UCL News


6 things to do in London during the Christmas break

9 December 2016

Christmas time is just around the corner, and while many of you will be travelling home for the break, some of you might be spending it here in London.

Covent Garden Christmas 2016 So, here's our top six seasonal things to do for those of you staying in the city during the festive season.

1. Stay active

Whether you're a keen keep-fit enthusiast or looking to take up a new hobby, there are lots of opportunities to stay active over the Christmas break. parkrun will be offering free 5km timed runs in locations across London, including Hampstead Heath and Highbury Fields. The runs take place every Saturday, and also on Christmas Day and New Year's Day at selected locations*.

2. Volunteer

UCLU Volunteering Services Unit has a range of one-off volunteering opportunities covering the Christmas period, offering the chance to get a head start on those New Year resolutions and meet new people. In addition, you can volunteer for homelessness charity Crisis's 'Crisis at Christmas' campaign, making Christmas happen for thousands of homeless people at centres across London.

3. Get to know London's green spaces

Wrap up, grab a hot drink and take a trip to one of London's many parks and green spaces. Hampstead Heath offers a selection of walking trails, each offering the chance to explore its nature, history and stunning views. Alternatively, on Christmas morning you can watch members of the Serpentine Swimming Club take part in the annual Peter Pan Cup in Hyde Park, which dates all the way back to 1864.

4. Visit a Christmas market

London plays host to several Christmas markets - the perfect place for seasonal handmade gifts and festive food and drink. Camden Market offers Christmas-themed pop-ups on Thursdays, with a changing theme every week. In addition, there is a Christmas Market at the Tate Modern and the Real Food Christmas Market in King's Cross, both open until Friday 23 December.

5. Get your skates on

The winter season isn't complete without a trip to one of the capital's temporary outdoor ice skating rinks. The Somerset House, Natural History Museum and Tower of London rinks offer skating in beautiful surroundings - and all offer student discounts or offers, while the rink at the JW3 Centre will be open on both Christmas Day and New Year's Day mornings.

6. Explore the city

London's streets can be uncommonly quiet during the Christmas break, making it a perfect time to explore the city. One of the best (and often overlooked) ways to get around is on foot: take a stroll along the South Bank, or see the city's best Christmas lights and displays. Alternatively, you can hire a bike using TfL's Santander Cycles scheme and make use of their guides to discover London's hidden gems.

*You are advised to contact the relevant parkrun for confirmation of its full schedule.

For UCL's programme of events following the Christmas break, visit the UCL Events website.