A visit to London over the Xmas period means festive fun options like winter markets, traditional ice skating, and the most spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks on the planet. The number of Christmas events in the capital is a bit mind-boggling but five worth considering include:
Visitors who are curious about how the people of London celebrated Christmas in years-gone-by won’t want to miss the exhibition at the Geffrye Museum. This fascinating attraction covers the changing face of this festival over the last four hundred years. The Geffrye Museum can be found on Kingsland Road, and the Christmas exhibition runs from twenty-sixth of November to the fifth of January 2014.
Activities don’t get any more Christmassy than ice skating, and the best place to enjoy this option is at Somerset House on the Strand (close to Charring Cross Station). This is a magical place after dark and skaters get to whiz around a beautifully decorated giant Christmas tree. There is a charming restaurant beside ice skating square, and this can be a nice place to go and sip some mulled wine and really make a night of it. It costs £7.50 for fifteen minutes on the ice and skating is available from the fourteenth of November to the fifth of January 2014.
The Real Food Christmas Market can be found right beside the Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre Square. There is a weekend market here all year round, but it becomes very festive on the run-up to Christmas. This is a good option for visitors who want to pick up the tastiest mince pies, Christmas pudding, and other seasonal treats. This venue is open Friday (12:00 to 20:00), Saturday (11:00 to 20:00), and Sunday (12:00 to 18:00).The Real Food Market is going to be at its most festive on the last weekend before Christmas (twentieth of December to twenty-second of December).
It is possible to enjoy the London New Year’s Eve fireworks from many locations in the city. The display is focused around the London Eye, so if you can see this attraction, you should have a decent view of the fireworks. Visitors who hope to enjoy the celebrations from a prime location like Westminster Bridge or Hungerford Bridge need to arrive early – access is denied to these areas after 20:00.
The Winter Festival at Hyde Park offers a wonderful variety of Xmas fun including: amusement rides, ice skating, Yuletide Market, and many great dining options. Kids get to meet the big man in the red coat at Santa Land, and they can also get to visit the Toy Factory and Fun House. The House of St Nicholas is a festive wooden chalet that makes an ideal place for a family meal. Adults in the mood to party can visit ‘The Famous Bavarian Village’. The Winter Wonderland Festival runs between the twenty-second of November and fifth of January.
Visitors to London are not going to have any trouble finding festive things to do over the Xmas period. Other options worth considering would include: Midnight Christmas Mass at St Paul’s Cathedral, Spitalfields Winter Festival, the Great Christmas Pudding Race, or a visit to Hanley’s Toy Store. Just walking around the city at this time of year can be enough to put anyone in the Christmas spirit.
Maria Jakobson was inspired to write about London again during a recent trip and stay at the K-West Hotel & Spa. During that visit she saw London starting to gear up for the annual celebrations and this inspired this writing. As a travel journalist and blogger she’s lived in London, Paris and New York and currently enjoys life in the Netherlands.