For most of us in Pakistan, the ideal vacation is a white sandy beach with cool blue water and light breeze (Thailand or Maldives). A few of us dream of scenic, beautiful snow capped mountains too (Switzerland). But very few think of heading to UK, Europe or the west in winter perhaps because they believe it is too cold! In reality, these places are perfect for a winter vacation because they have so much to offer in the festive season. London in particular lights up like no other time of the year. Every sight of the city is a treat for the eyes!
And while everyone has heard of the touristy places and things to do in London, like the Big Ben, the Tower of London or Madame Tussauds, there are some experiences that are Christmas exclusive and one can’t miss them.
Here’s what to do if you’re in London in December…
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
One of the best things about Christmas in London is Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. Winter Wonderland is an annual festival that opens every year in late November till the first weekend of January except Christmas Day, when Santa needs rest. The entry is free and it’s open all day from 10 am to 10 pm for everyone to come and enjoy the thrilling fairground rides, ice skating, hot chocolate and Christmas souvenirs on display at the beautifully lit Christmas markets and various family shows. The festival has rides for all age groups and even for adults. This year’s new attractions include Peter Pan on Ice, the Teletubbies Christmas Show, Ice Sculpting Workshops, The Enchanted Forest in The Magical Ice Kingdom and a new Comedy Club. The festival features a circus, an ice rink and much more!
The beautifully lit Oxford Street
Oxford Street needs absolutely no introduction. One of the most prominent locations in central London, that is home to the widest variety of international brands and is a shopper’s paradise, the Oxford Street becomes even more special during the Christmas season. It literally lights up and is transformed by sparkly, glowing lights. In fact, you know Christmas is coming when these lights are turned on. This year, the shopping hub will be home to 1,778 decorations (and 750,000 LED light bulbs) inspired by falling snowflakes, plus the addition of new purple baubles. It’s the fifty-ninth year the road has been decorated for the holiday season and you don’t want to miss them.
Christmassy Covent Garden
They say it is never too early to begin the Christmas celebrations. This becomes even truer when we are speaking about Covent Garden – a place in West End renowned for its luxury fashion and beauty stores as well as award-winning restaurants and theatres. The festive season officially started in Covent Garden on Tuesday 13th November this year. Covent Garden, along with many other things, features London’s biggest handpicked Christmas tree – standing at 55ft tall and weighing a whopping 1.5 tonnes – glittering with 30,000 lights. Covent Garden’s cobbled piazza and market buildings are even more irresistible at this time of year. The much-loved mistletoe chandeliers return in 2018, hanging over the area’s streets and you can also expect another huge hand-picked Christmas tree glowing with festive lights and rather magnificent silver reindeer standing on the east side of the piazza.
West End’s Christmas Special
Every year, London has a Christmas special musical, which is staged at the West End everyday throughout December. This year’s Christmas special is Snow White – the classic tale that reminds us all of our childhood. If you’re going to be in the British capital in December or early January, you might want to check out Snow White at The Palladium. Tickets run out in no time so it is best to book them as early as possible.
Christmas at Kew
At a half an hour train ride from Central London, the Kew Gardens is a botanical garden in southwest London that houses the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world. And while these gardens are stunning and a treat for the eyes at all times of the year, they are even more special during the Christmas season. The Gardens light up for an unforgettable after-dark festive trail of lights from end of November to early January. Now in its sixth year, the 2018 winter trail will be bigger than ever before, with over a million twinkling pea-lights and thousands of laser beams. Walk under welcoming arches into a world festooned with seasonal cheer and wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in Christmas color at the Kew Gardens.
With all these wonderful activities on the offer, who would want to miss the Christmas experience in London? The city is absolutely at its best in December so get on Google flights to book your trip to the British capital for all things festive and Christmassy. Happy winter!