Christmas on the South Bank

Date Posted: 26/07/2011

London’s South Bank area has a lot planned for groups this festive season, so Group Leisure has picked the top themed attractions and events that are feasible to visit within a one-day Christmas itinerary.

10am Shopping

Beat the crowds to pick up some Christmas presents at one of the festive markets taking place along the South Bank. Hand-crafted wares and seasonal goods will be on sale at the Cologne Christmas Market from the 18th November until the 24th December. Alternatively, fill your dining table with tasty treats sourced from the Real Food Christmas Market, which takes place on the weekends of the 2nd to the 4th, and 16th to the 18th December. Chocoholics should time their visit to coincide with the Christmas Chocolate Festival, appearing at the Southbank Centre Square on the second weekend of the month. Your group could also pick up an early lunch from one of the many market stalls.

1pm Learning

Take a short break from the Christmas theme to brush up on a little education and culture. The South Bank area is home to numerous attractions offering something to suit all tastes, so at this stage it might be worth considering breaking your party down in smaller groups. For those with sea legs, the London Duck Tour is a popular way to see the sights of the city from an amphibious vehicle used in the D-Day landings. Alternatively, an exhibition of stories and objects collected through the War Story project will be on display at the Imperial War Museum. If animals appeal, stop by the SEA LIFE London Aquarium to see its array of marine life, or catch the latest blockbuster in 3D at what claims to be Britain’s biggest cinema screen, BFI IMAX.

4pm Flying high

As the sun starts to set and the evening draws in, the capital’s skyline begins to light up, and now is the time to take your group for their ride on the EDF Energy London Eye. Organisers can choose between a public ride or a private capsule, and this Christmas, the iconic attraction is offering a choice of festive packages. Take advantage of the Mulled Wine Experience, running from the 25th November until the 1st January, which includes a warming glass of mulled wine to toast the festive season.

6pm Dining

There is a choice of independent and chain eateries lining the banks of the Thames, whether your group favours English, Italian or even Japanese catering. Push the boat out with a festive group catering package at the London Marriott Hotel County Hall, or enjoy a relaxing drink taking in the eighth floor view of Christmas lights from the Oxo Tower Bar and Brasserie.

8pm Watching

For a Christmas show with a difference, Slava’s Snowshow is running at the Royal Festival Hall, within the Southbank Centre, from the 17th December until the 8th January. Experience a magical dream-like world, which culminates in a blizzard leaving the audience literally knee-deep in snow, and groups can secure 20 per cent off the top two price bands. For a classical Christmas, Messiah by Candlelight is performing on the 10th December, and for seasonal traditions with a twist, book tickets for A John Waters Christmas on the 5th December.

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