If youíre already yawning at the thought of spending the Christmas and New Year break watching repeats of Only Fools and Horses while overdosing on mince pies, then check out whatís happening in London. There are loads of enjoyable and interesting activities to keep you entertained throughout the holidays.
On the first day of Christmas...
Christmas Day provides a unique opportunity to enjoy London without traffic and crowds. Why not take an early morning stroll in Hyde Park
? The Peter Pan Cup swimming race in the Serpentine, www.serpentineswimmingclub.com
, starts at 9 am. Although you canít enter on the day (you have to be a member and have taken part in the winter series), itís much more fun to watch others plunging into the icy water!
For the true spirit of Christmas, attend a service at one of Londonís most famous places of worship. There are two special Christmas Day services (11 am and 3.15 pm) at the beautiful St Paulís Cathedral
. Westminster Abbey
also provides a stunning setting for its Christmas Services (10.30 am and 3.00 pm). Anyone is welcome to join these celebrations which include seasonal music, readings and traditional carols.
If touring a strangely peaceful London takes your fancy, www.goldentours.co.uk
are offering Thames cruises from Westminster Pier. See Londonís landmarks from the river while enjoying a slap up Christmas lunch. There are also panoramic bus tours with pub stops for a traditional meal. Definitely not one for the fainthearted, a Jack the Ripper tour through the dark streets will fill you with Christmas chill.
On the second day of Christmas...
The average person consumes thousands of extra calories on Christmas Day so Boxing Day is a good time to do some gentle exercise - that doesnít mean watching all that sport on TV!
How about a guided walk, with a Christmas nature theme, through the beautiful Richmond Park
? The walk starts at 10 am and lasts for approximately two hours, see www.frp.org for details. If youíre too full and hungover on Boxing Day, try the ĎSurprise in the Winter Wonderlandí guided walk at 10.30 am on 27th December in Greenwich Park
On the third day of Christmas...
Youíve spent hard earned cash on pressies for the family and have thanked them through gritted teeth for gifts already earmarked for the charity shop/ Ebay/ friend youíre not seeing until after Christmas. Now itís time to treat yourself; the Christmas Sales are the biggest of the year and London is one of the best shopping cities in the world.
, Europeís largest high street, is an obvious choice. You have to fight the crowds but it has a fantastic range of shops. Home to the brilliant Selfridges
, the flagship John Lewis
store, and the huge and irresistible Top Shop
, it also houses all the major department stores and hundreds of smaller chains and boutiques. The gorgeous Liberty
in Regent Street
, in Bond Street are just round the corner. Children will love a trip to Hamleys
, also in Regent Street.
Other shopping areas not to be missed are Covent Garden
, Kings Road
, High Street Kensington
, Camden Market
and Portobello Road
. If you canít face the crowds, Canary Wharf
provides a more relaxing shopping experience and as itís under cover youíll keep warm and dry.