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Travel: Christmastime in London

Covent Garden Market

Covent Garden Market

Paris may have festive lights and markets, but London also offers plenty of holiday cheer for travelers during Christmastime. From Christmas trees in most of the major attractions, to outdoor skating rinks and floors dedicated to holiday decor at prominent shops, I was thrilled to celebrate this time in London. Read on to see snapshots from my visit.

South Kensington

Readers of my blog know that I make it a priority to be in London a few times per year. Why? In my opinion, there’s no other city in the world like London. It’s a city that I feel at home in, and despite so many visits, still have a never-ending desire to explore. As a result, I try to stay in different neighborhoods on each trip. This time ’round I selected South Kensington and the Doyle Collection’s Kensington Hotel as my home base. Much to my surprise (and delight!), the hotel was incredibly festive, which only further fueled my interest in experiencing how London celebrates the Christmas holiday. To see more photos and read my review of the hotel, click here.

A proper Christmas tree inside the lounge at The Kensington Hotel!

A proper Christmas tree inside the lounge at The Kensington Hotel!

Covent Garden

Of the places I visited while in London, Govent Garden was easily the most festive. In addition to the requisite oversized Christmas tree, there was a massive reindeer, a Christmas tree fashioned out of whiskey barrels, and more.

Streets leading up to Covent Garden

Streets leading up to Covent Garden

The ceiling of Covent Garden Market adorned with candy canes

The ceiling of Covent Garden Market adorned with candy canes

Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel Christmas Tree - very cool brand activation.

Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel Christmas Tree – very cool brand activation.

Oversized Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in Covent Garden

Oversized Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in Covent Garden

Inside Covent Garden Market

Inside Covent Garden Market

Official Covent Garden Christmas Tree

Official Covent Garden Christmas Tree

Retail Storefronts

Throughout London, many of the famous retail shops also rose to the occasion with seasonal displays and dedicated Christmas merchandise. Here are a few of the storefonts that I was able to snap photos of.

Rugby store adjacent to Covent Garden

Rugby store adjacent to Covent Garden

Harrods lit up at night

Harrods lit up at night

Liberty of London

Liberty of London

Liberty of London was a personal favorite during my trip because they have an entire floor dedicated to Christmas gifts and decor. Whether you’re there to buy, or simply to look, it’s a fun and festive experience.

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Not sure I can get behind the holiday faux taxidermy trend!

Looking down from the top floor of Liberty of London. So festive!

Looking down from the top floor of Liberty of London. So festive!

St. Christopher’s Place

Another delight for travelers and locals in London during the holiday season? Many  streets, both large and small, string impressive Christmas lights and decor, which makes for a more festive shopping experience. Of the street displays I saw, Regent Street may have been the most grand, but St. Christopher’s Place was the most whimsical. St. Christopher’s Place is a pedestrian only area filled with boutiques, cafes and restaurants. It’s perfect for a hand-in-hand stroll, as seen below.

Holding hands while enjoying the festive ornament like balls above St. Christopher's Place.

Holding hands while enjoying the festive ornament like balls above St. Christopher’s Place.

Somerset House

Last, but certainly not least, is a slightly off the beaten path recommendation – Somerset House. Somerset House is an arts and cultural centre located along The Strand. In addition to offering both free and paid exhibits (I went to the Valentino exhibit), the inner courtyard featured a stunning Christmas tree and outdoor ice skating rink. It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon!

Quite possibly the most impressive Christmas tree of the trip.

Quite possibly the most impressive Christmas tree of the trip.

The ice skating rink.

The ice skating rink.

Final Thought

Perhaps the greatest takeaway of my time in Paris and London was experiencing the Christmas holiday in a new way. As I grow older, the magic of Christmas has diminished a bit, so taking in the beauty of both cities during the season was exciting. I found myself getting caught up in the spirit and looking forward to returning home and celebrating with family and friends.

 


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