December's arrived in London and there's so much going on that you're spoilt for choice in terms of spending time in the capital. Whether you want to wander in famous old buildings, stroll in Hyde Park, boo and hiss at a good old-fashioned panto or enjoy a fine meal, you're covered. Bring a bit of festive cheer to your life and, on our recommendation, try out some of the following activities. In the meantime, whatever your background or faith, here at La Gaffe we wish you happy holidays!
1. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
One of London's most high-profile event of December, Hyde Park will come alive for the month of December. Throughout the month, Winter Wonderland will be in full swing with all kinds of activities designed to spread cheer. Live music, endless fairground rides, Cirque Berserk and even Paddington on Ice .what's not to enjoy? There will be plenty of Christmas Markets too, as well as all kinds of food and drink stalls for sale. And what better way to spend a winter evening than soaking up the atmosphere with friends and a glass of hot mulled wine? Winter Wonderland is open every day in December, save for Christmas Day, from 10 am to 10 pm. Entry itself is free although many of the attractions do require tickets.
2. Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum - the Natural History Museum in South Kensington is a fantastic place to spend a few hours, whether you're interested in gemstones, Blue Whales, biology or volcanoes (it's a huge place!) But this museum really takes on new life in the winter when the outside area is converted into an ice rink!
Against the backdrop of the beautiful building, and with the trees around the rink lit up and a huge Christmas tree in the centre, it's a wonderful way to spend an evening. And if you like the idea of viewing the spectacle, rather than participating, well fear not as there is a viewing balcony and an indoor Bar/Cafe too. Admittedly, it's a costly evening out but it's also a memorable and magical experience and the setting is so pretty and romantic that it's the perfect place to bring your beau!
3. Christmas at Kew Gardens London's Kew boasts the world's largest botanical gardens and this month they will come alive with a special trail, illuminated with a million glittering lights. Now in its seventh year, this after-dark path will include some old favourites - the Fire Garden, Holly Bushes and Tunnel of Light - and some new attractions besides. This year, the Temperance House will be illuminated with lasers, a dazzling arch that leads to Treetop Walk and a fabulous finale at the Palm House Pond. The trail itself will be about 2.5 kilometres and is estimated to take 75 minutes to walk along. There's also hot chocolate and hot cider (amongst a few other beverages) on sale as well as a carousel and helter skelter for the kids. Tickets can be purchased online.
4. Dick Whittington and his Cat, Hackney Empire - There's nothing more traditional at this time of year than attending a pantomime and the Hackney Empire, in East London, has got to be one of the best places to attend one. Musical comedy that's perfect for all the family awaits you in the form of Dick Whittington and his Cat - a boy, his cat, the search for streets paved with gold and the bells of Bow that called out to him "Turn again Whittington, Lord Mayor of London." The Hackney Empire is over 100 years old, built in 1901 and designed to operate as a music hall. One of London's first theatres to boast electric lights and central heating, it was threatened with demolition in the mid 1908's but a campaign to save it means that it's still going strong today. And it's annual offering , with slapstick comedy, colourful costumes and plenty of singing and dancing is perfect for a fun night out. Come on .who doesn't love a pantomime? https://hackneyempire.co.uk/whats-on/dick-whittington/
5. New Year's Eve Dinner: We couldn't finish this year's set of blogs without a mention of our own restaurant and, as usual, we'll be offering a special New Year's Eve menu here at La Gaffe. Our charming establishment has been going over 50 years now and 31st December tends to be a popular evening. Come early then go off for your own plans (a quiet night in or watching fireworks on Hampstead Heath) or join us later in the evening and ring in 2020 with us. Rack of lamb, sea bass, spaghetti Gaffe? Whether you're a carnivore or veggie, like rich food or something very simple. we've got you covered. We also offer a wide range of Italian wines and beers as well as some very tempting cocktails .perfect for special evenings such as this. Negroni, anyone? And a Happy New Year to all of you!