As the song goes, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year – not least in London Town. For the UK capital’s jam-packed with a plethora of pop-up ice-rinks, Christmas markets, elegantly decorated and brilliantly twinkling Christmas trees and all its streets seem to be illuminated with festive lights. Genuinely, it’s like this during the run up to the yuletide every year. But if you really want to get into the festive spirit while on a short-break in London in the late months of this year, where to head…?
(17th November 2018-1st January 2019)
Home to London’s biggest Christmas market, bar none, this ticketed multi-event seasonal special is hugely popular. In fact, taking up a big corner of Hyde Park as it does (so perfect for those staying at hotels on Westbourne Terrace London, like the Grand Hotel London Hyde Park), it almost rivals the scale, grandeur, colour, noise and attractions of a theme park. It features rides, such as rollercoasters, haunted houses, a Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, trampolines and so on. But also things to try for the grown-ups, such as an IceBar, where visitors can sip festive cocktails in a genuinely frozen environment. Further family favourites are provided by performances courtesy of the Zippo’s Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk. Yet, surely no visit would be complete without tucking into truly tasty German sausage and sampling some mulled wine, available via several of the many stalls that make its seasonal market a veritable Christmas cornucopia.
Christmas at Kew
(22nd November 2018-1st January 2019)
You’ll doubtless enjoy visiting Christmas at Kew, as you embarked on a journey that’s a one-mile long trail of illumination, giving you the chance to witness sublime Christmas decorations, light shows and even a panto (yes, really!). There’ll also be many food stalls where you can treat yourself to some seasonal deliciousness as well as many (non-too adrenaline-fuelled) rides for the particularly little ones.
Hogwarts in the Snow
(18th November 2018-28th January 2019)
Fancy witnessing how the Harry Potter series’ filmmakers created ice and snow for its winter scenes? Of course, you are! This seasonal tag-on to the Warner Bros. Studio Experience makes for a real festive delight for all Potterheads, what with it offering the chance to discover and explore Hogwarts’ Great Hal decorated as it would be for the Yule Ball. Oh yes. And, thanks to the great transport links available (as part of all-inclusive tickets) from Central London to the studios and back, it’s a very easy venue to get to from Paddington accommodation London.
(23rd November–30th December)
There are two locations for the Backyard Cinema with different themes. The Winter Night Garden’s located in Winterville in Clapham Common; after emerging from a tunnel, you step into an ‘enchanted woodland’ for your special cinema experience. You can watch the movie on beanbags or sofas and enjoy classic Christmas movies like Home Alone, Love Actually, The Holiday and Elf, or Disney favourites of the season like Frozen, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins. The other location’s at The Snow Kingdom at Mercato Metropolitano. Here your journey winds through an ice cave and frozen lake before depositing you before an enchanted castle, where you’re seated to watch your choice of Crimbo flick. Tickets sell out fast every year so make sure you book ahead!