Alongside these age-old traditions, there are some new quirky and fun activities emerging and may well develop into a holiday tradition, where a visit to one or more of its destinations will be on a Christmas visit list. If you are contemplating something different, unique to do during the holidays, here is a shortlist of quirky ideas to experience at Christmas in London which you may wish to explore.
With so many quirky and fun activities to do in London, the 8 listed here are by no means an exhaustive list but it is worth exploring.
1 | Backyard Cinema| Quirky Ideas to experience at Christmas in London
Watch a movie in a cinema like never before. Journey through a magical world of enchanted forest in a Winter Night Garden or find the secret entrance, explore the enchanted Snow Kingdom and go in search of the hidden cinema to watch your favourite movie. Select from a wide range of holiday favourites such as Home Alone, Love Actually, The Holiday, Trading Places, Pretty Woman and so many more.
2 | The Great Christmas Feast | Quirky Ideas to experience at Christmas in London
Be transported to Victorian London through a secret door in a secret location for an immersive experience of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. The story unfolds all around as you Indulge in a mouthwatering yuletide gastronomy of Victorian street food and feast.
4 | The Piano Works| Quirky Ideas to experience at Christmas in London
For an unforgettable fun evening, head over to the Piano Works. A bar with non-stop music of audience requested songs. Sing-a-long into the night with steak or ribs, buddha bowls and vegan shepherd’s pie. A favourite for music lovers.
Right in the heart of London Fitzrovia is an exotic restaurant in an exotic setting serving exotic dishes such as kangaroo, python, crocodile and crispy zebra “jerky” alongside traditional dishes of chicken and fish. A visit to Archipelago is, without a doubt, an evening to remember.
6 | Invisible City| Quirky Ideas to experience at Christmas in London
A short journey from the city of London, in Willesden is The Invisible City. This is an unusual experience to have at Christmas but I wanted to add it here for any one who wishes to experience the new sound art installation at Willesden Jewish Cemetery. A 21-acre landscape features the stories of people laid to rest in this, one of the most prestigious cemeteries in UK. Most of the ‘1970’s High Street’ can be found here including Jack Cohen (1898 – 1979) who founded Tesco.
Entry is Free. You can download the QR code onto any smartphone when you are onsite. There is a short trailer on the website.
7 | Harry Potter Studios at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
Have a magical day and experience winter in Warner Bros Studio Tour. Join this behind-the-scenes tour of the making of Harry Potter series. Get close to the whimsical costumes and props, especially Dumbledore’s office and Hagrid’s Hut. This magical experience sells out fast so book your tickets several months ahead.
Learn how the iconic train scenes were filmed, and browse through your favorite character’s luggage! For the first time ever, enter the set of Gringotts Wizarding Bank! Walk through the wizarding bank of Gringott’s, the Lestrange vault, a gallery of goblins, and much more. Admire the imposing marble columns and discover the costumes and prosthetics belonging to Bogrod, Griphook, and many other Golbin bankers. You’ll have approximately 4 hours to enjoy the magic of the Harry Potter studio.
See London at its best at Christmas and be dazzled by the glittering festive lights display from onboard an open top bus tour. The tour is led by an expert guide and the journey takes the route along all the Christmassy shop display. As well the Regent Street, Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, theLondon Eyeand Tower Bridge.
Coal Drops Yard at Christmas in Kings Cross London
In the heart of Kings Cross, there is a beautiful area that brings a totally different atmosphere to the hustle and bustle of London City life. This hidden gem of traffic-free Victorian cobbled streets and red-brick arches adds a unique flavour to the shopping and dining culture in London. It is even more spectacular during the festive season. Located within a 5-minute walk of Kings Cross Station, the Coal Drops Yard at Christmas is a destination not to be missed. The magical, merry and bright lights at the upscale Coal Drops Yard shopping and dining area is atmospheric, presented in an unusually Christmassy tree entwined with a ‘green spirit’.
Coal Drops Yard at Christmas and its very special untraditional Christmas tree
The unusual Christmas installations at Coal Drops Yard is a huge 8.5 metre (28 ft) high Terrarium Tree. It is a creation by the Botanical Boys. This magnificent creation feature 70 terrariums with each containing a unique, individual mini garden. The terrariums are surrounded by 168 mirrored baubles in differing sizes, bringing the unconventional Christmas tree to life with its glowing reflections. Added to this is the illumination from below, casting a beautiful warm glow across the courtyard.
In keeping with their green spirit, the terrariums will grow in their baubles throughout this festive season. When the festivities are over, the terrariums will be re-homed in 2021. As well, the main structure of the tree is reusable and will be transformed into new tree designs.
Coal Drops Yard at Christmas – A place to Shop, Eat, Drink & Explore
Along with the magical and festive spirit, the shops at Coal Drops Yard are adding to the merry cheer of Christmas shopping. With Christmas being a little different this year with much of Christmas shopping done online, the many brands home to Coal Drops Yard are offering exclusive in-store discounts.
From new names to well-known brands such as &- Other Stories, one-stop styling destinations, to Wolf & Badger, an independent homeware and beauty brand, Coal Drops Yard is the place for unique and extraordinary gifts.
Wider Kings Cross area is a foodie hotspot that has something for everyone and for every budget. The restaurants, bars and cafes at Coal Drops Yard offer cosy terraces and covered spaces to welcome diners for authentic dining experiences.
Many of the eateries at Coal Drops Yard have beautiful terraces with al fresco dining along with outdoor heating and blankets to ward-off the winter chill.
For fun and authentic Mexican corn tortillas, tacos and tostadas with refreshing tequila, head over to Plaza Pastor. It is a permanent outdoor venue, totally covered and heated.
The Drop is an elegant wine bar nestled under the old Victorian arches and has seating outdoors with good heating. The wine list is said to be one of the best around and they serve responsibly sourced oysters, meat and cheeses.
Explore the surrounds of Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross London
Explore the surrounding areas such as the Granary Square which is home to some fantastic places to eat and drink. There are a good selection of terraces where you could enjoy a coffee or a cocktail and watch the goings-on. The most popular place, without a doubt is the Granary Building, home to Caravan and Granary Square Brasserie. Also, either watch or experience the Fountains at Granary Square – the aqua-choreography of 1080 jets!
As well, you could grab yourself a drink or immerse yourself in a book on the steps by Regent’s Canal. Regent’s Canal runs through the heart of Kings Cross and has been transformed to be an important part of this neighbourhood at Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square. As you walk along the canal from Granary Square towards Gasholder Park, you will see Camley Street Nature Park.
A nature reserve, Camley Street Nature Park was created from a two-acre coal yard in 1984. The beautiful woodland, the grassland and wetland habitats provide a haven for birds, butterflies and plant life. A little further along the towpath, you will reach Gasholder Park and St Pancras Cruising Club. St Pancras Cruising Club is a lovely spot to enjoy a slower pace of life.
A little background to Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross London
Opened in October 2018, Coal Drops Yard is part of the wider redevelopment of Kings Cross area in Central London offering high-end shopping and dining experiences. Home to a wonderful mix of independent shops and signature brands from both home and abroad, visiting Coal Drops Yard is an experience in itself. Seeing how beautiful it is today, you would never know that this area was once used as warehouses for storing coal, colonised by a nightclub and formed part of derelict London branded by prostitution and drug-dealing.
Built in 1850, the two long Victorian warehouses has attached train viaducts. The two-storey brick and cast-iron sheds were used to receive and store coal for London from South Yorkshire, North of England. About 8 million tonnes were transported each year, trans-shipped via the Regent’s Canal and horse-drawn carts to heat homes and businesses in the City of London. As coal usage declined, the warehouses were adapted for light industry and storage. There was a nightclub here as well, Bagley’s which was closed in 2007. Eventually, the area fell into disuse by the late 1990s.
The redevelopment was designed by Thomas Heatherwick to a clean, prosperous, managed area and opening the area up to the public, linking the long viaducts and the space between them for people to enjoy. While adapting the space to modern use, the historic significance of the Victorian viaducts and cobbled streets are respected.
Practical Information for Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, London
Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4DQ
Coal Drops Yard is open to visitors between 10am-11pm. Please check individual retailer pages for opening hours and information.
How to get to Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross London
As it is in the heart of the City of London, the most convenient way to reach Coal Drops Yard is by public transport to Kings Cross Station or St Pancras Station. At Kings Cross Station, access via King’s Boulevard or King’s Cross Square – follow signs for Regent’s Canal, cross the bridge over the canal, and Coal Drops Yard is on the left, just off Granary Square.
Plan ahead > Places to Stay near Kings Cross
As Kings Cross is in the heart of London, there are many possibilities for accommodation. From budget, mid-range apartments to luxurious 5-star accommodation near Kings Cross London. If you are considering a stay at a beautiful affordable reputable hotel, I would recommend staying at the Copthorne Tara Hotel, Kensington. or the Millennium Gloucester Hotel Kensington
Firstly, Copthorne Tara Hotel Kensington is a 4-star rated accommodation and offers easy access to transportation at High Street Kensington. You could dine on site for a modern British and European cuisine – but why would you when you can get to Coal Drops Yard in an easy taxi ride or by the London Underground to Kings Cross.
Secondly, the Millennium Gloucester Hotel Kensington is also a 4-star rated accommodation set against fashionable South Kensington, with easy access to Victoria Albert Museum, Hyde Park and Gloucester Road tube station. Staying here will also give you easy access to Coal Drops Yard and surrounds of Kings Cross.
The Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Group run seasonal campaigns and offer discounts for their members as well which may be something of value to you if you are considering travels and enjoying their hospitality at your selected destinations. Use the link below and search for your stay.
For a greater selection of accommodation to suit every budget, including self-catered apartments, long-stay, family vacation, look-up booking dot com who are my go-to search engine for good quality places to stay.
A visit to Coal Drops Yard at Christmas or at any time of the year and you will find that it is a place of culture, food and great vibes. There are so many choices to satisfy one’s gastronomic cravings with a great combination of boutiques, restaurants, coffee bars and plenty of outdoor spaces. Both Granary Square and Regent’s Canal are great for people watch or to read a book. Coal Drops Yard is a destinations that should top your list when in London.
Have you visited Coal Drops Yard? If you have, please do share your experiences — you never know who you might inspire. If you are yet to, was this article valuable to you in planning your visit to Coal Drops Yard? If so, let me know in comments below. Would love to hear from you.
Have a wonderful time exploring Coal Drops Yard.
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Coal Drops Yard at Christmas in Kings Cross London first published at timelesstravelsteps.com Updated October 19, 2021
London’s Christmas Lights | An Unmissable Festive Cheer
The Christmas season is one of the best times of the year to be in London. The streets of London dazzles, with brightness and warmth. London’s Christmas Lights are one of the greatest joys of Christmas as they fill people’s heart with festive cheer no matter the weather, come rain or shine. Most prominent displays and the unmissable London’s Christmas Lights are in Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street, Covent Garden and in some prominent parks such as Kew Gardens.
Despite the current uncertain times, this year (2020) has made no difference. In fact, to kick-off the festive season, London Oxford Street and Carnaby Street have put up beautiful illuminations with heartwarming messages of Love, and Unity a little earlier than usual.
London’s Christmas Lights at Oxford Street
Though low keyed with no celebrities present (understandably), the unmissable London’s Christmas Lights in Oxford Street were switched-on just before lockdown 2.0 on Monday 2 November. The twenty-seven LED light curtains made up of twinkling lights drape the length of the premier shopping street in London. The lights burst into sparkling life with an uplifting message “To London with Love” .
Along with messages of goodwill, the Oxford Street Christmas Lights is dedicated to the Heroes of 2020. Every week, the display will feature the name of a “hero” – a person who has gone that extra mile to help others during Covid-19 pandemic 2020.
The first of London’s Heroes whose name was featured is Anis Ali, a NHS Volunteer Responder who completed an astounding 733 tasks since March while also holding down a full-time job.
Location: Oxford Strret, London
Getting here: Oxford Circus Station on the Central and Jubilee lines of the Underground
Carnaby is one of the most fashionable areas in the heart of London. The area covers fourteen streets, over one hundred shops, sixty restaurants, bars and cafes. Each year Carnaby chooses a theme and puts up a spectacular display of lights. This year’s dazzling display is one with a strong message of Love and Unity, in partnership with the charity Choose Love.
As from 2 November, the length of the Streets is immersed in a series of lightboxes of pink neon lights. The message on each of the lightboxes is positively powerful, paying tribute to the strength and courage of Londoners as well as the whole of UK. The messages of love and unity is an encouragement to continue with hope and kindness to each other.
The annual magical haven at Covent Garden is going ahead this year without the usual switching-on ceremony. The unique market offers visitors a very special shopping experience. From high-end names, market traders. and bespoke designers, you will find Christmas gifts for everyone.
The splendidness of the Christmas atmosphere is in the cobbled piazza and the market buildings that create a wonder-perfect backdrop for the twenty metre (sixty foot) Christmas tree. Decorated with some thirty thousand sparkling lights, the piazza glows! An unmissable Christmas lights experience in London for sure.
Location: Covent Garden
Getting here: Covent Garden Station on the Central, Northern and Piccadilly Underground lines.
Regent Street Christmas Lights is the largest festive display in the UK. The stunning Spirit of Christmas returns to celebrate the festive heritage of the upscale shopping district.
The illumination of more than three hundred thousand twinkling Christmas lights light up the skies of Regent Street and St James’ running from Oxford Circus all the way to Waterloo Place. It is a breathtaking sight and one that will have you in awe.
As with other Christmas Lights switching on ceremony, the annual grand event at Regent Street is cancelled. The lights will dazzle daily from 3:30 p.m. to midnight.
Location: Regent Street
Getting here: Oxford CircusUnderground Station: Victoria, Bakerloo & Central Line.
Piccadilly CircusUnderground Station: Piccadilly & Bakerloo Line
Regent Street Christmas Lights 2021 – November 12
Kew Gardens | An amazing magical trail of lights after dark
Kew Gardens at Christmas is one of the best times to visit. The grounds turn into an enchanted magical trail of lights taking you through dazzling sparkly tunnels, trees wrapped in glowing lights and a beautiful dynamic laser projections of Christmas colours on the iconic glasshouse. The grand finale at the Palm House Pond is a stunning light show playing to a festive soundtrack.
Christmas at Kew is a perfect destination for families, and couples, both young and old. Enjoy a festive evening with marshmallows, mulled wine and hot chocolate. Open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Book a time-slot and purchase tickets in advance.
Location: Kew Gardens, Entrances at Victoria Gate, Lion Gate and Brentford Gate
Getting here: Kew Gardens Station on the District Line (Richmond branch)
Christmas at Kew 2021 – November 17 2021 through to January 9, 2022 | From 4 pm to 10 pm – Advance bookings only
Ways to Experience the Magical Christmas Lights in London
Admire the famous and magical Christmas Lights in Oxford Street and Regent Street by booking the following tour:
I sincerely hope that this article is valuable to you in planning your trip to London at Christmas so you can experience the unmissable London’s Christmas Lights. Plan ahead and book your accommodations in London, sign-up to guided tours with last-minute cancellation protection or buy the great value London Pass. TTS earns a commission for all qualified purchases at no cost to you at all. As always, your continued support is much appreciated in keeping this website running. As well, you could support in other ways also.