Christmas time in London

Christmas Tree at Somerset House

Christmas in London starts as early as late Summer when Selfridges and Harrods open their Christmas Shops, but it is at the beginning of November when the city gets into full Christmas mood. The lights get switched on in Oxford Street and Regent Street, drawing big crowds who come to see which celebrity has been chosen to flick that switch.

Regent Street at Christmas

London's Oxford Street at Christmas

It is then the turn of the shops to unveil their elaborate Christmas Windows,competing to attract Christmas shoppers looking to spend their hard-earned cash on presents for their loved ones.

Christmas at Selfridges

All the popular places in London get the Christmas treatment with lights and decorations everywhere including at Covent Garden,Piccadilly Circus, Bond Street and Carnaby Street in London’s West End.

Christmas at Piccadilly Circus

Carnaby Street at Christmas

Bond Street at Christmas

Christmas decorations in Covent Garden

Covent Garden market at Christmas

Christmas decorations in Covent Garden

Reindeer at Christmas in Covent Garden

A giant Christmas Tree is placed in Trafalgar Square at the beginning of December: it has been a yearly tradition since 1947 for Norway to give a Christmas Tree to London to thank the British people for their help and support during World War II. From the first evening when the Tree is lit up and up to Christmas Day, a number of charitable organisations provide carol-singing services under the Tree; everyone is encourage to join in and help to raise money while getting into the Christmas spirit.

Trafalgar Square at Christmas

Ice skating rinks have also become a permanent fixture on the Christmas calendar in London. Some of the most popular ones are the one located at Somerset House, at the London Eye, outside the Natural History Museum and at Canary Wharf.

Ice skating rink at Somerset House

Ice skating at Somerset House

Ice skaters at the Natural History Museum

But the most popular one is probably the ice skating rink at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park; what started as a few market stalls and fairground rides has morphed into a full Christmas extravaganza taking over a large part of the park. There is a section dedicated to children with rides, games and the chance to meet Santa, a Ferris wheel, a circus,ice sculptures in the Magical Ice Kingdom and a very large German Christmas Market with many stalls selling traditional German food and mulled wine to warm body and soul on those cold winter evenings.

Winter Wonderland ice skating rink

Bags of Candy Floss

Ferris wheel at Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London

A colorful kiosk at Winter Wonderland

Helter Skelter at Winter Wonderland

Meet Santa at Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland food kiosks

View of Magical Kingdom attraction

Another popular Christmas Market can be found on the South Bank; with a permanent merry-go-round, rides and a number of food and handcraft stalls, it has the added bonus of offering views of the Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower on one side and the London Eye on the other.

London's South Bank at Christmas

Evening on the South Bank at Christmas

London's South Bank at Christmas

London Eye and merry-go-round

In recent years, after an extensive refurbishment, Leicester Square has been hosting a small Christmas Market right in the heart of London’s West End.

Leicester Square at Christmas

Mince Pies and chestnuts stall

Every year on the run up to Christmas there is that all important question that weather forecasters are trying to answer: will it be a White Christmas in London this year? Large amounts of money are placed on bets for or against it trying to beat the odds, but regardless who wins or loses, London under a blanket of snow is always a good sight!

A snowy day in London

10 thoughts on “Christmas time in London

  1. I´ve only been to Somerset House once during Christmas period, but I can easily imagine it could be my favorite thing each Christmas. It truly feels special and christmassy unlike some temporary ice rinks that spring up at that time of year. Can´t reccomend it enough!

  2. Our family love Christmas and Charles Dickens so of course, we’ve always dreamed about London during Christmas time. Your pictures make it even more enticing… Thank you!

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