It’s November and that officially means we can start discussing Christmas, putting up decorations and having Christmas playlists on replay… right? There are only a few cities that turn truly magical during Christmas and one of them is surely London. Christmas in London is an adventure. Don’t believe me? Enter the world of street lights, markets, Winter Wonderland, and the Starbucks Christmas collection. Okay okay, I might’ve been slightly joking about the last one.
Christmas in London: Things to Do
1. Go and check the lights on Oxford street and Regent street
From mid-October till the beginning of January, you can be amazed by the light decoration right in the heart of London. Every year, they put up a differently themed display of lights. If you’re in London during October, please, please, join the turning on the lights event – it’s magical.
2. Winter Wonderland
Hyde Park’s amazing Christmas fair returns to London for the 10th consecutive year, and you can’t miss out on it! I used to go at least a couple of times every year and it’s the perfect event for the entire family. Entry is free but some of the activities and shows require a ticket. Along with a huge Christmas market, Winter Wonderland also features rollercoasters, and, of course, plenty of food. If you haven’t had mulled wine at this point, now it’s the best time to try it.
3. Shopping shopping shopping
Buy Christmas as presents for others, but most of all for yourself ? There are so many options, so many stores (and we absolutely love the Oxford Street’s Selfridges Christmas display every single year), but my advice is to shop from small local retailers rather than the big chains. Sustain your neighbourhood, right?
4. Christmas carol concerts
For the Scrooges and green-faced Grinches out there, a little Christmas carol might lighten up your spirits and you just might discover the true meaning of Christmas.Here’s a full listof Christmas carols around London to put you in the ultimate holiday spirit.
5. Christmas Markets
This year, more than any other, you will have plenty of options as there are Christmas markets all around. From Olympia Exhibition Centre to the usual at the Southbank Centre and the Hyper Japan Christmas Market. Of course, we can’t forget to mention the Sunday Borough Market, which gets full of wonderful smelling Christmas food every single year. To each their own and if you have enough time, try to check them all!
6. Walk around London on Christmas day
Here’s a thing not many people know – London gets extremely quiet on Christmas day. Don’t believe me? If you can, take a walk around the deserted but extremely beautiful London on the day most are opening their Christmas presents. Take your camera with you. Christmas day in London means no cars, no humans, no traffic, no open shops,… just you and the city. Magic.
7. Ice Skating
It’s not Christmas in London if you don’t go ice skating at least once. And this beautiful city has plenty of options! My favourites are the ice rink at the National History Museum and the Somerset Ice Skating, both incredible locations. I mean, who doesn’t want to ice skate in a historical setting? An ice skating rink is also available at Winter Wonderland, and in front of the London Eye. Talking about scenery, London sure knows how to make your Christmas magical.
Bonus: Boxing Day in London
If you’re staying in London the day after Christmas, there’s a chance you will indulge in some Boxing Day shopping. It’s an adventure, but you can also very easily lose your nerves in the lake of crowds (seriously, it’s intense). Here’s a few things you need to know:
- Get there early.
- London transportation will possibly be on strike. Take a bus or a taxi.
- Don’t have high expectations.
- Expect people on their worst behaviour (it’s the day after Christmas after all)
- Mind your belongings – everyone is back, including pickpocketers.