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London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

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North Carolina
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London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

Hi, I've always visited London when the flowers were blooming - from May 1 through to late August. I've never been there during the "cold weather" months, so just thought I'd ask the experts what's the good things going on at that time of the year?

I'm planning, in advance to do the theater, shopping at the big stores, Burlington Arcade, Shepherd's Market, trip to Paris for the day, lots of pubs, maybe a football match, and a possible trip to Oxford.

Sure, all those things sound terrific, but I may be missing out on something really good I haven't even given a thought about, so if you guys know of about it, I'd sure love the head's up!

Thanks in advance,

gaia06

london
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1. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

Well, in mid December all the shops will have their Christmas windows and there will be Christmas decorations.

At that time of year everyone is having office lunches so if you want to go to a particular restaurant you' d better book.

School holidays begin about a week before Christmas and after that you'll find lots of families everywhere. People come up from outside London to see the lights and do their christmas shopping.

I happen to like Shepherd's Market for various reasons, but be aware that it isn't a market, just a few little streets with a number of pubs and restaurants. One of the best is Al Hamra, Lebanese and pricey.

Newcastle upon...
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2. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

Don't forget the Ice rinks that spring up in December, even if you are not a skater, I especially like the setting at Somerset House, it is lovely after dark the way it is lit up.

London
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3. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

Somerset House skating is good - but if you do want to skate, book in advance, be prepared to wince at the cost, and turn up a bit before your time so you can get your full money's worth. It's fun, and looks very Christmassy.

Stanley, Falkland...
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4. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

Borough market is buzzing at that time of year, with many seasonal stalls.

You may also want to tour Hampton Court Palace - they usually have a few Christmas activities on eg, visit the great kitchens and see how banquets were prepared in Henry VIII's day.

There's also an ice-rink there, like the one at Somerset House.

It shouldn't be that cold. Just remember that there's only about 8 hours daylight, and it can be gloomy.

London, United...
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5. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

London will be really Christmasy and all the lights will be up, a great time to visit. It will be rather chilly though so don't forget your heavy coat and lots of layers.

The football is a good idea although tickets for the premiership teams (top division) can be pricey and hard to come by... I second the Somerset House idea, there is also a ice skating rink by the Natural History Museum around that time too. The rugby is another alternative and very British.

london
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6. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

As you can see, there will be lots to do. Get a Time Out the week before for detailed plannning if you can.

Seattle
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7. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

gaia: I've been to London the last three Novembers and usually spend the mornings and most of the afternoons shopping and museum hopping. About 4:00 or 4:30ish and after is when I hit the decorated Christmas streets and store windows to take photos.

Also, several towns and cities have Christmas markets (patterned after the ones in Germany) so you might look into that, too. I've been to the ones in Cheltenham Spa and Birmingham. I know Bath has one. I believe Lincoln and Rochester have Christmas markets, too.

manchester uk
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8. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

i note you plan a trip to paris for the day - whilst paris is undoutably a fab city, i would, if i were you, save that for another time. one day is not a long time and if you are anything like me i would feel disappointed at all the stuff i may miss out on being there just for one day (i am a 'glass half empty type!')

for a christmassy day, how about a shorter train ride to the french town Lille? they apparently have a great christmas market which you could do in a day and still have time for a leisurely meal and sample a bit of la france?

theatre wise - book yourself to see a traditional pantomime - there will be loads on offer and you can shout out "he's behind you!!!!" until your voice is hoarse!

London
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9. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

I love going horseracing during the winter months. I am a member at Sandown park Racecourse which is 25 minutes from Waterloo Station. Big hat, gloves, big coat and comfortable shoes and you're away. The racing is over fences and you won't be dissapointed with Sandown.

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10. Re: London in mid-Dec. - What to do?

Somerset House also has ice climbing for 44 pounds an hour. I couldn't believe people were paying that, but there was a line.