Christmas in London
The year is drawing to an end and in the northern hemisphere, we’re heading into the depths of winter. Here in London, that means dusk falls early and the nights are long and dark. But London never runs out of ways to surprise you, and as the holidays approach, the city begins to sparkle with Christmas lights, and a cheerful, festive atmosphere drives away the winter chill. For our students living and learning English in this exciting city, there is never a shortage of special ways to celebrate the holiday. Here are some of our favorites.
Every year Hyde Park hosts this amazing six-week celebration of festive pleasures: it’s a massive combination of a fun fair, a Christmas Market, and an outdoor gallery. There will be live music and comedy, fairground rides and outdoor ice-skating, and glittering walks through the park lined with ice sculptures. You can try making an ice artwork of your own, shop for crafts and street food, or warm up with hot cider or toasted marshmallows!
Kew Gardens deserves a visit at any time of the year. London’s 178-year-old botanical gardens are home to one of the largest collections of plants in the world, with huge 19th Century greenhouses housing some amazing specimens. At Christmas time the place gets a beautiful festive makeover, with colorful lights creating a magical atmosphere. This year’s exhibit happens between November 22rd and January 2nd. Don’t miss it!
London’s most famous shopping streets also get dressed up for the holidays. Be sure to walk by Oxford Street, Regent’s Street, and Bond Street to see the Christmas lights and fanciful window displays in shops such as Selfridges, Liberty’s and Harrods.
Amazing shops and window displays
When you go to the commercial streets mentioned above, take the time to check some of the most beautiful and creative window showcases created especially for Christmas time. One of the most famous window decorations is done by Selfridges, and you can check it at Oxford Street. It’s also worth exploring the Christmas displays inside Liberty and Harrods.
Ice skating rinks
During this time of year, outdoor skating rinks appear all over London – many at some of the city’s most iconic sights. Take your friends, and if you’ve never skated before, enjoy the challenge! But you can also have fun just watching people either succeed or struggle on the ice. Special tip: The Somerset House Ice Rink and the Natural History Museum Ice Rink are among the best in the city.
Wrap up in a warm coat and take a walk along the Thames down from Tower Bridge towards the Southbank Centre. Tower Bridge is a marvel of 19th Century engineering and incredible in itself, but if that isn’t enough, you can enjoy the view from cosy Perspex “igloos” filled with sheepskin rugs and fairylights! As you continue your walk, you’ll pass charming Christmas Markets near London Bridge and the Royal Festival Hall, and at by Waterloo Bridge you’ll encounter a maze of Christmas trees!
Whether you’re living in London or just visiting, there are always plenty of things to do all-year-round. Find out more about studying one of our Kaplan schools in London!
Originally created by (including images): Daniela Lago