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Alternative Ways To Spend Christmas Day – Our Top Picks

The build-up to Christmas seems to go on and on, but have you ever felt that the day itself is a bit of a let down? If you’re stuck in a festive rut, why not try something a bit different this year? Here are our top five alternative ways to spend Christmas Day.



If you're looking for alternative ways to spend Christmas Day, try volunteering!

While Christmas is usually a time for celebration and overindulgence, not everyone can enjoy it in the way most of us take for granted.

Thankfully, there are hundreds of volunteers out there who help make sure the day is special for everyone – and if you’re looking at alternative ways to spend Christmas Day then this is surely something to consider.

Crisis at Christmas is one of the main charities looking for help over the festive period, with volunteers needed to greet guests for lunch, serve food and clean the centres.

Let them know if you’ve got a specialist skill which could be put to good use!


Make the most of London’s quiet streets

Make the most of London's quiet streets this Christmas

Central London is usually packed with tourists and commuters, so make the most of the quiet streets on Christmas Day and enjoy a stroll around our beautiful capital.

Seeing major landmarks almost deserted is pretty magical and gives you the chance to soak up the festive decorations lining the streets.

As there won’t be any tubes running on the day, why not get in the saddle and hire a bike while the roads are less busy?

While the shops may be closed, London’s Royal Parks will remain open so a festive bike ride with friends could be the perfect alternative way to spend Christmas Day!


Get a slice of history

Christmas is a time full of traditions so why not find out more about where they came from by taking part in a history tour?

The annual Samuel Pepys’ themed walk begins at 11am from the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square and is based on Christmas Day 1660 when decorations were permitted in England for the first time in eight years!

Alternative Ways To Spend Christmas Day - enjoy London's historic sites!

Carrying on the literary theme, a Charles Dickens’ walk begins at 2pm from the same location to celebrate the author who re-invented Christmas.

The walk takes you on a tour of Dickensian London, including a visit to the Victorian hideaways off the Strand and Covent Garden. No scrooges allowed for this one! 


Brave the water

If you’re looking for alternative ways to spend Christmas Day but still want to get your feast of traditional turkey, start the morning by burning off a few calories in one of London’s outdoor pools.

For the less faint-hearted, Hampton Pool is heated – just turn up and jump straight in anytime between 8am and 12pm.

Take a dip at one of London's top outdoor pools

If you don’t fancy a festive dip, go and cheer on the brave souls taking part in the Peter Pan Cup in Hyde Park.

The traditional 100-yard race sees members of the Serpentine Swimming Club battle it out for the cup in temperatures of around four degrees Celsius.

The race, which is only open to members of the club, has been taking place on Christmas morning since 1864. The cup was donated by novelist J.M.Barrie in 1904 – the same year Peter Pan debuted on the London stage.


Relax at a retreat – an alternative way to spend Christmas Day

Not many people feel too calm at Christmas, especially if you’re the one taking charge of the cooking!

To get away from it all, spend the day at the London Buddhist Centre in Bethnal Green. Their Christmas Day retreat costs just £30 and involves meditation and reflection sessions.

Relax at a retreat this Christmas Day

There’s no need to book but visitors are asked to bring a vegan or vegetarian contribution for the communal lunch.


Alternative ways to spend Christmas Day – a summary

Christmas is one of the most special days of the year, so why spend it doing something you don’t really enjoy? We think shaking things up and considering a few alternative ways to spend Christmas Day will give you a festive season you’ll never forget. 

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