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Christmas in London: Where to go and what to see

Published on November 28, 2018 by Rebecca Hinshelwood

LONDON, UK – NOVEMBER 24TH 2015: The stunning Christmas lights and decorations at Covent Garden in London, on 24th November 2015.

Christmas is well and truly underway in London! The festive lights on Regent Street were unveiled on the 15th November so the spirit of the season is well embedded in the capital. If you are planning a short visit or business trip to London in the next month then expect Christmas to be all around. And if you’ve chosen a serviced apartment for your accommodation, you’ll enjoy that home from home comfort that spreads the cosy Christmas feel!

Perhaps you plan to get your Christmas shopping done in the traditional way, by shopping ’til you drop. Or maybe you are treating your family to a weekend of festive fun. Or perhaps the season has nothing whatsoever to do with your visit and you have a meeting or pitch to worry about. Even more reason to find a bit of time to unwind amongst the glitter and sparkle! 

London does Christmas beautifully, so whatever the reason you’re in town here are the bits not to miss:

Illuminations 

When we look for festive sparkle, it’s a no-brainer to head to Regent Street. Once you have that done and dusted, take a detour to elegant Bond Street and funky Carnaby Street for impressive lights that are a little bit different. For a more timeless opulence, head to Mount Street where the seriously twinkly lights are set off by a spectacular Christmas tree at the Connaught. Pop by Claridge’s to check out their lobby Christmas tree, this year designed by Diane von Furstenberg. A sculptured six-metre blue iridescent tree is illuminated with glass spheres and hearts. All set off with over 8,000 hand painted silver-leafed leaves, and this glowing concept extends across the lobby festive decor.

Shop Windows

Even if you’re not planning a shopping trip, you can soak up the Christmas spirit from the outside by taking in the festive window displays. The big department stores of the West End and Knightsbridge offer a sight that is worth the visit alone. For 2018, Selfridges has gone for a Rockin’ Christmas theme and Harvey Nics with Mary Poppins. Harrods have created ‘Fantastica’, representing modern Christmas traditions such as a fridge of leftovers (Dolce & Gabbana naturally) and a gigantic plate of roast dinner. Fortnum & Mason have gone with depictions of food and drink with a luxurious bent. And let’s not forget Liberty which is adorable with line-drawn animals peeking between the wares. 

Markets

Most boutique markets, such as Novikov’s Mayfair Christmas Market, run just for the first weekend of December.  Head to London Bridge, the South Bank or Leicester Square for more permanent installations of Christmas Market. These run continuously until the end of the year. Expect an onslaught of mulled wine, gluhwein, gingerbread and candy. You can pick up artisan Christmas gifts and goodies whilst being entertained by street performers and musicians. All encased in a Nordic atmosphere with snow dusted log cabin stalls and twinkling lights. These markets are a day out in themselves!

Entertainment

Whatever floats your boat this Christmas, London has something to offer. Very British entertainment is to be found on the stage with a Christmas Carol at The Old Vic and Snow White at the Palladium. The Royal Albert Hall offers something for everyone, while no Christmas would be complete without The Nutcracker at the Coliseum or Opera House. For younger families, Sadlers Wells present their annual production of The Snowman at the Peacock theatre just off the Aldwych.

Experiences

Perhaps your city break to London is all about Christmas and you want to take the festive vibe to the max! London does not disappoint here. Experience is king when you visit Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. With elements of market, performance and ice rink, not forgetting Santa himself, you’ll emerge sparkling like a bauble. Classic Christmas ice skating can be found at Somerset House. This has evolved in recent years to include a Christmas refreshment arcade by Fortnum’s. Or how about stepping back in time for a Victorian Christmas at Kensington Palace, with expert talks and seasonal music.

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