London is always at its prettiest during winter holidays with all the decorations up, the lights lit and the Christmas wreaths hanging on the doors. Of course, the pandemic has influenced the festive season too however there are still many locations to admire and to visit!
Let’s see my favourite ones and compare it with the 2019 edition!
P.S.: I have to disclose that I visited some places as a pr-invite, but this doesn’t make them a hair less worth visiting!)
1. Winter Wonderland
This year you have to prove your COVID status and book tickets in advance, but the rest is just the same: lots of fun and joy in Hyde park. Food stalls including the Bavarian village are as full as ever, rides are plentiful, carousels and the giant wheels are spinning, not to mention the ice rink, circus, ice bars, open air concerts and Christmas markets!
Overall experience might be even more pleasant because the crowds were significantly smaller than in pre-COVID era. We left with quite a few toys after winning the games and George seemed quite pleased with that too.
2. Bond Street
Bond street is usually my favorite to-go place to enjoy the decorations, and it didn’t disappoint this year too. Tiffany and Cartier are the usual stars, and Stella McCartney, Dior, Chanel, Smythson, Ralph Lauren didn’t disappoint either. The street itself is decorated with white feathers as usual.
Another street worth visiting is obviously Oxford street. In 2021, the visitors are admiring the hanging stars that have replaced the thank you decorations of the last year dedicated to the NHS.
3. Burlington Arcade
Burlington arcade (as well as the Royal arcade by the way) are obviously worth a visit too: now it still has the 007 themed decorations paired with some Christmas displays. And don’t forget to treat yourself with the LaDuree festive macarons!
Annabel’s facade is just the most instagrammable thing in London, everyone knows that. And this year they went for the giant gingerbread house in collaboration with Swarovski. Impressive? Doubtless!
5. Mayfair stars
Mayfair is huge, and I don’t dare to limit it to Bond street and Annabel’s. The Sexy Fish, Bocconcino, Park Chinois, Hedonism wines, The Connaught, The Claridge, The Scott’s, Isabel, Hide and so on and so on… Just go there and get lost in the festive magic!
6. Covent Garden
Covent garden feels special during every season but especially in winter. The giant disco balls and mistletoes have returned for another consequent year. The fresh look was provided by the Frozen musical decorations and the lights.
Clos Maggiore restaurant was also as pretty as usual.
7. Peggy Porschen
Oh Peggy is always pretty – which decorations do you like the most, from this year or from last year?
8. The Ivy Chelsea Garden
The Ivy Chelsea garden undoubtedly has one of the most memorable and the largest decorations, and this year their display was dedicated to the infamous Mr Grinch who tried to steal Christmas! But look, he definitely did not succeed…
By the way, other Ivys are decorated to accompany their Snow Day Menu – for instance, this is the Victoria one.
9. Chelsea stars
Chelsea is much more than the cafes I’ve mentioned above. If you need a Christmas cheer, go there for the Christmas wreath hunt, there are plenty of them on the doors!
10. Fortnum & Mason
F&M has turned into a giant advent calendar again, and they know that it’s always a win! Although it’s really busy inside, it’s still a nice place to pop into too.
18. Regent’s Street
For the last few years, no Christmas is Christmas in London without seeing the Angels of Regent’s Street – don’t worry, they are there this year too. Many shops there have closed dieting the pandemic and there was no official opening of the lights this year but Cakes and Bubbles cafe and shops such as Ted Baker, Hobbs, Kate Spade, Penhaligons, Reiss, L’Occitaine, HM home are still there.
Selfridges always creates the most festive atmosphere, and this year they not only decorated the windows and Christmas shop but also hosted a very pretty Chiristmas market with MAC, Penhaligon’s and Jo Malone stalls and food kiosks (I had my best ever marshmallow hot chocolate there!) and organized a series of festive workshops such as making the everlasting flowers such as poinsettia and gift wrapping school.
12. Knightsbridge and Harrods
Knightsbridge is all glowing with Christmas lights this season. This year Harrods moved their Christmas shop downstairs: a bit more space but still insanely busy. Windows are splendid though as always. Elan and other cafes on the Brompton road will give you a winter cheer too!
Elan (not to mention their super cute Christmas desserts) , Pantechnicon and the Motcomb street overall are my favorite places to visit in winter – have you been?
Doubtless, Piccadilly is one of the busiest during the Festive season as everyone is shopping for Christmas and New Year. As well as St James, the area is decorated with the figures of Anteros, Greek God of requited love as the god of love returned. Although it suffered through the pandemic, many restaurants and shops stay beautifully dressed. Don’t miss your chance to dine at the winter terrace Number One Park Lane (it’s located on the corner of Piccadilly and Park Lane) of the InterContinental too!
15. NHM rink
Are you as sad as me that the Natural History Museum ice rink is never going to reopen? This year marks the last year after the 16 successful festive seasons of the rink occupying the grounds of the museum, and the grounds will be transformed into an Urban Nature Project area.
16. Leicester square market
Leicester square market is a traditional version of a small Christmas market: it has some food, it has kiosks with candles, arts and crafts, winter hats and souvenirs. What else could anyone wish for?
17. Trafalgar square market
First of all, I wanted to thank the Norwegians for keeping their tradition of giving a Christmas tree to the UK. It’s been a tough year for everyone (including the trees apparently) and seeing a natural tree after a row of artificial ones is really refreshing. The market in front of the National Gallery is a perfect source of winter fuel aka mulled wine and grilled sausages for the city centre explorers.
19. The Ritz
The London hotels do look amazing over the Christmas period, and the Ritz is one of the best of them! Garlands and wreaths adorning its facade look so iconic don’t they!
Liberty is one of the main London tourist attractions and it dresses well for all the seasons. It is worth a visit during holidays too – for instance, their Chrostmas shop is really nice, this is the place where we bought the majority of our baubles this year!
Hope you enjoyed my blog!