I know it’s only October but the holidays, and Winter, are on the horizon. This means that travelers dreaming of the twinkling lights and old charm of London and Europe are going to go in search of this magic. But what do you do when you’ve arrived in London to find that your ideal holiday abroad is overrun with tourists? I’m sharing five amazing things to do in London that are oh so charming and guaranteed to leave you feeling like your Christmas or Winter in London is everything and more!
One of the things travelers come to London to see in the Winter are the famous lights over Oxford street. Walk down the street lined with some of the most quintessential London shops (i.e Selfridges and Topshop) to find a gorgeous display of lights all around you. Be forewarned that there will be many, many tourists in the area doing holiday shopping so casual strolling may not be ideal here but you can definitely give it your best shot.
Pro tip – This isn’t the only street in London lined with lights. You can go down many a side streets in this area to find more dazzling light displays down Carnaby street, Chinatown and other parts of Soho.
Mulled Wine on The Southbank
One of my most favorite activities to do in London during the holiday season is to get a glass of mulled wine and to go on a stroll. It’s romantic (if you’re looking to walk down Southbank with a special someone) and just plain lovely. Why? When the sun has set, you’re walking down a long uninterrupted stretch of land that overlooks the water and is lined with lights and little museums to pop into incase you need respite from the chilly air. There are also loads of little restaurants and stalls that offer heated lamps to sit under and just relax. And the mulled wine – it just warms you up and makes your insides feel like Christmas, ha!
Pro tip – If you keep walking, you’ll run into the Christmas market there or down to Borough market near London Bridge. Lots to buy and taste!
A bit pricey but a great buy, ice skating outside Somerset House or the Natural History museum is a great idea to try. Pay for an hour long skating session and listen to pop music and holiday tunes as you glide across the rink. There will be people of all skill levels out there so be prepared for a skater or two to blow past you or a few more falling in front of you. Wear your warmest gear though because it can get pretty chilly.
Pro tip – Some rinks offer added buys on your ticket like a glass of mulled wine or something fun to enjoy after/before your skating session. I’d personally skip it unless your dying to try their cuisine. You can find something cheaper not too far away from the rink.
Christmas Fair in Hyde Park
Admittedly, I have yet to do this because my time in London has yet to overlap with this particular event but I’ve heard first hand that this can be a lot of fun. Pricey? Most likely but you can only spend on the things you want to do. The Christmas fair in Hyde Park is just what it sounds like, a fair with games, rides and prizes. Bask in the holiday cheer and go on a ride or two in one of London’s most well known parks.
Head To The Market
Now this one is out of the box but I honestly think it’s one of the most cost effective ideas out there. London has some great treats and tastes to try during the holiday season so why not head to the market to create your own goodie bag? Go to Waitrose, Sainsbury or another chain and pick up some Christmas crackers, mince pies, holiday chocolates and more. Not only do they make great treats for you, they will also be magical stocking stuffers or gifts for friends and family back home!
So there you have it! Those are my holiday winter travel ideas for anyone heading to London these next couple of months into the new year. London is magical on it’s own but if you check out any items on my list, I’m sure your experience will be even better! Let me know if you’ve done any of these or if you plan to!