Christmas is just around the corner. If you are yet to make Christmas plans, or if your existing plans have fallen through, there is no need to panic. There are lots of great ways you can spend Christmas in the UK. From London to Edinburgh, we are going to take a look at some of the fun things to do around the festive period. So, let’s take a look…
There is only one place to start, and this is with the capital city, London. How to get in that festive mood whilst in London?
See the lights – This will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit. The lights have been turned on all over London now and so no matter whether you take a trip to Covent Garden or Oxford Street you will be able to see the magic of Christmas.
Go ice skating – Ice skating is the perfect festive activity and there are plenty of places providing you with the opportunity to enjoy this in London. Nonetheless, none quite prove to be as spectacular as the courtyard of Somerset House.
Christmas market – A trip to a Christmas Market is a must. The Southbank Centre Christmas Market comes highly recommended. You will be able to enjoy a cup of mulled wine and take in all of the Christmassy delights on offer.
See a show – You should book tickets to see a show. Nutcracker on Ice is undoubtedly the number one Christmas show. This takes place at the London Coliseum every day from now until Christmas Eve. You can also watch it after Christmas Day as well, up until mid-January. Other highly regarded shows include the likes of Swan Lake, which takes place at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Or why not take a trip to King’s College to see the choir perform?
Nonetheless, everything mentioned so far is in relation to the build-up to Christmas day, what about December 25th itself? You need to make sure you have something special planned for the magical day. There are lots of plush and suave hotels in London that will give you a Christmas Day to remember. However, it is worth bearing in mind the fact that Christmas Day events can be very expensive – places tend to raise their prices substantially.
If you take a look online, you will be able to discover more about the different hotels that are available. They will provide you with entertainment, and a three-course meal will be just the start of what’s on the menu. Nonetheless, if you want to get really British, then why not spend Christmas day in a cozy pub? You will get the warm Christmas atmosphere, you can enjoy a nice pint of beer and most pubs will put on a set menu as well.
On a final note, there is one thing you can do for free on Christmas Day. Do you fancy taking part in the Peter Pan Cup Race at Hyde Park? Every year a selection of people strip down to their swimwear and go for a dip in the freezing cold Serpentine. It may sound crazy, but it is a tradition that has happened annually since 1864! One thing is for certain; taking part in an event like this will ensure you don’t forget about this Christmas any time soon.
From one end of the country to another, now we’re going to take a look at one of Scotland’s most popular spots – Edinburgh. There is so much to see and do in Edinburgh during the festive period. It is also worth making the most of an Edinburgh car hire service so that you can explore more of Scotland. You will benefit from some of the most spectacular views if you venture out of the city and further into the Highlands.
There are lots of great free events that go on in Edinburgh during the Christmas months. This includes the 24 Doors of Advent, which is a real-life advent calendar, enabling you to discover a new place each day of advent. For example, Dovecot Studios kicked things off on December 1st, and the advent calendar will end with St John’s Church on December 24th. Other free events include visiting the Christmas Market at East Princes Street Gardens and visiting the Winter Windows, which is a magical pathway that starts from West Parliament Square. It features an array of stained-glass windows, which have been designed by budding artists from schools across Edinburgh. This year’s theme is kindness.
Are you a fan of musical theatre? If so, Edinburgh does not disappoint in this department either. Here are some of the standout shows taking place throughout December and early January:
- Kinky Boots – With songs from Tony and Grammy-winning pop icon, Cyndi Lauper, you are bound to be singing and dancing at this show. For those who are unaware, Kinky Boots follows Charlie Price, who is struggling to live up to the expectations of his father and continue Price & Son, which is the family’s shoe factory business. When a fabulous performer, Lola, walks in, needing some new stilettos, everything changes. We won’t give the rest of the story away! You may recognise a few familiar faces, though. Paula Lane stars in the show – you may know her better as Kylie Platt from Coronation Street.
- Wendy and Peter Pan – This is a story that needs little introduction! It’s a brilliant adaptation of the original Peter Pan. It is suitable for children aged five-years-old and above, so it’s great if you are travelling as a family.
- The Gospel According To Jesus, Queen of Heaven – This play runs until December 22nd, and it is probably not what you’re expecting… in this show, Jesus has returned to earth as a trans woman. Not only does she return with bread and wine but a lot of stories to share! It’s controversial but brilliant.
Plus, Edinburgh has everything you would expect in terms of activities building up to Christmas, with a lot of them continuing for a couple of weeks afterward. From ice skating to Santa’s Grotto, you certainly won’t run out of things to do. The festive spirit is everywhere, so you won’t feel like your last minute Christmas is a Christmas wasted – that’s for sure.
York is one of the most beautiful places in the UK, and so it is definitely worth a visit no matter what time of year it is. This year, though, the city has pulled out all of the stops for the Christmas season. For the first time, there is a Christmas tree shop in the city centre, and there is even a new Santa’s Grotto for the 2018 festive period. There is also a thrilling festival, the York Christmas Festival, which has already started and runs all the way until December 23rd. Some of the standout features of the festival are Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland and Thor’s Tipi. The latter is a Scandinavian-style tented food and drink outlet.
As part of the Festival, St Nicholas Fair takes place. This is one of the most popular Christmas Markets in Britain. Thousands of people come to York just to enjoy the market alone. The fair offers farm produce and crafts, and the city comes alive with buskers, carol singers, and of course, the bustling stalls. You can expect chestnuts roasting on the street corners, hot chocolate laced with brandy, and delicious mulled wine. What better way to get into the Christmas spirit?
If you love a trip to the theatre, you will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy a show in York at Christmas. One of the most popular shows is Cinderella, which takes place at the Grand Opera House. The show runs until January 5th, and the cast includes the likes of Coronation Street’s Ken Morley and Liberty X pop star Michelle Heaton, who plays The Fairy Godmother. Other pantomimes going on throughout the festive period in York include Sleeping Beauty and The Grand Old Dame of York. If you like slapstick comedy, you will love the latter. Plus, while you’re in York, what’s more fitting than The Grand Old Dame of York?
As you can see, there are many ways that you can enjoy a last-minute Christmas break in the UK. If you are still struggling to decide what to do this year, or if your original plans are no more, hopefully, the suggestions provided will have given you some inspiration regarding what to do this year. It is never too late to get into that festive feeling and have a Christmas to remember. Plus, don’t forget that there are free events going on across the country, so you don’t need to spend a lot either to have a great time.