Christmas is coming, and London doesn’t do Christmas by halves. Whether it’s the twinkling lights of Oxford Street, the iconic window displays at Harrods, or the giant Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, there is no escaping the time of year. So how best to enjoy the festive period in the English capital?
Currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, Winter Wonderland has become a staple of the capital’s Christmas season. Set-up in the north-east of Hyde Park, it is home to London’s largest German-style Christmas market, over 100 theme-park rides, and a wealth food and drink locations. Amongst its family friendly attractions are the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, a Magical Ice Kingdom, covered in ice sculptures and snow, and The Nutcracker on Ice. And for the slightly more mature audience looking for a change from all of the mulled wine, Bar Ice provides a unique experience with cocktails in a glass made of ice, served at an ice bar.
Winter Wonderland may have the biggest outdoor ice rink, but it has several rivals for the most scenic location for a pop-up ice rink over the Christmas period. Across December, ice-rinks appear in front of several iconic sites across the city. Between the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, Hampton Court or the Tower of London, skaters are spoilt for choice when it comes to skating with a view.
When it comes to Christmas decorations, the big department stores across London go all out. Harrods’ well-known lights are complemented by equally lit Christmas trees, and window displays, while inside The Christmas shop features cards, stocking fillers and decorations galore. Selfridges goes for a slightly more modern feel with its Christmas decorations, while the most traditional, festive feeling department store is Fortnum & Mason, which is worth visiting even if you don’t plan to shop.
Hogwarts in the Snow
For any Harry Potter fans, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour is a must, especially during the Christmas season. The studio where much of the film franchise was made is given a festive makeover at this time of year, including the Great Hall adorned for the Christmas feast, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the occasion and the Hogwarts model covered in snow.
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