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Arty Farty Christmas Party
Photo: joschneider.co.uk, artwork by Elliot Brennan & Milo Kerr

Alternative Christmas events in London

Looking for something different to the festive classics? Here’s some weird and wonderful events happening in London this Christmas

Rosie Hewitson
Written by
Rosie Hewitson
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Many of us love a good old-fashioned Christmas complete with trips to festive markets, ice skating, carol services and all the trimmings. But it’s not everyone’s glass of eggnog. Thankfully, London is abuzz with unusual Christmas events come winter. Whether you fancy switching up your usual gift-shopping with a trip to the Satanic Flea Market’s Antichristmas Fayre, making the Yuletide gayer than ever at a camp as Christmas drag show, or watching hardy swimmers go for an icy plunge on December 25 in the Serpentine’s famous Peter Pan Cup race, have yourself a quirky little Christmas with our round-up of the ultimate alt festive events in London.

We’ll be updating this page with alternative events for Christmas 2022 as they are announced.

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

Alternative Christmas events in London

  • Things to do
  • Bloomsbury

Charles Dickens was one of the greatest London novelists ever, who also campaigned vehemently for children’s rights and social reform, but he was also obsessed with the spirits, phantoms and the supernatural (see ‘A Christmas Carol’ for starters). This exhibition, ‘To Be Read at Dusk’ explores Dickens’s more macabre interests and how he became a master ghost storyteller publishing over 20 spooky tales. Set in the historic surroundings of the brilliant Charles Dickens Museum, we guarantee your spine will be tingling. 

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Greenwich

Don’t just stick stars on your Christmas tree, learn about them too. Explore the universe via a planetarium show at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich’s ‘The Sky Tonight’ planetarium shows. Each one is presented by a very clever astronomer, who’ll dish out the celestial goss on what’s in store for the stars for the month ahead. Whimsical, but also super fascinating.

 

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  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Hackney

Sick of having to share your pub snug with the overgrown branches of a Christmas tree? Visit phantasmagoric cocktail bar The Last Tuesday Society where you can drink inside a wunderkabinett of mummified cars ad crocodile skulls. Visit on the weekends December 10 to 11 and December 17 to 18 and you’ll also be able to pick up framed butterflies, specimens in jars, two-headed teddys, crystal balls and fine art erotica – y’know, your usual stocking-fillers at their absynthe parlor Christmas market. Don’t expect to be offered a drop of sherry here. 

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Greenwich

Take a break from gazing at Christmas trees and get a load of Luke Jerram’s six-metre glowing sculpture of the moon as it returns to Greenwich’s Painted Hall. In essence, it’s a huge glowing sphere decorated in Nasa-inspired detail and it looks really, really cool, especially after dark when it’s all lit up. There’s an accompanying surround sound composition by BAFTA-winning composer Dan Jones and visitor daybeds so you can lie down and gaze up at it. 

Find more Christmas fun in London

GYG London Widget

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