Paris may be known as “The City of Lights,” but around Christmastime, I’d say that London gives Paris a run for its money.
Halloween may pass through the city and get only a polite nod of acknowledgement, and Thanksgiving may not even be a thing. But when Christmas comes around, Charles Dickens himself would be so proud to see how London celebrates. A walk through Covent Garden or Hyde Park would have even the bitterest of Scrooge’s humming carols before too long. You don’t have to look too hard to find some holiday fun in London.
As soon as October 31st passes by, the Natural History Museum sets up an ice rink right outside the front entrance. It’s a simple little rink around a gorgeously lit Christmas tree. Nothing special, but it seemed so festive, I couldn’t resist a few circuits. I had the best time, even though I was about as graceful as Bambi on the ice. And that’s just one of many places to skate in London for the holidays.
The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has been a tradition since 1947. Every year, the city of Oslo, Norway gives London an enormous tree in gratitude for British support during WW2. It is displayed in the square as a symbol of Anglo-Norwegian friendship, and carolers every day perform in front of the tree to accept donations for charity.
My other favorite Christmas destination (and favorite destination in general) is along Southbank. I don’t know what it is, but whenever I walk across Millennium Bridge, looking out over the Thames and seeing Big Ben and the London Eye, it just hits me that I’m really in London, England. And now with Christmas less than three weeks away, the Southbank Christmas market is up and in full swing every day until Christmas Eve. All along the riverside there are stalls set up selling artisan crafts, winter hats and gloves and souvenirs, pub food, roasted nuts, and assortments of sweets so vast and delicious you could get a cavity just looking at them. Even if I’m not buying anything, just walking through the market puts me in a festive mood.
But the star of the holiday season, the jewel in London’s Christmas celebration crown is definitely Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. When my friends told me about Winter Wonderland, I had pictured a sort of festive decoration of the park to make it look snowy and pretty with maybe a few stalls and photo shoots. Not so. It’s actually a massive carnival of theme park proportions. There are hundreds of stalls, carnival games, fun houses, a circus, an ice rink, and rides. And I’m not talking about little carousels (though they have a few of those, too), but full on roller coasters. If you can picture Worlds of Fun with a wintry Christmas theme, you have a good idea of what Winter Wonderland is like.
Without a doubt, during the Christmas season, London knows how to show you a holly jolly good time.
More Blogs From This Author
<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Chase Wheaton-Werle. I'm a musical theatre major from the University of Tulsa. Outside of my major, I enjoy creative writing and poetry. In the fall of 2013 I'm attending Mountview Academy for the Theatre Arts. This will be my first experience out of the country, and as someone with a passion for theatre and British culture, I couldn't ask for a better destination. I hope this blog can provide not only some insight to the intensive curriculum of an actor in the theatre center of the world, but also some good chuckles.</span></p>