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Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Photograph: Supplied

Five of London's finest festive after-work activities

Make the most of the Yuletide fun to be had in London with these jolly post-work events – all while you travel off-peak

Rose Johnstone
Written by
Rose Johnstone

Queen-themed Christmas lights, elegant ice rinks, cute Christmas markets… central London is packed with glorious (and affordable) winter things to do – so if you’re planning fun Christmas outings with friends, make sure to check out these top recommendations. Thanks to Transport for London’s wonderful world of off-peak, zipping around the city won’t put a dent in your budget.

Remember: public transport is a great way to get home after a night out. TfL’s Night Tube and Overground services run on several lines on Friday and Saturday nights into the early hours – and the best thing is that fares are off-peak. Night buses also run throughout the week and at weekends. If you’re drinking, drink responsibly, and take care of yourself and others when travelling home.

Check TfL Journey Planner before you travel and always touch in and out with the same card or device to pay the right fare. 


Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

1. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Few things announce the advent of Christmas in London more clearly than the opening of Winter Wonderland. The festive spectacular has been setting up rides, circuses, ice rinks, markets and heaps more since 2007. Until January 6 2019, 10am-10pm. Entrance is free. 

Getting there Piccadilly line to Hyde Park Corner.
Local bus routes 2, 6, 7, 9, 14, 16, 19, 22, 30, 36, 38, 52, 73, 74, 82, 94, 98, 113, 137, 148, 159, 274, 390, 414, 436.

Carnaby Christmas Lights

2. Carnaby Christmas Lights

Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see the lyrics to Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ illuminated over Carnaby Street this winter. There’ll be lots more neon eye candy to marvel at among the bars and restaurants. Next, why not head to other displays (and do a spot of Christmas shopping) over Oxford and Regent Streets? Free. 

Getting there Bakerloo, Central or Victoria line to Oxford Circus.
Local bus routes 3, 6, 7, 12, 13, 55, 73, 94, 98, 137, 139, 159, 189, 390, 453, N3, N7, N8, N13, N18, N55, N73, N98, N109, N113, N136, N137, N207.

Southbank Centre Winter Market
Photograph: Belinda Lawley

3. Southbank Centre Winter Market

What better way to spend an evening than browsing the little wooden chalets lined up along the South Bank? A warm glow radiates from each of them, offering beautiful handmade gifts. Until December 27, 11am-10pm (until 11pm Friday and Saturday). Entrance is free.

Getting there Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern or Waterloo & City line to Waterloo.
Local bus routes 1, 4, 26, 59, 68, 76, 77, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 211, 243, 341, 381, 507, 521, RV1, X68.

Christmas craft workshops at Drink, Shop & Do
Jon Santa Cruz

4. Christmas craft workshops at Drink, Shop & Do

This super-cute King’s Cross venue and workshop space is hosting sackfuls of Yule-themed craft classes, including the chance to create a (naughty or nice) card for your friends and family or a pretty floral wreath. Christmas workshops run in the evenings throughout November and December: check the website for dates and times. Prices vary.

Getting there Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly or Victoria line to King’s Cross.
Local bus routes 17, 30, 45, 46, 59, 63, 73, 91, 205, 214, 259, 390, 476.


5. Skate at Somerset House

Strap on some skates and take in the stunning, eighteenth-century surrounds of Somerset House while gliding on the ice. There’s a line-up of great DJs to get you moving, and when you’re done skating, warm up in Fortnum’s Lodge with the goodies on offer. Bliss. Until January 13 2019, 11.15am-10.15pm. Skate £11.

Getting there Circle or District line to Temple.
Local bus routes 1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 26, 59, 68, 76, 87, 91, 139, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 243, 341, 521, RV1, X68.

Get there for less!
David Potter

Get there for less!

All of these Zone 1 after-work activities are best accessed through the wonderful world of off-peak. You can get an off-peak fare when travelling into Zone 1 from Zones 2-6 during evening peak hours (4pm-7pm). Off-peak fares then continue to apply until 6.30am the next morning! Fares start from £2.40 for an adult off-peak pay as you go journey, when travelling from Zone 2, on all Tube, DLR and most London Overground services. Don’t forget that TfL’s Night Tube, London Overground services and Night buses are also there for you.

These affordable locations are also accessible by bus. The Hopper fare lets you take unlimited bus and tram journeys any time, anywhere within one hour of first touching in for £1.50.

Your key to London adventures

The Cultural TfL Map is your key to finding more of London’s family-friendly hidden gems. This interactive map reveals more than 500 Time Out-recommended museums, galleries, street art and more, all a short walk or bus ride from each station. Many of these experiences are free!


We know that affordable, convenient public transport is the key to accessing the best that London has to offer – and thanks to TfL’s affordable off-peak fares and other discounts across the network, the possibilities for adventure are greater than ever. Here, you’ll find plenty more unexpected and exciting off-peak outings.

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