London is certainly the place to be at Christmas time. While you can make the most of many world famous cities during the summer months, the capital city of England really comes into its own during the winter. The bustling streets are illuminated with festive lights and filled with Christmas shoppers and party goers, altogether the atmosphere is magical.
London is a superb destination for Christmas shopping. You can find gifts for all the family in Westfields Stratford, which is Europe's largest city shopping centre. Oxford Street is also ideal with everything a shopper needs during the festive period, from great presents to clothing for parties and dinners. For something extra special and up market, Covent Garden is well worth a visit, as is Selfridges and Harrods, the UK's most exciting department store. Hamleys on Regent Street is packed with superb gift ideas for children and you are bound to find something for all ages somewhere on the seven floors of this massive toy store!
For a truly stunning winter wonderland experience, why not get your skates on in one of London’s many ice rinks. The Natural History Museum ice rink is a must-see and with the museum in the background along with the fairy lights on the surrounding trees, it adds up to an altogether magical and festive atmosphere. The outdoor Eyeskate rink in the Jubilee Gardens, offers a fantastic view of the London Eye, which looks spectacular especially when lit up at night. Other ice rinks in London over Christmas include the Canary Wharf ice rink, the open-air Hampton Court Palace ice rink (watch out for Beefeaters gliding across the ice!), the Westfield London ice rink, the Tower of London ice rink, the Somerset House ice rink and the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, the latter of which is free.
This wonderful city is also ideal for parties and celebrations over the Christmas holidays as it is home to a plethora of places to eat, drink and be merry. During the run up there are plenty of places to go for a meal and even on the big day, there are restaurants that will be open. Some even offer a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, which is a great for those who won’t get to do it at home. If you fancy something different to the usual turkey treat, there are some other great dishes you can try in the Arabic restaurants on Edgeware Road and the South Asian eateries on Brick Lane which are all bound to be open even on Christmas day.
Anyone holidaying in London for Christmas should stay right up to New Years Eve when the city centre is packed with revellers. Trafalgar Square is the place to be for the New Year celebrations and you can welcome in the New Year with a bang with the fireworks that light up the night sky over the River Thames, a sight which is not to be missed, as is the New Years day parade which takes place the next day. Over 10,000 musicians, dancers, cheerleaders, acrobats and other performers will assemble for this joyous celebration and colourful event.