London and Christmas

Christmas is a truly magical time of year; the christmas tree twinkling away in the corner while the children fill the air with excitement and promises of good behaviour while writing their letter to old St Nick. It is a time for family and charity, a time to reflect on what we have and what we can do for others who are less fortunate than ourselves and the story of the birth of Jesus highlights this point when an act of charity allows him to be born in a stable. There is always a place that you can go that will ignite the Christmas spirit and London is that place because it is filled with lights, mulled wine, ice skating and shops which are guaranteed to get you in the festive mood.

London never fails to disappoint at Christmas time, it is famous for its street and shop decorations all over Europe. Selfridges has a reputation for having some of the best window displays in December and has people flock to see the unveiling every year. Oxford Street and Regent Street are always well decorated with Oxford Street celebrating the light switch on with a concert which has seen names such as Robbie Williams, Jessie J, Little Mix and Gabriella Aplin having previously performed there; 2016 saw Craig David switch on the Christmas lights. Oxford Street has over 1700 snowball decorations, 750,000 LED lights and nearly 450 gold baubles to complete its look while Carnaby Street has been decked out with disco balls, rather than the traditional baubles, and every year throws a huge street party complete with music and 20% discount in their shops. These are just two out of the hundreds of streets in the city and, even though it will be slightly chilly in December, it is worth taking a stroll and taking in the twinkling lights and decorations before rewarding yourself with a warm hot chocolate or mulled wine.

Hamleys is an essential part of your trip at Christmas time whether you are a child or an adult. It can be found on Regent Street, just a little walk from The Piccadilly London West End , and not only is it the oldest toy shop in the world that is filled to the brim with stuffed toys, gadgets, cars, barbies and lego, it is also home to Santa’s Grotto from November until the 24th December. The ‘I Met Father Christmas’ experience allows the little ones to have the option of breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, high tea or dinner with the man himself as well as listening to festive stories, playing games and relaying to Santa their Christmas wish. It costs £45 per child and has to be booked in advance and, while it may seem costly to some, it really is a spectacular event that makes the children feel special and is guaranteed to be a wonderful memory for life.

The little ones will love a trip to the theatre and the yuletide season is the time for pantomime and The Nutcracker. The Royal Ballet tend to perform The Nutcracker and it should be an essential part of your trip as it really brings the magic of Christmas to life. It will fascinate the children as well as capture their imagination and you may find that you have started a family tradition that will continue for many years to come.

By the 4 star hotels in London lies Hyde Park, a beautiful green space that has been part of the London landscape for centuries. From November to January, it is transformed into Winter Wonderland and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the globe. There is so much to see and do including ice skating, taking a trip on the Giant Observation Wheel, popping in to see Santa in Santa Land, visiting the Magical Ice Kingdom as well as an array of fairground rides. Winter Wonderland is also known for its Christmas Markets due to the eclectic mix of stalls which include wooden chalets displaying jewellery, handmade Christmas decorations and accessories, a delicious selection of sweet and savoury treats and serving hot chocolate and mulled wine to keep you warm. There is so much to see and do for the whole family and will most definitely get you in the festive mood ready for Christmas day.

Christmas day in London is something that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. The hustle and bustle ceases to exist and a silence falls upon the city, it is London as you have never seen it before. However, being the capital city of Britain, there are still a few things you can do even on Christmas day such as attend Christmas mass at either St Pauls Cathedral or Westminster Abbey. Both of these religious houses have played an important part in Britain’s history and you can become part of history, like many monarchs, esteemed Britons and working class people have before you. Even if you’re not religious yourself, singing carols in such iconic settings is an amazing experience and will be the perfect way to begin your Christmas day.

Many restaurants around the city are open during Christmas day to allow you to eat, drink and be merry in style and comfort. You can choose from all corners of the culinary world, whether you want a traditional Christmas roast dinner with all the trimmings complete with a Christmas Pudding dessert or something that breaks away from tradition, London can and will cater to your desires. After dinner, you can choose to stay and indulge on a few tipples to celebrate Christmas or you can choose to take in an evening mass at one of the many churches scattered around the city, the choice is yours.

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