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must sees/do's during Xmas season

Springfield...
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must sees/do's during Xmas season

We're thrilled that we'll be back in London December 14-22. I've done some research, but would be very interested in all of your "must sees" and "must dos" in London during the holiday season. Anything you'd add to the following? Any of these you'd pass on?

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Carols and the tree and lights in Trafalgar Square

The lights and displays on Regent and Oxford Sts.

Celebration of Xmas concert at St. Paul's

Covent Garden market

Hamley's toy store

Selfridges

one of the holiday shows at Royal Albert Hall

any other suggestions would be most welcome--thanks!

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Athens
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1. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

Harrods is a must-see, IMO. Both the outside and the inside are amazing!

Also, a couple of years ago, Debenhams had put on some very nice events.

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2. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

I do hope you'll be able to get to a pantomime while you're here. Christmas is the pantomime season.

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3. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

Don't forget to go ice-skating in Somerset House or elsewhere.

See the Christmas decorations in places such as St Christopher's Place, Carnaby Street, Sloane Square or elsewhere.

The Geffrye Museum will have its rooms decorated in the style of Christmases from the 1600s onwards:

geffrye-museum.org.uk/whatson/…

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4. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

London's gone nuts on outdoor ice rinks these days. Somerset House, Tower of London, Natural History Museum, Hampton Court, take your pick.

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5. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

Damn, I just typed out a long post then my computer froze - 2nd time lucky.

I'd second Harrods at Xmas time.

If you like Xmas concerts, my preference would be for somewhere slightly more intimate where you'll be closer to the choir. A personal favourite is St.John's Smith Square (near Westminster Abbey) who have a series of Xmas concerts including a wonderful one on the 14th (if you arrive on time) - sjss.org.uk/pages/Diary/content_page3_2.htm

St.Martin's in the Fields (Traf Sq)is also a lovely church which puts on wonderful concerts

stmartin-in-the-fields.org/jserv/concerts/

I loathe Oxford Street, but would strongly recommend Jermyn Street and Piccadilly and the arcades that run north and south of Piccadilly for shopping.

If you like food markets, Borough market (next to Southwark cathedral) is charming and would be very atmospheric in December. I also love Leadenhall Market (next to the Lloyds Building) in the City.

For traditional dining, I would recommend Ye Old Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street, the Seven Stars which is just north of there - http://www.fancyapint.com/pubs/pub192.html or any of the chain of Davys wine bars you will find in the City and the West End - http://www.davy.co.uk/winebars

In the City, The Old Mitre on hatton garden is possibly my favourite London pub (it's a lovely wood-panelled pub in the remains of the Bishop of Ely's Palace) and, as Hatton Garden is the centre of London's Diamond trade, your husband can pop out and buy you something while you're there. Round the corner is a great restaurant called the Bleeding Heart - http://www.bleedingheart.co.uk/, and 5 minutes further east in Smithfield, the St.John in Smithfield is something of a modern British institution (but no place for vegetarians)

http://www.stjohnrestaurant.com/home/

Sweetings is also a great City institution if you can get in

squaremeal.co.uk/restaurants/…Sweetings

If you're aiming at eating in a restaurant in the City/West End over that period, remember it's Xmas party season so booking might be advisable for the more popular places (Pubs and Sweetings don't take bookings and I wouldn't bother for pizza type places which cater for tourist rather than business trade)

I recommend exploring the City of London, which is often ignored by tourists - the Museum of London in the Barbican is great (and free) and I also like the museum at the Bank of England (also free).

Whatever you do, have a great time.

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Springfield...
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6. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

many thanks folks, we'll be looking many of these up!

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7. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

Ice skating at the fantastic Wembley Stadium. It will be Britain's longest ever rink!

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23742929-now-you-can-ice-skate-the-wembley-way-this-christmas.do;jsessionid=EA2A08D7858618B9FE09130514DBCEA9

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8. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

sorry: try this one....wembley

http://www.iceskating.org.uk/node/3281

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9. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

Compared to every other Christmas market in the whole of the UK, and definitely compared to every one in continental Europe, Hyde park Winter Wonderland is pathetic!

Do bear in mind that the shops will be hellish busy. I'd avoid Saturday shopping if you can.

Covent Garden has in the past had a night market leading up Christmas, in which the street entertainment and extra stalls (mostly food) stay up na drunning late.

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10. Re: must sees/do's during Xmas season

Even if you don't want to actually ice skate, be sure to visit the ice rink at Somerset House. Go after dark---the dramatic lighting contributes to the overall effect. Very nice.

You might also see if either Westminster Abbey and/or St. Paul's has a candlelight carol service while you are there (or perhaps other churches as well). I was lucky enough to catch candlelight services at both Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's during a visit a year ago. Both were breathtaking!

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