This is a collaborative post
Have you seen them? Those little glimpses that it’s coming. You might have noticed the tins of Roses and Quality Street, suddenly popping up when you walk in the supermarket. You might have even seen the likes of Marks and Spencer and Lidl, showing pigs in blankets and sausage wreaths on your social media.
While I don’t think Christmas season officially begins until you hear your first notes of Michael Bublé, Christmas is looming ever closer, and that can only mean one thing… lots of festive cheer.
The local high street may not be as busy as it once was, and lots of people will take the opportunity to spend a day or two in London. And while it could involve some shopping, there is a host of amazing events and activities taking place in London, that anyone visiting between now and Christmas should check out.
I thought I would list some of the events that will get you in the festive mood, as well as some sneaky deals on hotels and accommodation around London if you’re staying overnight.
The Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
One trip here and you’ll never look at your local Christmas market in the same way again. Thousands of people visit the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park every day in December, and even up to New Year’s Eve (the only day it’s closed is Christmas Day).
To say it has everything would be an understatement. There are dozens of fairground rides, several bars that do everything from mulled wine to fancy cocktails and even live performances like Paddington On Ice.
The best thing about going is that its free entry, and you only need to pay for any rides you want to go on. Queues can be lengthy around dusk, but it’s worth it.
Ice Ice Baby
You can count on your hand how many ice ranks there are in London, which is excellent considering you can’t count beyond one in most places. I’ve just mentioned Winter Wonderland which has one, but there are other rinks dotted around the city that have a fantastic backdrop.
The National History Museum has quite an impressive rink that usually has a large Christmas tree right in the middle – if you can stand long enough on your skates you’ll be able to snap a selfie. Somerset House looks lovely in the evening at dusk when all lit up, and they often have selected nights where a DJ comes to turn the rink into a slippery nightclub. Skylight London flies under the radar for being a smaller rink, but if you make an effort to head over to the Tobacco Dock club, the rooftop rink gives one of the most unique views you’ll ever have on skates.
Carnaby Street in the evening
Any Christmas shopping in London will involve a jaunt around Carnaby Street. I recommend going in the evening though when the decorations are all lit up – it’s one of the best ways to get yourself in the Christmas spirit. Speaking of spirits, Regent Street has some incredible light displays with giant Christmas spirits hanging above the shops.
It’s one of those rare times in London that you’ll find yourself looking up at the buildings.
Catching a show
If you have an evening or two free, then going to a show is a must. The West End likes to put on a good mixture of shows at this time of year, with the likes of The Snowman, Nativity! The Musical, The Nutcracker and Mary Poppins all happening.
One of the more traditionally London things you can go to though are the Christmas Carols at Royal Albert Hall, where the entire audience gets involved in one big festive singalong. And the best part is you don’t have to be singing in key.
Where is there to stay in London in the lead up to Christmas?
There are a few places you need to check out, including:
- Fraser Suites Kensington provides serviced accommodation that works best if you’re in London for a big Christmas shopping trip, and don’t want to come back to a cramped hotel room where you have no room to put anything
- The Rathbone Hotel is super fancy and ideal if you’re looking for a hotel near the West End. Their clubrooms work best if you want a hotel that’s nice but know you only need it for sleeping in.
- Park International in Kensington is just down the road from the aforementioned Winter Wonderland, and oh my goodness is it a treat to stay in. If you were looking to treat yourself to a little 4-star luxury, this is the spot for it.
Are you looking for some more travel inspiration?