A Magical Christmas in London
By Renu Ravalia
Put your hands up if you DON’T love Christmas. That’s undoubtedly a great way to get your attention, right? It’s been two years since I moved to the East Midlands and I have experienced two lovely Christmases here. However, being born, brought up and having worked in London for fifteen years, nothing quite compares to Christmas in the capital. Perhaps it’s the lingering scent of chestnuts roasting at Oxford Circus or the way Hyde Park is miraculously transformed into a Winter Wonderland; either way, my sordid love affair with London during the festive period seems to be something I can’t shake. BUT 'what makes it so special?' I hear you say. Now, although I would love to list all the 1001 reasons why London is even more magical during this time of year, I am very aware that time (and word count) is precious, so instead I share three of the best things to do in London at Christmas.
Ice Skating at Somerset House
During winter, some of the most iconic landmarks around the city convert their already impressive courtyards into gleaming outdoor ice rinks. Both the Tower of London and Natural History Museum are included in this list, but it’s the opportunity to skate in the picturesque surroundings of Somerset House that wins the vote!
The daytime sessions start as early as 08:45 and cater perfectly for small people, but it's ‘Skate lates’ featuring select DJs that really set the weekend scene. Skate at Somerset house is open from 14th November through to 13th January. Bookings should be made in advance to avoid FOMO.
Harrods Christmas Windows & Christmas Shop
Every year, the world’s most famous department store Harrods spends months designing their Christmas windows. Last year the stunning display was developed in partnership with Italian fashion house Dolce and Gabbana and, in 2016, it was Burberry who took the centre stage at Christmas. The unveiling that takes place in November is always a much-anticipated event that continues to draw crowds throughout its existence. However, if the elaborate windows don’t evoke the festive spirit in you, step inside and explore the Christmas shop. With a stunning mix of ornaments, calendars and everything you could possibly think of that embodies Christmas, the dedicated shop will teleport you back to the joys of your childhood. The official Harrods window unveiling takes place in early November and the Christmas Shop remains open throughout the Christmas period.
Christmas at Borough Market
For one month only, the food lover’s dream, also known as Borough Market, adorns its historic arches and extends its limited opening hours to tempt the taste buds with the scent of mulled wine and offerings of seasonal produce. If that’s not reason enough to plan a visit to London Bridge, the lead up to Christmas also consists of a selection of demonstrations from a line-up of guest chefs, which this year includes Kate Young, writer of the 'Little Library Cook Book', cooking Christmas recipes, private chef and author Tim Maddams cooking an ethical Christmas feast and The Dean of Southwark Cathedral putting together a festive centrepiece.
The increased Christmas opening times begin on 6th December. Check out their website for more information.