It’s the most wonderful time of the year and one of the best places to spend the festive season with your family is in London. There are few places that look more beautiful around Christmas time, particularly as all of the normal sights are festooned with lights and department stores, like Harrods, have stunning window displays to entice you indoors.
There aren’t just things to see, there are so many different activities and winter events for you all to enjoy and it’s one time in particular that Londoners themselves really start to relax.
We’ve outlined just a few things that you and your whole family will love doing this year in London and we wish you a very merry Christmas, as you enjoy them.
Christmas markets and fairs
You can’t go wrong with a Christmas market or fair, everybody loves these, as there’s something for each member of the family to enjoy. Mulled wine for the adults and real rich hot chocolate for the kids, plus you can pick up extra gifts for people and go to visit Santa Claus in his grotto.
Two of the best in the city are the Leicester Square market and the Southbank Centre Christmas market. The first of which has a large amount of stalls for shopping and it’s also open until January 2017, which is unusual for a Christmas market. The one at Southbank has lots of food stalls, carol singers, a contemporary circus performance and family-friendly rides.
Of course, there are many more to choose from all over the city, but these should be great for getting your festive mood started.
Although it can be a difficult hobby to get right, there are few winter activities that are more fun than ice skating. The great thing about it is that you don’t have to be a professional to enjoy it, it’s all about being with your friends and family.
Broadgate Ice Rink relocated to Exchange Square in 2014 and it’s there you will not only take to the ice but you can also take advantage of lessons too. They encourage group bookings and hold special events, so keep an eye out for those.
Venture to Hampton Court Palace to take in Henry VIII’s house and also to have a go on the the 900 metre square outdoor ice rink. This is probably one of the most stunning backdrops you’ll find in Britain when you’re ice skating and it makes for great photo opportunities.
One that you really can’t miss is in Hyde Park, which is the biggest outdoor rink in the UK and surrounds the Victorian bandstand. It’s something of a beacon, as it’s lit up by more than 100,000 lights. If you have kids under 12 then they must be accompanied by an adult but they have a good selection of skates for children.
If you’re looking for somewhere nearby to stay, we recommend The Shaftesbury Collection’s Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel on Bayswater Road, which is just a couple of minutes walk from the park itself. It’s a great family hotel, as it’s only five minutes from Bayswater Tube station and has spacious rooms and plenty of amenities, like cots if you are travelling with young children.
Christmas shows for the family
As London is famous for its amazing theatre district, it should come as no surprise that there are a huge amount of Christmas shows on this year for people of all ages to enjoy.
If you have toddlers, we recommend that you try The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, which is based on Eric Carle’s picture books. You’ll find it and other original shows at the Ambassador’s Theatre in Covent Garden. This particular play has toured around New York and has a cast of 75 puppets; it’s clever and sure to entertain your little ones.
For older children, you can’t go wrong with a pantomime and there are certainly lots to choose from!
The London Palladium is host to Cinderella this year, with Paul O’Grady as the Wicked Stepmother, other actors in this include Lee Mead and Amanda Holden. The Garrick Theatre in Covent Garden is doing something slightly different with its show titled Potted Panto. The idea here brings together a host of favourite panto plots through a two-man comedy show. It’s perfect for people with older children and for those who are looking for a change from the usual pantomime.
Christmas Carols are a great way to bring people together and you can see some great professional singers performing your favourites all over London this season.
One of the best is sure to be at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which celebrates Christmas and the namesakes of the building themselves. It’s a full promenade show on throughout December, so make sure that you don’t miss it!
For more information on the Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel, contact The Shaftesbury now.