London always feels like the retail capital of the universe at Christmas. Millions of shoppers flood into the city in search of their festive food and gifts and there is a wonderful atmosphere about the place. If you are making a trip to the capital there are also plenty of seasonal attractions to enjoy if you can pull yourself away from the shopping. London really comes alive at Christmas and here are some of the things you really shouldn’t miss.
Hyde Park becomes the centre of the action as a large area of London’s largest recreational space is transformed into a heady mix of market, food fest and fun fair. A huge Christmas market full of interesting independent traders offers crafts, decorations and unique gifts and there is a liberal sprinkling of food and drink to enjoy including mulled wine, German beer, exotic meats and fancy burgers. If your stomach can take it after all those treat you can experience all the fun of the fair which is a heady mix of fast rides and bright lights. The organisers also throw in a few special attractions like an ice rink and a circus. There is enough here to keep you entertained for more than one night but be warned. Although entrance to Winter Wonderland is free, the rides and other attractions are costly and the place is heaving with people night after night.
The South Bank
There is plenty to draw the visitor to London’s South Bank at any time of year but the Christmas period is a special time here. The London Eye is a magnificent sight and worth experiencing for the amazing views across the city and the river bank beneath comes alive with a Christmas market. There is a skating rink adjacent to the eye and if you have a whole day in the area the London Aquarium and the London Dungeon are also here. The major attractions are all operated by Merlin Entertainments and so tickets can be purchased as a package to save a few pennies and after all the fun a stroll along the river bank is always a great way to unwind.
No trip to the Capital in the festive period would be complete without seeing the lights. The main display is in Regent Street, one of the principle shopping districts, and when night falls a series of displays lights the street from end to end. Many of the big retailers here and in neighbouring Oxford Street also have their own displays and the whole area becomes a riot of colour and Christmas trees. Talking of trees, London’s finest is to be found in Trafalgar Square. Every year the Norwegians present London with an enormous specimen in gratitude for British support during World War II. The tree is usually over 20 metres tall and is decorated with 500 lights.
London is certainly not just about the shopping at Christmas. There is plenty to excite and delight over the festive period making the capital the perfect place to visit in the build-up to the big day.
Article By Sally Stacey