What should you be getting up to over the festive season? Let me clue you in….
Christmas comes but once a year, full of merriment, laughter and plenty of cheer, so wrap up your loved ones and head out to the snow, the warmth of the market, that’s where we’ll go…
Ah yes, it’s November which, of course means it’s the start of the Christmas countdown, though I’m sure the mince pies have been on the store shelves since August – correct me if I’m wrong. With The Regent Street Christmas lights being switched on 9th November there’s no reason to prevent yourself from enjoying a little mulled wine from here on! Christmas in London is magical, extensive and enjoyable on any budget and with such a vast array of options we thought we’d suggest a few of our personal favourites for the festive build up!
They undoubtedly mark the start of the season, twinkling along the street illuminating the hustle and bustle of the last minute shopping and adding warmth to the mania. This year the lights in Regents Street will be launched on VIPeabody Day, Saturday Nov 9th, themed by Dreamworks’ new time travelling comedy animation. With fireworks and a mass of marvellous lights, it’s free fun for all the family.
A whole village made up of mulled wine, sizzling bratwurst with onions and novelty candy. The Christmas markets stock delicious goodies and host outdoor bars creating communal huddles for those braving the winter weather for a festive indulgence in something a little warming, and perhaps it’s the weather that makes it so right to do.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is the biggest in the UK, offering Christmas Markets, Ice skating, a giant observation wheel, for those who haven’t had too many mulled wines, and two circuses, ‘Christmas Circus’ and ‘Cirque Berserk’, from the family friendly Zippo Circus. With free entry into Winter Wonderland you can enjoy the atmosphere of an evening with rustic revelry around the bratwurst fire pits with simmering mulled wine, or pay for entry to the Magical Ice Kingdom with the kids. Ticket prices vary for various attractions.
Skate at Somerset House, aerial view (c) Marcus Ginns
So your skills aren’t quite The Nutcracker on Ice? Well, we’d thought as much, never mind. The ice rinks that pop up all over town offer handrails for the shufflers and mostly people like to glide around in predictable circles. It all looks great fun and if you have kids they’ll love it.
For the grown-ups looking for that teenage kick, Somerset House offers late night skates with DJ’s and hosts a skate lounge bar to top up that Dutch courage, whilst the Christmas arcade provides food and entertainment. Tickets start at £8.75
Bringing the kids along? The Natural History Museum is hosting a separate ice rink for children. In its glorious setting you can glide around or enjoy the fairground carousel and for those who prefer their feet firmly on solid ground there’s a balcony café for hot chocolates or perhaps some more of that mulled magic for the adults.
A Special Show
London’s theatre districts host incredible theatre all year round, but if you’re looking for something with that little extra sparkle over Christmas there’s nothing better than a good panto!
Plenty in local London theatres this November – Jack and the Beanstalk opens at Kids’ Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, launching November 23rd, with tickets starting from £12.50 it’s a shame not to go.
For adults and children alike, Aladdin launches at New Wimbledon Theatre in early December, but best to book tickets now as Jo Brand will be making her pantomime debut as Genie. Think you’d want to miss this one? Oh no you wouldn’t! Tickets start at £10
Words: Catherine Foley
Pictures: Copyright of Somerset House and associates.
Original copy published: All about Commercial