It is no secret that London is one of the places to be during Christmas. The city becomes festive and stunning with streets and buildings being lit in golden. The streets are of course busier and the Christmas trees around the city set the mood for a perfect holiday. If you visit the city during the holidays, there are some things you must definitely not miss. That’s why I have gathered for you all the places worth visiting.
Carnaby Street has been lit up since the 7th of November with an ocean theme. The illuminations and decor are once again stunning, especially the 5m whale that blows bubbles. Carnaby is the place to be for nightlife, with some of the best pubs in the city. In the afternoon it gets extra busy since after work everyone heads to their favourite pubs.
The most famous shopping street in London. It is always the busiest one, with thousands of people choosing it for their shopping on a daily basis. This year, the lights were switched on a bit late (21st November), and sadly they do disappoint. But, Oxford Street had a makeover. Gone with the old and in with the new. 27 energy sufficient LED screens were placed, giving it a Piccadilly-like vibe. The screens have ‘Oxford Street’ written on them and others have different ball shapes. The good thing about these screens is that the decor can now change every year.
3. Regent Street
From the 14th of November, Regent Street has also worn its festive attire. There is no way you can miss this street, as you pass it by on your way to Picadilly Circus from Oxford Street. Even though it has the same decoration for years, it does not disappoint, as it is pretty impressive and beautiful.
On Tuesday the 12th of November, Covent Garden switched on its Christmas lights making it an even attractive place to visit. Lights, reindeers, flowers, lit balls and mistletoe chandeliers are some of what you can see. The biggest hand-picked and stunning Christmas tree in the square is 16 meters long with more than 30.000 lights. While there, visit the apple market, with many handcrafted items and food stalls.
The largest department store in London has been established as the most famous one. Owned by Qatar Holdings, Harrods is one of the most expensive stores in the world, with its most expensive item ever sold being a luxurious yacht at $165 million.
Besides the store having an insane decoration all year long and all the famous brands you might be looking for, the outside Christmas decorations are what make it a must to visit. Leave aside the beautiful decoration of the building, with its stunning golden lights. The windows are the hit of the city. Harrods does not stop to impress every year with impressive and sometimes interactive window displays. People actually look forward to seeing the windows each year, since Harrods gives it its all to not disappoint.
For Christmas, Hyde Park transforms into a magical and bright fun fair. The Winter Wonderland starts on the 21st of November until 5th of January 2020 and will be open daily from 10:00 to 22:00. Various food stalls and a fire pit are there to tempt you into eating a little bit more.
For a German experience, head to the Bavarian Village, for some warm mulled wine (Glühwein) and Bratwurst sausages, while listening to traditional Bavarian music. At Bar Hütte Karaoke, eat Shotskis and get in a private cabin with your friends for some Karaoke action. For something unique and frozen, head to the Ice Bar, with a temperature of -10°C and have some of the delicious cocktails.
There are many shows that take place in Hyde Park, such as Comedy Club, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk and for the little ones, a Mr Men and Little Miss show, and Paddington on Ice. Also, visit the Magical Ice Kingdom, go Ice Skating, and ride one of the many rollercoasters.
The Natural History Museum is probably one of my favourite places in London and I love visiting it every time I am in town. On the inside, the architecture will always give you that cosy festive feeling, no matter when you visit. But the outside is simply stunning. A big Christmas tree, lights on the trees, a carousel and a huge ice ring are some of the things you will find, making it an even more magical place. The ice rink is open daily from 10:00 to 21:00 and costs £12.65 for adults and £8.80 for children.
The famous and gorgeous igloos in Tower Bridge. The winter igloos are small igloos with cosy decorations, trees, and blankets with a view of the Thames, the Shard and the industrial area around. The igloos operate only for winter and bookings began on the 11th of October. Of course, everything is booked until December, since it is one of the most anticipated openings. There is still a chance for some cancellations, so if you are lucky you can still book an igloo.
If not, it still worths visiting and passing by. The igloos are located on the outside, so you can view them and if they are your style, take a note on your calendar to book them for next year. Or hurry up, as there are a few places open for January.
9. Leicester Square
Until 5th of January, the Christmas market in Leicester Square is open daily. Go through the market for some mulled wine, or a variety of amazing treats. The wooden stalls give the market a Bavarian-style, with hand-crafted toys, festive ornaments, food and drinks.
10. Trafalgar Square
The square is way popular, but during the holidays, people visit it way more. Its 25-metre-tall Christmas tree is a popular attraction, donated by the city of Oslo in recognition of Britain’s support during the Second World War. The lighting ceremony will take place on December 5th at 18:00 and the tree will be illuminated with hundreds of lightbulbs set in vertical strings of light. More than 40 carol singing groups give performances from 16:00 to 21:00 on weekdays, and from 14:00 to 19:00 at weekends.
On Saturday 23rd of November, the famous expensive area of Chelsea put on its festive. All the streets are filled with lights on the trees and the malls are more bright than ever. Head to the Ivy Chelsea Garden, a restaurant filled with Christmas ornaments and decorations on its outside, including a frozen throne!
From 5 until 22 of December, you can visit the magical Enchanted Eltham, with illuminated walking trails. The fee is £12.00 per adult on weekdays and £14.00 on the weekend. You can choose when to book your tickets, based on the events happening each day. Inside you can, of course, find food stalls and drinks. There are even some rides for children but come with a bit more cost.
The area in London that is usually decorated all year long. But during Christmas, Chinatown turns red, with decor that represents their culture. Usually, you will find performers all around and live music. On Christmas day, Chinatown is one of the few areas that have most restaurants open, if you need an alternative in your meal. But make sure you book or call first, as it gets very busy.
Open from 20th of November until 5th of January, you have to visit this magical botanical garden. The cost is £18.00 per adult and you can only visit if you have pre-booked. Kew has a light trail that you follow and leads you to a new route with many installations, laser projections, lighted trees, and an impressive arch.´´Children can catch a glimpse of Santa Claus and his elves preparing for Christmas´´, or enjoy some rides on the funfair. Hurry up, as the tickets are getting sold out like crazy!
15. Canary Wharf
One of my favourite areas in London. Canary Wharf is the business district of London and always filled with people. There are many restaurants and bars around. During Christmas, the whole area is filled with lights on the trees and streets. Combined with the lit offices of the skyscrapers, it turns into something stunning.
Christmas is a unique season anyway. Being in London makes it a bit more special. Whether you visit for a weekend or more days, try to squeeze as many of these sights as possible and you will not regret it. Time to get in Christmas mood!