We asked our favourite Londoners to share their insider tips for a real London Christmas...
John Ellis, Blues Guitar Maestro & Indytute teacher
I love Slava’s Snow Show for a great day out, and Ye Old Cheshire Cheese is a great pub for the Christmas spirit of old London. Oh, and
I often read A Christmas Carol to put me in the mood.
Neil Frame, The Nudge
La Soirée is the greatest, happiest show on earth and always comes to London at Christmas.
Coco Fennell, CocoFennell.com
I love Columbia Road Market's 'Christmas Wednesdays'. You can wander about and buy decorations in the lovely shops that are decked out all lovely and christmassy, with a mulled wine to keep warm, then go to super cozy Campania for some delicious Italian food, and finally to the Royal Oak for a drink to round it all off.
Tricity Vogue, Cabaret Star & Indytute teacher
For me it's got to be Ukulele Cabaret's annual Christmas bash - this anarchic, feel-good, free ukulele night has been going for ten years. It's in a cosy little pub in Kings Cross, just around the corner from the station, with a book exchange and squishy old sofas - the Lincoln Lounge, on York Way. For the Christmas one, Joyce the landlady of the Lincoln Lounge lays on mince pies. Regulars and new faces alike indulge in raucous singalongs, and by the end of the night nearly the entire room is on 'stage' behind the mics, singing to Joyce and Sue behind the bar. The open mic is always extraordinary. Brilliant musicians rub shoulders with shy beginners, eccentrics and outsiders, for a heady mix of unexpected and eclectic community. Santa could wander in and not look even slightly out of place.
Kathryn Parsons, Decoded CEO
Visit The Vault at The Natural History Museum.
Stare at Star Dust, the oldest known mineral in the entire universe, be bewitched by a cursed amethyst, marvel at a magical martian meteorite. You literally get as close to the stars as humanly possible in this vault of precious minerals hidden away at the back of the Natural History Museum.
Dominic Cools-Lartigue, Street Feast founder
About 12 years ago, while living in Portobello, I was due to spend Christmas Day in Bethnal Green with a good friend of mine and her young son. Waking up on Christmas morning I was struck by how bright it was outside. Like a typical Londoner, it doesn’t matter how cold it is, as long as the suns shining we’re up for venturing out. So, I decided to walk. I didn’t have a fixed plan to walk all the way to Bethnal Green from Notting Hill, just a vague notion that I might jump in a cab somewhere along the way, if I got knackered, or if the cold got to me. From Notting Hill Gate, it’s pretty much a straight road through the West End on to Holborn, Clerkenwell and then Old Street, the gateway to East London. To put this in context, these days I can hardly be bothered to walk from Dalston to Shoreditch, so it was clear there was more than the good old rays of sun powering me on. Unsurprisingly there weren’t many people out on Christmas Day as I journeyed East from West. However, those who were out all shared a Christmas greeting. There were plenty of nods, smiles and twinkly eyes, and more exchanges of ‘Merry Christmas’ with strangers than I can ever remember. I can still clearly picture one particularly cheery couple in Hyde Park who stopped for a chat, and even now whenever I pass that stretch between Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch, I always remember them with a smile and my marathon walk on Christmas Day.
Calypso Rose, Indytute founder
Go and watch It's A Wonderful Life
in the candlelit Union Chapel, huddled up with a mulled wine. All money raised goes to The Margins Project
, based at the Chapel and working with people facing homelessness, isolation and crisis.