Shopping in London - Christmas Time

Old Mar 30th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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Shopping in London - Christmas Time

I am planning a trip to London (to arrive on Dec. 26th). I have heard rumors that London has amazing after Christmas shopping and sales. Any comments?
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Old Mar 30th, 2006, 06:28 PM
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I was there just after New Years in 2000 and I was told the after Christmas sales begin on January 7. This is because the 12th day of Christmas is Jan. 6, therefore the season ends then. I hope this isn't too disappointing, it's still a great time of year to visit London. But anytime is a great time for London.
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Old Mar 30th, 2006, 06:34 PM
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Thanks for the info. Not too dissappointing, because I've never been to London and am really excited. Shopping is just a perk.
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Old Mar 30th, 2006, 07:24 PM
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Perhaps you are already aware of this, but Dec. 26th is Boxing Day, and stores will be shut as tight as they are on Dec. 25th.

However, that will give you a day to get over your jet lag by enjoying those things are open in London. Not much, but you might investigate the possiblitly of a warming afternoon tea at a good hotel (Brown's? Claridges?) and turning in early.
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Old Mar 30th, 2006, 08:07 PM
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I was in London on Boxing Day 2004, en route to Italy. There was a fair selection of plays and museums to choose from. I think London has relaxed a bit in this respect lately.
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Old Mar 30th, 2006, 09:33 PM
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There's no one date when winter Sales start. PM really shouldn't believe everything PM hears: the idea that retailer's promotions are somehow coordinated with each other is plain loopy.

Not only does each retailer make his own decisions, but - depending on how pre-Christmas trading's going - many now start their Sale before December 25.

One or two minor retailers, like Horrids, start their Sale a week or so after Christmas. Some retailers don't open in central London on December 26 - though this is getting increasingly rare, and is practically unknown in the rest of Britain (including London's suburban shopping centres, which trade fully on Dec 26 except when it's a Sunday).

But most major retailers have their Sales in full swing, even in central London, by December 27 or 28. Whether you find them "amazing" is a different matter.
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Old Mar 31st, 2006, 02:06 AM
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In 2005 the till takings were so dire up to Christmas that very many shops started their Christmas sales the week before Christmas! And quite a lot of shops are now opening on Boxing Day. Sales normally start Boxing Day onwards.
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Old Mar 31st, 2006, 05:26 AM
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My experience last year during the Christmas-New Year's period was that the city became much less crowded as many office workers took the entire week off. This year, Christmas is on a Monday, Boxing Day is Tuesday...leaving three "working days" in the week leading up to a three-day New Year's weekend. I can only imagine that many Londoners will be absent from the city this year too.

That has advantages and disadvantages from a visitor's perspective.

Disadvantage: most of the relatively inexpensive sandwich take-aways and coffee shops (Pret a Manger, etc) were closed in business areas. Finding a quick bite for lunch was problematic in some areas.

Advantage: traffic was very light--we even strolled down the middle of usually bustling streets at some points.

Disadvantage: Limited public transportation on Christmas Day, reduced schedules on Boxing Day, New Year's Day.

Advantage: lines at tourist sights were relatively short.

Disadvantage: There is a huge American-style New Year's Day parade in central London. Many US high school and college marching bands attend and they have to stay somewhere...if it is YOUR hotel, good luck.

Advantage: You can easily attend the fireworks display along the Thames near the London Eye (assuming it takes place this year).

Disadvantage: Otherwise, New Year's in London is pretty dull, unless getting drunk and standing in Trafalgar Square is your idea of excitement.

Advantage: Christmas light displays in shopping areas are worth a stroll.

Disadvantage: The weather.

In short, it is just like be a child on Christmas morning: some presents are terrific just-what-you-wanted gifts; some are socks and underwear.

Dave White
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Old Mar 31st, 2006, 02:49 PM
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My daughter and I arrived in London on Dec. 26th last year. Since most of the museums were closed we decided to shop. There were plenty of stores open on Oxford and Regent Streets. The stores were very crowded, long lines to pay for things.
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