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Things to do on Black Friday (other than shop)

Terrified at the prospect of crowds, queues and endlessly scrolling through sales pages? Take a look at these alternative things to do on Black Friday

By Matt Breen

Black Friday: does the mere sound of those words strike fear into your heart? This frenzied day, in which the nation’s retailers slash prices for 24 hours in order to get buyers into the Christmas spirit (ie prepared to spend profligate amounts of cash) was an American tradition. It was introduced to these shores a few years back (you’ll recall the scenes of mobs scrapping over flatscreens), and has been wholeheartedly embraced ever since. This year, it falls on Friday November 24. 

Black Friday can be a gruelling experience. But don’t worry: if the thought of joining those checkout queues – or scrolling through endless sales pages on websites – is just a little too much to bear, we’ve put together a list of all the things you can do on Black Friday that – shock horror! – don’t involve shopping. Take a look. Thank us later.

Things to do on Black Friday (other than shop)

Go somewhere nice and peaceful

Yes, there are places in London where you can actually get some peace and quiet. Kew Gardens is a pretty good go-to: all year round, it’s the perfect spot for a calming walk and some special alone time.

Rise above it all

Gain some perspective on the scrapping masses by booking a spot on the London Eye. This South Bank attraction has been going strong since the year 2000, and still offers some of the best views of the city’s skyline when you’re at the top.


Dive into a pit of balls

And those who want to indulge in a bit of kidult escapism should look no further than the semi-legendary ballpit extravanganza that is Ballie Ballerson: its new venue boasts a staggering million balls. 

Bruce Willis, Die Hard

See a different kind of carnage

If you want to avoid the violence of the checkouts, opt for the bullet-strewn catharsis of ‘Die Hard’ instead, which we’re screening at Lost Rivers Elephant as part of our Time Out Loves Christmas Movies season. 


Go ice skating

London’s has plenty of top-notch ice rinks – what better way to escape from the BF crowds than to pull on some skates and go gliding serenely across the ice? And definitely not fall over. Definitely not.  

Go LATE-NIGHT ice-skating

And if you fancy ice-skating to some thumping beats courtesy of ace DJs then book a slot at one of Somerset House’s late-evening Skate Nights. 


See some cute animals at ZSL London Zoo

If in doubt, ditch the humans and surround yourself with lovely, fluffy, sweet little animals. (And some huge snarling ones with razor-sharp teeth, too, if you fancy a trip to the Land of the Lions.)

Chill out with some fish

Lose yourself among the glass tanks and marine life of the Sea Life London Aquarium. The recently introduced jellyfish exhibition ‘Ocean Invaders’ is a real must-see. 


Book a West End theatre show

To our knowledge, they ain’t holding Black Friday sales in any of London’s theatres – it would spoil the whole illusion, right? And since we’re a city that’s full to the brim with excellent theatre, you should take a look through our list of shows, and get booking.  


Get some ‘me time’ at one of London's best restaurants

If you need a break from the stores, then head to a restaurant for a quiet, calm, solo meal. No, you don’t look like you’re either 1) recently bereaved or 2) a social reject – it’s actually what all the cool people do. Take a look at our list of London’s best places to dine alone.

And if you really want to do some shopping...

Time Out Offers

We’ve partnered with some of the capital’s best bars, restaurants, theatres, gyms and spas to bring you some seriously good exclusively discounted offers. Basically, we let you enjoy London for less. Take a look, thank us later.


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