London does Christmas very well. The switching on of the Christmas lights in November marks the start of the festive season, and in the same month you can easily expect to see Christmas trees bedecked with lights and baubles standing, unmissable, in the windows of the city’s department stores.
Christmas has become such a celebrated, magical time of year, and if you’re based in the West End or heading to the West End, there’s so much going on. With this in mind, we’ve done our research to offer you a guide to what’s on and where to head to in Soho, Bloomsbury, Marylebone, Convent Garden and Fitzrovia to guide you as you step into the Christmas season and soak up a little festive cheer.
Where to head for…ice skating
You’ll find ice rinks during the Christmas season at Alexandra Palace, Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, and Hyde Park among other destinations, but our focus is on the weird and wonderful West End, and that means: Skate at Somerset House. ‘Skate Lates’ is a new addition to the skating festivities at Somerset House, which is a programme of music on nights during the Christmas season. Along with Fortnum’s Lodge, there are plenty of options if you want to grab a warming drink or restorative bite to eat rink-side.
Where to head for…carol singing
There are countless carol concerts being held across the capital in the run up to Christmas Day, and the West End has its fair share. From The Piccadilly Christmas Concert 2017 at St Martin-in-the-Fields with its programme of live classical music recitals, to singing traditional carols in the shadow of the always-majestic, illuminated Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, if you enjoy singing carols, London’s West End is the place for you.
Where to head for…Christmas markets
If Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a visit to Santa’s grotto, stroll to Leicester Square for the traditional Christmas market. In addition to Santa’s grotto you’ll find a speigeltent, a huddle of stalls selling all manner of hand-crafted items, seasonal food and drink – you won’t be deprived of mulled wine or roasted chestnuts – and there’s a full schedule of shows to see too.
Where to head for…partying
Mosey on down to The Vaults at Waterloo for The Dance Before Christmas. An immersive event, attendees will travel through various otherworldly landscapes, enjoy a drink on the ‘forbidden planet’ on route before rounding off the evening at ‘The Party at The End of The Universe’. A complementary glass of punch is included in the price of the ticket.
For a less chaotic but somewhat colder night out, Christmas at ICEBAR LONDON takes place just off Regent Street, and guests can enjoy an icy cocktail or three while engaging in such activities as ice sculpting, mixology, and more.
Anyone for Christmas Cabaret?
Never underestimate the entertainment value in a cabaret performance, and where better than The Cabaret Club in Holborn? A Christmas Cabaret is guaranteed to be a stomping, dazzling, Christmassy extravaganza with luxury dining and celebratory cocktails. The ideal antidote to any work-induced stress you might be suffering from.