual “tourist stuff”. You’ve been to Buckingham Palace, looked up at the Big Ben and caught some amazing shots of the city from the top of the London Eye. But this winter, you’re in the mood to try something new in the city, and we know just the thing!
Here are five of the best activities for residents or visitors of London to get involved in this winter:
Tour Haunted Pubs
Why drink at a run of the mill pub when you enjoy a few drinks with ghosts of Christmas’ past? Legends, myths and ghost stories have been circling through the city for centuries, but instead of just talking about ghosts, you now have the chance to meet one face-to-face. There are dozens of haunted pubs across the city, which you can explore with a guided tour that will take you to each location.
One of the most haunted establishments in the city is The Ten Bells, which has ties to Jack the Ripper and the murder of the pub’s Victorian landlord, George Roberts. Another haunted pub in the city is The Grenadier, which is home to the ghost of a soldier killed by his fellow comrades over a game of cards. You could always make your own map of London’s most haunted pubs and explore them at your own pace, or if you prefer, you can look into guided walking tours – just don’t forget to pack your hats and scarves!
Live Poker Event
You don’t have to be a world-class champion to enjoy a game of poker with a few friends this winter. If you love the excitement and enthusiasm of the game and want to be surrounded by people who enjoy it just as much, head to the 888 poker LIVE Festival taking place in Aspers Casino, London from 22nd November to 3rd December.
This highly anticipated event is one of a kind because there are not many poker celebrations that can compete with it. The 888poker Live London Festival is expected to draw in people from all over the world including top poker players such as WSOP champions and Martin Jacobson (to name a few). The Main Event Guarantee is a massive $500,000. It’s a great opportunity to play some poker with people from all corners of the earth, and it’s something a little different to do when you visit London in winter.
Visit Covent Garden
If you’re looking for somewhere to take the whole family, Covent Garden is a perfect choice. It’s a fantastic shopping and dining destination, but it’s also got a rich heritage and known for its connection to various performances including the Hitchcock thriller, Frenzy. In winter though, the area has a charming festive ambience which makes it one of the best parts of the city for some Christmas shopping.
Throughout winter, a giant 22-foot silver reindeer is on display. However, there’s also real reindeer roaming the garden that are super friendly, and you can pet them all you like. Keep in mind that the reindeers are usually only around at the weekend and you’ll find them near the square.
In addition to the fact that you can get up close to a real reindeer, you can also take some time to explore the Christmas market. You’ll find plenty of handmade crafts and great gifts lining the stalls, so keep an eye out for great deals and possible bargains!
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
We’ve got great news for you…from 22nd November to 6th January, the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is FREE. That’s right, you can walk right in and start exploring the festive wonderland, complete with a huge outdoor ice rink and over 350 chalets in the German Christmas Market and the Angels Christmas Market.
Hyde Park is bursting with fun winter-themed activities throughout the cold season. Kids can explore the Magical Ice Kingdom, where they’ll find a series of ice and snow creatures in the enchanted forest. The Zippos Christmas Circus also comes to town at this time of year, which is a great family activity during the daytime where you’ll get to see talented acrobatics, dancers and lots more.
Southbank Centre’s Wintertime Festival
In the mood to explore a Nordic-inspired wonderland? Then make your way to the Southbank Centre this winter and get into the Christmas spirit along the Thames. The festival is packed with tons of family entertainment for kids of all ages, and there’s plenty for adults to enjoy too. Shop for quirky gifts at the market, sip on mulled wine and enjoy a delicious meal for two on the Queen Elizabeth Roof Terrace.
If you happen to be around on New Year’s Eve, you can start the new year in style and attend the Vintage New Year’s Eve Party held at the Southbank Centre. And, if you’re near the Warner Bros. Studio in London, don’t forget to drop in to catch the Hogwarts in the Snow Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter. This one-of-a-kind tour is filled with props, costumes and models used in the original Harry Potter films. The best part is the fact that the entire tour is winter themed, which means you’ll need to wrap up warm for this one because you can expect tons of snow and ice throughout the display rooms.
Broaden your Horizons this Winter…
As you can see, London has plenty of exciting events and activities on offer throughout the winter season. So, wrap up warm, pack your bag and head out to the city to enjoy some of London’s most exciting activities that coincide with the festive season!