An Alternative Christmas In London
Christmas in London is great – twinkly lights, festive markets and hundreds of shoppers on Oxford Street. If you happen to spending some time in England’s Capital this December but really are not ready for all that Christmas will bring then try our guide to an alternative Christmas this year.
Take the plunge
One of the oddest Christmas day sights in London has to be the swimmers in the Serpentine at Hyde Park, taking part in the Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race. A little bit before Christmas is the annual dip in the Parliament Hill Lido. There is another swim not far away at Hampstead Heath which has two swimming races in the pools there. You can either join them or simply watch depending on how well you Christmas Eve hangover is coping with the early morning.
On the water
Get out on the Thames with a river cruise. You will have to force yourself to eat a traditional Christmas lunch but the views will be second to none. It is probably a good idea to book ahead as only some of the river cruise companies are offering this package.
Try two wheels
A fairly new Christmas tradition is the Greenwich cycle ride. Starting from the Cutty Sark at about 10am and gently pedalling through some of the most picturesque parks and streets of the city. A light and affordable lunch can be had in Edgware Road at the end of the ride.
Get some inner peace
Giving a new meaning to the words “a bit of quiet time” the London Buddhist Centre organises a day retreat at its Bethnal Green headquarters on Christmas Day. You can meditate, have a vegetarian lunch complete with a festive glass of non-alcoholic wine and join in with a discussion group.
Lend a hand
Christmas is traditionally a time in the UK when people think of those who are less fortunate. One really good way to give something back is to volunteer for a shift at one of London’s Crisis Centres. Crisis is a leading charity that aims to help homeless people in Britain and has volunteers work tirelessly to feed, clothe and even provide a bed for some of the most desperate people. So readjust your Karma this year by giving your time.
Feed the animals
If spending time with relatives drives you mad then try some non-judgemental friends at London Zoo. While the zoo is actually closed on Christmas Day itself you can visit every other day of the year so you can see the penguins being feed, return the blank eyed gaze of the fish in the Aquarium or just meet the monkeys.
Anti-Christmas club night
While many of the most popular clubs in London’s frenetic night-life will be doing the traditional there are still plenty who want to spurn all that glitzy stuff. For a proper Anti-Christmas night out try a raucous alternative panto at the Royal Vauxhall Club, experience the unusual sport of Chess boxing at Scala or listen to some free music at Proud Camden.