November-December period is a magical time in London. By now you have probably read my blog post about my top Christmas experiences and top Christmas shops in London. Today, I present you with Part 3 in sharing my tips and suggestions for an unforgettable Christmas experience – it’s the ultimate guide for Christmas walk around central London. It may take you a day or may be longer, but I can guarantee you that it will be great fun and you will see all of the major city attractions and shops.
Shall we start?!
I suggest we begin our Christmas walk at the London Bridge, which is a great tourist destination due to the nearby Borough market and Shard (read more here). I suggest you walk around it, check out Christmas display at the Tooley Street, and then walk along the river towards Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Keep walking until you reach one of London’s most famous museums, Tate Modern, and check its cosy Christmas market and small funfair.
Once done, continue walking along the river and arrive at the Southbank (e.g. National Theatre, Royal Festival Hall, and London Eye). Every year the Southbank transforms into a long row of wooden chalets selling everything you need – from Christmas gifts and souvenirs to street food and mulled wine.
Next – cross Thames via Waterloo Bridge and pop into the Somerset House on your right. Somerset House is my little hidden gem as not every tourist is aware of its existence and, more importantly, I love its beautiful ice rink, cosy grotto and Fortnum and Mason shopping arcade. Take some time to walk around or put skates on and take a spin around the rink.
After some fun at the Somerset house, walk down on Strand and turn right into the Covent Garden market and piazza. Check out elaborate Christmas lights at the market and one of the biggest Christmas trees in town! Get some tea and macaroons at La Duree and take few pics of the famous Christmas deer and Lego Santa sleight.
After Covent Garden walk down to Trafalgar Square to see main Christmas tree, which is about 25m tall and is an annual gift to London from the people of Norway since 1947, in recognition of Britain’s support during the Second World War. There is also a nativity scene to remind the story of Christmas, while a variety of choirs from across London and beyond are part of Christmas carol services at Trafalgar Square.
From there, walk to nearby Leicester Square and check its market and funfair that includes a variety of rides, many of which are suitable for small children, making it a family-friendly destination. This year Square also features a performance venue with exciting programme of various artists and La Soirée circus.
Next, walk to Soho and arrive at the Oxford Street, main shopping destination at Central London. Oxford Street is all lit up with Christmas lights while each department store has its own Christmas decorations and displays which are designed and tastefully executed each year depending on its theme.
My favourite are John Lewis and Selfridges (more info here).
If you turn into the Regent Street, stop for a minute at the luxury department store – Liberty, which dates to 1875 and, in my opinion, has one of the best Christmas shops in town.
As you leave it, I suggest checking another shopping street, Carnaby Street, at the back of Liberty. Each year Carnaby Street features its own Christmas lights and themed decorations making shopping experience even more special.
Keep walking down the Regent Street until you reach Picadilly road and take it towards Fortnum and Mason.
This is another luxury department store with rich history and legacy, dating back to 1807. Famous for its teas and sweets, F&M window displays always feature elaborate food and beverage designs.
From there, either walk or take a bus 14 or 38 to Hyde Park Corner to check out Winter Wonderland. I have written more about Winter Wonderland here, but basically this is the biggest Christmas theme park in London. You can easily spend several hours here, checking out Christmas markets, having fun on various rides, sipping drinks at the Ice Bar or watching one of the live performances. So plan accordingly and be ready for some serious fun!
We are almost near the end of our walk! From Hyde Park, continue onto Knightsbridge and stop by Harvey Nichols to check out displays that usually feature some of the top fashion designers.
Turn on Brompton Street where the biggest and poshest luxury department store – Harrods is. Once again, the window displays are amazing (this year’s festive partnership is with Burberry) while Christmas shop is big and varied. The overall Christmas ad theme is A Very British Fairytale.
Finally, from Harrods continue on Brompton Road, turning into Cromwell Road and arriving at the Natural History Museum. Visiting Museum’s Ice Rink is a must during festive season! Set against museum’s impressive building, the rink has a big and beautiful Christmas tree, while surrounding trees are covered in hundreds of lights. For those, who like me do not skate, Café Bar offers yummy choices of food and drinks, as well as great bird’s-eye view of the rink.
Well, our Christmas walk is over. I hope you enjoyed it and will get to do it yourself. It’s such a great to explore the city and get into the festive spirit. Happy holidays!!!