While the festive season is a time to come together with friends and family, celebrate and enjoy all that Christmas and New Year has to offer, it is also a time when we spend a good chunk of money.
Over the Christmas of 2015, the average British family spent a whopping £800 on average, (according to this Telegraph article) meaning we’ve all probably got very little left over if we fancy leaving the house during the festive season.
Thankfully the capital has lots of great free events on throughout December and beyond, which could prove to be the perfect escape if you’re starting to suffer from cabin fever with the in-laws.
1. Visit The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is one of London’s greatest attractions regardless of the month you choose to visit. However, it is particularly brilliant if you head down during the festive season.
This attraction is perfect for adults and children, with so much to explore. From the life-sized models of Earth’s largest creatures to the tranquil surroundings of the Darwin Centre and its wildlife garden, there really is something for everyone.
For that extra special sprinkle of winter, check out the beautiful ice rink constructed for Christmas, running until the 8th of January 2017.
Entrance is free, ice rink tickets from £8.80.
2. Carol Singing in Trafalgar Square
For those of you who love nothing more than a good sing-along with some classic Christmas carols, pop along to Trafalgar Square where you’ll find over forty carol singing groups belting out songs to warm your hands and your heart underneath the famous Christmas tree through December.
There’s a healthy window if you want to experience the carol singers. Weekdays you can find them between 4-8pm and on weekends, 2-6pm.
Totally free, running every day from Monthly 5th December to Thursday 22nd December (Except Saturday 10th and 17th December.
3. Visit The Charles Dickens Museum
There are few people who more perfectly encapsulate London and Christmas quite like celebrated author Charles Dickens, so what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by visiting the Dickens Museum in Bloomsbury.
Wander among this beautifully maintained Victorian style building and enjoy all of the exhibitions on offer. There’s also plenty of Christmas focused events on over the festive period, including costumed Christmas walks and Christmas Carol theatre experience evenings among many others.
Entry – Adults £9.00, Children (Concessions) £6.00.
4. Visit Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is undoubtedly the biggest and most spectacular collection of Christmas markets, attractions and festive experiences in the capital and probably in the whole country.
There’s certainly something for everyone here, from the range of Christmas markets, to an Ice Bar, from a massive Ferris Wheel to musical and theatrical performances and everything in between.
Entrance is free, attractions prices vary. Open till 2nd January.
5. Geffrye Museum
The Geffrye Museum is located in Shoreditch and is one of the most unique and intriguing museums you are likely to explore. The exhibitions here chart the evolution of the British home over hundreds of years.
They have added a sprinkling of snow to their museum this winter by holding an exhibition looking at 400 years of English Christmas traditions in the home.
There’s also plenty of events on in the run-up to the big day, including craft evenings, handling sessions for visually impaired visitors and Christmas decoration creating days.
Entrance is free. Other events may cost extra, check their site for details. Christmas Exhibition runs until 8th January.
6.Watch The Peter Pan Cup
If you like a brisk walk on Christmas Day while the Turkey is the oven, what better way to enjoy it than watching a group of swimmers brave the bitter cold and race 100 yards across the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park!
The Peter Pan Cup is inspired by J.M Barrie, the creator or the famous children’s fictional character. He donated the cup to the Serpentine Swimming Club in 1901, the same year Peter Pan made its debut in the West End.
The park is free to enter; the race starts at 9am on the south bank of the lake close to the Serpentine Café.
7. Enjoy The Southbank Centre Winter Festival
The always excellent Southbank Centre holds a fantastic Winter Festival which has something for every member of the family.
There’s a great Christmas market offering quirky crafts, affordable gifts and festive snacks and drinks, festive concerts, world-class theatrical performances and much more.
Admission to the Winter Festival is free, certain performances and concerts may cost extra. Runs till Sunday 17th January.
8. See The Christmas Lights At Kew Gardens
For the ultimate Christmas lights experience, there is no better place to visit than Kew Gardens. Every year they put together an extraordinary display which is the perfect accompaniment to a winter’s stroll.
The famous royal botanical gardens are lit with over 60,000 lights and also feature a choir, a garden of blazing fires and a dazzling music and water display at the end of the gardens in front of the iconic Palm House.
Tickets start from £16. Open weekdays from 23rd November to 2nd January.
9. Head To The Tate Modern
Enjoy experiencing some of the finest modern art ever produced with a festive twist? Head on down to the Tate Modern where you can explore works from the likes of Picasso, Pollock, Dalí, Warhol and more.
There’s also a brilliant traditional Christmas market which fills the space between the front of the Tate Modern and the bank of the Thames, offering all of the winter warming Christmas treats you’d expect.
Admission is free to the Tate Modern. Open every day accept 23rd, 24th & 25th December.
10. Visit The Hyper Japan Christmas Market
If traditional Christmas vibes aren’t really your bag, then there’s a good chance you’ll love the Hyper Japan Market at the Tobacco Dock.
This festive market showcases the culture and customs of all things Japan in a big vibrant festival.
Browse through the bright and brilliant stalls, try your hand at craft courses in kokeshi doll decoration, sample your favourite Japanese dishes or enjoy some performance artists creating truly unique entertainment.
Admission from £15, finishes on 27th November.
As you can see, there really is something for everyone on this Christmas. So, whether you want somewhere to entertain the kids out of the house, treat the grandparents or spend time with friends, you’ll certainly find a great day out over the festive period in London.