Christmas in London: 3 Markets To Visit This Holiday Season.
I’m a sucker for all things Christmas. I love the TV specials, the Christmas carols and every bit of holiday cheer that radiates out of every store and street corner bar. I’m not entirely sure where this holiday spirit comes from, but I’ve been hooked on the Yuletide as long as I can remember. Heck, I even remember getting excited about ordering a Bing Crosby Christmas cassette from our school book club when I was 9-years-old. So yeah, you won’t hear one “Bah! Humbug!” coming from me…ever!
Since Christmas is all about tradition, I figured I’d start a new holiday tradition on Beers and Beans. I’ve always wanted to travel to other countries during Christmas. However, because we love being with our families on Christmas Eve and Day, we’ll probably never travel during that time, and I’m okay with that, truly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. So starting this year, I’m going to highlight a new Christmas destination each year that I’d love to visit (if only in my dreams). This year we’ll be traveling to the Christmas markets of London. I did a bit of searching online and found that Time Out London had some of the best information about things to do in London during the Christmas time. And for the budget-conscious holiday traveler, I came across Hotel Direct (the company offers cheap hotels all around London). So without further ado, here are three London Christmas markets to check out this holiday season.
When it comes to annual Christmas traditions, Hyde Park is at the top of the list for its festive holiday spirit. The park, which is in central London, transforms into a true winter wonderland for the Christmas season. I’m talking about a Giant Ferris Wheel, two circuses (I’ve never seen a Christmas circus before. Have you?) and the Winter Wonderland’s ice rink, which is the largest outdoor rink in the UK—not to mention it’s illuminated with more than 100,000 lights.
But wait, it gets even better. Apparently there is a Magical Ice Kingdom at Hyde Park too. According to Time Out London, “Visitors can explore the ice village, ride an ice swan, or join in fairytale adventures with trolls, an ogre, knights and, of course, a castle with a scary dungeon – and very popular ice slide. The new Ice Bar will provide grown-ups with sustenance.” Holy cow, an ice slide and a ice bar, now that is truly awesome!
When: Nov. 22 to Jan. 4
Tube: Queensway/South Kensington/Hyde Park Corner/Lancaster Gate
The gardens will be getting some extra cheer this holiday season. UK artists will place a series of lightening installations, which will be billed as the Illuminated Trail. A stroll through the festive landscape will take about 75 minutes. Additionally, there will also be lots family attractions, including a Victorian carousel and other vintage rides as well as a Christmas market and Santa’s grotto.
When: Timed trails take place from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Nov 28-Dec 1; Dec 5-18, 12-15, 19-23; Dec 26-Jan 4.
Tube: Kew Gardens; Rail: Kew Bridge
Southbank Centre Christmas Market
Let’s face it, when it comes to Christmas traditions the Germans really have the holiday down. Last year, we got to see the beginning of the holiday season in Germany, and it was pretty awesome. Those few days in November reignited my desire to see other places during the holiday and were the catalyst for this new holiday tradition on Beers and Beans. The Southbank Centre Christmas on Queen’s Walk along the river is the place to go to experience a traditional German-style Christmas market. I’m talking about wooden huts, toys and gifts, lots of festive food and beverages, like Glühwein, Bratwurst and gingerbread. Plus, there’s a stall just for the kids where they can make Christmas cards.
When: Nov. 15 to Dec. 24
Do you have a favorite Christmas Market? If so, let us know about it in the comments.
*All images are from Flickr Creative Commons:
Christmas in London by Filippo Diotalevi
London at Christmas Time 17-12-10 by Karen Roe