Xmas in London
I was born in India and have been living in London for the last 20 years but what fascinates me most about this city is the spirit of Christmas. If you really want to experience Xmas in London, then look no further than visiting London during the festive season. It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the British go all out to celebrate Christmas.
There are celebrations across the country but London goes all out for it with large light displays across the streets, towering Christmas trees, performances, and one of my favourite the lively Christmas markets selling handicrafts and treats.
Whether you live in the capital or visiting in the holiday period, it is a great place to soak in that festive spirit. London starts gearing up for Christmas well in advance and you can almost feel it in the air early November. The stores start decorating their windows and the lights start turning on in Central London. This is when you can really feel the pulse of the city and it is at its festive best. Xmas in London is so unique, from ice rinks to Christmas markets, lights, food festivals and the very British tradition of watching a Pantomime.
Watch a Pantomime
This is a musical comedy stage production enjoyed by the entire family and was developed in England and is still performed throughout the country during the Christmas season. It revolves around well-known fairy tales and fables and involves gender-crossing actors. Men perform women roles and vice versa and combine topical humour and the audience is expected to sing along with certain parts of the music and shout out phrases to the performers.
Go Ice Skating
Xmas in London is incomplete without a bit of Ice skating and like most cities around the world, London gets its fair share of Ice skating rinks. Every winter ice skating rinks start to appear all over London and the country. Some of these go back in time and one of my favourite ones is set to the backdrop of the Hampton Court Palace a short train ride from Central London.
A number of rinks host special events throughout the holiday season and is a great way to enjoy with the family. Some of the most iconic ice rinks around London are The History Museum, Somerset House, Tower of London and many more. Here is a list of the most famous rinks in and around London. Ice Skating Rinks in London
One of the most iconic and visited tourist spots of London and one which is a must visit if you are in town. Every year Norway gifts London a huge Christmas tree and this is put up in the centre of Trafalgar Square. This is a thank you for the support Britain provided the country during World War II. This is a great tradition and the tree reaches more than 20 meters in height and averages between 50 and 60 years of age.
The Shimmering Lights.
One of the most famous roads in the world and a shopping paradise both Oxford Street and Regent Street in London’s West End put on a great show. The Oxford Street lights are switched on in early November with great festivity and street performance by some of the most famous musicians. Apart from the street lights most of the stores have festive windows and Selfridges, in particular, has a great show when the lights come on every night. Regent Street home to the world’s oldest and largest toy store Hamleys has a themed Christmas and an annual parade which is organized by the store and is a great day out. Most of the high streets have lights and London shines in its festive best.
Visit Winter Wonderland.
There are several Christmas markets that pop up around the country but the biggest show in Britain is undoubtedly the annual Winter Wonderland pop-up in Hyde Park. This is a large annual Christmas event and runs typically from mid-November to early January each year. This is one of the biggest, and most well-attended featuring several festive markets, over 100 rides and attractions from across Europe.
It also houses UK’s largest open-air skating rink next to the Victorian bandstand. It is a carnival-like atmosphere and includes fairground rides, a traditional German village, a circus, food stalls, grottos, and 200+ Bavarian-style wooden chalets selling gifts. You can catch some breath-taking views of London from the top of the Ferris wheel here. There are numerous live shows, including a circus, ice show, and live music. There are no entry charges into the park but you have to pay on rides as you go along. I make sure to visit this with the kids every year, so if you are in London make sure to visit the Winter Wonderland.
Visiting a Christmas market is another good way to enjoy the spirit of Christmas and one which has a long history. Also known as Christkindlmarkt which literally means Baby Jesus Market, is a street market associated with the celebration of Christmas during the four weeks of Advent. These markets originated in Germany, but are now held across the globe. The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages and parts of the former Holy Roman Empire. In Austria, Vienna’s “December market” can be considered a forerunner of Christmas markets and dates back to 1298.
Traditionally held in the town square, the market has food, drink and seasonal items that are sold from open-air stalls accompanied by traditional singing and dancing. This is a great place to try Mulled Wine.
Mulled wine is a warm beverage usually made with red wine along with various spices and sometimes raisins. It is served hot or warm and is a traditional drink during Christmas.
Read more on how to spend two action packed days in London here
London’s home to showbiz and entertainment since 1670 and it certainly lives up to that during Christmas. Christmas in Leicester Square transforms it into a true winter wonderland. Complete with a traditional Christmas market selling hand-crafted goods, delicious food and drinks, and a Santa’s Grotto. There is a sparkling program of high energy entertainment and events and the central gardens transformed with more than 25 stalls and a one-off Christmas show by cabaret comedy.
My top picks for London Christmas markets are:
- Winter Wonderland Hyde Park.
- Christmas Market at Tate Modern.
- Southbank Centre Christmas Market.
- Leicester Square Christmas Market.
- Greenwich Christmas Market.
- London Bridge City Christmas Market.
and London go hand in hand and so does meeting Santa Claus. There are few Grottos that pop up around London and some of the most popular ones get booked up within minutes. You can meet Santa in London’s department stores as well and some of the most popular ones include the Harrods, Selfridges, and John Lewis. A great way to treat the kids as they sit on Santa’s knee and tell him what they want him to bring them for Christmas. Santa welcomes everyone from early November through Christmas Eve and this magic of Xmas in London is seen here.
Xmas in London
This is the one day of the year when London practically shuts down including the major sights and shops closing their doors, and the Tube and buses coming to a standstill.
A National Holiday and one which is best spent with the family at home watching the Queen’s speech and feasting on turkey and opening your Christmas presents. Many of the churches hold services on Christmas Day, with those at St Paul’s and Westminster Abbey among the most spectacular.
- Admire the London skyline from a rooftop bar and sip on mulled wine.
- Soak up the festive atmosphere at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.
- Enjoy the festivities around Trafalgar Squares world-famous Christmas tree.
- Sip on mulled wine and buy gifts at the Southbank Winter Market.
- Treat yourself to a gourmet Christmas hamper from Fortnum & Mason.
- Watch the shimmering angels on Regents Street lights
- Get dazzled by the baubles at the Christmas department @ Harrods and Liberty.
- Cheer the fancy dress run through Covent Garden in The Great Christmas Pudding Race.
- Browse the glitzy market stalls at Xmas in Leicester Square.
- Treat yourself to a jolly Christmas themed afternoon tea.
- Watch The Nutcracker, an enchanting Christmas classic performed by the English National Ballet.
- Visit one of the many street stalls selling roasted chestnuts.
- Walk along London’s famous West End and indulge in a Christmas production.
- Go window shopping on Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street.
- Admire the gorgeous chandeliers at Covent Garden, and explore the magical Christmas lights of Seven Dials.
- Sing along of traditional Christmas carols at the historic St Paul’s Cathedral.
- Twirl on the ice with the backdrop of dramatic towers of Canary Wharf.
- Bedazzled by the shop windows on Bond Street with magnificent Christmas lights.
- Travel back in time at the Museum of London and meet Santa Claus in Victorian London.
- Find bargains galore in the Boxing Day sale.
- Bring in the New Year watching the fireworks from the London Eye.
Guest post by the trraveller.
A London based Travel and Lifestyle blogger. Travel is something that is hard to define, for some it’s work whilst for most of us the perfect way to unwind, relax and widen our horizon.
We are a family of 4 and most of my travels include them who I call my fellow travellers.
I started this blog to share my experiences and love for travel/food and all the things we enjoy as a family. I hope I can help you step out of your comfort zone, travel the world and spark more adventure into your life.
Hope you enjoy our experiences and happy travelling.
This post Xmas in London is a part of #BlogchatterA2Z Challenge. Here is my post for W – Wonderful Wai