It might be a bit of a different festive season this year, but fear not, Christmas isn’t cancelled! There’s still plenty going on in and around East London so we’ve put together a list of things to do this winter that will make you forget all about 2020 and look forward to 2021.
Due to the current circumstances, some of the sites mentioned below may be temporarily closed or have restricted opening hours.
Running every weekend until 20th December, Hackney Christmas Market is home to various local independent traders offering unique festive gifts alongside delicious street food and drink stalls to really get you into the Christmas spirit. Pick up handmade gifts, take part in a gift-wrapping workshop and eat and drink until your heart’s content with a whopping eight types of mulled wine and cider on offer!
It’s certainly no secret that Columbia Road is the place to go on a Sunday for beautiful blooms and plants, but at Christmas time you can pick up a Christmas tree and a wreath too! Open for late-night shopping on Wednesdays during December, Columbia Road has a real sense of community fun. Bask in the hustle and bustle of the market with a mulled wine in-hand and whilst you’re there, be sure to check out the fantastic independent shops that line the road.
East London’s recycled-shipping-container-turned-shopping-and-dining-destination is the perfect place to do some Christmas shopping. With over 20 independent shops calling Boxpark home, you’re guaranteed to find something special for that someone special. Peruse handmade accessories, quirky gifts and contemporary womenswear before refuelling at one of Boxpark’s many heavenly eateries.
Rooftop Restaurants and Bars
Situated on the 10th floor of the Montcalm Hotel, this iconic East London rooftop venue offers breathtaking views of the City’s skyline. This winter, book one of Aviary’s cosy igloos and experience an enchanting seasonal menu in a setting you certainly won’t forget in a hurry.
Bringing a whole heap of festivity to Tobacco Dock, Skylight is your one-stop-shop for all things wintery fun. Book an igloo on Skylight’s Rooftop, enjoy a tipple or two at the off-piste speakeasy bar or après ski lodge, or watch a Christmas classic at the cosy cinema; Skylight really does have it all going on. So get ready to snuggle up with a sheepskin and a glass of mulled wine and enjoy some of the best après party tracks by Skylight’s resident DJ.
The ideal venue for a date night, Queen of Hoxton’s Winter Rooftop has outdoor heaters, fairy lights in abundance and a choice of festive platters to keep your stomach full. Located in the heart of East London, you’ll be able to enjoy the sparkling lights of Shoreditch as you sip on a hot buttered rum.
Things to Do
Head down to Finsbury Avenue Square to experience some seasonal spirit and admire The Giving Tree. This 40ft Christmas tree isn’t just any old Christmas tree, it’s a tree that pays tribute to our wonderful NHS with a rainbow-coloured light show in a year where we have needed them more than ever. A contactless donation point can also be found by The Giving Tree where donations go to St Hilda’s East, a local community centre which offers a range of phenomenal services to residents of Tower Hamlets.
If you’re visiting the Museum of London this December, there’s a high chance you might bump into Santa. With various free events taking place throughout the month of December, it’s a great place to take the family for some Christmas fun. On selected days you can expect to see Santa ringing his bell as he opens the museum to visitors. Once inside you can take part in a festive family mission set in Victorian London. You’ll be tasked with earning enough shillings to buy all the trimmings for a Christmas dinner by completing various challenges. Alternatively, catch a festive story with Santa or enjoy a winter walk through the museum as you soak up the beautiful decorations; you might even get the chance to snap a socially distanced selfie with the man himself at the end.