Perfect Christmas Day Out: Kings CrossBy Angelica Malin
This post is brought to you in association with Premier Inn. For hotel information and rates, see their website here and follow them on Twitter here. For more inspiration, check out their Christmas markets guide here.
London is always more beautiful at Christmas time.
The sparkly lights of Oxford Street, the tinsel and fake snow of the Selfridges windows, the general feeling of joy and warmth that spreads around our normally moribund city. It’s the only time of that it becomes socially acceptable to smile at strangers at the tube. Really.
There’s so many fun Christmas-y things to do this time of year, you’ve got to choose wisely. There’s only a handful of weekends until the all-important 25th December, and you’ve got to plan ahead. So when we were approached by Premier Inn to plan our perfect day out in London for Christmas, we realised we had to take this very, very seriously.
We created a rating system for evaluating the best Christmas activities in London. Tinsel? Tick. Mulled wine? Double tick. Every festive offering in the capital, we’ve tried it. Every mulled wine, we’ve drunk it.
Without further adieu, here’s the best festive activities in the city, along with our favourite all-year destinations for the cultural, foodie Londoner. This, London, is how you do a Christmas day out:
10am: Breakfast at Premier Inn
What: Start at Premier Inn Euston. The hotel is a 2 minute walk from Kings Cross, which makes it great for exploring London, as well as travelling into the city by train. A double room is £200 and this includes breakfast for 2 – if you follow this properly, you’re going to have a day of carby indulgence, so we suggest you start with fresh fruit salad, mixed berries and yogurt. That said, you could go for a Full English. It’s winter after all.
Where: 1 Dukes Road, London, WC1H 9PJ
Price: £200 for a double, including breakfast
11am: Exploring Books and More at British Library
What: The British Library is one of my favourite places in London; you can spend hours wandering the aisles of books, and pouring over old manuscripts. The library is a 4 minute walk from the hotel – you have to register for a reader card, which you can do here. There’s currently an exhibition of the Treasures of the British Library, where you can see gems such as the Magna Carta, Shakespeare’s First Folio, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebook. After all that culture, you’re going to need a well-deserved break – luckily their coffee shop Peyton and Byrne is sensational, and the perfect place to while away time over a cup of Earl Grey and a good book.
Where: 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB
12: Get Your Skates On at the Natural History Museum
What: It’s time to get your skates on. You can’t help but love a little bit of ice skating at Christmas time – and the Natural History Museum’s ice rink is one of the best to do this. It only takes 23 minutes on the Piccadilly Line from the hotel (we timed it) and is endless fun. Each session lasts 50 minutes – the rink is open until January 2015, and open until 9pm on weekends – you can book by phone or in person, more information here. My tip? Bend your knees. It always helps.
Where: Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD
Price: £12.75 for adults, £8.80 for children’s tickets
1pm: Enjoy Red Velvet Time at Hummingbird Bakery
What: After that exercise, it’s only right that you get involved in some cakey indulgence. A mere 5 minute walk from the Natural History Museum is the world-famous (well, OK, London famous) Hummingbird Bakery, which does some of the best red velvet cake in town. Did you know they also do a vegan red velvet? Well, now you do. Stop for a slice of cake and recoup after your skating session, before heading for the next part of our journey: the Southbank Winter Festival.
Where: Hummingbird Bakery, 47 Old Brompton Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 3JP
Price: Cakes from £2.50
3pm: Do The Wintery Bit at the Southbank
What: The Winter Festival at the Southbank is truly one of my favourite activities in London. It’s just full of such Christmas joy – spend the afternoon exploring the markets of the festival and sample the street food at the markets. Don’t forget to try the amazing mulled wine, and the winter cider at the Kopparberg pop-up alpine hut. Heavenly. In the evening, indulge in a spot of entertainment by attending the National Theatre – there’s lots of fantastic shows on as part of the Winter Festival.
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Price: Theatre tickets from £15
What: Caravan started out life in Exmouth market and has now opened in the new Granary Square. With its canal setting and view of Kings Cross’s historic buildings, it’s one of our favourite places on the square; it’s buzzy and energetic, yet with its exposed brickwork and industrial lampshades, the interior has a nonchalant Brooklyn vibe. For dinner, go for one of their pizzas – the anchovy, fennel, mascarpone, green pepper & rocket is our fave. Don’t leave without trying the desserts, it would be a crime.
Where: Granary Building, 1 Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA
Price: Small plates from £3.50
10pm: Get Your Dancing Shoes On at Drink. Shop. Do.
What: Drink, Shop & Do melds together the three things us humans do best – getting drunk, buying stuff and consuming food. It’s a café, shop and club all rolled into one; come day it serves breakfast, afternoon tea and small plates, come night it serves hard liquor and grimy disco beats. It’s chilled, fun & we love it.
Where: 9 Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9DX
Price: Free entry until 11pm
1am: The Sleepy Bit
What: You’ve had a long day. It’s time to curl up with the telly on and get a good nights sleep. Christmas mission accomplished.
This post is brought to you in association with Premier Inn. For more information and rates, see their website here and follow them on Twitter for updates and deals here. Check out their Christmas markets guide here.