London’s always calling…especially around the holidays. Here are five ways to get into the Christmas spirit in London.
Christmas in London is the most magical time of the year—just as magical as the holiday season in New York, if not more. While the days might be short, the festive cheer lasts through the night and you should know where to find it.
London can certainly be a bit daunting to the uninitiated, so we have compiled this handy guide to help you make the most of London during the holiday season.
Would Christmas really be Christmas without a plethora of bright, colorful trees? The most famous Christmas tree in London, and one of the world’s most beautiful, is the Norwegian fir that presides over Trafalgar Square. Norway has been giving the UK an enormous fir tree every year since the end of World War II and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Other trees worth checking out include the St. Pancras tree, which, this year, is sponsored by Tiffany & Co., the glowing giant in Granary Square and the sparkler in Covent Garden.
Christmas lights are a quintessential part of the festive period. There are dozens of incredible installations all over the capital – the most notable being on Carnaby Street. If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram shot, you’ll find it here.
While you’re on Carnaby Street, you might as well pop round the corner and check out the dazzling displays on Regent Street and Oxford Street. Alternatively, journey over to Kew Gardens and let their extravagant lights blow you away.
The Central London lights are the main ones, but there are lights literally all over the city. If you have an evening to kill, grab your coat and take a walk through any of London’s popular areas, such as King’s Cross, Angel, Mayfair, Camden, Brixton, or Fulham. You’ll find plenty of lights to enjoy and as your breath fogs up in front of your eyes and the reflection of the lights plays across your eyes, you won’t be able to help being filled with Christmas cheer.
Is there anything more Christmassy than wrapping up warm, strapping on some skates and gliding along the ice in front of some of London’s most impressive monuments?
Among the best places in London for a spot of winter ice skating are the rinks at the Tower of London and Somerset House. Decked with mood lighting and groovy soundtracks, these are great places to get into the festive vibe.
There is also a fabulous ice skating rink at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and another one outside of the Natural History Museum. When it comes to ice-skating in London at Christmas, you’re really spoiled for choice.
Whatever your budget is for Christmas this year, everyone can afford to go window shopping. And, London has some of the best window shopping in the world. Flagship stores on the world-famous Oxford Street, Bond Street, and Regents Street go all out at Christmas time and transform their windows into winter wonderlands.
The key windows you’re going to want to check out are Selfridges and John Lewis on Oxford Street; Harrods and Harvey Nichols on Knightsbridge; and Liberty on Carnaby Street. You should also take a peek at the Fortnum and Mason window display over in Picadilly.
While Christmas markets have been big in Germany for a long time, the tradition is now in full swing in the UK as well. Throughout the Christmas season, markets pop up all over London, selling piping mulled wine, mouth-watering street food, and all kinds of handicrafts that make for perfect gifts.
Oh, and let’s not forget the most important of all: rich, thick hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and marshmallows.
If you’re looking to get your Christmas market fix in London, take your pick from the dozens all around the city. Leicester Square and the Southbank each has its own well-known market, as does Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Slightly smaller, but equally delightful, are the markets at Flat Iron Square, Camden, and Greenwich Market.