London is such a brilliant place to visit around Christmas time – not so much if you are one of those headless chickens running around trying to source last minute Christmas presents, but if you have Christmas all wrapped up and have the time (and patience!) to explore and see what this city has to offer during the festive season then you are in for a treat!
My Mum, my Sister and I go on a day trip to London every December, here’s some of the amazing things we have done over the last few years:
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
This place is like marmite – I’ve spoken to people who absolutely love it here, and likewise, people who absolutely detest it! Winter Wonderland opened on 17th November this year and is open for six weeks until 1st January 2018.
It is free to enter Winter Wonderland and inside you can find a wealth of things to do including –
Winter Wonderland’s ice skating rink is the largest outdoor rink in the UK and is open from 10am to 10pm. Ice skating sessions run every hour on the hour and each session lasts for 50 minutes. Adult prices start at £9.50 and child prices start at £7.50.
If you are unsteady on your feet you can also ask for the help of an Ice Guide – a trained ice skater who can escort you and your group on the ice – a really great idea but they don’t come cheap (£35 an hour on top of your skating ticket price!)
Magical Ice Kingdom
This has a different theme every year, the year we visited it was the theme Merlin and the knights of the round table and it was absolutely fantastic!
Definitely well worth a look if you have the time! There were loads more characters to see and the pictures I have taken seriously do not do them any justice! This years theme is called Deep Sea Adventure and looks just as amazing! Adult Ticket prices start at £7.00 and child’s prices start at £5.00.
You may have already seen my blog on the two Bar Ice bars you can find in London, if not you can read about this great experience here. One of the Bar Ice’s can be found at Winter Wonderland but obviously can get very busy so make sure you pre-book your tickets!
Plus loads more including the Giant Observation Wheel, The Sooty Christmas Show, Zippo’s Christmas Circus, Cirque Beserk, Cinderella on Ice and of course the stunning stalls selling everything from Mulled wine to Churros to Christmas Decorations to hats and scarves!
Outside of Hyde Park, we usually visit:
My favourite shopping street! It is obviously very busy this time of year but do your best to stop along the way to check out the amazing Christmas decorations which line the streets! Regent Street always looks really pretty too!
Department Store Windows
Have you ever watched the film “Mannequin”? It follows a guy who, with a lot of assistance from a mannequin which comes to life when no-one else is looking, is a Window Dresser, and together they design these amazing department store window displays which have people travelling from miles around to come and see.
Classic 80’s film and the department store windows this time of year always remind me of it!
Anyway, each year there is a bit of a battle between the different department stores to have the best dressed window displays. The ideas they come up with are amazing and must take them hours and hours to create. Here are some of the highlights we came across this year:
A bit of an unusual one this year! An Instagram friend told me its because they were designed by Karl Lagerfeld and this seemed to make a lot of sense! I’m still unsure whether I like them or not….
I loved Selfridges windows this year! Really fun and eye-catching! Bouncing Santas, Robins and Christmas Puddings and a suit made of sprouts! What more could you want?? Oh yes, a “Nutcracker Queen” surrounded by her Nutcracker soldiers on the balcony above the escalators! That will do!
Plus we loved the massive hare and fox which appeared in the H&M windows this year!
Department Store Christmas departments
I don’t tend to do much shopping in the department stores, I’ve usually got everyone’s presents by now and the temptation is to spend far too much if I start wondering into areas like Saint Laurent or Alexander McQueen! What my sister and I do tend to do is head straight for the Christmas themed sections within the department stores to check out the decorations and displays! In some of the bigger department stores it really is like walking into a Winter Wonderland!
This year I encountered a life size singing Reindeer (only £4,500!) and a huge Nutcracker Doll (only £1,250!). Better start saving I think!
Department Store Food halls
Harrods Food Hall at any time of the year is absolutely incredible but team it up with all the Christmas flavours and goodies they have to offer and I really am in heaven here!
Selfridges also has a great food hall but I do prefer Harrods. In actual fact I think that the food hall in Selfridges Birmingham is better than the Selfridges in London – far bigger and far easier to find everything!
Peggy Porschen Parlour
This year we also managed to visit the amazing Peggy Porschen Parlour in Victoria! It is one of the stunning places I have ever visited, the photos really don’t do it justice.
The inside is just as beautiful as the outside, and each and every product sold here is crafted to perfection.
If you have the chance, check out the outstanding Gingerbread houses they sell – if I had bought one of these I really don’t think I could have brought myself to eat such an amazing creation!
I HIGHLY recommend you visit here if you get the chance! We are definitely re-visiting the next time we are in London!
So as you can see, we have some real adventures on our annual trips to London, which don’t always include Christmassy themed things (The British Museum and The Natural History Museum for example).
Our annual trip to London is one of the Christmas traditions I really look forward to and I hope carries on long into the future!