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London Nov-Dec

Old Aug 4th, 2003, 08:16 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
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London Nov-Dec

We are considering London (cheap airline package) just before or just after Thanksgiving. I love Christmas decorations, music, etc. so I'm leaning toward after. Do they get the holiday spirit early as we do in the U.S., or should we just go in November?
ljagla is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2003, 12:11 PM
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The christmas lights/decor will be up by early December - some even in Nov.

Also the winter outdoor skating rinks are all up and running by early Dec. And some holiday concerts are scheduled as early as the first week in Dec.

There's not much difference in weather between late Nov and early Dec.
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Old Aug 4th, 2003, 05:19 PM
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We were in London last Nov.10-14.
Many shop windows were already decorated for Christmas and holiday merchandise was displayed. Public decorations were up but not yet illuminated.
I have always wanted to be in London for Christmas.
logandog is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2003, 07:36 PM
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Where are you staying, we are booked to go to London Nov. 25 thru Dec 2!
189. R/T from Chicago to Heathrow nonstop BA.
Looking into bidding on Priceline,I went to London last year 1st week in Dec.
The weather was 40s and actually sunny! Lots of Christmas decor, Leadenhall market was very festive! PJ
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Old Aug 5th, 2003, 07:51 PM
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You might be a little early for this, but I've seen good Christmas concerts at Royal Albert Hall ( and Royal Festival Hall (

Douglas is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2003, 06:01 PM
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We were in London last Christmas with our two kids 5 and 8, and we were very shocked to see that they do not "do" Christmas up they way we do in the US. After speaking with some locals we found out that many people do not even put up Christmas trees. We had a great time in London and it was a fine time to be there (just be prepared for the rain) but over all I do not think it matters if you go before or after Christams.
kgn is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2003, 02:30 AM
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In the UK and Europe, we begin celebrating Christmas later than in the US.

In the late 1980s, shops started bringing forward the start of Christmas to the extent whereby decorations were going up in October. People decided this was crass commercialisation of Christmas and now the trend is geared much more towards Christmas festivities and the whole warm upo to it beginning in December (like Advent).
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 05:03 AM
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We spent Thanksgiving week in London last year. While the shops were well stocked with holiday merchandise (check out the Christmas cards- many with proceeds going to various charities - sold in the major department stores in packs of 6 - great opportunity to buy a variety of designs) I dont recall lots of public Christmas display but it was a very nice time to visit with perfect weather for walking all over and the tourist crowds down a bit. Saturday in the big shopping districts (Oxford St, Harrods area, etc) was jam packed with shoppers - so much so that it was unpleasant. Weekday shopping in these same areas was fine.
elston is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2003, 08:15 AM
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Where did you get that airfare? I am thinking of going from NYC during the same time frame and 351 is the best fare I could find.
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 08:29 AM
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That is a pretty common type fare at time of the year. Last Dec I flew Virgin LAX to LHR for $198 R-T.

But you'll probably have to wait for sales announcements to get those sorts of fares.
janis is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2003, 10:50 AM
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Yeadonite, It was actually a 24 hour sale last April on BA. They sent me a email and I booked right away! Sign up for the diferent airlines emails. You do not have to always be looking that way! PJ
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 11:41 AM
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Where are the outdoor rinks and will they be up by the first week of Dec? I'd love to go ice skating. We'll be there Dec 4th-8th
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Old Aug 8th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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Patty: there are 3 or 4. But the best one is probably the one at Somerset House. It is a lovely bldg, houses several galleries, and is right off the Victoria Embankment and the river. There is an outdoor cafe and the skating goes at least until 10PM (maybe later)

I was there the first week of Dec last year and not only was the rink up and running - the huge Christmas tree was already decorated and lit.

It is a great sightseeing area - not far from Covent Garden, Trafalgar Sq., the South bank arts centers, etc.

janis is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2003, 01:49 PM
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Thanks janis. I looked up the Somerset House website and was able to find the dates:

"The Somerset House Ice Rink will open to the public on Thursday 27 November 2003 and will run until Sun 25 January 2004.

Full details including prices, opening times and advance booking will be announced later in the year."

I was a bit surprised by the 'advance booking' part - must be a popular venue.
Patty is offline  
Old Aug 8th, 2003, 02:33 PM
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While I was there last Dec it was very busy on weekends and some evenings. But it was also pretty quiet a couple of times I walked through on my way to the Strand. So advance booking is probably necessary for Fri night or Sat afternoon and such - but there will be times you wouldn't need to book ahead.
janis is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2003, 10:47 AM
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to yeadonite -- we purchased our r/t tickets to london on Virgin-Atlantic from New York for $198.00/pp -- add another $100.00/pp for taxes/security fees - just did this last week. Tomorrow may be cut off date - we are going Nov. 25 - Dec. 1. Staying at the Thistle Lancaster Gate for 64 pounds/night - arranged through (great site).
joann222 is offline  
Old Aug 14th, 2003, 10:58 AM
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From 23 December to 3 January in London nearly all concerts cease, museums and galleries are closed on several days, and Londoners settle down and watch teledvision. I like to escape to Paris, but others on this forum find the period excellent for walking the bare streets. (I have on disc a note on London walks, self-guided). On 25 December there are no busses, tube trains, or other trains: on 26 December the only trains are Eurostar and the service to Gatwick and Brighton. From 24 to 26 December it is hard to find food.


But from 1 to 22 December London is ablaze with music, lights, carols in churches, and all. Do come then.

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ben_haines_london is offline  
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