London at Christmas is a rather magical place. The streets are strewn with the most incredible lights, there’s a buzz in the air and Christmas trees are scattered across the capital. The horrendous crowds aside it’s a wonderful place this time of year. Last weekend Hamish and I headed down to the capital for a long weekend of exploring, chilling and catchup’s. Our first stop was the Southbank.
Southbank is well known for its epic views across the Thames, pop up bars and restaurants and for being a great place to social. It is a must visit at Christmas. With twinkling Christmas trees here and there, fairy lights wrapped around the trees and pop up Christmas markets there’s a festive buzz about the place. Take a stroll down the river stopping for mulled wine or a hot toddy, gaze at the street art, peruse the giant book stall or head to one of the many bars and cafes. It’s worth watching the skaters skate the Southbank too, though it might not be for the faint hearted!
The most magical time to visit the Southbank is at sunset to stand and gaze at the sky as it turns from yellow and orange to pink and blue. You know you’re in for a treat when photographers are lining up along the railings with their cameras at the ready. Mother Nature is truly breathtaking.
Must see – a west end show
When you think of London at Christmas a panto probably springs to mind. Controversially I’m not really fan! Instead I’d much rather head to the west end and see one of the many amazing plays being shown. Hamish and I chose the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime this time. You can read all about it here. If this isn’t your cup of tea I’d highly recommend Matilda. Rock of Ages, Wicked and the Lion King are on my to see list too.
Wandering around the west end in the evening is a treat in itself, even if you don’t see a show.
Don’t miss – Carnaby Christmas Lights
Carnaby Street always has the best Christmas lights. They’re more alternative which makes them much more interesting. We wandered this gorgeous area of London after out show. If you can bear the crowds come in the day and shop as there are so many hidden gems around here. I loved the Christmas revolution lights, they were a little bit rock and roll, a little bit hippy and they made somewhat of a political statement. Oh Carnaby you never disappoint!
Other good lights to see are the Regents Street ones – they are a short walk from Carnaby so you can do both in one trip!
Must eat – a good old roast dinner
There are a million and one different types of cuisine to in the big smoke. But for me, being in London at Christmas means you have to have a good old roast dinner with all of the trimmings. There’s no better place to chow down on this traditional meal than a quaint english pub. We headed to The Andover Arms in Hammersmith, which is dubbed London’s hidden gem. I’d have to agree. The pub is quintessentially english, warm and cosy. The decor is incredible – I was eyeing up a singer sewing machine. Of course the food was out of this world! If you want to experience a traditional english roast – book yourselves in!
Shop – Westfield White City
With all of the big high street stores under one roof with a wide range of coffee shops and restaurants, what more could you need? An ice rink and kids entertainment perhaps? They have that too, alongside some gorgeous christmas lights and decorations. It’s well worth a trip to Wahaca too. Not only do they have the most delicious Mexican food but the service you get from the staff is nothing short of incredible.
Go for a walk, get lost and always remember to look up! The best areas to do this in are the posher ones. I could spend hours walking around Holland Park or Chelsea gazing at the incredible architecture.
London at Christmas is magically wonderful. It’s one of the few places you can experience the romance of the festive season. With so much to see and do, you’ll find the perfect activity for you. The V&A museum is also worth a visit if you have the time. It’s incredible all year around but they pull out the stops at Christmas! Stay tuned for more London posts over the next few weeks.
What’s your favourite thing to do in London?