Christmas in London is a truly magical time, with dazzling lights and decorations adorning every part of the city, a sense of festive cheer permeating the air and an incredible variety of ways to make the most of your holiday season. Londoners always know how to enjoy themselves, but at Christmas there’s a special atmosphere that really brings people together. Here, we’re going to take a look at some of our favourite events and destinations, so as to help make Christmas 2023 one to remember!
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
If it’s a family event you’re looking for, the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is easily one of the best Christmas extravaganzas you’ll find anywhere in town. From ice-skating, circus shows, live music and an outstanding Christmas market, it's a feast for the senses that only seems to get better with each passing year. Other attractions include the huge Giant Observation Wheel, the traditional carousels, thrilling roller coasters and the Edelweiss funhouse. Meanwhile, the Magical Ice Kingdom consists of 500 tonnes of ice sculpted into secret passageways, slides and even an Ice Palace. A fine London tradition, this one is not to be missed.
Oxford and Regent Street Christmas Lights
Few cities anywhere in the world do Christmas lights as well as London, and Oxford Street is always a great place to start. This year the legendary shopping thoroughfare has brought back its collection of dangling stars, which brighten up the night sky in the most amazing fashion. Then there’s Regent Street, where you’ll see an equally stunning collection of illuminations, which have been going at this time of year since 1954. Known as the ‘Spirit of Christmas’, the epic angels are suspended high in the air, creating an awe-inspiring spectacle that lingers long in the memory. London at its finest.
London’s Christmas Markets
If you’re looking to buy your loved ones gifts that are utterly unique, sample some excellent cheese and mulled wine, or even try some sumptuous eggnog, a Christmas market is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. There are plenty to choose from, but some of the standouts are the markets at Covent Garden, Southbank, Leicester Square and, of course, Borough Market, which undergoes a glittering transformation at this time of year. Crafts, decorations, mouth-watering beverages, tasty treats and carol singers combine to make a Christmas market somewhere you can really indulge yourself whilst enjoying the best in festive shopping.
West End Christmas Shows
Every Christmas, the West End steps up and provides a whole host of crowd-pleasing plays, musicals and ballets, meaning there really is something for everyone. Highlights include Frozen at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic, Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Lyric and Elf! At Dominion Theatre. There’s also the annual panto at the London Palladium, which always promises to bring the house down! The Nutcracker at The Royal Opera House is another firm favourite, but whatever tickles your fancy, a night out in the West End is a Christmas tradition that’s fun, inclusive and guaranteed to put a smile on every face.
If the celestial sound of carols don’t get you in the mood for Christmas, it’s fair to say nothing will. The good news is Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding an evening of festive song, and the results are often nothing short of breathtaking. Perhaps the most iconic venue for a carol concert is the Royal Albert Hall, with over 5,000 singers congregating between Dec 16 - 24, putting on a show for the ages. Another classic offering is the carol concert at St Paul’s Cathedral, which hosts a mostly free, unticketed performance. Always popular, it’s best to get there early and be ready to queue. However, with uplifting and joyous results, it’s well worth the wait.
London at Christmas really is a special place, somewhere to celebrate with friends and family in comfort and style. With so much to see and do the energy is electric, the mood buoyant and the merrymaking widespread. The capital is always a dynamic, exciting and culturally significant city to spend time in and this is definitely one of the best times of year to be here. Welcoming and jubilant, it’s something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
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