If you want to make Christmas extra special for your family this year, a trip to the capital could be just the ticket. From pantomimes to some of the world’s best shopping – London is the perfect choice. Here’s our guide on what to do for the ideal Christmas in London.
Article by Gavin H.
If there’s any consolation for the sudden darkening of the evenings and bite in the air, it’s that Christmassy feeling. The festival is miraculously timed to turn our long dreary winters from depressing to joyful. There is nothing more exciting for a child than lying awake listening for Santa. Here are some good reasons why you should wake up Christmas morning in the capital.
Christmas shopping is the quintessential way to get you feeling festive, and in London you truly are spoilt for choice. The city is illuminated with thousands of lights making for an impressive display.
If you want to experience a little luxury then head to the biggest department stores. Retail giants such as Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty pull out all the stops at Christmas time, and often spoil customers with extras such as Christmas grottos to entertain the kids, festive refreshments and creative window displays.
Image by Christine Matthews
London is also known for its variety of Christmas fairs. To get presents that stand out from the crowd visit the O2 Handmade Christmas fair, which offers hundreds of the country’s best crafters under one roof. There are plenty more markets to choose from including Dalston Christmas Market, Southbank Christmas Market and the Crafty Fox Christmas Markets in Brixton and Peckham.
After presents, food is the second great Christmas love. From mince pies to turkey, this is the one time of year when it becomes acceptable to gorge yourself and drink wine in the morning. London hosts a number of outstanding Christmas food markets that are well worth a visit. Try the Real Food Christmas Market at Southbank Centre Square, and the Chocolate Festival and the Traditional Christmas Market both at the Southbank Centre.
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Many restaurants will also do special offers at Christmas, so it’s worth keeping an eye out as the day gets closer. Eateries such as The Anglesea Arms in Shepard’s Bush, Bankside SE1 in Blackfriars and Bar Boulud in Knightsbridge serve a traditional Christmas dinner.
Aside from eating and shopping there are plenty of Christmassy activities to keep you and the kids occupied. Not to be missed is a visit to one of the many outdoor ice rinks that pop up over the season. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland offers an ice rink as well as rides and attractions, and you can also don your skates at the Tower of London and the National History Museum.
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An essential activity for any family is a trip to see a Christmas show or pantomime. This is bound to be popular with children and it’s good fun for the parents too! Some of the top shows this Christmas are Cinderella: A Fairytale and Disney on Ice: Dare to Dream.
Where to Stay
If you’re going to make the most of a family Christmas in London, you probably need to stay for several days – there’s just too much on to squeeze it all into less time! If you’re looking to stay in London at Christmas you will need to get booking early to avoid the rush. It’s a good idea to book a hotel in a central location such as the London Marriott Hotel County Hall.
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If you’re hoping for an extra special family Christmas this year a trip to London won’t disappoint. The capital is jam packed with things to do from ice skating to Christmas markets and pantomimes.
Do you have any tips on what to do in London at Christmas time? Let us know in the comments.
Gavin Harvey is a personal trainer who loves to travel. He currently lives in Bristol with his partner.
Featured Image: Diliff