5 Reasons to experience Christmas in London

5 Reasons to Experience Christmas in London

Since moving to the UK from South Africa, Christmas has been a very different experience in comparison to living in the southern hemisphere. December in South Africa is summer time where the festive season is reminiscent of hot summer days, lounging outside, meat on the braai and splashing around in the pool. For me, Christmas in London definitely feels so much more festive when it’s cold and dark, surrounded by all things Christmassey. Perhaps it is a little over-the-top and commercialized but I am a sucker for fun festivities.

5 Reasons to experience Christmas in London

5 Reasons to Experience Christmas in London5 Reasons to Experience Christmas in London

Christmas lights and decorations

Every year my hubby and I have the intention of checking out the Christmas lights and decorations around the city. But usually the cold weather and crowds is enough to deter us and the appeal of lazing on the couch always seems like a better option 😉 A benefit of starting my blog is that it’s motivated me to get off my lazy bum and get out the house. So believe it or not, we got up early one Sunday morning to take photos around Oxford Circus. And wow, it was definitely worth the 5:15am alarm clock!

5 Reasons to Experience Christmas in London

Festive themed sandwiches and drinks

Every year retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Pret and Eat make yummy festive sandwiches and foods filled with ingredients such as turkey, stuffing, fruity chutney and cranberry sauce. The same goes for the coffee shops like Starbucks who serve seasonal hot drinks such as Gingerbread latte and Eggnog latte. Because I love my food and enjoy trying different flavours, I always look forward to this time of the year when lunch time becomes a little more interesting than the plain coffee and ham and cheese sandwich.

5 Reasons to Experience Christmas in London

Christmas themed events

There are always so many things happening in London but at this time of the year you really are spoilt for choice. There are many Christmas themed events to attend such as Christmas shows, Christmas carol concerts, festive afternoon teas and wintry pop up bars and restaurants. Watch this space for my recent festive afternoon tea experience.


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Christmas markets

Until I came to London, I hadn’t really experienced Christmas markets. Memories of my first London Christmas Market experiences are from the Southbank Winter Festival and the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. The Christmas shopping, mulled wine, twinkling lights and festive entertainment were all enough to satisfy the senses. Christmas markets on my list to see this year are the London Bridge City Christmas Market and the Geffrye Museum Christmas Event

Skate at Somerset House

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Outdoor ice rinks

Every year the return of London’s ice rinks marks the beginning of winter and the approaching Christmas season. Located all over London there are many outdoor ice rinks to choose from. These are just some on my list of which I’m hoping to visit at least two: Broadgate Ice Rink, Natural History Museum Ice Rink, Tower Of London Ice RinkSkate at Somerset HouseCanary Wharf Ice Rink.

These are 5 reasons why I think you should experience Christmas in London at least once in your lifetime! If you live in London, what do you enjoy about Christmas in London? Do you have any must-do’s or favourite things to do at this time of the year? I’d love to hear in the comments.

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One Messy Mama


  1. 6th December 2016 / 8:02 AM

    A white Christmas wow! Sounds electrifying!

    • whatudidntknow
      6th December 2016 / 8:29 AM

      Hi Samanthra, we haven’t actually had a white Christmas yet although the betting places are always hoping for one 😉 If it does snow then it’s usually in January or February 🙂

  2. 6th December 2016 / 8:09 AM

    THIS looks like a dream. Wow. Thank you for giving me something to put on my bucket list.

    • whatudidntknow
      6th December 2016 / 8:28 AM

      Hi Melissa, it does actually feel like a dream sometimes! 😉

  3. 6th December 2016 / 9:04 AM

    London is so beautiful during the Christmas season! It was certainly worth getting up so early to take pictures – love the image of Regent Street! Have a great week!

    • whatudidntknow
      6th December 2016 / 9:38 AM

      Hi Miriam, thank you! The things we do to take decent pictures without people around! Lol 😉

    • whatudidntknow
      6th December 2016 / 9:38 AM

      Have a great week too!

  4. 7th December 2016 / 12:08 AM

    I bet it is a whole lot different than what was in South Africa!

    Thanks for linking your experience up to #globalblogging!

    • whatudidntknow
      7th December 2016 / 6:49 AM

      Oh yes definitely 🙂

  5. 7th December 2016 / 4:45 AM

    OMG I wish i could! I have always wanted to go to England anyway…it is my dream holiday and only half because I majore din English history. Your pictures are magical, I feel more holiday cheer just through reading this post! #GlobalBlogging

      • whatudidntknow
        7th December 2016 / 6:50 AM

        Lol, and you should definitely plan a trip to the UK in future 😉

    • whatudidntknow
      7th December 2016 / 6:50 AM

      Hi Brandi, thank you! Hahahhaa that’s awesome that my post makes you feel the Christmas spirit 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

    • whatudidntknow
      7th December 2016 / 10:03 AM

      Hi Tanja, have you visited London over the festive season yet?

  6. 8th December 2016 / 8:14 AM

    I visit London a lot but not nearly enough at Christmas which is such a shame as I’m missing all the wonderful markets. I used to work in Oxford Street many years ago but was so busy working that the most I would really see were the Christmas lights on my race back to the Tube!
    Thanks for reminding me about why I should go in December.

    • whatudidntknow
      8th December 2016 / 12:38 PM

      Hi Trish, I can imagine working around Oxford Street one would just want to get away from all the busyness as soon as possible! Hopefully you’ll be back in London again soon to enjoy the festivities as a tourist 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

  7. 8th December 2016 / 1:46 PM

    Aww Christmas time in London is my favorite! I’ve been lucky to experience it and it’s my favorite city to see during the holidays. However, I never got the chance to ice skate at one of the outdoor rinks. I think I need to head back 🙂

    • whatudidntknow
      8th December 2016 / 2:15 PM

      Hi Amanda, London is an all year round city for me but I do love how pretty the city looks during the holiday season too 😉

  8. 9th December 2016 / 10:39 AM

    Wow, a 5.15 start to take pictures for the blog – now that’s dedication for you! I’m glad you did, though – they’re beautiful. I had your experience in reverse one year, and spent Christmas in CapeTown. It was so much fun being able to jump into a pool! #citytripping

    • whatudidntknow
      9th December 2016 / 11:53 AM

      Hi Nell, lol. We didn’t get up specifically just to take pics for my blog. My hubby is into photography too and we wanted to get pictures of the Xmas lights when it’s dark without people around and late at night is not really an option when you’re all cosy and warm on the couch 😉 That’s awesome that you’ve experienced Christmas in CT.

  9. 9th December 2016 / 7:41 PM

    I am really bad at making the most of Christmas in London – too many years living here, I guess i get complacent. But I do love the Christmas markets and especially the ice rinks: there are some wonderful locations for them which make it extra special. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping (and getting up bright and early to take photos of the lights!)

    • whatudidntknow
      9th December 2016 / 10:49 PM

      Hi Cathy, I know exactly what you mean about getting complacent! Hence why this year we’ve tried to make more of an effort otherwise it often feels like the only time we remember to enjoy our splendid city is when we have visitors from abroad lol!

  10. 9th December 2016 / 10:11 PM

    Christmas must be so different for you now in the Northern hemisphere! Welcome to the cold 😉 #citytripping

    • whatudidntknow
      9th December 2016 / 10:47 PM

      Hahahaha thanks Alex 🙂

  11. 11th December 2016 / 10:34 PM

    I am mighty impressed at your early morning wake up call. There’s something really special about this time of year in London. So much going on, so much to see. The problem is I always get to January and haven’t done half of what I wanted…I am gradually making my way through the list! #citytripping

    • whatudidntknow
      12th December 2016 / 6:24 AM

      Hi Elizabeth, yes that is exactly why I decided to make a list this year otherwise another year would have gone by and we wouldn’t have seen much! 🙂

  12. 14th December 2016 / 6:43 PM

    Nice post. I love going to ice skating rinks even if I can’t skate! Kew Gardens and Hampton Court are also very good. Another thing I love in London are the Christmas shop windows especially Fortnum & Mason plus Harrods & Liberty. Wilbur. #citytripping

    • whatudidntknow
      14th December 2016 / 7:22 PM

      Thanks Wilbur. Yes that’s true, the shops do get “dressed up” nicely too!

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