Christmas in London: top three things to do

Oxford Street, Christmas Lights, West End, London, London, England.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in London. The lights are on, the windows are decorated, the ice rinks are open and the Christmas markets are in full swing. The world's best capital city has everything you need to get you feeling merry. If you are planning a trip to the festive capital then these are three must-dos!

1. Visit a Christmas Market
If you are not in the festive spirit yet then a walk through one of London's Christmas markets is sure to have you feeling warm and jolly in no time. Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park once again this year with big top shows, the observation wheel and a huge Christmas Market. The biggest and brightest Christmas celebration has something for all the family with a stunning ice rink, Santa's grotto and a host of stalls selling gifts and festive food and drink. The Southbank Centre Christmas Market is a German style Christmas Market situated between Southbank Centre and the London Eye. The market consists of approximately 70 wooden chalets selling unique gifts and delicious festive treats. Take a stroll through the twinkling market along the scenic river bank with a glass of mulled wine to keep your hands toasty and you are guaranteed to be filled with Christmas cheer.

2. Go skating
For a truly festive experience in London, wrap up warm and get your skates on! There are a number of outdoor ice rinks to choose from. The courtyard of Somerset House boasts a beautiful Christmas setting around the iconic 40-foot Christmas tree with Tchaikovsky chiming in the background. The glamorous ice rink also has a Christmas Arcade running alongside it to add to the festive mood and make your skating experience even more memorable. If you are only visiting London for the day and want to fit in as much as possible then why not combine a visit to The Natural History Museum with some spectacular Christmas ice-skating? The 1,000-metre-square outdoor rink also has a smaller rink for children, a rink-side fairground carousel and a balcony café bar overlooking the rink, ensuring there is something for every member of the family.

3. Soak up the sparkling lights
By now, most of the city's streets are sparkling with thousands of beautiful Christmas lights. Take a walk down Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street or through Covent Garden and feast your eyes on the glittering displays. If you missed the switching on ceremonies earlier this month then fear not, on Thursday December 5th the spectacular Trafalgar Square Christmas tree will have its lights turned on. The huge Christmas tree has been a seasonal tradition since 1947 and is given every year as a gift to the people of London from Norway as thanks for support in World War II. The ceremony will be followed by a torch light procession to 'bless the crib' on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields on December 8 and there will be carol singing beneath the tree from 9-22 December.

Alternative Christmas in London

Alternative Christmas in London

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