Visiting the Capital during the Festive Season
London is among the world’s premier tourist destinations, and there’s no better time to visit the capital than during the festive season, when it’s replete with Christmassy things to see and do. London is among the most well-connected cities in the world, by land, sea and air: You can catch a train from Luton Airport Parkway to London St. Pancras, and from there catch a tube to just about anywhere in the city. As such, international tourists will be able to easily experience all that Christmas in London has to offer.
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of London’s major draws throughout the year, with its 350 acres providing a home for lakes, fountains, and the notorious Speaker’s Corner. But during Christmas time it takes things to an entirely new level with the help of Winter Wonderland.
This Christmas festival has been going for more than a decade, and has proven itself a reliable draw to both tourists and Londoners alike. There’s ice skating, rollercoaster-rides, and plenty of food and drink. But that’s just scratching the surface: you’ll be able to enjoy festive cocktails, comedy, ice-sculpting workshops, and a whole lot more besides. What’s not to like? The festival runs from the 21st of November, and runs from 10am to 10pm every day until the 5th of January.
Christmas markets are springing up throughout the capital. Each of them offers something just a little bit different. While Winter Wonderland might be the largest of them, it’s still worth checking out the smaller ones in Clapham and Southbank, which provide a little more of what’s local.
London’s famous shopping districts can be relied upon to pull off something special whenever Christmas is on the horizon. The larger department stores like Harrods are an obvious choice if you want to peruse the window displays, and perhaps pick up a few choice items in the process. But there are also more niche shopping opportunities worth considering, like the Lego store in Leicester Square.
You might not have Kew Gardens down as a must-visit at winter time, since most of the flowers here are dormant while the weather’s cold. The powers-that-be at Kew have, however, thought of this, and throughout winter they’re putting on a series of eye-popping lighting displays to create an atmosphere that’s truly festive. Much like Winter Wonderland, this runs from late November up until early January. You’ll need to book in advance, and remember that this is an evening activity – as that’s when those Christmas lights look their best.