While snow might be rare, London is a beautiful Winter Wonderland during the holiday season and was the perfect Christmas vacation. London has four to five Christmas Markets within walking distance from each other for the holiday season, in perfect contrast to Los Angeles where you can almost smell the rubber melting on sun scorched string lights – if you can find someone who has decorated, that is. Alesha and I met up with our friends who live in England and explored all the Yuletide fun London has to offer!
It’s not just Christmas markets that make London special during the holidays. All of the main touristy streets were decked out in holiday cheer, as well! One of my favorite parts of our visit was wandering through the streets and admiring how everyone decorated for the holidays. I felt like I had been dropped into a romantic Christmas movie and half expected Colin Firth to jog around the corner and propose to me at any moment.
Oxford Street and Regent Street were strung with huge glimmering angels and glowing baubles, and everywhere from Carnaby Street to West End was ready for the season. We rode the double decker bus in the front window of the top level, and it was so cool to drive right under all of lights (and stay out of the cold for a few minutes!)
I also wanted to visit Covent Garden where I had seen photos of their massive Christmas tree – and it didn’t disappoint! We peeked through the shops selling fancy tea and chocolates and admired the sting lights illuminating the cobblestone.
We were excited to visit the biggest Christmas Market in London, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It’s so massive we could see the Ferris wheel from across Hyde Park and smell the fried carnival food from a block away! Lit up and packed with people, we were excited to get hot cider and peruse the trinkets in each little hut. Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is free and open all day!
We also visited the Wintertime at Southbank Centre and Christmas by the River Christmas markets. They were smaller than we expected, but were worth visiting nonetheless. The sellers offered artisan chocolates, hand painted dishes, Christmas trinkets, and more themed goods! In some ways, going to London with a tight budget is a benefit, because it forces you to walk from place to place. It’s easy to see the Christmas markets when you walk along the South Bank from Big Ben to the London Bridge.
Of course, Christmas in London can’t be complete without treating yourself to Afternoon Tea! We settled in at Browns Brasserie & Bar and enjoyed clotted cream for the first time!
It might be cold in December, but with less crowds and decorations everywhere in the city, it made for an amazing experience. I’ve been to London in the summer, and I recommend visiting in the winter hands down. Some of my favorite imagery of visiting London is warming up by the fire or sipping a hot cider – and you can’t do that when it’s hot out!
Thank you Alesha Braden, Matt and Lottie for your photographs!