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7 things to do in London during the Christmas break

15 December 2017

Christmas lights on Oxford Street

Christmas time is just around the corner, and while many of you will be travelling home for break, here’s our top 7 seasonal things to do for those of you staying in London during the festive season.

1. Marvel at the Christmas lights

London has truly spectacular lights displays across the city at this time of year that are not to be missed! From the carnival inspired lights of Carnaby Street, to the angels of Regent Street, the sparkling peacock feathers in Bond Street and the mistletoe and reindeer of Covent Garden – you don’t have to walk far through the city to be mesmerised.

Carnaby Street lights

2. Stroll through London’s green spaces

Wrap up warm and take a wander through some of London’s beautiful parks. Take your pick from a selection of nature trails through Hampstead Heath, climb uphill at Greenwich Park for stunning panoramic views across the city and visit the reference line for Greenwich Mean Time at the Royal Observatory, or venture to Richmond Park and see over 600 deer that have been roaming freely since 1637.

Deer in Richmond Park

3. Discover jolly Christmas markets

For a merry outing, head along to one of London’s many Christmas markets where you can indulge in festive food and drink and find special handmade Christmas gifts. Popular markets include Wintertime at Southbank Centre, Christmas in Leicester Square, Kingston Christmas market, and Winterville in Clapham Common.

Winterville in Clapham Common

4. Get your skates on

Check out the capital’s ice skating scene for a fun winter activity. The temporary outdoor ice skating rinks at the Natural History Museum, Somerset House and the Tower of London will have you awed by their amazing surroundings.

Ice skating at the Natural History Museum

5. Dip into London tradition

For some entertainment on Christmas morning you can be a spectator at the annual Serpentine Swimming Club Peter Pan Cup race and watch brave swimmers embrace freezing waters in Hyde Park – a tradition dating all the way back to 1864.

Serpentine Swimming Club Peter Pan Cup race

6. Volunteer and spread festive cheer

The Students’ Union UCL Volunteering Service has a range of one-off volunteering opportunities covering the Christmas period, from Christmas concerts to bucket collections and much more. You can also volunteer for homelessness charity Crisis’s ‘Crisis at Christmas’ campaign, making Christmas happen for thousands of homeless people at centres across London.

UCL Students' Union Musical Theatre Society volunteering

7. Explore the history of Christmas in the UK

The Geffrye Museum provides a unique opportunity to glimpse how Christmas has been celebrated in English homes for the past 400 years. Christmas Past is a free exhibition transforming the museum’s period living rooms to show how vibrant festive traditions have evolved through the centuries.

A living room in 1965 at the Christmas Past exhibition, Geffrye Museum

UCL closes from 5:30pm Friday 22 December 2017 until 9am Tuesday 2 January 2018 but there is still support available for students throughout the winter break.

Images: 1) Carnaby Street 2) Richmond Park 3) Winterville, credit: Justin De Souza 4) Natural History Museum 5) Serpentine Swimming Club 6) Students' Union UCL Musical Theatre Society 7) Geffrye Museum