Five Tips for Creatives To Enjoy Festive London

walthamstow-market

I don’t stay in London every festive break, but when I do – oh, it’s blissful! The city empties out, you can get a seat on the tube, wander down the South Bank with room to swing your arms and always get a table by the fire in your pub. Heaven, heaven, heaven. London becomes, well, gentle.

This is the special time, isn’t it? The lull between Christmas and New Year. So if you’re in town and want to explore, create or think, here are my top tips for inspiration and resources. And if you’re reading this from the other side of the world, maybe it will give you an insight into a great city destination for Christmas.

wallace-collection

Tip One Whenever I visit a museum or gallery, I never want to spend more than an hour wandering around. I get bored! The Wallace Collection is small enough to suit me perfectly and it’s one of my favourite secret spots in the city.

The historic house is a mere stone’s throw from the hellish shopping experience that is Oxford Street. Escape here for coffee and cake in the cafe and an altogether different view of London. It’s free entry and here you can share the same 18th-century inspirations as Vivienne Westwood.

Tip Two Further south, the new Design Museum has set up shop in Kensington High Street (it used to be on the river). I haven’t visited myself yet, but it looks awesome – and it’s a stone’s throw (30-minute walk) from the Victoria and Albert Museum, which we all know is mecca for anyone who loves the art of making.

gods-own-junkyard-collage

Tip Three If you haven’t already discovered God’s Own Junkyard here in Walthamstow, you should! (Check the website for festive opening hours.) This place is a year-round celebration of all things neon and it’s incredibly inspiring for the way it sticks two fingers to the world.

christmas-south-bank

Tip Four I love the South Bank at any time of year, and even their trashy Christmas market can’t put me off! I was here last night to see the gorgeous production of Peter Pan at the National Theatre and ended up sobbing my applause – if you can still get tickets, do.

My top tip if you’re a regular visitor to the South Bank is to become a member of the Royal Festival Hall, largely in order to gain access to their members’ bar. This has been a life saver for me on countless occasions when every restaurant is rammed and I want somewhere with striking views over the river to sit and have a drink with a friend.

I’ve also done a lot of writing in the members’ bar (it’s a bit of an unofficial creative hub for writers). So if you need a space in central London for writing your next opus, you know where to come.

Tip Five Finally, get out and enjoy those parks! The creative brain always benefits from exercise. I swear I come up with my best ideas on a walk. I like to hit Victoria Park in East London, Hyde Park in Central London, Hampstead Heath or Highgate Cemetery. After all, you need to work up an appetite for turkey curry.

So, that’s you set up for the next few days! As for me? I think I’ll sew…

sewing-pleather

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15 Responses to Five Tips for Creatives To Enjoy Festive London

  1. Christine Taylor says:

    I couldn’t agree more about the Wallace Collection, it is a gem.

  2. Allison Graden says:

    You’re going to sew!!! What a surprise LOL!

  3. The Wallace Collection is put on the list. Next time I’m in London I’ll make sure to go there. Looks absolutely fantastic, I love small museums.

  4. Thanks for the tip about the Walace Museum. I love to ht the museums and art galleries when I am in London. Is that laser-cut pleather? It looks gorgeous. Can’t wait to see what you make with it. Xx

  5. Neez says:

    Gidday from Auckland, New Zealand. First time I’ve left a reply, although I’ve read your blog for some time – I’ve set a challenge to make my clothes in 2017 and find lots of wonderful inspiration in your posts. Thanks for the tips re London, a city I love, love, love. Ah the tyranny of distance. My daughter has been in London from mid-November, leaving on a tour around the UK today, and to say I’m jealous is an understatement. She’s had a ball. In any case, Happy New Year, and looking forward to seeing what you make in the coming months.

  6. Thank you for that info. I have a girl friend over there at the moment, so will pass this onto her. We visited the Wallace Collection on our last visit to London, just seeing the armaments rooms – well, we had just come from Liberty and Cath Kidston, so I thought we should do something for the Mister!

  7. Oh I am green with envy! We are slogging it out over here relocating our business of 200sqm which is a big job! I really want to visit London again asap. I am still so ashamed of not even making it to the V and A as we never got past Harrods. That place is a museum of sorts too. The Museum of London though was absolutely incredible. But I have a lot more I didn’t see. Happy New Year to you and Ella x

  8. Jenny Bowman says:

    London’s not a place I would visit during the holidays, I’m too much a home girl for that, but as for getting back to the sewing room, well that’s my intention for the next few days now all our visitors have gone! Some great tips though for when we do hit the Capitol again. Thank you and Happy New Year. X

  9. Mertxe says:

    Here we are already planning our next trip to London, in may, for Desert Fest in Candem. And for buying some fabric as well! Lovely city of London! I can’t wait to see what you will make with Lisa’s fabric, but do plan a lining, that is completely see-through!

  10. amcclure2014 says:

    I haven’t been to the Wallace Collection – next visit! I enjoyed the old Design Museum but didn’t get a chance this time to visit the new one. Again next time. I tried to shop in Oxford Street and agree with your comment! My daughter lives near Victoria Park. I plan a trip to Walthamstow. I’ve stayed there previously but that was before I took up sewing.

  11. Colleen says:

    Thank you so much. I was feeling sorry for myself this morning but this made me shift my sorry self into gear and get out to see the Abstract Expressionism exhibition at the RA before it closes. Pretty busy and tiring, but oh my goodness the fabric possibilities in those paintings! Fantastic. Then a nip through the park to the tube home as the sun went down thinking about what to sew next. A subdued Rothko inspired woollen dress may be on the cards. Heaven only knows what a trip to the V and A may trigger.

    Maybe we’ll bump into each other in Vicky Park one day!

  12. Charlotte says:

    Happy new year! Thanks for these recommendations, I tend to visit the same places when I’m in London so will definitely try these next trip

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