Christmastime in London

Sep 16th, 2006, 05:15 AM
  #1  
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Christmastime in London

I have always wanted to see London at Christmas - the lights, shops and a pantomime. My current available times to go are the last week of November (right after Thanksgiving) and the week between Christmas and New Year's. My concern with the first choice is that the Christmas activities and sights might not be in full swing and with the second choice is that everything else will be closed, such as museums and restaurants.

Any advice?
star55 is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 06:57 AM
  #2  
 
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Of the many times we have been to London only once was as Christmas time. Christmas Day itself most things were closed (including tube) so we just strolled around Regents Park, etc. - it was a nice low-key day. Hotels that cater to tourists will have restaurants open as well as many "ethnic" types of places to eat will be open. Churches are open. Dec. 26th is Boxing Day, many things were open but tube ran on holiday. schedule. If I remember correctly the tube ran on holiday schedule on Dec. 24 but I won't swear to that. All in all we had no problems. Museums and all the various sites were open except for Christmas Day. You can check their websites, i.e. Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, etc. for actual open/closing times/dates.

Keep in mind it gets very dark very early in Dec. It was dark about 4:30 p.m. and not light till after 8 a.m. It can cut into daytime sightseeing.
Lori is offline  
Sep 16th, 2006, 07:48 AM
  #3  
Neopolitan
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After many visits to London, last year we went on December 23 (arriving on the morning of Dec. 24) and left on Jan. 2. It was great, although being Florida people it was veryyyyyyy cold.

Christmas Day nearly everything is closed, but we had a wonderful sunny walk through St. James and Green Parks (the nicest day of the trip and the clearest, bluest sky I've ever seen in London). You need to plan for a place for a Christmas meal as offerings are slim. And mostly it needs to be a "take-it-easy day". We did also join a London Walks early Christmas afternoon from Trafalgar called "Dickens London".

I was surprised how much was also closed on Boxing Day (the 26th). But you can easily see a couple of shows or pantomimes that day as many are offered.

The rest of the time is great. Beautiful lights on Regent Street. Wonderful concerts for Christmas Eve (we did one at Royal Albert Hall) and for New Year's Eve (we did the traditional one at Barbican). We saw three pantomimes and the wonderful Edward Scissorhands ballet at Sadler Wells (I noticed this year they're redoing the Matthew Bourne Swan Lake at Christmas). We saw the Barber of Seville at Covent Garden Royal Opera House on New Year's Day, and a number of West End shows the rest of the week.

Of your two options -- I'd go for the second. Incidentally we got air tickets almost last minute (we decided to do this within a month of going) at a super price. Flying on the 23 to 25 and returning on Jan. 1 are often big savers.
 
Sep 16th, 2006, 08:40 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Lights will be switched on at regent Street on Nov 7th this year. Oxford Street and Knightbridge will soon follow. Santa is always at his grotto before American Thanksgiving. In fact, the Christmas store is already open!!
I think I'd visit the first week. There will be fewer tourists and kids will still be in school. If you come the week between Christmas and New Years you'll have the hastle of holidays and kids on vacation in the musuems.
highledge is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 03:35 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Neopolitan: We are from Phoenix and will be in London this year almost the exact same dates that you were there. Any tips on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day itinerary or dining?

I would love to hear what you think!
kathrynp is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 03:44 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
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Couild we have just the one "I'm in london on Christmas Day" posting

http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...nses=5&start=0
alanRow is offline  
Oct 8th, 2006, 04:05 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I apologize- I'm new to this. I'll wait to hear what gets posted.
kathrynp is offline  
Oct 9th, 2006, 12:35 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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There are several temporary outdoor ice rinks in London in winter. Always fun and they sometimes have special events too.
nona1 is offline  
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