Every Christmas holiday, people are often tempted to go abroad, whether to visit famous Christmas markets or enjoy the festive vibes of the country.

However, there is just as much to do on this island, especially in the capital where we are. I have scoured through the internet for the most interesting event and here are my top 3 picks in London.

Fairytales After Dark

Descending to bestow Londoners a magical weekend, the Skewbald Theatre will be bringing fairy tales to life at the greens of thhe Olympic Stadium. Through an enchanting mix of singing, dancing and puppetry, stories familiar and strange, of bewitched frog prince to old Fisherman will come to life in this outdoor theatre.

Running three times a day with free tickets, there really is no excuse not to escape into the classical ‘Once Upon a Time’ world and immerse oneself back into your childhood memories.

Tickets can be booked through the Olympic park website and are going fast – so don’t hesitate.

_Stratford Olympic Stadium _

13th-14th Dec

16:00, 17:30, 19:00



Winterville, Victorian Park

A new winter destination in London rivalling Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, Winterville seems to have everything and more. Ice rink, checked; Fairground, check; Market place, check; Ferris wheel, check. It even has a Kids quarter, Pantomine of Robin Hood, Spiegeltent and roller disco. Admission is free, and tickets for various events can be brought online (many comedies and shows in Spiegeltent are free though!).

For those seeking refreshment, street food stalls are scattered all over the site, and to warm you up for the season there is a dedicated Craft Beer area as well. For the party crowds there are Roller Disco and Kicking Club nights for you to celebrate away the festive fever.

The only downside is that Victoria Park is infinitely harder to get to for us imperialites, but for those who are a little sick of the Winter Wonderland, it might be worth checking out.

Crown Gate, Victoria Park, Grove Road, Bow, E3 5TB

2nd Dec – 1st Jan, 2015 excluding 25th, 26th

10:00 – 20:30



Nearest stations: Mile End, Bethnal Green

There is plenty more going on outside of London, be it an old tradition or something new. With consideration on the distance from London, I have picked 3 other festive events for those who want to venture out but might not have the time or the money.

Burning the clocks, Brighton

With thousands of flickering lights illuminating the streets every Winter Solstices for over two decades, Burning the clock parade has now become a trademark event in Brighton. With a parade of hand-made paper and willow lanterns, the festivities gather over 20,000 people for a 45 minutes parade down to the sea front of Brighton.

Ending in a bonfire where the lanterns are burned and the firework display starts, this event strives to celebrate the darkest hours on the shortest day of the year. To commemorate its 21st birthday, hidden lanterns designed with this year’s theme ‘Urbano – the City’ are scattered across the city until New Year (map can be found on the website).For safety reasons, only the lanterns made by the kit they sell can be burnt.To join the parade with your own handiwork, stay tuned on the website for direction of sales (which are yet to be released for now).

Parade on 21st Dec 18:30

price tbc


Living advent Calendar

An idea that originated from Stockholm, the living advent calendar see a festive performance popping out of a window or door at 18:30 from 1st to 24th December, delighting the gathered crowd for 30 minutes. From carol singing to dancing to tales of folklore, each performance is matched with a venue scattered across the rustic town. Raffles are sold to support charities every night, and the list of prizes can be found on the website.

Whilst Henley-on-Thames is celebrating Christmas in style for the third year, Windsor has also joined the bandwagon. For those who wants to immerse in this unique event but are discouraged by the distance, this makes a good alternative, although the performance only lasts 15 minutes.

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

1st-24th Dec 18:15



1st-24th Dec 18:15



Ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia parade, Chester

Before there was Christmas, the people of Rome threw a festival in honour of their deity Saturn on the 17th December. With a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn and a public banquet; partying, gifts exchanges, masters waiting on slaves and gambling were amidst the festivities followed. To remember the glory of the old days, a torch light parade is held in Chester with Roman legions stomping through its cobbled streets. If merely watching the parade isn’t good enough for you, you can make your own lantern at Grosvenor Museum from 17:45 till 18:30 beforehand.

18th Dec, 18:30



Of course, there are plenty other Christmas events out there in the UK. If you know of, or are going to any and want to write an article on it, drop me a line at felix.travel@imperial.ac.uk.