A few more hours in London at Christmas

In Christmas, Days Out, London, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

The festivities are irresistible

Last Christmas Gary and I popped to London for a few hours to enjoy the festivities around Tower Bridge and along the Southbank of the Thames.

The Christmas Tree in front of Covent Garden, Christmas, London, England, UK

We were amazed that within a reasonably short distance how much fun could be had and the effort the locals had gone to, to show off London at its best.

So, after our annual pilgrimage in early December 2017, to visit the some European Christmas markets, we decided to pop to London again and discover the delights around the West End.

Go where the lights take you

In some ways, it’s probably best that you don’t really have a specific route in mind.

There are so many sparkling lights & trees alluring you, that you just keeping wandering to wherever tempts you the most.

A Routemaster bus in London, Christmas, London, England, UK

Yet, you’ll be surprised how much you can discover in just a few hours.

Somerset House

We headed to Somerset House first, not that we are ice skaters, but it’s quite amusing watching the British trying to stay upright. Although I didn’t see any children’s helper penguins or polar bears……I would have needed one of those.

On the ice at Somerset House, Christmas, London, England, UK

The hosts for this year’s event are Fortnum & Mason, so no expense has been spared.
Somerset House is a lovely place to visit all year around, and you may also recognise it from it from various film locations (particularly the opening credits of Love Actually).

The Christmas Tree in front of Somerset House, Christmas, London, England, UK

Our favourite travel reads

Remember

To book your one hour slot for skating through the Somerset House website.

Off to the Garden

Just a short stroll and you wander into the spectacle of Covent Garden, and I love this place any time of year, always brought alive by street entertainers.

The decorations at Covent Garden, Christmas, London, England, UK

The magic has been sprinkled here in sleigh loads, giant reindeers, a glimmering Christmas tree and giant mistletoe that nobody could avoid standing under.

The Reindeer at Covent Garden, Christmas, London, England, UK

A helpful guide

If you've yet to discover London and its ancient history, then let's start planning. I find these DK Eyewitness Travel Guides invaluable. They're extremely informative, easy to follow, and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of those fascinating sites.
 
You can now grab a recently revised copy of this guidebook, so you won't miss a thing.


Seven Dials

Slightly north west of Covent Garden is Seven Dials (and certainly worth a visit), once again the effort that has been made by the local boutiques is enchanting.

The view from Seven Dials, Christmas, London, England, UK

The seven narrow streets converge into one tiny chaotic roundabout, with the centrepiece being a Doric column.

Which strangely has only six sundials at the top of it (the road plans changed from six to seven after the column was built).

Seven dials at Christmas, Christmas, London, England, UK

Something to make your travels easier?

  • 6-Port Desktop USB Charging Station

  • Mini Dual USB Car Adapter

  • Portable Charger 2 USB Ports Power Bank

  • Bose SoundLink Revolve, Portable Bluetooth Speaker

  • USB rechargeable LED Flashlight

  • Collapsible Water Bottle

Our Tip

Avoid always taking the tube, your favourite places maybe nearer to each other than you think.

Onto the movies

Now we head to Leicester Square and the glistening billboards of the latest movies. Here we find that a traditional Christmas market has sprung up in the park. It would be wrong not to head in and taste the wares.

A Christmas stall in Leicester Square, Christmas, London, England, UK

Although London was a bit on the moist side this evening, it certainly didn’t dampen the atmosphere, particularly that Luke Skywalker had returned to town in “The Last Jedi”.

Leicester Square at Christmas, London, England, UK

Trafalgar Square

Even though London is a big city, a short stroll is often all that’s required to emerge upon your next historical discovery. If you are in the heart of the West End, Trafalgar Square is always a draw.

Trafalgar Square at Christmas, London, England, UK

You can’t miss the 25-metre high Christmas tree, which has been given as a gift from the people of Norway to London traditionally since 1947. This is in thanks for Britain’s support in World War II.

Where the lights take you

We strolled in the direction of Regent Street up Haymarket, only to be drawn towards Regent Street St James’s, by its captivating lights and tree.

This was definitely worth the detour & such an elegant road.

The Christmas Tree at Waterloo Place, Christmas, London, England, UK
Regent Street Saint James's at Christmas, London, England, UK

Point to note

Even though London is spectacular during the day, it truly comes alive after dark.

Sophisticated Arcades

Who could resist this stylish part of the city, I just love the arcades that cut through the centre and offer a shopping experience like no other.

‘Piccadilly Arcade’ from Jermyn Street to Piccadilly, ‘Burlington Arcade’ from Piccadilly to Burlington Gardens and ‘The Royal Arcade’ which runs from Albermarle Street to Old Bond Street.

Piccadilly Arcade, Christmas, London, England, UK
Burlington Arcade, Christmas, London, England, UK
The Royal Arcade at Christmas, London, England, UK

Want to discover more than about London?

We've a little book on our shelves that we sometimes delve into when we're about to hit an area of London.

Packed full of historical facts, and broken down into the different regions of London, it's a great resource to help you see what's hidden in plain sight.

Available in Kindle & Hardback editions, it's an excellent addition to anyone's collection who loves London.


A display like no other

300,000 twinkling little lights illuminated Regent Street for another year, ’The Spirit of Christmas’ is the largest display of lights in the capital and is truly stunning.

It will certainly stop you in your tracks.

High above Regent Street at Christmas, London, England, UK
Angels above Regent Street, Christmas, London, England, UK
The view down Regent Street, Christmas, London, England, UK

The merchants of London

There are so many eye-catching stores in the West End, many of whom have gone that extra mile to make the celebrations special.

My favourite has to be Cartier’s & Fortnum & Mason.

The Cartier store on New Bond Store, Christmas, London, England, UK
Hatchards Booksellers to the Royal household, Christmas, London, England, UK
Fortnum & Mason's store at Christmas, London, England, UK
Hamley's on Regent Street, Christmas, London, England, UK
The Vintage Showroom, Christmas, London, England, UK

However, for us travellers, a trip to Covent Garden will always include a visit to Stanfords, for all your travel literature needs.

Stanfords travel bookstore, Christmas, London, England, UK

How to get there

If you are not a London dweller, then one of the easiest ways to get to the capital is by train. Catch all the routes into London here and find your most convenient itinerary.

What also caught our eye

Narrowing down the photos for this post was tricky, as there was so much that grabbed our attention.

Here are a sneaky few more;

Carnaby Street at Christmas, London, England, UK
The Christmas lights down the Strand, Christmas, London, England, UK
Lights from Charles II Street, Christmas, London, England, UK
The lights above Jermyn Street, Christmas, London, England, UK
The Ritz hotel at Christmas, London, England, UK
The end of New Bond Street, Christmas, London, England, UK
Looking along New Bond Street, Christmas, London, England, UK
Elegant New Bond Street, Christmas, London, England, UK
The Palace Theatre, Shaftsbury Avenue, Christmas, London, England, UK

Another short and sweet tour of Christmassy London

Although this is a short glimpse of the West End of London at Christmas, it takes you through some iconic and much-loved parts of this magnificent city.

Have You?

Enjoyed London at Christmas?  There's so much to see from East to West, North to South,  What's you're favourite part of the city?

Something for the Traveller

  • Children's World Globe 3D Jigsaw Puzzle

  • Travel-Size Laundry Bag

  • Metallic World Globe

  • RFID Blocking Cards

  • The Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World

Inspired to visit London at Christmas?

Are you tempted? Would you like to see the city sparkle?

Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?

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A few more hours in London at Christmas

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight. Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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