Don’t miss out on anything London has to offer this autumn and winter. From spooky Halloween events to wonderful Christmas markets, this guide will help you make the most of the festive season in the UK capital.
The Making of Harry Potter
Throughout October, Warner Bros. Studio
Fans of Harry Potter can do far more than visit Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross. This October, why not enter the enchanted wizarding world by taking a tour of the Making of Harry Potter. You can visit Diagon Alley, sit in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, and see what butterbeer really tastes like. Visitors can take the train to Watford Junction from Euston Station and then get a special bus from there to the Studios. If you want to find out more, just click here.
Teen Horror Pyjama Party
26 October, Prince Charles Cinema
The Prince Charles cinema is famous for its movie marathons that last all night. In honour of Halloween, they will be playing famous horrors back to back, starting with cult classic ‘The Craft’, followed by ‘Scream’ and ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’, plus three more. You can pack your own snacks or buy food there, bring along a blanket and pillow and dress in your favourite pyjamas – this sleepover really does last all night. You can buy tickets here.
The Macbeth Halloween Haunted House Party
27 October, The Macbeth Hoxton
Dressing up is very much encouraged at the Halloween Haunted House Party. Held at the historic Macbeth pub in Hoxton this spooky celebration makes the most of the 100-year-old venue’s unique interiors. The party itself will feature DJs playing familiar hits from the 80s, 90s and 00s and be decorated with every Halloween horror you can possibly imagine. You can buy tickets for the house party here. What will your costume be?
3 November, Battersea Park
Every year, around the fifth of November, we have fireworks displays all over the UK. This is to celebrate the date when a man named Guy Fawkes was caught trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament. You may have heard the rhyme about this famous, historic event: ‘Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason that gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.’ You can watch one of these wonderful displays in Battersea Park in an award-winning show that lasts over 20 minutes. Find out more about it here.
Christmas at Kew
22 November – 5 January, Kew Gardens
Located close to campus are the famous Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. These are a treat to visit any time of year but, near Christmas, they get even more special. Every year a mile-long trail that visitors can walk along through the gardens is beautifully illuminated. This is lit up with over a million lights that twinkle and glitter and lead you on. Along the trail you will find live performances, immersive installations and spectacular, multi-coloured displays, so don’t miss it. You can book tickets here.
14 November – 13 January, Somerset House
Ice skating is a classic winter activity and, luckily in London, we don’t have to wait for the Thames to freeze over to try it. There are several outdoor ice rinks in the city around Christmas but none is as beautiful as the one at Somerset House. If you want to make the night extra special, you can stop by the Fortnum’s Lodge for mulled wine and festive food like raclette and mince pies. Book tickets soon as they often sell out.
23 November – 6 January, Hyde Park
Winter Wonderland is an annual event that marks the start of Christmas in London. There are so many things to do, including rides and several different food and drink stands serving seasonal treats. If you want to attend a show, they have everything from a festive circus a comedy club featuring some of the UK’s best stand-ups. You can find out more and buy tickets here.
9 November – 27 December on the Southbank
This Christmas market is a brilliant festive event that happens every year. This is the perfect opportunity to buy gifts for friends and family, try food from around the world and enjoy the festive music and twinkling lights. The market is held on the banks of the Thames so we suggest you wrap up very warm to enjoy an evening of Christmas fun.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on the many student events hosted around campus and by the Students’ Union throughout the semester, you can find out more about the SU’s events here.
London is a fantastic city to come and live and study, there’s always something to do! We hope this guide helps in making your first semester truly unforgettable!