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22 reasons why Londoners love Christmas

We asked a band of bloggers and London experts to share their favourite things to do during the festive season

Southbank Christmas Market

Wrapping up warm for the Southbank Centre Winter festival

‘Once it’s dark outside I enjoy getting all bundled up to head out to the Southbank Centre Winter Festival. It’s got gorgeous river views, loads of fairy lights, mulled wine and even chestnuts roasting on an open fire. If you’re looking for something to get you in the Christmas spirit, this is guaranteed to have you humming carols by the time you leave!’ 

Corey Melke Hinz,
Columbia Road Flower Market
Michelle Grant

Strolling along Columbia Road Market

‘I like a lazy Sunday stroll along Columbia Road Market, taking in all the sights, sounds and smells of festive preparations, picking out the perfect Christmas tree and wreath and then on the way home stopping by The Royal Oak for a mulled wine.’

Claire Holden, @ladies_leisure

Christmas at Kew Gardens
Katy Dillon

Swinging by Kew Gardens

‘I love to take time out and visit London’s beautiful parks as they’re illuminated for the festive season. Kew Gardens is just stunning at this time of year with their tunnel of lights and dancing fountain. They even have a Victorian funfair with vintage rides for the big kids and a Santa's grotto for the little ones.’ 

Rosie Munshi,
Pret A Manger sandwich

Tucking into a Christmas sarnie

‘I love trying out all the festive specials at food places across London. Obviously Pret has the best sandwich but there are so many proper restaurants that do Christmassy specials too.’

Babs Ofori-Acquah,
Shopping on Oxford Street

Shopping on Oxford Street

Christmas shopping on Oxford Street has got to be up there. It’s cold, stupidly busy and much more effort than online shopping. On the other hand, it’s not really Christmas until those lights turn on.’

Valentin Boulan,
Kevin Day

Watching a Christmas concert at the Royal Albert Hall

‘Hands down, it’s all about the Royal Choral Society's Christmas Classics concert at the Royal Albert Hall. I haven’t missed a year in the last decade. Sing along to your favourite carols, listen to the choir and orchestra perform the greatest Christmas music, as well as the yearly appearance of a celebrity narrator. It never fails to put me in a Christmassy mood!’

Lizzy Pollott, @lizzyp

God's Own Junkyard

Sipping mulled wine at God’s Own Junkyard

‘I enjoy the neon lights and a glass of mulled wine at God’s Own Junkyard. The sparking signs and cosy atmosphere do of course give a festive feeling all year round, but there’s nothing quite like a glass of the good stuff cuddled into the sheepskin rugs.’ 

Emma Jane Palin,
Pergola on the Roof

Hanging out at cosy winter pop-ups

‘I love visiting all the alpine-inspired pop-ups that appear in London over the winter. For group gatherings, you can reserve tables at pretty Pergola on the Roof and the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge is also great as you can start with food from the street-food stalls and then move inside to drink and dance to the old school party tunes! For something a bit more refined, I recommend a hot chocolate and gingerbread man at Dalloway Terrace and dinner at Selfridges’ Forest Restaurant and Bar (the truffle chips are incredible).’

Steph Marston,
Oxford Street Christmas Lights

Whizzing around London by bike

‘I’ll spend an evening discovering all of the city’s beautiful Christmas lights by bicycle, starting in my local Hackney with the simple decorated tree on Broadway Market. This is followed by Columbia Road and the quaint little shopfronts sparkling in the night. I then head up through Islington and Camden Passage’s vintage-inspired display, then Oxford Street and Regent Street for the pieces de resistance. I’ll finish up at a cozy pub in Marylebone to defrost with a mulled wine.’

Naomi Mahendran, @naomi.mahendran
Borough Market

Checking out Christmas food markets

‘I love to mosey around the array of Christmas food markets. Unlike any other time of year, it feels completely acceptable to begin sampling mince pies, mulled wine and bratwurst by the bucket load before noon.’

Danielle Wood,
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