Christmas in London

Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 02:33 AM
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Christmas in London

Christmas was approaching. My friend and I decided to have a trip in London, we will stay in London to celebrate Christmas, but as we know there are few shops open on Christmas Day, so we want to go to some markets like London Borough Market to get in the Christmas spirit, do you know some places like London Borough Market to hang out, or some advices to us? Thank you.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 04:44 AM
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Markets will be closed on Christmas day; even the Christmas fair in Hyde Park is closed on that day, as is public transport.
It's a great day to cycle and walk in London, as there is not much traffic.
Shops will be open on the 24th and 26th.
You will find some pubs and restaurants that are open, but search them out beforehand.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 06:10 AM
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You should make reservations for meals on Christmas Day ahead of time. Do not expect anything to be open aside from the aforementioned "some pubs and restaurants". The major shopping streets are likely to be a mad house leading up to Christmas.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 09:35 AM
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FWIW
After two fantastic pre-Christmas trips to Paris in the past 10 years, we were underwhelmed with pre-Christmas in London last year. Not nearly the amount of decorations, events, or displays in store windows as we encountered in Paris.

Stu Dudley

Last edited by StuDudley; Sep 3rd, 2019 at 09:43 AM.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 09:48 AM
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Not all shops are open on the 26th and most close early on the 24th.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2019, 11:01 AM
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The major tourist streets/areas are more than a madhouse; I honestly didn’t not enjoy the “holiday” aspect in London as much as I thought I would. Escaped to some of the more obscure museums.

london truly is quiet on Christmas Day—you need to google hours of everything you want to see because so much seems to shut down for a few days that I flew out on the 25th. It’d probably be an overreaction to take the train to Paris, but I seriously considered that or a country hotel. But I would at least have a city hotel with amenities such as a good restaurant, maybe a spa, located in an area you enjoy exploring on foot. I’ve spent Christmas in a few different major cities, and I really was taken aback by how much London closes down.

one of the things I do recommend is a festive afternoon tea. There are so many wonderful options.
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Old Sep 4th, 2019, 11:07 AM
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Go to the Christmas Carol sing-along at the Royal Albert Hall on the 24th. It's very festive. Book a dinner nearby afterwards.
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Old Sep 4th, 2019, 11:17 AM
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Go to a Panto (need to pre-book), Christmas concerts - the one Tulips mentions is great. Go to the Christmas light show at Kew Gardens -- though it does sell out far in advance. Book a fancy Christmas themed afternoon tea at one of the posh hotels. Visit Windsor Castle. Do the Tudor Christmas at Hampton Court. Enjoy walking around on Christmas Day with essentially no traffic.
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Old Sep 4th, 2019, 12:31 PM
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I love London for Christmas. I’ve always found the major shopping streets to be festive...Fortnum and Mason have great Christmas windows...and the lights on Regent, Bond, Jermyn and Elizabeth Streets are wonderful and always put me in a festive mood. Walk around Covent Garden, perhaps consider skating at one of the many outdoor rinks. There’s usually a large Christmas market on the South Bank between the Eye and the Tate. Christmas Day is very quiet, a great day for a walk around an almost deserted city. Outdoor Christmas trees are everywhere it seems and since it gets dark late afternoon seeing them lit up is pretty easy. Lots of Christmas concerts around...check out Cadogan Hall, Royal Albert Hall and Time Out. All major department stores have “Christmas Shops”...not sure if you celebrate the holiday, but these stores usually have an amazing selection of baubles for the tree...and huge card selections...some quite funny.

Enjoy your time in London...I go every year now in early December and it definitely puts me in the spirit.
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Old Sep 4th, 2019, 02:01 PM
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I have noticed on Instagram that many pubs are now accepting Christmas bookings. You might take a look at some of the groups that run/manage pubs in London for their Christmas booking info and locate a pub near your hotel or apartment (Fuller's, Nicholson's...I am sure there are many more). I think I saw the same type of info for one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants (and there are many in London but we really enjoyed Heddon Street Kitchen).
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Old Sep 4th, 2019, 10:44 PM
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I believe Christmas is magical in any place. But if you go to London, research online the opening hours of everything you like to see.
Accommodations will be booked fast. And if you thinking of having dinner in a nice place, you should make reservations as soon as possible. You can never be prepared enough.
Have fun and enjoy!!
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Old Sep 4th, 2019, 10:49 PM
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Christmas bookings are not necessarily for Christmas day; there's a tradition of businesses doing a pre-christmas dinner for their employees. Restaurants and pubs have special menus for this.
But yes, if you find a place that's open on Christmas day, then book in advance!

Actually I think think during Christmas it's nice to have a place with a kitchen, so you can go around the food shops and get something delicious to eat at home. And then go for a long walk.
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Old Sep 5th, 2019, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
Christmas bookings are not necessarily for Christmas day; there's a tradition of businesses doing a pre-christmas dinner for their employees. Restaurants and pubs have special menus for this.
But yes, if you find a place that's open on Christmas day, then book in advance!

Actually I think think during Christmas it's nice to have a place with a kitchen, so you can go around the food shops and get something delicious to eat at home. And then go for a long walk.
Beware of the Christmas "special menus" that many pubs and restaurants offer around Christmas time. Often these menus consist of a limited selection of dishes that can be prepared very easily (e.g. pre-made and frozen) and are offered as fixed price for 2 or 3 courses. The prices are generally inflated and they are poor value for the quality. This is convenient for office lunches (as mentioned above) where the focus isn't really on the food and businesses like the certainty of a fixed cost per person. And of course the requisite Christmas cracker to give some joy to the accounts receivable team.

Some pubs will offer the Christmas menu along with their regular menu but many replace the regular menu with the "special" one to inflate revenue per person across the board. Avoid like the plague.
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