With all the planning that goes into Christmas throughout the entire month of December, it can be easy to neglect the three most important days: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Despite the long build up, it is this three-day period which in truth will determine how fond your festive memories will be.
It is important to get a good balance during these days, with family, food, frolics and festive boozing all playing a key role. With so much to cram in, it is crucial you plan. It is also important to ensure that you don’t peak too early and tire yourself out before boxing day arrives.
This article will give you some great ideas for your Christmas in London, making it the finest festive period you’ve ever experienced!
Christmas Eve Warm Up
St Paul’s Carol Concert
There are a number of venues across London that offer traditional carol concerts in December, but none so magnificent as that at the Christopher Wren-designed St Paul’s Cathedral. The acoustics created by the dome, with its famed whispering gallery, make the choir sound like a heavenly host of angels.
If you are looking for a Christmas activity away from the crowds, or for something suitable for older family members, this could be the perfect option. Marvel at the exquisite architecture of one of London’s greatest historical attractions and wonder how it survived the World War 2 London bombings while the choir delivers a world class performance.
Tickets to these carol concerts sell out quickly, so be sure to reserve your place soon.
Top Christmas Day Pubs and Restaurants
What better day of the year is there to visit the pub than Christmas Day? Whether you go to escape the family, meet with friends or take the family for an outing, there are a wide range of excellent pubs, be they traditional or modern, all over London aching to give you the best Christmas pint on offer. Here are our pick of some of the best.
The Cinnamon Club (Restaurant)
The Cinnamon Club, currently celebrating its tenth year, is famed for its political elite clientele and stunning traditional library interior. This Westminster-based fine dining venue specialises in Indian cuisine. The Cinnamon Club offers a Christmas roast with a twist. With exotic choices such as roast loin of olsin red deer or smoked saddle of Kentish lamb, a roast dinner in this swanky restaurant will be a culinary delight to tantalise your taste buds.
The Only Running Footman
The Only Running Footman is a beautiful quintessentially British gastro pub, situated just a stone’s throw from London’s Berkeley Square, in the heart of Mayfair. Ideal for a classy Christmas Day tipple, this pub serves pub food downstairs and has a restaurant upstairs.
Being in the plushest part of London, this pub has no rough edges and is more of a gentleman’s retreat for Christmas Day. Staff are renowned for being especially helpful in this lively, but sometimes crowded environment. With a hardcore of friendly regulars, Christmas promises to be an affair full of bonhomie and warm season’s greetings at The Only Running Footman.
The Spread Eagle in Camden is actually slightly closer to Mornington Crescent tube station than Camden, but benefits greatly from being off the beaten path. This golden nugget of a pub is a well kept secret of Camden locals, being tucked away on Albert Street, adjacent to the train lines running out of Euston station. It’s situation on the corner of the street makes it a great pub to enjoy a beer outdoors.
If what you’re after is a traditional pub for your Christmas Day pint it’s interior won’t disappoint. Being a Young’s pub it has a range of cask ales on tap, as well as Guinness, Kronenberg 1664, Aspall and Fosters.
Highgate village in north London has a host of excellent pubs, but none more ideal for a Christmas Day drink than the Flask. The pub is steeped in local history, with the oldest part of the building dating back to 1663. The pub has ample outdoor seating and a cosy candlelit interior, ideal for cosying up with a drink on Christmas Day. Situated close to Primrose Hill you might find yourself rubbing shoulders with the stars, as previous customers have included super model Kate Moss and her rock star husband Jamie Hince.
All food served on the menu is sourced locally, and the dark wall interior makes this the perfect venue to get cosy out of the Christmas cold.
The Trinity Arms (Brixton)
The Trinity Arms is a wonderful south London venue to retreat to on Christmas Day after the excitement of presents and lunch have petered out. This traditional pub has a large grand interior, with curved bar and traditional bar stools. Staff are very friendly, and will offer festive cheer as you sip your Christmas day pint.
The interior has polished wooden floors, vintage wooden chairs and tasteful interior decoration, with classic pub pictures of the local area decorating the walls. Being a Young’s pub it has the range of Young’s cask ales on sale, as well as Kronenberg 1664, Guinness and Fosters.
Top Boxing Night Pubs for the Hair of the Dog
After the excesses of your Christmas Day feast (and the Christmas Day boozing), you need to have your ideal Boxing Day pub venue lined up so you can get your hair of the dog. Not all pubs are open over the Christmas period, but these firm favourites for a Boxing day tipple will have their doors open to welcome Boxing Day revellers.
The Founders Arms (Southwark)
The Founders Arms, set on the river on London’s famous Southbank is the perfect venue for a Boxing Day drink. What could be more festive than to sit nursing a pint on the riverside in the calm of the post Christmas lull? With views north across the river of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern towering above you, you can watch the world go by nestled amongst some of London’s most iconic landmarks.
This glass-fronted pub offers the best opportunity to take advantage of these views, while enjoying the delicious festive mulled cider on offer. If you get lucky with the weather the pub even provides blankets and heaters for guests who want to enjoy the terrace.
The Bunch of Grapes (Southwark)
The Bunch of Grapes pub is your ideal typical Victorian London pub. It’s is well situated for transport, being just a stone’s throw from London Bridge bus, tube and overground train links. This urban watering hole serves homemade food and a selection of Young’s real ales, for the more traditional pub goer.
In the shade of London’s latest stunning architectural feature, the Shard, this pub has simple interior decor with wooden floors and cream and black walls. The focus is very much on the food and beer. An outdoor courtyard surrounded by gilded mirrors benefits from heaters to keep punters warm in the winter cold. This is a great place to meet friends on Boxing Day for a post-celebrations pint.
The Windmill on the Common (Clapham)
Soak up the Clapham village vibe with this pub out of the centre of town away from the tourists. Looking out across Clapham’s vast common, The Windmill on the Common is a great hotel and bar serving traditional British food, cask ales and fine wines. If travelling into town is too much for you on Boxing Day this classy gastro pub with polished wooden floors throughout, chandeliers and double glazed conservatory roof is a stylish and comfortable venue to meet friends to regale each other with Christmas anecdotes.
The pub is a handy few minute walk from Clapham Common tube station serviced by the Northern line.
The Coopers Arms (Chelsea)
The Cooper’s Arms is somewhere between a fine dining destination and a modern pub. With stripped wooden floors, huge windows flanked by white curtains and a moose’s head (apparently named Ruby) mounted on the wall, the simple design will appeal to all types of pub goers.
Sociably set on the corner of two streets, it is the ideal low key venue for a Boxing Day pint. Friendly staff and an unfussy menu means this pub provides everything you want in your seasonal boozer. It’s Chelsea location means your fellow clientele will be at the more genteel end of the pub-goer scale.