Are you thinking about visiting London during the Holidays? You are in for a treat. Yes, it’s cold in London during the month of December, but the city heats up with plenty of fun and festive activities! There are the Christmas markets in various parts of the city, there’s a Winter Wonderland Park in Hyde Park, the theatres are showing plays and performances, churches have choirs singing Christmas Hymns and hits, and big retailers such as Harrod’s are decked out for the Holidays! Even if you just choose to roam around the city, there’s plenty of decor out on the streets, on the sidewalks, and in the parks and plazas. We had the opportunity to visit London in December 2019 and experienced almost all the above.
Christmas Markets are scattered throughout London and throughout all other English cities. They are simply groups of booths setup in high foot traffic areas. The booths sell anything from clothing apparel to snacks, to treats and so much more. Roasted chestnuts for example is a popular snack, we tried that. Christmas pudding (not to get mixed up with figgy pudding) is another. We did not try that. Below are some photos of some of the Christmas market booths.
Winter Wonderland Park
This is a perfect place for families with children. Think of it like a city fair, but on steroids, much bigger and better. They setup this park in Hyde Park, and it consists of rides, roller coasters, games to win prizes, vendor booths, and lots of food and fun! It’s not just fun for children, it’s also a blast for teenagers and young adults, even those who are young at heart.
We really enjoyed the bratwurst sausages from Mr. Bratwurst, we got a kick out of their fixings such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard put into a cow udder, so you had to milk them to get your ketchup.
We played some games to win prized, but unfortunately we didn’t win anything, but still had fun.
We went on one ride, well, at least I went on one ride. It was a haunted house theme, so I was pretty excited, but in all honesty it wasn’t really scary at all. I really couldn’t figure out why so many people exited the ride completely terrified.
Overall, it’s a really fun park. See our photos and videos below:
The theatres are hustling and bustling this time of year still, and we did take advantage of that. There are many theatres around London, some of them are big and expensive, some of them are smaller and more fairly priced. We went to a smaller theatre called the Bridge Theatre. It is located on the south bank of the Thames River fairly close to Tower Bridge.
The regular seating in the Theatre wasn’t price too badly compared to other Theatres in London, but we ended up getting these really cheap side seats near the stage. The disadvantage to it was part of the stage behind the wall was not visible, but there was very little going on there anyway and we had a close up view of all the other action.
We saw The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, so yes, pretty much the story of the Chronicles of Narnia put together into one story. They went all out on spectacle, I’m not sure if that’s the norm in British Theatre, but whether it is or isn’t, it was really cool to witness that.
Overall, the experience wasn’t all that different from the theatre in the USA, we had intermission in the middle with snacks, most people dressed nice etc. etc. but it was still something to experience.
Retail shopping during the holidays in London is a cool experience, especially at Harrod’s. Even without the Holidays this store is an amazing place to visit, especially for those of you who LOVE shopping. I enjoy shopping sometimes, mostly when I know I need to buy something, but I really loved shopping around Harrod’s and just seeing everything they have. Harrod’s really deserves it’s only blog post.
Random Christmasy Things Around London
Just walking around the city without visiting any of the above places will give you quite the Holiday experience in London. You have street performers everywhere, whether it’s on street corners, in the train station, or even on the Underground subway.
As I mentioned, most parts of the cities are decorated for Christmas, so there are great opportunities to snap photos!
Two Disadvantages of Visiting London in December
Visiting London during the holidays is a great experience. There are only two minuses to visiting London this time of year.
First, it’s cold. I live in the high deserts of Utah, and yes temperature wise, we are much colder than London, but our cold is a dry cold. London is above freezing most of the time, but the humidity and wind are what make the cold borderline miserable here. Also it rains a lot, we got lucky and it didn’t start raining until we were back at London Heathrow airport returning home. Bundle up in layers when visiting England during the winter. Thermals are not a bad idea.
Second, the days are really short. You may want to prepare to get up early and be out of your hotel by 9:00am. If you take your time every morning and leave at 11 or 12, you will have less than 4 or 5 hours of daylight. It gets light around 8am in the morning and starts getting dark around 3:45pm in the afternoon.
Overall, it’s a great experience, I and I would do it again in a heartbeat. What more? Airline ticket prices are WAY cheaper in the winter than the summer.