London’s woodlands and gardens have a lot to offer in the summer months, but they are far from bleak in the midwinter. All those crunchy steps, frosty trees and misty views are waiting to be enjoyed, all you need is a well-insulated coat. Want our recommendation? Amble around Walthamstow Wetlands, the largest urban wetland in Europe. It’s one of the most popular walking spots in east London, but the area will quieten down during the Christmas period, so you can wander around those gleaming reservoirs in peace.
If, for whatever reason, you’ve ever found yourself wandering around London on Christmas morning you’ll know exactly what we mean when we say the whole place has a distinctly post-apocalyptic vibe. The Piccadilly Circus billboards flash ads to no one. Oxford Street is deserted, with nothing but the aura of last-minute London shopping anxiety lingering in the air from the day before. The City, bereft of taxes and besuited bankers, is uncharacteristically peaceful. All that remains are a few one-legged pigeons, gobbling up the last Pret sandwich crumbs on the pavement.
London empties out around December 23. The morning commute thins out, and Londoners start strutting through empty tube carriages like free-range hens. To see London on top ‘28 Days Later’ form, you’ll need to go outside late on Christmas Eve, or early Christmas Day. But there are pockets of quiet to be found over the holidays. The capital doesn’t fill to its bulbous, overworked capacity again until the first week of January. Want to make the most of the Christmas abyss? We have a few ideas.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Christmas in London.