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Living in London

Best Alcohol-Free Things to do in London: Winter Edition

By PaulineComms 13 Nov 2023

Navigating your social life alongside your university studies can be challenging as a non-drinker. But fear not - while the focus of events like freshers’ week and AU Carol may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no reason to miss out in such a dynamic city. Here are the best, budget-friendly, alcohol-free things to do in London this winter!

📝Try an escape room

A classic, and for good reason. Escape rooms are an enjoyable way to test your puzzle-solving skills and mental agility, all in the spirit of good fun. Plus, if you’re looking for something festive, the hospitality and entertainment industries explode with a host of seasonal events. There’s a range to choose from, with local options including a recreation of The Crystal Maze, Sherlock-themed rooms, and some tech-savvy automated spaces for maximum involvement. Grab everyone you could stand being locked in a room with - the price tends to become more affordable with more attendees.

🎲…or another immersive activity?

Interactive bars present another opportunity to have a great, sober time. Play against your friends in a low-stakes, high-energy game of bowling, mini-golf, or virtual reality (VR) gaming. Flight Club is a personal favourite, an immersive darts bar chain that describes itself as ‘echoing the warmth and nostalgia of a British pub with the fun and excitement of a fairground’. If you’d rather skip out on bar-like environments entirely, plenty of themed cafes around the city such as SideQuest Gaming Cafe offer similarly competitive experiences without a drinking culture.

📆Engage with LSE events

The LSE Halls committees often plan exciting events that don’t necessitate alcohol consumption! Favourites around wintertime have included contemporary cinema visits, ice skating, and themed arts and crafts, all at significantly reduced price points. Similarly, the LSESU and its societies host a plethora of different events in the latter half of the term. Check out the LSESU Drama Society’s plays for an evening of student-led entertainment, or jump into a free Active Lifestyle session to boost your well-being; whatever your interests, there’s likely something for you.

Attend a festive market

Whether you celebrate any holidays during the winter season or not, London boasts a range of wintry markets with masses of food and drink to warm you up (without the need for mulled wine). These festive events begin to pop up towards the end of November, with ‘Winter Markets’ available as a secular, inclusive alternative to traditional British Christmas markets. The good thing about markets is that you can spend as much as you like, making them accessible for any student on a tight end-of-term budget.

Browse an exhibition

Interesting art exhibitions are plentiful near campus, but often temporary and quick to be booked up. I recommend searching social media platforms such as TikTok to stay up-to-date on the latest exhibits if you’re looking for something unique and/or winter-themed. However, for the casually interested, many galleries such as the Tate Modern near Bankside House offer free admission to their permanent exhibits year-round. If art isn’t for you, the 236 museums in the capital host more events in winter than one could possibly list. Get stuck in!

Written by Ela

Bankside House resident