UPDATED for 2017
You can’t think of the perfect Christmas without “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens coming to mind. The very essence of the holiday spirit comes alive in that story and in Victorian Christmas in London . . . even in the 21st Century.
Decorations and holiday markets are everywhere. The main shopping drags, Oxford and Regent Streets, are aglow with holiday lights and street vendors hawking ribbons, wrapping paper and so much more from their tiny stalls. You can truly picture Bob Cratchit stopping by to chat with the street merchants.
A giant tree from Norway sits in Trafalgar Square. It’s a gift from Norway each year for the refuge London provided Norway officials during WWII. Solo travelers or families getting away will find plenty of other holiday festivities, from shopping in the markets at Covent Garden and the Southbank Centre for the perfect holiday gift, crafted by local artisans, to discovering the joy of Christmas crackers (no, you can’t eat them). The funny table treats are poppers with a surprise inside and everyone ’round the Christmas table dons the silly paper hat which comes with each.
London is where to be for Christmas. Did you know it was Queen Victoria who first started the tradition of decorating a Christmas tree, while Sir Henry Cole sent the first Christmas cards? It wasn’t the idea of modern day greeting card companies, as some would imagine!
Some Things to Do for Christmas in London:
Hyde Park – celebrates 11 years of Winter Wonderland, boasting more than 100,000 lights and a giant ferris wheel. Many events require tickets but admission is free to Santa Land and the Christmas market.
Ice Skating – Somerset House (always my favorite) creates a wonderful rink in its majestic outer courtyard. It even offers skating to club DJs on select nights (November 15, 2017 – January 14, 2018). Hampton Court Palace and Hyde Park also set up outdoor rinks.
TOURIST TIP: Many of these sites are closed on Christmas Day so check with each before heading out in the chilly London winter. Instead, grab a hot toddy and a great meal at one of the many English manor houses offering Christmas dinner in front of the fire.