Experience the Magic of Christmas in London

  • Experience the Magic of Christmas in London
  • Experience the Magic of Christmas in London
  • Experience the Magic of Christmas in London
  • Experience the Magic of Christmas in London
  • Experience the Magic of Christmas in London
  • Experience the Magic of Christmas in London
Issue 41, December 2011.

Visiting London, one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world, is an amazing experience at any time of year. At Christmas time, however, the city becomes a true winter wonderland, offering more dazzling attractions and festive cheer than anyone could wish for!
Let us begin our tour at Trafalgar Square, situated in the heart of the capital. Here you can marvel at the beauty of the 25-metre high Christmas tree, adorned with bright lights and decorations, standing tall with the National Gallery behind and Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in view to the front. The tree is given to London each year from Norway – a tradition that stretches back over 60 years. Regular carol concerts takes place throughout December, and whether you like to sing or just listen, this is the place to feel the real spirit of Christmas in London.
Just a few stops away on a famous red London double- decker bus, or on the London Underground (don’t forget to ‘mind the gap’!) is the West End – a heaven for theatre lovers, shopaholics, and clubbers. Oxford Street, London’s most famous shopping street, is illuminated by spectacular overhead Christmas lights (on display until 5 January) making your shopping experience even more memorable. Don’t forget to check out Selfridge’s – a department store famous for its incredible bargains in the New Year sales. A few miles down the road in South Kensington is perhaps London’s most famous department store – Harrod’s. Beautifully lit, this huge department store is the perfect place to find Christmas gifts and souvenirs, not to mention delicious food in its ever popular Food Hall.
Traditional English Christmas food and drink are not to be missed. In the hundreds of restaurants and pubs in the city, visitors can taste the delights of roast turkey with all the trimmings, followed by Christmas pudding with
brandy butter, best enjoyed with a glass of champagne (or perhaps a pint of real English ale for beer lovers).
Hyde Park is the venue for one of London’s newest Christmas attractions – ‘Winter Wonderland’ (open until 3 January). Thousands of people have been flocking here over the past few winters to visit the German Christmas Market, ride the Big Wheel and skate on the atmospheric outdoor ice rink. Other open-air ice rinks can be found at the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, and Canary Wharf. And of course, another (bigger) wheel stands on the South Bank of the River Thames – the London Eye – Europe’s tallest observation wheel.
The view from the top is breathtaking. The sprawling metropolis stretches out as far as the eye can see.
As well as all this, London has yet more to give. Museums (free of charge to enter), theatres (many showing traditional Christmas ‘pantomime’ performances – great for kids and grown-ups alike), football (Chelsea and Arsenal being the biggest of London’s 14 professional clubs), and architecture (from the historic Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge to the contemporary Swiss Re and Canary Wharf buildings).
If you are lucky enough to be in town for the New Year celebrations, you are in for another treat. The city celebrates throughout the night, with a huge firework display over the River Thames to get the party started with a bang. With some of the biggest and best nightclubs in the world, there is no better place to dance the night away and see in the New Year. London transport is free all night on 31 December, making getting home that little bit easier. 
Christmas time in London is truly an unforgettable experience. With so much festive cheer and so many  Christmas traditions brought together in a city which has over a thousand years of history, you really will not
want to leave...
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