Visiting London during Christmas

Although there is much to enjoy in London all year round, England’s historic capital is a great destination to visit during Christmas season as the city offers visitors and locals alike spectacular holiday lights, a packed schedule of festive events and the highlight of the holiday season, the lighting of the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.

Christmas lights and window displays

Several of London’s major shopping streets try to outdo each other with their Christmas lights, although the lights on Regent Street are often considered to be the best. In addition, many of the shops stay open later than usual, so if shopping is an important part of your lifestyle, browsing in London’s West End for last minute gifts is a festive and fun experience. Marylebone High Street has a grotto, food stalls and street entertainers nightly, as well as dazzling lights. Harrods, the world’s most famous store always has an imaginative and creative window display during the holidays, and past displays have had themes based on James Bond, Peter Pan and classic fairy tales.

Norway’s gift to the UK

In 1947, the people of Norway gave the people of the UK a huge tree, as a way of thanking the country for its support of Norway during the Second World War. Norway has given a tree every year since then, and the huge tree, often a beautiful Norwegian spruce, is planted in Trafalgar Square, right in the heart of London. The ceremonial planting of the tree always marks the unofficial beginning of the holiday season, and every night, Londoners and tourists enjoy singing carols, and drinking hot chocolate in the shadow of the tree.

Pantomimes and ice skating

A pantomime is a British tradition, and if you are in London during Christmas, there will be dozens to choose from. They are often loosely based on a fairy tale or nursery rhyme, and most feature a celebrity, often dressed up in women’s clothing.

Most also require quite a lot of audience participation and shouts of «Look behind you!» It has been many years since the Thames froze over to enable Londoners to ice skate, although the capital still boasts plenty of other places where you can ice skate and enjoy music, seasonal food and drink. During December, temporary ice rinks can be found at such well known London landmarks as the Tower of London, the Natural History Museum and Hyde Park.

Overall, London is a great place to visit, and has many tourist attractions especially during holiday seasons such as Christmas and New Years Eve. Give this amazing city a whirl and most will agree that you’re nearly guaranteed to have and enjoyable time.

This post was written by Martin Loughlin who has been a freelance writer for several years. He enjoys going fun places and writing about travel, especially the UK.

Image: Oxford street (London, UK) by 3LooYaH via deviantART

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