We have so many friends and family living in the UK who have been visiting London and posting photos of their Christmas shenanigans on Facebook and Instagram. And guess what? You’re all making us jealous! We spent two Christmases in the capital before moving to CA and we loved taking time out to see what that the city had to offer at this time of year. With its Christmas markets, pretty lights, trees and decorations everywhere, you could see something different every day during the holiday!
For a few years before we moved to London, it became a tradition to visit the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park with our parents. Spending time with family, walking through the park, seeing all the holiday gift stalls and the food stands really made it feel like Christmas, even before the calendar had hit 1st December! And of course, standing and watching the ice-skaters had to be done, just to witness that unlucky one who managed to face-plant the ice within 2 minutes of hitting the rink.
Another place that we loved to see, and to take friends to when staying with us, was Borough Market at London Bridge. It’s mainly a food market but during the holidays the stall owners add such a fantastic festive spirit to their stands with decorations and Christmas gifts; it makes the place almost magical! One of our favourite food stands had to be Bread Ahead. Their doughnuts are worth the sugar mustache and days of guilt but it’s Christmas right? Just walk it off while you ogle at the pretty lights everywhere!
In my opinion, one of the main tourist traps of London has to be Covent Garden. With their oversized Christmas tree and endless strings of lights, it still has to be one of the most festive places to do your Christmas shopping. Of course, that’s if you can push your way through the crowds of people snapping their cameras at the aforementioned trees and baubles. It’s a city that receives over 17 million visitors a year after all, and if you’ve ever lived there, you definitely begin to think that the person with the calculator forgot a few zero’s on this number when riding the central line in mid-December! But there’s no way you will be able to escape the herds of tourists when you plan you trip to the city, so just embrace it, and maybe stop for that traditional Starbucks hot chocolate with all the trimmings when things just get too much!
A trip to London isn’t complete without stopping by Oxford Street and the infamous department stores it has to offer. Debenhams, Selfridges, and House of Fraser all have awesome displays and gift sections but my all time favourite still has to be John Lewis in 2014; the year of Monty and Mable! If you know me, you will understand and (hopefully?!) accept my love of penguins. And what better way to prove this to you than the 101 photos I took of them frolicking around the windows of the flagship store on Oxford street. I can assure you that D received all of these via text the minute I first saw them!
And sticking with the shopping-theme, who can forget Liberty on Regent Street? Even though it’s a maze to work your way up the hundreds of stairs to the Christmas store, it’s worth it for their collection of traditional baubles and Christmas ornaments as well as their unique gift section where you are sure to find the perfect present, even for that friend who has everything!
London at Christmas is a magical place, with so many different people coming together to celebrate the holiday in their own, and sometimes unique ways. And although most of my photos here are out of date, they still make me smile when I scroll through my photo stream. Hopefully we will get to visit the city again in the future, whether it’s for Christmas or at any other time of the year, but for now we are going to make the most of our first holiday this city that we call home.
I will keep you posted on what we get up to! To be continued..
Do you have a favourite place at this time of year? Are you experiencing your first Christmas in a new home?