Christmas in London: Secret things to do

London is getting ready for Christmas and new year

If you're going to be in London around London, you're in for a treat. The capital really goes to town for the festive season, and there's so much to see and do for visitors. Of course, there are all the iconic sights to see, including the famous giant Christmas tree in Trafalgar square, the Christmas markets that spring up across the city, and the incredible light displays an illuminations that just get bigger and more sparkly every year.

But there's so much more to it than that - and it's worth making time to see some of the hidden corners of the city, or try something a little bit alternative. We asked the concierges at the five-star Milestone Hotel, in the heart of Kensington, to spill the beans on what the best things to do around the capital are this Christmas. Take a look at our slideshow below.

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Alternative Christmas in London
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Christmas in London: Secret things to do
Follow the illuminated trail through the spectacular Kew Gardens this Christmas, mulled wine in hand. From Wednesday 23 November, Kew Gardens will be open past dark, with a spectacular light installation bringing the gardens to life - a truly alternative Christmas lights show. Look out for the Tunnel of Lights and the scented Fire Garden. There are also plenty of festive treats to keep you going – from vintage rides to Christmas gifts, food and drinks. Book in advance and tickets are £16 for adults and £10 for children.
Undoubtedly one of the most romantic things to do this Christmas is to go ice skating at Somerset House. Decorated with a huge sparkling Christmas tree, Somerset House's glistening ice rink is back once again by popular demand. Get into the festive spirit and enjoy food, drinks, late-night shopping and music at the exclusive Club Nights. The ice rink is open from 17 November to 15 January 2017 and tickets start from £8.90.
For a truly special Christmas presents this year, take a visit to the iconic Burlington Arcade in Mayfair. As the longest covered shopping street in Britain, it’s the perfect escape from the wintry weather, with shops laden with unique gifts, from the finest cashmere to vintage watches.
For a Victorian Christmas that you’ll never forget, take a trip to the Charles Dickens Museum. Home to Charles Dickens in the 1800s, Number 48 Doughty Street is steeped in family history and some of Dickens’ most famous novels were written here including Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby. The museum will be offering a host of Christmas treats this festive season including Christmas by Candlelight, A Christmas Carol, Christmas Costumed Tours and Dickens After Dark: Christmas Late.

If you’re in need of some laughs this Christmas, then don’t miss the 36th Great Christmas Pudding Race. Once a year, the funny folk of London don their festive fancy dress and take to the streets, in aid of Cancer Research UK. This bizarre event will be taking place on 3 December 2016 at 11am, in Covent Garden.

One way to escape the Christmas crowds is to hop on board one of Bateaux London’s stunning boats for a cruise down the Thames. Watch the city’s Christmas lights go by from the peace of the water while enjoying a delicious dinner of modern British cuisine, and listening to the popular resident band perform.

Tucked down a side street just a stone’s throw from Bond Street, the best way to find this coveted shopping hotspot is to look for the purple clock. A secret escape from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, St. Christopher’s Place is a truly charming courtyard, decked with twinkling lights and full of shops such as Mulberry, Whistles and Kurt Geiger. Framed by restaurants and bars, there are plenty of places to rest weary legs and get some well-needed refreshment.

Take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride around London at nightfall to soak up the sights, smells and sounds of the capital city at Christmas in real style. The concierge at The Milestone Hotel can arrange this magical experience for guests.

The magical tale of The Nutcracker has returned to London just in time for Christmas. It tells the tale of a young girl and her Christmas present, a Nutcracker, which magically comes to life as the clock strikes midnight. It will be performed by the English National Ballet at the London Coliseum and is classic festive fun for all the family, with beautiful costumes and a set to match. The shows runs from 23 November to 7 January 2017.

If you fancy something a little different to the traditional Christmas market this season why not head to Tobacco Dock and see how they do it in Japan. This year's event will also play host to the Sake Cocktail Awards and the Kids Sushi Master Competition. HYPER JAPAN will run from 25 to 27 November.
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