Where to make the most of Christmas in London
Even in this gloomiest of winters, London is always positively sparkling thanks to its festive facelift in the build-up to Christmas, when the city gets decked out.
Santa’s Grotto Workshop at Hamleys, Regent Street
Until 24 December
Although it may seem like every day is like Christmas at world-famous toy shop Hamleys, it hat doesn’t stop them pulling out all the stops for the festive season. In The Hamleys Party Room, AKA Hamleys North Pole), the wonderful workshop offers children the chance to take part in seasonal activities, meet Santa and his elves, and take home a gift. Each session is 15 minutes long and is limited to one family bubble per session. Tickets are £45 for a bubble of three people, plus £15 for additional guests.
188-196 Regent Street W1B 5BT
When nightfalls, Oxford Street is twinkly as it can be, all along to Regent Street, which has had Christmas lights since 1954 - the first central London location to do so. Oxford Street has been lit up with 27 LED ‘light curtains’, draped down the length of the street and made up of a total of 222,000 lights. The installations will work in unison to showcase a poem dedicated to the city of London.
Marylebone High Street
We may be biased but this is one of our favourites. One of London's most atmospheric high streets is illuminated, set amongst some of Marylebone Village’s swankiest stores including Paul Smith, LK Bennett and MATCHESFASHION. After bagging some bargains, savvy shoppers can also enjoy refreshments at some of the area’s best-loved bars and restaurants, us included! Festivities will continue throughout the Christmas period with a series of special seasonal promotions, IGTV Episodes and more.
This year Carnaby has collaborated with Choose Love, a charity from Help Refugees, which is the world’s only shop selling real gifts for refugees. As well as a Choose Love pop-up shop, which will be at 24 Carnaby Street for the duration of the festive period, the street will also be bathed in pink neon light from a series of lightboxes running the length of the thoroughfare. Each box will have a positive word inside, to pay tribute to the strength, courage and kindness of Londoners during this difficult year.
Covent Garden’s cobbled piazza and market buildings is looking simply irresistible this winter, with its huge 60ft hand-picked Christmas tree glowing with 30,000 festive lights and 115,000 lights sparkling across the Piazza and its adjoining streets. Walking around the market, the stores from the market places to higher end Chanel boutiques, you can spend hours amongst the shining lights, wrapped up warm, mulled wine and hot chocolates in hand.
Selfridges have launched their first ever Christmas market this year, which is taking place just on the shop’s doorstep. The focus will be on food, with some of London’s most exciting chefs joining the top-notch line-up of street vendors. Family-friendly fairground rides will also be on offer, perfect for keeping smaller shoppers entertained.
Edward Mews, W1U 1QZ
Christmas by the River
If you like the sound of wooden cabins tucked in the shadow of Tower Bridge, head to Christmas by the River. Boasting one of the most scenic locations on this list, here you can pick up everything you need for your Christmas list, all while enjoying a tasty snack and an equally delicious view of the River Thames.
Tower Bridge, SE1 4TW