There’s nothing quite like a weekend in London in the run up to Christmas. As the frosty air nips at your cheeks, you’ll enjoy the festive spirit of world-class markets, eccentric pop-ups, outstanding shows and a Christmas cracker of events. Book your accommodation at one of our London serviced apartments so you have your own place to hibernate away from the crowds, and follow our guide on how to plan.
Dazzling Displays of Festive Lights
London does Christmas lights in spectacular fashion. Each street or area shows off its unique character in its own display. It’s no surprise that visitors flock to London each December just to see the lights. There are a huge number of ‘must-see’ lights including Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Covent Garden, Bond Street, Regent Street and of course Trafalgar Square with its enormous Christmas Tree. You can wander the streets by foot, but by far the easiest way to really revel in the London Christmas lights is to take a bus tour. Various companies offer these tours, The Original Tour is perhaps the most well-known.
Heart-warming Carols and Music
Whilst on the subject of Christmas lights, where there are lights you can expect carols. You’ll often stumble upon carol singers around the capital at Christmas. However, you can frequently enjoy rousing carols in Trafalgar Square. The programme is still being finalised for 2019, but you can find out more here. If you’d rather head indoors then you cannot beat the sheer wonder of Christmas at St Paul’s Cathedral. Although ticketed performances are put on, many of the events are services and this should be respected.
Gliding and Sliding with Festive Skating
Becoming hugely popular in the last few years, ice-skating is very much part of the London Christmas experience. Fortunately there are a large number of places, each very unique, where you can take to the ice. The top skating rinks in London for 2019 include Somerset House, the Natural History Museum, Tower of London, Skylight (rooftop) and Winterville. You’ll always find bars and cafes around the rink where you can warm up with a cocktail or steaming mug of hot chocolate.
Shop Till you Drop
There are two ways you should approach your Christmas shopping in London. Firstly with visits to some of the traditional Christmas stores such as Fortnum and Mason’s, Harrods, and Hamley’s as well as the iconic shopping districts of Oxford Street and Regent Street. However, you should also make sure you take time to enjoy some festive markets. There are a number of wonderful Christmas markets around the capital including: Wintertime at the Southbank, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park and Leicester Square Christmas Market. Not only will you find stalls packed with unique gifts, you’ll be able to soak up the Christmas spirit, enjoy a mulled wine and maybe even some Bratwurst or roasted chestnuts.
Laugh a Minute with London’s Christmas Shows
London is known the world over for its West End theatre scene. However, the whole of London explodes in a riot of stage performances in the festive months. With pantomimes, circuses, cabarets and more, there is something for everyone, including West End shows such as Nativity! The Musical. Check out our recent guide to the theatre shows in London in Christmas 2019. We should also mention the Christmas pop-up cinemas. Cosy evenings snuggled with blankets and popcorn watching festive classics shouldn’t be missed. Pop-up cinemas worth trying include the Backyard Cinema and the St Katherine’s Docks Christmas Floating Film Festival.
Pop into a pop-up for Eating and Drinking
It’s not just cinemas which pop-up. Christmas in London wouldn’t be complete without sampling one of the many food and drink pop-ups dotted around the city. From sparkling igloos to snug cabins, there is a huge range of choice. Our favourites include indulging in fondue in a Jimmy’s igloo, Winterland in Fulham and The Winter Forest at Broadgate Circle. Don’t forget that there are plenty of festive bites to be enjoyed at the Christmas markets too.
Magical Moments at Christmas in London
In London there are a number of uniquely British and uniquely Christmas ways to pass the winter months. High up on your agenda when you are planning a festive break in London should be Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Here you’ll find everything from fairground rides to meetings with Santa as well as Paddington on Ice, ice carving, circuses, a market and plenty of festive food and drink. Whilst visiting London at Christmas-time, Harry Potter fans should take a trip to Hogwarts in the Snow. Then there is the mesmerising Lapland UK in Windsor Great Park, which will turn even the biggest scrooges into believers once more. Also a little out of central London are the magical lit up gardens of Christmas at Kew.
Making Time for the Classics
For many, visiting London at Christmas time is an opportunity to experience some of London’s iconic sights with a festive twist. You might like to visit the sparkling London Eye, London Bridge which looks resplendent in the dark and where there is a Christmas market, or visit Westminster Abbey. Most London attractions take on a different feel around the Christmas season and it can be like experiencing them for the first time again.
Indulgent and Relaxing Accommodation
With all these wonderfully festive things to fit in, you’ll need somewhere to relax at the end of the day. Hotels at this time of year will be crowded and also subject to the noise of Christmas parties. Opt instead for a space you can call your own by choosing to stay in a serviced apartment. You’ll get plenty of space to relax and unwind. If you’re a family you’ll be able to put the kids to bed in their own room ready to dream of twinkling fairy lights whilst you enjoy a mulled wine together in the living area. Couples will enjoy the cosy privacy and friends will enjoy being able to relax together. Click here to search for your London serviced apartment by party size, location and budget. What are you waiting for? Come and enjoy a festive weekend in London.