Now it's November we can officially start talking about Christmas. This year we have plenty of festive treats to get you in the mood, from Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and winter horse drawn carriage rides, to Christmas inspired walks and festive drinks.
1. Visit Hyde Park Winter Wonderland on its tenth anniversary
No Christmas countdown is complete without a visit to the UK’s number one festive destination, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.
New additions include the internationally renowned ‘Nutcracker on Ice’ at the Winter Palace and the UK debut of the world’s largest transportable rollercoaster, Munich Looping.
Don’t worry though the usual favourites including The Magical Ice Kingdom, outdoor ice skating, Zippo Circus and the Giant Observation Wheel, will all be back.
We recommend booking all major attractions in advance and visiting on weekdays if you have little ones.
Visit the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland website for tickets and more info.
2. Buy your sustainable Christmas tree from a Royal Park
From 27 November you can buy your Christmas tree and decorations in Bushy Park (Diana Car Park), Greenwich Park (Bower Avenue) and Richmond Park (Roehampton Gate Car Park).
Each park will also stock a selection of natural wreaths, garlands, holly and mistletoe.
Trees are sustainably sourced from the Highlands in Scotland and sales support the work of The Royal Parks.
For more info click here.
3. Improve your sense of direction in Hyde Park
Follow the North Star they say, but which way is north?
Without the aid of a compass, most of us don’t have the foggiest idea what direction we are facing. Follow in the footsteps of your ancestors and learn how to navigate the old fashioned way, by using clues from the sun, wind and plants.
The two-hour workshop will also help you identify trees in winter from their buds, twigs, bark and shape.
Afterwards, why not wander down to the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen and relax with a festive drink. Personally, we can’t get enough of their salted caramel cappuccino.
When: December 3, 10am-noon.
Adults only. Book via the Royal Parks Foundation website.
4. Visit the Frieze Sculpture Park in The Regent’s Park
Combine fresh air and culture, by visiting the Frieze Sculpture Park in The Regent’s Park until January 8.
Entry is free and sculptures from 19 different artists will be on display in the beautiful English Gardens. Download the free Art Fund app which provides the lowdown on each installation.
5. Discover the origin of Christmas traditions in a walk through Kensington Gardens
As the year's shortest day approaches; join the Royal Parks Foundation for a stroll through Kensington Gardens to look at the seasonal folklore and traditions that have developed over the centuries.
On this walk you will find out what Christmas traditions Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert introduced to Britain, why robins appear on Christmas cards, and how holly was protected by Kings.
When: 9 December, noon.
Cost: £5. To book you place visit the Royal Parks Foundation website
6. Uncover a time machine in Brompton Cemetery
A time machine? Or something more sinister?
Unfasten your doors of perception with an extraordinary tale of occult, magic and secret time machine in Victorian London. What on earth is really inside the Hannah Courtoy Tomb?
Be sure to bring a candle in a jar to guide you as we wander amid the 35,000 graves in Brompton Cemetery. And remember to dress warmly for an evening that is guaranteed to chill your bones to the very marrow.
When: December 10, 7pm.
Cost: £8 (25% of proceeds will go to the Brompton Cemetery Heritage Restoration Fund)
Book tickets via antiquebeat.co.uk
7. Blow away the cobwebs in Bushy Park
Temperatures may have dropped but that’s no excuse to stay indoors. Grab your trainers and visit Bushy Park, the second largest of London’s eight Royal Parks. On a crisp sunny day, The Woodland Gardens are particularly stunning.
Afterwards, reward your efforts with a mulled wine and mince pie in the Pheasantry Cafe.
8. Enjoy a horse drawn carriage ride in Richmond Park in December
Snuggle under a blanket and enjoy the stark wintry beauty of Richmond Park with a carriage ride drawn by our majestic Shire horses.
The experience will include a unique behind-the-scenes visit of the working stables at Holly Lodge. Proceeds will fund sustainable conservation initiatives with the horses in the Royal Parks.
Refreshments and blankets are provided.
Tickets sell out fast so book yours now via The Royal Parks Foundation website
9. Watch the Peter Pan Cup on Christmas Day
Since 1864, swimmers have been taking to the water in Hyde Park to compete in an icy 100 yard race before heading home to tuck into their Christmas dinner.
Only members of the Serpentine Swimming Club can take part but the public can watch from the sidelines.
When: 25 December, 9am at the Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park.
10. Go on a guided walk of Richmond Park on Boxing Day
Walk off that extra helping of Christmas pud by joining the Friends of Richmond Park for a guided stroll on 26 December.
Meet at Roehampton Gate car park in Richmond Park at 10am. The walk is free and will last approximately two hours.
For more information click here