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London for Christmas

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Our multi-continent family is meeting in London for Christmas. We're a group of six, five adults and an eight-year-old girl. One of the adults has never been in London before, while the rest of us (except the child) have been multiple times. We're renting an apartment near Victoria Station. We'll be in London for a week.

I've already reserved some things, but I want to keep our schedule flexible. We have tickets for the Lessons and Carols at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Eve, for a pantomime (Cinderella), and for a concert at St. Martin in the Fields on Boxing Day. All of these are late afternoon or evening events, so the days are mostly free.

One day we'll surely go to visit the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Another day, we should visit the Tower of London; my granddaughter learned of it when studying Elizabeth I in school and wants to see it.

We'll see Trafalgar Square when we go to the concert at St. Martin in the Fields. I hope to get to Covent Garden as well, and maybe to something on the other bank of the Thames; I've heard that Borough Market is very nice.

My granddaughter is also a Harry Potter fan; I found a self-guided Harry Potter tour on the internet that looks interesting, but I think we'll try to do parts of it on different days. My granddaughter has read the first four books, but hasn't seen any of the films, so things related only to the films wouldn't interest her.

We were thinking of going one day to the Duxford site of the Imperial War Museum, which would be very interesting to the pilot in our group. (The rest of us may stay in Cambridge most of the day.) We won't have a car, so we would need to get there by train to Cambridge, followed by bus (which runs only on Sundays) or taxi.

We will probably also visit a museum while we're there. I was thinking of the Courtald Gallery. I usually return to the British Museum every time I'm in London, but was thinking that this habit is impeding my visits to the many other museums in London. I'd also love to see the British Library (which I visited once before, years ago) and the Samuel Johnson Museum, but those may be places that would interest only me.

I would welcome suggestions for other things that might be fun for a child.

Also, my husband and I will arrive a day and a half in advance of the others. I was thinking of doing some shopping, and would like to know a place to get good woolen sweaters. I don't think I want to try shopping on Boxing Day. Is it really the madness that I've heard? I don't care much for crowds.

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