If you’re spending Christmas in London or visiting the city around the Christmas period, then make sure to enjoy the dazzling lights of the UK capital. From the giant Nordic fir tree in Trafalgar Square to the modern lights of Oxford Street; from the elegant shop windows of Fortnum & Masons on Piccadilly to the designer decorations at Covent Garden, London knows how to turn on the Christmas cheer. Here are my top 5 best Christmas experiences in London:
The View from the Shard
A Christmas experience at 800ft with a spectacular view of London included? The viewing area of The Shard skyscraper at London Bridge has been transformed into an icy wonderland. Welcome to huge crystals, sparkly snow dunes and an irridescent grotto at the top of Western Europe’s tallest building. Pure enchantment costs from £26 and there will be treats such as mulled champagne and Christmas candy floss on sale. It all sounds incredibly romantic to me and it’s open until January 31st.
The Geffrey Museum
One of London’s lesser-known museums, the Geffrey Museum has always been one of my favourites. It is a museum in Hoxton set in a row of 18th century almshouses and it explores how style, fashion and taste have changed over the centuries. At Christmas particularly I love their Twelfth Night celebration – a farewell to Christmas in the garden with mulled wine, carol singing, Twelfth Night cake and a big bonfire for the traditional burning of the holly and the ivy. Their Christmas Past exhibition is on now until January 3rd and shows how the season has been celebrated in English homes over the past 400 years. Best of all the Geffrey Museum is absolutely free!
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
For a bit of glitz and family fun for Christmas in London you can’t beat the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It is free to get in so you can spend what you like on the multitude of rides, gastronomic treats and Christmas crafts. The Zillertal Ice Rink is really pretty this year – set around the old bandstand. There is also a magical ice kingdom attraction and a big top with circus shows.
Go Ice Skating
The number of ice rinks that pop up in iconic London locations seems to grow every year and it is a very popular way to spend a winter’s afternoon or evening in the run up to Christmas. I think the prettiest ice rink at Christmas in London is at Somerset House – surrounded by the well-lit grandeur of this gem of 18th century neo-classical architecture. Other lovely ice rinks are outside the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, Canary Wharf, the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace.
Southbank Centre Winter Festival
The German-style chalets of the Christmas markets and winter festivities along London’s Southbank seem to get better every year. I love spending a winter afternoon browsing through the cute stalls, sipping mulled wine and watching the buskers entertain the crowds. There are all sorts of pop-up festive shows and activities planned. Against a backdrop of the mighty River Thames, this is a wonderful way to spend the day. Other Christmas markets in London include ones at Tate Modern and the Barbican. Check out this post for the best hotels in London for Christmas market breaks .
So there you have it, my five favourite things to do in London at Christmas. Read more about where to see the London Christmas lights here. Just don’t forget your Christmas jumper!
By Natasha von Geldern
What do you love to do in London at Christmas?