Five of my favorite Christmas holiday traditions:
Ice skating –
For many Londoners come December, there’s one must-do activity, and that’s ice skating. Wrapping up warm with scarf, gloves and hat is a must, and only serves to add to that festive feeling. Over the Christmas period, there’s many outdoor pop-up ice ranks, which generally are bookable in advance by the hour, with skate hire included. As well as just your standard skating many locations offer added extras such as cute plastic penguin supports for kids, and even club nights at some. Although any of the London rinks are sure to be lit up to the nines, a few of my favourites for that true magical feeling are; Somerset House Ice Rink, Natural History Museum Ice Skating, and Tower of London.
Mulled Wine –
Not to be combined with the above, or at least until after, drinking mulled wine is another stalwart tradition for Londoners at Christmas. In fact, the popularity of mulled wine has driven creativity so now you’re likely to find mulled cider and hot pimms in many a London bar. Perfect for warming you up after a cold stint Christmas shopping, they’re available at many Christmas markets across the city as well as the bars. Or if you want to get hands-on why not try making some at home for a festive gathering.
Christmas Lights –
There’s not so much anticipation for the lights these days as they’re usually up well before Christmas, despite this they are still a joy to see and really part of a London Christmas. Oxford Street and Regent Street are two of the biggest displays to tick off your list, but whilst in the area be sure to head to Carnaby Street, who never fail to provide a stunning display with a quirky twist. For even more decoration goodness check out the Christmas displays in London’s big department stores where they pull out all the stops, Selfridges and Harrods are two to watch.
Whether you’re keen to join in or prefer to shy away at the back, there’s sure to be a Carol concert for you. There’s regular carol-singing next to the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square and historic venue Royal Albert Hall also hosts events, as does St Paul’s Cathedral. Keep your eyes peeled as local Xmas fetes and Churches often hold carol services and events too.
Christmas Markets –
Whether you think they’re tacky or can’t get enough of them, Londoners vote with their feet and they’re all for Christmas Markets. With some of the biggest in London housing ice rinks and fair rides, there’s plenty of fun to be had. For the less adventurous having a browse of the craft stalls, getting some food and sipping a hot mulled wine is a perfect way to spend a festive afternoon. Some of the top ones to try in London are Hyde Parks’ Winter Wonderland, East London’s Winterville, and the Southbank Centres Christmas Market.