It’s no secret that Londoners love Christmas. In the months running up to December 25th, you’ll see shops stocking mince pies, decorative street lights set up and ready for switch on night and restaurants advertising their special Christmas menus. Each and every December, the buzz around London is like nowhere else in the world with Merry Christmas wishes getting passed around like everyone in the city is an old friend. The decorations, the food, the markets and the purely fun and festive atmosphere are just a few of the things that make London at Christmas absolute magic.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AT CARNABY STREET
Year on year Carnaby Street ups it’s Christmas light game and this year will not let you down. Following a funky carnival theme last year, this year’s display is all about the Bohemian Rhapsody. Yep, that’s the lyrics to British 70’s rock band Queen’s legendary Bohemian Rhapsody illuminated above Carnaby Street every evening after dark this season. This is for sure going to be the iconic London Christmas photo of 2018 for the gram!
During Christmas, ice rinks pop up all over London for the city to get their festive feels. Ice skating at Somerset House is one of the most iconic festive activities to do in London at Christmas, but for the past few years, the ice rink at the Tower of London is also an amazing setting for a spot of ice skating. Glide along the rooftop of Skylight at Tobacco Dock or amongst the Christmas markets of Winter Wonderland or Winterville this year. All of them make the perfect festive date whether you’re with friends, family or that special someone…
It’s not a Christmas in London without a stroll around a festive market. Whether you’re going to pick up some gifts, sample the food, drink mulled wine or just soak up the atmosphere, there’s something for everyone at London’s Christmas markets. Here are a few of the best in London for 2018:
Christmas in Leicester Square
Winterville, Clapham Common
Wintertime at Southbank Centre
Greenwich Christmas Market
The iconic market of the season is coming back for another Christmas. Winter Wonderland will be taking over Hyde Park again for more festive stalls, fairground rides, ice skating, eating and drinking galore. There’s a reason every visitor to London over the Christmas period makes room for at least a few hours at this spectacular Christmas market. The giant Bavarian beer tent is always packed with people drinking and eating German currywurst, giving the fun and festive vibe that everyone loves.
CHRISTMAS SHOPPING ON OXFORD STREET
Oxford street in all it’s Christmas glory is a must visit when the sun goes down, but during the day it’s the ideal spot in London to get all your Christmas shopping sorted. Home to over 300 shops from clothes and shoes to food and souvenirs, it’s know wonder Oxford Street has made its name for being the best place to shop in London. At Christmas, it’s not just the sky in lights when the sun goes down, many of the shops are dedicated to the season and create ultra special window displays year on year. Check out Selfridge’s window display this year, as they’ve promised that their creation for 2018 is going to be beautiful. Just be warned of the large crowds, especially on weekends.
THE FESTIVE BUZZ
The entire city’s mood changes in a flash when London turns the festivities on full blast. Even in the cold, London just loves wrapping up warm, eating, drinking and being festive - it’s what makes us happiest the most. If you’ve ever been to London before, we can guarantee you’ll be able to feel the festive atmosphere bouncing off everyone, making London an even more enjoyable city to see at Christmas.
Sunday Roasts are served up in pubs and restaurants all year round, but for local Londoners, Christmas time and through the winter is when roast dinners really hit the spot. It’s the heartiness of the meat, gravy and all those trimmings that make it the most comforting winter meal that you just have to try when in England.
Some of our favourite affordable Sunday Roast spots in London include:
The Rose Pub, Fulham
The Crown and Anchor, Brixton
Pig and Butcher, Liverpool Street
Princess of Shoreditch, Shoreditch
Nothing beats a good old English pub at Christmas. Sipping red wine with your friends, a fire crackling in the corner and the buzz of Christmas putting everyone in high spirits, December is without doubt one of our favourite times of year to pop into our local for a drink or two. The cosiness of taking your winter layers off to tuck into a hearty meal while it’s cold outside is one of the most festive feelings you can get!
There are hundreds of pubs in London but these are a few of our favourites for winter:
Andover Arms Pub, Hammersmith
The Antelope Pub, Tooting
The Golden Heart, Spitalfields
The Albion, Kingston
Anglesea Arms, Shepherd’s Bush
Loads of London’s attractions go all out for Christmas, decking the venue out with trees and lights, but a lot even put on special seasonal events to really bring a festive buzz. Get tickets for the Warner Bros famous Harry Potter studio tour in Watford (a short train ride from London) which becomes ‘ Hogwarts in the Snow ’ this November, December and January.
Kew Gardens will be getting a complete Christmas makeover with stunning, twinkling lights giving an after-dark festive magic for ‘Christmas at Kew’ from 22nd November until 5th January.
Backyard Cinema will be showing all the Christmas time classic movies while you sit and watch on comfy bean bags with a cup of mulled wine or boozy hot chocolate.
To find out more of what's on in London this Christmas, check out our monthly guide to the
MINCE PIES AND PIGS IN BLANKETS
If there’s one thing Britain does well, it’s Christmas food. And mince pies and pigs in blankets are two of the most exciting things to happen during the festive season. All the bakeries will be selling their own homemade mince-filled pastries (don’t worry, mince definitely does NOT mean animal meat), and butchers stock their special bacon wrapped sausages, aka pigs in blankets. If you go out for a pre-Christmas Day dinner in the run up to the 25th, pigs in blankets will almost certainly be amongst all the trimmings with a warm mince pie and custard for dessert. Don’t knock them until you try them, as you’ll barely find a Brit who’s not obsessed!