Christmas season is probably a favourite in many households. Whether it’s seeing the first snow fall and running outside to build a snowman, or sitting by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate looking at a freshly decorated Christmas tree, it always brings a special kind of joy.
Everything from unwrapping the presents to seeing green and red lights all over the city reminds us of the festive holidays, the year that has passed and the new year that will follow, giving us an opportunity to start over once again.
Such a memorable holiday usually consists of festivities lasting for days and spreading all over the city, and London is no exception.
Every year thousands of people run to stock up on ginger bread men at Christmas markets, ice skate under the light of the Natural History Museum or jump on to every rollercoaster at winter wonderland.
However, this year may be a little more complicated.
Ice rinks are closing, markets are limiting their working hours and Hyde Park stands still with no lights or attractions in sight.
With the national lockdown being lifted on the 2nd of December citizens of London will be allowed to go out once again, but nothing familiar to go out to.
Even though, the new restrictions brought in are to minimise the spread of COVID-19 it has made social activities around Christmas quite hard.
However, they are not impossible.
Perhaps we can not enjoy the thrill of seeing London from the top of a rollercoaster or share a hot drink in the middle of a Christmas market, but there is still one activity that will always put us in the Christmas mood, and that is ice skating.
Not every ice skating rink is welcoming people this year, but there is still a number of them that are happy to provide a frozen ground for us to try to not fall on.
The Queen’s House Ice Rink in Greenwich is inviting Londoners to skate freely with a picture perfect view of old London building brilliantly matched with a little window into the skyscrapers in the distance, a great way to spend the last few weeks of this year.
With Henry VIII’s sixteenth-century pad firmly surrounding the area, the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink offers it’s 1040 square meters for people of all ages to share in the holiday spirit.
These two ice rinks are the ultimate outside ice skating experiences this Christmas season.
However, if you prefer to stay indoors, there is something for you too.
Alexandra Palace Ice Skating Rink is now back in business with its indoor ice rink surrounded by brick walls and huge round windows making you feel as if you are skating inside of a beautiful castle.
For a more casual atmosphere, Queens skate dine bowl opens its doors this year. Along with an all year long access to bowling and an arcade they are now adding a Christmas special, an indoors ice rink for visitors to enjoy during this holiday.
However, Ice rinks are not the only things that will get your holiday spirits up. Nothings says Christmas like cosying up with a nice glass of mulled wine surrounded by warm Christmas lights.
There are a number of places that welcome guests for special winter promotions.
Coppa Club located next to the Tower Bridge with the riverside view almost at arms lengths.The restaurant provides separate igloos for customers to enjoy a peaceful Christmas meal surrounded by Christmas decorations.
Jimmy’s Lodge in the middle of Southbank Centre’s Winter Market has become an ultimate winter holiday experience and is welcoming guests once again.
A number of pop-up snow globes located right next to the river offers a variety of food, drinks and an experience that is both making you feel isolated and at the same time.
Both Coppa Club and Jimmy’s Lodge are very well suitable as it only allows a small number of people and completely isolates groups from each other.
Both fun and safe, a perfect solution for the following the restrictions and still having a great time.
Pergola Paddington on Kingdom Street is offering a perfect holiday experience by decorating their rooftop terrace as a modern winter forest.
Having a drink surrounded by Christmas trees and lights on a quiet evening will put you in a festive mood in no time.
Another open air bar is Camden Winter Beer Hall that for a season transforms a traditional Electric Ballroom into a Bavarian beer hall. It provides a number of drinks, including the holiday favourite mulled wine and hot cider.
Alpine Club Winterland on Wandsworth Bridge Road is also offering a variety of exciting Christmas activities.
From Bavarian Tents and Moose Cabins to Forest Igloos it is a perfect way to spend an evening with a small group of friends.
Most of the activities offered include groups of no more than six people, therefore supporting the COVID restrictions and making it safer for guests to enjoy themselves.
Finally, Miracle bar in Coven Garden’s Da Henrietta hotel offers a great variety of holiday drinks and all time favourite Christmas songs that are guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit.
With the current situation being uncertain, it is both hopeful and inspiring that so many places are still ready to welcome people and help them forget about the troubles of the world and celebrate the holiday, if it is only just for a couple of hours.
A number of venues and restaurants are adjusting to the new way of living and are ready to provide their services and assure the citizens of London that every COVID-19 restriction is followed and the rules of social distancing will be applied in all settings.
With London now officially being in the Tier 2 section we will soon be able to enjoy all that London has to offer, even if that is only for the next month!
Words by: Assiya Mukhamedrakhimova | Subbing: Grace Staley