Every year London goes through its sparkling annual transformation, with the Christmas lights being switched on and the shops reveal their festive windows. As the end of November is in sight it’s time to embrace the lights, treats and fun of a London Christmas.
There is nothing like the sparkle of London’s Christmas lights to give the capital an instant festive makeover. They make us feel ridiculously cheerful and compensates for the season’s terrible weather and short days. All the main shopping streets, such as the Strand, Regent Street and Oxford Street have had their lights switched on there are still a few places that have not been. So if you have missed out on the main switch ons but still want to get a bit of sparkle moment then head down to either Battersea Square (Tuesday 1st December, 7pm) or at Borough market (Wednesday 2nd December, 5:30pm)
Ice rinks have returned, giving adults and children the chance to skate in some of London’s most beautiful outdoor surroundings. Experience London’s only skate path, a glittering trail beneath fairly-lit trees around the ice rink at Canary Wharf with its stunning architectural backdrop. Or why not try the most enchanting ice rink, at the National History Museum. Skaters can enjoy the fairy lights in frost-covered trees whilst non-skaters can also share the fun and atmosphere from the new Cafe Bar and balcony which has a bird’s eye view of the action.
Make your Christmas shopping merry and bright with a cup of something hot and mulled, whilst taking in the skills of artisan edibles and handmade crafts. A mixture of free and a small entrance fee, these festive markets are scattered across London, with some such as Etsy Made Local, Crafty Fox Christmas Market and Christmas Makers Market at East Village offering workshops and a chance to learn the art of wrapping or to personalise your gifts onsite. Others such as Christmas Market at Tate Modern and Dot to Dot have taken residence in or just outside famous landmarks of London, making them just even more special.
November saw the beginning of the festive season in London’s most iconic department stores and shops, pulling out all the stops for their Christmas window display. Famed for their wonderfully imaginative window displays and their fun attitude to shopping, Selfridges created an alternative vision of Christmas with Journey to the Stars. No one does Christmas like Harrods who kicked off their festive celebrations in July, offered a more traditional vision with Once Upon a Christmas, recreating a series of fairy tales. Take a trip to London’s department stores, even if you just go for some window shopping.