West Hampstead Christmas survival guide

With just over two weeks to go, it’s beginning to look a LOT like Christmas in West Hampstead. Here’s our seasonal guide to what’s going on around the neighbourhood in the next couple of weeks, including December 25th, and information about practical stuff too.

It's beginning to look, well a bit, like Christmas

It’s beginning to look, well a bit, like Christmas

Still need to get a Christmas tree? They’re on sale outside The Sherriff Centre, on the corner of Sherriff Road and West End Lane, and if you’re at the other end of town, you can find a good selection of trees at The Mill Lane Garden Centre.

This Saturday it’s the West Hampstead Christmas market with a good selection of stalls with gift ideas as well as food and drink.  There are also a range of activities to keep the kids amused and as if that wasn’t enough there will be carol singers at 2pm.

There are of course a number of local shopping options for the perfect Christmas present – see our gift guide for ideas.

Ho, ho, ho - it's the Christmas market

Ho, ho, ho – it’s the Christmas market (image: WH Christmas market)

If your party schedule isn’t busy enough already, here are a few local invites. Top of the list – obvs – the West Hampstead Life Christmas drinks will be on December 14th at the Gallery, details in separate email. Or if you fancy a bit of a bop, there will be a festive Mod & Soul party at the Railway on the 17th (live music and DJ), a Christmas party at The Black Lion on the 23rd (DJ from 9pm) and an ‘Old Year’s Party’ on Friday 30th also at The Black Lion.

If it’s comedy you are after as well regular Monday nights at The Good Ship, there is a new comedy evening on Sunday 18th organised by local resident Abigail Burdess, at the North London Tavern (normally last Sunday of the month). Promising a Christmas cracker of comedy cabaret (click to book tickets).

Santa is taking time out of his busy schedule to make a visit to West Hampstead. He is finding time to drop in to The Village Haberdashery on Friday 16th. There are a few spots left and it’s free, but please book ahead.  They are also organising a couple of kids activities; on Monday 19th it’s making Christmas ornaments and on Tuesday 20th it’s a gift wrapping workshop (both cost £5).

Got your turkey yet?  If not, you can get it at the Hampstead Butcher and Providore on West End Lane, last orders by Tuesday 20th, but if you want a posh bronze turkey the earlier the better (i.e. early next week).  Or you could order it from the Fosse Meadows Farm at the farmers market, they have geese too if you want to go traditional English, again advice is to order early.

As for Christmas Day itself, is anywhere going to be open? There will of course be church services: Emmanuel, St Luke’s, St. James and St. Mary’s  are all holding Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve as well as services on the 25th.

What are the eating out options?  There has been a bit of change on the Christmas day options as Guglee and Toomai, which have been open in the past are closed. However, for a more traditional offering The Black Lion , The Alice House and The Railway are all open with Christmas day lunches on offer, but must be pre-booked. 

The Black Lion dressed up for Christmas

The Black Lion dressed up for Christmas

Likewise the Christmas Day drinking scene has more options than in the past as the The Railway, The Alice House and The Black Lion will all be open from midday to late afternoon.

Or if you are looking for something more active – apart from a walk on the Heath – there is the outdoor icerink at JW3 which is open on Christmas day.

Onto more prosaic, but just as essential things. Rubbish collections will, if I understand Camden’s site correctly be one day later than normal – see Camden’s revised collection schedule here.

What about parking? Christmas falls on Sunday, so there is substitute holiday on Tuesday 27th, plus Boxing day on Monday 26th. New Year’s Eve also falls on a Sunday and New Year’s day on a Monday, which is a public holiday. Parking restrictions don’t apply on public holidays.

The main supermarkets – Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose – are all closed on Christmas Day, and both Waitrose branches (West End Lane and Finchley Road) are also closed on Boxing Day.

If you need an emergency item on the 25th, Nisa Local (on the corner of West End Lane and Broadhurst Gardens) will be open, as will Western Food & Wine opposite. Or up on Mill Lane Londis will be open in the morning, closed for lunch and then open again late afternoon.  None of these convenience stores stock whole turkeys though.

For medical matters if it’s a pharmacy you need, IPSA the newish pharmacy on the Finchley Road has late opening hours and is open on Boxing day and New Years day, 11:30 to 20:00.  It also has a private doctor’s service.  Local GP practices are closed on the 25th and 26th, but if you need urgent medical help you can dial the NHS 111 service, or of course 999 in an emergency.

If you need to travel during the festive period, be aware that tube and train services tend to wind down earlier than normal on Christmas Eve. There is no public transport on Christmas Day, and there will be a limited service and engineering works to contend with during the rest of the period – see here for TfL’s festive travel updates from December 21st to January 4th.  Thameslink services will also not run on the 25th or 26th, but otherwise over holiday period are running services, albeit somewhat reduced.