During this magical time of year, cities around the world offer glad tidings, cheer and many celebrations to welcome Christmas. In London, experience long ago charm and modern attractions with family and friends as the Christmas season approaches.
By: Lindy Howard
If you visit London during the festive season, you'll quite quickly realise that it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Like its other European counterparts, London brims with festive cheer and charm. We've found five things to do at Christmas time for an authentic Christmas experience:
Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Lighting
This beautiful Norwegian fir is presented every year as a gift from Norway; a token of friendship for Britain\'s assistance during World War I. The lighting of the tree marks the beginning of London\'s festive season. Decorated in the traditional Norweigan style, the hundreds of white lights have become synonymous with a London Christmas. The tree is usually 20 meters tall and 50-60 years old. The tree stays up until the 6th of January, which is known as the twelfth day of Christmas. It's a truly amazing ceremony involving Norwegian ambassadors and officials. Certainly worth seeing and promises amazing photo opportunities.
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
London's most famous park comes alive at Christmas time with the Winter Wonderland. All 20 acres are filled with Christmas cheer: wooden German Christmas markets selling handicrafts, displays, food and drink stalls selling brandy hot chocolate and mulled wine, and London\'s largest outdoor ice rink. If you buy tickets in advance, you can also visit the Winter Cirque, a one hour performance of acrobats, aerialists and contortionists. Afterwards, stop at Zippo\'s circus for a 50 minute circus show featuring Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Timoni the Elf.
Meet Father Christmas at Harrods
Not only is this department store the most luxurious but it's also the largest in the world. At Christmas, Harrods puts on an amazing feast for the senses. Featuring the new Christmas Grotto, children can even present Father Christmas with their wish list. The Harrods Christmas parade is magical: Father Christmas arrives in a horse-drawn carriage to the delight of hundreds of Children. The Harrods Christmas Shop has an extensive range of decor and gifts, and amazing souvenirs to take home.
The Night Before Christmas at the Ambassador Theatre
Truly a London experience, the Ambassador Theatre rolls out a Christmas show to remember. Watch Father Christmas explain the true meaning of the holiday to his most adored elf. Children watch as the lovable but naughty elf looks as though he's very busy wrapping presents, but is sneakily hiding something from Santa. Is he secretly keeping Christmas presents for himself? Don't miss this magical event. Bring the children to meet Father Christmas for the first time (if you haven't already at Harrods!).
Charles Dickens Museum
The museum, which opened in 1925, is the only surviving home of author Charles Dickens and open on Christmas Day. Admission to the museum includes a ticket to the Christmas exhibition. See paintings, manuscripts and original furniture on four floors and step back into the Dickensian era (Victorian times) for a celebration of food, festivities, music and performances. Truly a classic Christmas experience not to be missed.
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