London in late December

Old Jul 17th, 2003, 07:09 PM
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London in late December

We've visited London several times, but never the week after Boxer Day, which we've scheduled in 2003. We can find theater and museum schedules, but is anyone familar with a source of information about concerts in St. Martin's in the Field, St. Paul's or any other such surroundings for New Year's Eve? Would also appreciate any feedback from people who have stayed at Radisson Grafton on Tottenham Court Road. Many thanks.
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 11:00 PM
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BTW, it is Boxing Day!
One thing you might like to look into is a candlelight/torchlight (as in flaming torches) tour of Hampton Court. It sounded good but I never got round to doing it last year. HC is about 35-45 mins. from London by train and is well worth the £8 or so entrance fee. It could be so beautiful and atmospheric at night. The gardens are free, I believe, and the entrance fee includes audio guides and tours by guides in full Tudor/Elizabethan garb several times a day.
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 04:53 AM
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All the cathedrals and many of the churches (incl St Martin's) have websites which list services, special music schedules, etc. However, it's probably much too early for New Year's activities to appear.

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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 05:22 AM
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If your idea of an enjoyable evening is listening to a concert in St Martin in the Fields, don't go near the place on New Year's Eve.

Trafalgar Square is the traditional place for rather unpleassant substitutes for celebrations. Recently, the tradition has been that the police try to persuade everyone not to go there, and the media have fun debating whether there'll be a really good fight between revellers and the boys in blue. If you're lucky, the rain will deter both sides.

There isn't a reliable central website for "classical" concerts (sites that look central are ads for booking agents.) Time Out is great the week before but its advance listings ahead of then are better on rock and big names than intimate classics.

Apart from the church sites, look into what's on at the Albert Hall, the South Bank complex (Royal Festival Hall, Purcell Rooms, Queen Elizabeth Hall), the Wigmore Hall, and the Barbican.

Also St John's Smith Square As it's deconsecrated, you won't have the problem that working churches need to be ready for watchnight services, so New Year's Eve isn't always a good time for concerts.
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 06:30 AM
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My husband spent a Friday & Saturday at the Radisson Grafton last summer .
(Long story: On the Friday morning he was returning home from a business trip to Sweden and at the last minute decided to add an afternoon and day in London to poke around in the British Museum. The Bloomsbury hotel where we usually stay was booked that weekend. So his next thought was to stay in one of the two Radissons that are on opposite corners of Great Russell Street.
However, when he phoned his office he inadvertently asked his executive assistant to book " one of the Radissons that's on Tottenham Court Road " & when he arrived and realized his mistake he just decided to stay.)
Other than it's not being in spitting distance of the Museum, he had no issues with the Grafton. It had been recently updated. His room was satisfactory and I believe there was a decent breakfast buffet.
The Grafton is near the Warren Street tube.

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Old Jul 19th, 2003, 11:35 AM
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Somerset House (Aldwych - between Fleet St & The Strand) has taken to putting up an ice rink each Christmas. I've not been, but it is supposed to be very well done, with flaming torches at each corner. If you've not been on the London Eye, you will definitely enjoy. I went last Christmas with my 1 yr old & it was great. A good idea is to plan to go on as dusk starts. To see the lights of the City come on whilst you're on the wheel was amazing.
I lived close by Tottenham Court Rd as a student. Although Tottenham Ct Rd itself has little charm, the Radisson is at the end of Oxford St, and is a good base to walk to places from. Also there is a multiple line tube stop just outside.
London's great anytime as you know being before, but for me it was always at its most magical at Christmas.
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Old Jul 19th, 2003, 01:50 PM
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last December I visited the Somerset House ice rink liverpool26 mentions. It is wonderful, especially at night with the beautiful Somerset house and a huge christmas tree illuminated. There are other temporary out door tinks in other parts of London too.
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