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Christmas in London

Londoners definitely know how to celebrate Christmas. The official fun starts on Thursday 1 December with the lighting of the famous Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. But long before that day, the streets of the capital are filled with sparkling lights and decorated shop windows, while those at the Christmas markets stay warm with mugs of hot mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. Soak up London’s Christmas spirit, straight from the novels of Charles Dickens!

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Window wonderland

Secret square

Christmas shopping is elevated almost to a sport in London’s dark winter months. Adorned with creative installations of moving Christmas characters or sleek designs in red, white and gold, the magnificent window displays lure in bargain hunters. Visit St Christopher’s Place to escape the tourist crowds on Oxford Street and Regent Street. Tucked away through an alleyway with a purple sign, this sweet square boasts trendy designer stores, the oldest Mulberry shop and many fun cafés where you can sip a well-deserved cup of tea.

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Christmas Dickens style

Dickens tour of London

When you read ‘A Christmas Carol’ it is clear that Charles Dickens indeed knew how to celebrate Christmas. The famous writer has been a major influence on English Christmas traditions. In Victorian London the Christmas celebration was losing steam, but with his traditional stories about friendship and generosity, Dickens revived the Christmas celebration amongst the people. A Dickens city tour is a great way to soak up the London Christmas spirit: admire the elegant Victorian homes, roam through mysterious alleys and learn fun facts about Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and Fezziwig.

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Sample and stroll

Charming Covent Garden

After a day of shopping, warm up with a steaming hot mug of mulled wine and a tasty mince pie at one of the London Christmas markets. The Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is the most famous market, but the partially covered Covent Garden one is warmer. There, a large silver reindeer greets visitors at the entrance while the interior features ornate Christmas decorations. Listen to the choirs signing Christmas carols and browse the stalls displaying homemade marmalade, knitted jumpers, wooden toys and colourful sweets. Tip: every Saturday afternoon you can pet and feed a real reindeer.

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Exciting locations

Take to the ice

Strap on your ice skates and get ready to explore some of London’s best skating spots. During the Christmas season, various open spaces in London are transformed into ice skating rinks. Take to the ice on the canals around the historic Tower of London, glide across the royal backyard of Hampton Court Palace or go for a romantic skate in the courtyard of the elegant Somerset House. Still not tired? In the evening, skaters at Somerset House glide around the rink to the latest tunes spun by trendy DJs while sipping Christmas cocktails.

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