5 Muslim-friendly Things to Do in London This Winter21 Dec 2019
We may have fewer hours of day-light but winter time doesn’t have to be gloomy and dull – especially in the capital city. Christmas is one of the best times to explore London. But in my experience, it can take a bit of searching to find great places where you won’t be surrounded by excessive alcohol or crazy loud music (and which won’t guarantee you a broken bank account by the time you’re done).
So here is my list of recommended things to do in London this winter:
5. Tour around London’s dazzling high-streets
Covent garden is one of my absolute favourite places at this time of year. The classical cobbled paths and vintage-style shops, along with the elegant array of seasonal decor give it that traditional Christmas feel that’s rare to find elsewhere.
But nothing screams Christmas like the three infamous high-streets in the heart of London. Begin your walk from the end of Oxford street, towards its cross road with Regent street for the glittery light display. To the East of Regents lies Carnaby street, which has a super bright and colourful ocean-themed display this year. You can simply take a stroll and marvel at the views with a hot festive drink, or there are plenty of shopping options and food outlets you can explore while you sight-see.
4. Christmas markets
Be sure to have a trip down to London bridge for ‘Christmas by the River‘ on your list of must-do’s this December. An alluring market which aligns the River Thames with admirable views of London’s iconic Tower Bridge. Browse through the rows of stalls selling seasonal foods and gift items from german-style chalets that overlook the city skyline.
Canopy Market at King’s Cross is also high on my list of recommendations. They are running a range of creative and artistic workshops to choose from, from Christmas card-making to a guided tour around Charles Dickens Museum. You can browse through the variety of workshops (most of which are free) and book on eventbrite!
If you’re looking for somewhere with plenty of halal or vegan street-food options, then Camden market is the place to go. While you’re there, treat yourself to a box of piping freshly-made churros coated with sugar, cinnamon and melted chocolate – the perfect dessert for a frosty winter evening. It’s also opened its brand-new ice-rink for the first time this year (- which brings me to number 3)
Get your skates on and book yourself a session at some of the most atmospheric ice-rinks that have popped up across the capital this winter. The more popular rinks include Natural History Museum, Somerset House, Tower of London or Winter Wonderland.
2. Café crawl
A gingerbread latte sprinkled with cinnamon on a crisp cold winter’s day. Name a better duo… I’ll wait. If you’re not one to usually branch out from the standard Starbucks or Costa for your daily coffee fix, now is the perfect time to do so. Explore the hundreds of independent cafés across London. Not only are they stunningly decorated at this time of year, they tend to be quieter, have cosier interiors, and (usually) better coffee. The Ambrose Café in Bloomsbury, Zen café in London bridge or Java U in Paddington have got to be my favourites.
For chocolate lovers, head down to Dark Sugars in Shoreditch which serve London’s best hot chocolates. They’re over-the-top and ridiculously indulgent.
If you don’t mind something on the pricey side but a truly classy experience, book an afternoon-tea at The Ivy Chelsea, or Dalloway Terrace which both have enchanting winter-themed interior decor at this time of year. (Note that both venues do not serve halal meat and do serve alcohol)
1. Winter Lights Festivals
Kew Gardens in Richmond or the Enchanted Eltham Gardens in Greenwich are two of London’s best lights festivals that need a visit. However, they both require booking and are usually sold out super quick. But don’t worry, between the 16th-25th of January, Canary Wharf has its Winter Lights Festival – no prior booking required and it’s completely free. With over 25 stunning installations dotted around the financial district, grab a free map and take a leisurely stroll around until you’ve seen them all. The light installations transform the area with magic and warmth. Set against the dazzling backdrop of the high rises, this really is not to be missed if you’re looking for ample instagrammable opportunities.