December’s always a good time to be in London, in our opinion, because even if you’re not the greatest fan of Christmas there’s still a special atmosphere that envelopes the capital.
Sure, the days are short and the nights are long and dark, but with Christmas markets, light displays, ice rinks and mulled wine galore, there’s a lot to enjoy. And, of course, if you want to step back from the traditional festivities, you can just hit a museum, gallery or theatre, because London has hundreds of them.
Here are a few of our suggestions for what to do in London this month…and don’t forget to wrap up warmly too, because winter is truly here now!
1. Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park - all of December
If you’ve got kids (or you’re a big kid yourself) then there’s no better place to head to than the annual ‘Winter Wonderland’ in Hyde Park.
London’s biggest funfair is back with all the usual attractions, including an outdoor skating rink, food and drink stalls, amusement rides, a Ferris wheel and ice sculptures for good measure.
You don’t have to pay to enter so if you’re not a fan of funfairs, you can just enjoy the live music, grab yourself a hot chocolate and soak up the atmosphere.
And when you’re finished, you can head off to nearby Oxford Street and be dazzled by their famous Christmas lights.
2. Kenwood Christmas Trail - 2nd Dec - 1st Jan
A stones’ throw from La Gaffe, on the beautiful Hampstead Heath, Kenwood’s Christmas Light Trail is another fine way to have fun in the capital. From 4.30 pm to 9pm each evening, commencing on 2nd December, visitors will be captivated by the incredible installations set amongst all kinds of flora and fauna.
With a ‘light trail’ filled with illuminations and installations, both kids and adults are bound to be dazzled as they walk around the grounds.
This year promises a snowflake house as well as fire and laser gardens, not to mention mince pies, mulled wine and hot chocolate with whipped cream on sale, so don’t delay and book a ticket now.
3. ‘The Nutcracker’ - 14th December to 7th Jan
Is there anything more glorious that a trip to the ballet? Particularly the Nutcracker, which is guaranteed to charm visitors, whatever their age. And the great Tchaikovsky favourite is back in London this December, courtesy of the English Ballet.
For those who don’t know, Clara, a young girl, is given a magical doll one Christmas Eve, that doll being the Nutcracker. It takes her on a magic adventure, where she’ll meet all kinds of characters, including the Mouse King and Sugar Plum Fairy.
The Colosseum is a wonderful venue for the ballet and afterwards you can take a walk through the Covent Garden Apple Market or wander down to Trafalgar Square.
4. Madonna at the O2 - 5th & 6th December
The Queen of Pop is celebrating four decades of capturing the hearts of millions with her ‘Celebration Tour’ at the O2 centre in East London and for two nights only, some lucky fans will get to see Madge perform in person (and if you’ve ever been to one of her concerts, you’ll know she puts on a fine show).
The show is said to give fans a taste of Madonna’s ‘artistic journey’ and will pay special respects to New York City, where her fabled musical career began.
Expert disco balls, suspended platforms and an array of jaw-dropping costumes, as this formidable woman takes to the stage. She might be controversial, but she’s still formidable - this is Star Power at its best.
5. ‘The Homecoming’ play - until 27 Jan 2024This Harold Pinter production (directed by Matthew Dunster) is a bold new interpretation of this masterpiece, and it’s coming to the Young Vic, down by the River Thames. In a small house in north London lives a working-class family who are about to ‘welcome home’ their son Teddy, along with his new wife. What comes next is a power struggle that is bound to leave the audience electrified.
Dunster’s excited to be directing the play, which poses some fundamental questions about power and resistance. The Homecoming is a tangle of questions about characters looking to dominate each other - either verbally, physically or sexually, and this new production is bound to be exciting. And the venue, on the South Bank, means you can go for a stroll beforehand…
Finally, if you’re planning on coming to London this December and looking for a comfortable, family-run hotel in Hampstead, just three minutes walk from Hampstead tube, get in contact with us, here at La Gaffe, either by phone or email or book your stay online.
We offer singles, doubles and family accommodation and, arguably, the best cappuccino in north London - you can also book directly with us and find out more about our story and things to do in Hampstead on our blog.
Happy holidays everyone!