It's almost Christmas! Whee! As I've expressed several thousand times before, I love London at Christmas. The city shuts down and if you venture out, you almost feel like the city's yours. We plan on doing our annual Christmas walk along the South Bank, across Millennium Bridge and around St Paul's, then on to the Founder's Arms for mulled wine before heading home to cook the turkey.
If you feel the urge to hit the streets before stuffing yourself, Londonist has a great run-down of what's on in the city. Here are their top tips:
Join the Serpentine swim: there's nowt as refreshing as a mid-winter dip. The Peter Pan Christmas Race has been held at the Serpentine Lido since 1864. You won't be allowed to swim unless you're a member but we can vouch for spectating being excellent fun and will mean a brisk walk through wonderful Hyde Park early in the morning. The race starts prompt at 9am so if you're planning to go, get up early - there isn't any public transport all day!
Cycle Southwark: Keeping in the outdoor sport vibe, Southwark Cyclists are running a slow and sociable ride round deserted Christmas London. Meet 10am at Cutty Sark Gardens or 11am at Southwark Needle. It's brilliantly laid back: it's free, no need to book, just show up. Linger for a late lunch up Edgware Road after and hang about for the evening's Critical Mass ride from 6.30pm.
Test your credulity: Ripley's Believe It Or Not is open on Christmas Day between 10am-8pm. For the skinny, read our interview with the Odditorium founder.
Walk in Pepys & Dickens' footsteps: London Walks are running 2 tours. "Christmas Morning, 1660 - Samuel Pepys's London" goes at 11 am followed by "The Christmas Day Charles Dickens's London" Walk at 2 pm. Meet at the big Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square. £7/under 15s free, no need to book.
And if you just want to curl up with a book, here's one to download for free! Publishing's a tough business, as author Lee Jackson can attest. After writing and publishing several novels, his publisher decided not to renew his contract (he 'only' sold thousands, not tens of thousands...). So he made his new novel, The Diary of a Murder, available to read for free online.
Read it for free by clicking here.
Merry Christmas everyone!