Christmas in London, Christmas Vacation In London, Best Christmas Vacations
Christmas in London is a special time of winter cheer.
See the giant Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, enjoy a pantomime or Christmas concert, and marvel at London’s famous Christmas lights.
Celebrate Christmas in London
London acquires a special sparkle around Christmas time. The weather is frosty, the Christmas lights are twinkling, and shoppers line the streets.
The centrepiece of London’s Christmas spectacle is the giant pine tree – a gift to London from the people of Norway – which is beautifully adorned and set up in Trafalgar Square each year.
On Christmas Day, London’s hundreds of Christian churches, chapels and cathedrals hold Christmas services, which everyone is welcome to attend.
Holidays and Closures over Christmas
Christmas Day (25 December) and Boxing Day (26 December) are the one time of the year when London feels quiet.
There is no public transport on Christmas Day. There’s a reduced service on Boxing Day and Christmas bank holidays, which fall on 26 and 27 December in 2012.
Most London attractions and shops and many restaurants are closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Hyde Park goes all Christmassy with the sparkly additions of rides and attractions including a Giant Observation Wheel and two circuses – ‘Christmas Circus’ and ‘Cirque Berserk’ – from the family-friendly Zippos Circus.
Winter Wonderland’s ice rink, the biggest outdoor rink in the UK, surrounds the Victorian bandstand and is illuminated with more than 100,000 lights. While most activities are ticketed, it’s worth noting that entry to the site, including Santa Land and the Christmas Market is free and an after-dark stroll is surprisingly atmospheric.
If temperatures plummet and you need to defrost, there’s rustic revelry on offer around open fires, with hot cider, mulled wine and food for sale. If you’re skating, be aware that while there’s no minimum age for skaters, under-12s must be accompanied and the smallest skates for hire are children’s size 9 (adult skates go up to size 13).
You can use your own skates as long as they’re not speed skates. Wheelchair users are welcome on the ice. There are also ice guides who can look after groups of up to 15 skaters at a time (for an additional charge).
New this year is The Magical Ice Kingdom experience, which is sculpted from 200 tonnes of ice and snow and gives the visitors the chance to explore frozen pathways and an ice forest to discover sculptures and characters in themed rooms – you can take a seat in a unicorn-pulled carriage, dare to approach the ice dragon’s lair or meet the ice queen in her throne room.