If our Christmas bucket list didn’t provide you with enough inspiration, we’ve got more Christmas travel ideas coming your way. This year, we’re to explain just some of the reasons why London is the best place to spend Christmas. It’s true that they don’t normally have the traditional ‘white Christmas’, but the city does have all the festive spirit to make up for it!
Harry Potter Studio Tour
Whilst calling the Philosopher’s Stone a Christmas movie is still a hotly debated subject, there is no doubt that Hogwarts does Christmas right – and this is the closest you’ll ever get to a Hogwarts’ Christmas. The same ‘snow’ that covered the original sets will cover the studios. Even the Gryffindor common room will get a festive makeover! However, you need to be quick to get tickets, as they are already selling for Christmas next year! Take a look at their Christmas 2017, where they recreated the set of the Yule Ball.
Christmas at Kew Gardens
If you’ve read our Christmas bucket list, this might already be on your list. One of their most special features this year is “the dazzling arch that leads to a cascade of glowing silvery shards at the Treetop Walkway”. Is there anything better than Christmas lights to get us in the festive mood?
Christmas Pantos – (Nativity!)
Going to see a pantomime is a ritual for any family at Christmas. Normally it’s based around fairy tales, such as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Puss in Boots. One of the main characteristics of the plays is the reversed gender roles – normally, the Pantomime Dames are Men comically dressed up as women, and the principal boys are young women dressed up as boys, normally the leading role.
Nativity! the musical isn’t the most classic of pantos, but it is based on the UK Christmas movie classic Nativity! This year, it can be seen on the West End. A truly magical London experience.
London is undeniably one of the best places to get your Christmas Shopping done. There are several locations to choose from:
Oxford Street and Regents Street
The infamous shopping streets in the centre of London. These are home to some of the biggest stores for the biggest brands (Apple, Primark, Disney and Nike to name a few). What makes them even more magical is the fact they’re lined with decadent angel shaped lights. Although, you should be warned – Christmas is one of the busiest times of year for an already very busy road! Selfridges on Oxford Street is a definite must at Christmas – not even to buy anything (as it is quite pricey) but just to look at all the decorations. The food hall is also especially exciting in the festive season.
Fortnum & Mason, Liberty’s, and Harrods
Each famous for their Christmas windows, these shops know how to do Christmas right. The decoration doesn’t stop outside the store. These department stores fill their interior with pine trees and bunting. Their amazing food halls are full of Christmas treats. They’re also all found in historic buildings – Liberty’s is based on classic Tudor architecture. Each of the shops were founded over a century ago, the youngest of the 3 shops is Liberty’s, founded in 1875. The oldest of the 3 is Fortnum & Masons, over 300 years old, founded in 1707.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, Fortnum & Masons was the first to invent the British picnic classic ‘scotch egg’, the first to stock Heinz Baked Beans and it’s ‘Royal Blend’ of tea was requested and made especially for King Edward VII. The only downfall? Unsurprisingly, they’re really quite expensive. But, whether you plan on splashing the cash or not, it’s worth a visit. It’s not uncommon for many of their visitors to be there solely to see the festive fun.
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Bringing the first of the festive cheer to the feed with this snap of our favourite London store @fortnums (which this year is all dressed up as a real life advent calendar ✨) Plus we're counting this as our #sundaycarpic . . . . #windowsoftheworld #prettycitylondon #londres #fortnumandmason #fortnums #londonshop #christmasinlondon #londoncityworld #londonchristmas #passionpassport #hello_worldpics #sharingaworldofshops #chasing_facades #instabritain #pathport #suitcasetravels #wheretofindme#mytinyatlas #lovelondon #straightfacades #storefrontcollective #shopsofinstagram #christmascountdown #myseasonalstory #londoner
The biggest and most modern shopping centre in London – and one for either end of the city! Westfield is a favourite with tourists and locals alike. There is something for all tastes, with Primark (in Stratford) for those looking for a bargain, and luxury and designer stores in ‘The Village’ (in Shepherd’s Bush). For any airier vibe nearer the city centre visit Shepherd’s Bush, for a touristy shopping day, go to Stratford, as it sits right next to the 2012 Olympic Park. Alongside the special decorations, both shopping centres are opening a ‘Santa’s Snowflake Grotto’ for families.
Another attraction that was mentioned in our Christmas bucket list – and with good reason! This is the ultimate festive event in London – and one of the best reasons why London is the best place to spend christmas. It has it all – ice rinks, Christmas markets, christmas-coasters, karaoke chalets… and we’re not even covering half of it! Held in one of London’s biggest parks, Hyde Park is where you have to be! It runs through the end of November until the beginning of January, so you have plenty of time to visit.
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We’ve had a little helper with this season’s preparations… Can you spot one of the Elf on the Shelf scout elves getting up to festive fun? 🧐 Elf on the Shelf Day is back by popular demand! Join us at Winter Wonderland on 1st December for a fun-filled day with the Scout Elves – keep your eyes peeled as we reveal more exciting information. 🎄 @ukelfontheshelf
Aside from the several locations we’ve already mentioned, there are so many amazing places to go ice skating across London. Some of the most famous include the Natural History Museum Ice Rink, Somerset House and The Tower of London. What makes these rinks so special is the historical backdrop they have – at The Tower of London you can even see The Shard!
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20 years on and still the best. Our ice rink opens to the public on Wednesday for another season of skating in London's most beautiful neoclassical courtyard. Book your tickets now via the link in bio. #SkateSomersetHouse with @fortnums 13 Nov 2019 – 12 Jan 2020 📷 Luke Dyson
Christmas Carols St Paul’s Cathedral
A very royal venue (the location of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding), this carol concert will make for a magical night. Luckily there are several concerts throughout the festive period to make space for the thousands of visitors keen to hear ‘Silent Night’ sung by the Cathedral’s famous choir. If carols aren’t your thing, they hold readings and services too.
Bath Christmas Market
Although not in London, this quaint, historical city is only an hour and a half by train. It is one of the most popular and famous markets in not just the UK – but the rest of Europe too! You’ll understand why when you see the beauty of the city combine with the festive chalet huts that house each stall. There’s caroling outside Bath Abbey and an ice rink in Royal Victoria Park, and they even make sure there’s snow, whatever the weather. This market is a must for anyone looking to experience a true British Christmas!
We could write so much more on the reasons why London is the best place to spend Christmas, but we think there’s enough for now. Whether you agree with us or not – let us know in the comments below!