Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right Alternative Christmas events in London

Alternative Christmas events in London

Looking for something different to the festive classics? Here are the most weird and wonderful events happening in London this Christmas

Swimmers Compete For The Peter Pan Cup In The Icy Waters Of The Serpentine
Getty Images
By Time Out London Things To Do |
Advertising

Most of us love a good-old fashioned Christmas with festive marketsice skatingcarol services and all the trimmings. However, it’s not everyone’s glass of mulled wine. Thankfully, London is abuzz with unique and alternative Christmas events so this winter, it’s time to shake up the festive traditions. ’Tis the season to be quirky.

We’ll be updating this page with more events for Christmas 2019 as they are announced.

RECOMMENDED: Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London

Alternative Christmas events in London

Best buildings in London: Smithfield Market
© Cedric Weber
Things to do, Food and drink events

Hart's of Smithfield Christmas Auction

‘Spend your money and take your chance’ is the rather mysterious advice given to the 1,500-odd Londoners expected to turn up to Smithfield meat market for what must be London's most boisterous Christmas traditions. Harts of Smithfield run an auction just before Christmas each year, flogging great hunks of every kind of meat at bargain prices. 

Things to do, Festivals

Winterville

Okay, so it’s essentially a Christmas wonderland, but Winterville’s festive events are anything but generic: think disco yoga, crazy golf and hidden cinemas.

Advertising
Things to do, Quirky events

Peter Pan Cup

icon-location-pin Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park
icon-calendar

Strictly a spectator event, unless you happen to be a regular, not to say hardy, member of the Serpentine Swimming Club, the Peter Pan Cup race takes place each year on Christmas morning. 

Things to do, Quirky events

The Great Christmas Pudding Race

Every year Londoners turn out to watch runners try to navitage through foam slaloms and other inflatable hazards whilst balancing a plate of Christmas pud. All the wackiness is for a good cause for Cancer Research UK. Take part, or just turn up on the day to laugh and point. 

Advertising
110% John Kearns and Pat Cahill: The Christmas Specials
© Paul Gilbey
Comedy, Stand-up

110% John Kearns and Pat Cahill: Christmas Special

icon-location-pin The Bill Murray, Islington
icon-calendar

Alternative comedy heroes John Kearns (double Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner) and Pat Cahill (multi-award winning nonsense merchant) present a special yuletide editions of their ramshackle comedy night. Expect festive singalongs, merry sketches and special guests. 

Things to do, Walks and tours

Dennis Severs’ Annual Christmas Installation

Step into Christmas, circa 1724. This frozen-in-time house, tucked away down a Spitalfields side street is given a festive makeover each Christmas, complete with freshly wrapped presents, the sound of carollers and the aroma of a Christmas dinner – almost as if the family of Huguenot silk-weavers never left. 

Advertising
Things to do, Walks and tours

Hogwarts in the Snow

icon-location-pin Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire
icon-calendar

The Harry Potter studio tours get a festive makeover once more this Winter, with Christmas trees and a seasonal feast in the Great Hall, decorations in Gryffindor common room and snow drifts in Diagon Alley. 

Robin Ince and Brian Cox
Rob Greig
Comedy, Stand-up

Brian and Robin’s Christmas Compendium of Reason 2019

icon-location-pin Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Hammersmith
icon-calendar

Everyone’s favourite dreamy-eyed scientist, Professor Brian Cox, and superb, erudite comedian Robin Ince join forces for their annual Christmas blow-out at the Hammersmith Apollo. 

Advertising
The Making of Harry Potter
© Dan Wong
Things to do, Food and drink events

Dinner in the Great Hall

icon-location-pin Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, Hertfordshire
icon-calendar

After the ultimate Harry Potter experience? Book yourself a seat at this festive feast where you can tuck into a two-course Christmas dinner in the Great Hall at the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio tour, which has been transformed for winter into the set of the Yule Ball. 

Try something new in the run up to Christmas

Things to do, Classes and workshops

Weird and wonderful hobbies in London

Bored? You need to get yourself a new hobby. And we’re not talking stamp collecting here – we're talking alternative, freaky, fun activities, like trapezing, making wine and learning to paddleboard.

Find more Christmas fun in London

GYG London Widget

Snap up exclusive discounts in London

Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...

Advertising