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Christmassy Day trip to London

(28 Posts)
GirlsonFilm Tue 04-Oct-16 21:35:33

We're going to be in London for the day on 20th December and I want to give my dcs (6&8) a festive day in central London. I don't know much about the Christmas experience at Hyde Park but am thinking about lights in Regent's St, perhaps a show (Christmas or panto) and perhaps tea at Harrods ice cream parlour....but any suggestions or ideas welcome.

smellylittleorange Tue 04-Oct-16 21:48:38

There is a bus ride you can do which will take in all the lights Marble Arch , oxford circus etc it is a normal bus service. South Bank has a nice market also I find with a handful of 20ps much amusement can be had around the Apple Market Covent Garden paying for street entertainment. Hamleys much better to look at toys etc then Harrods but you will come out with a headache.

smellylittleorange Tue 04-Oct-16 21:50:02

Oh and there are usually lots of ice rinks around if you didn't want to bother withHyde Park.

WhatAPigsEar Tue 04-Oct-16 21:57:46

Hyde Park will be hellishly busy then! Hamleys is a must do and the lights too.

imip Wed 05-Oct-16 11:35:37

There is also a winter wonderland-type thing in Victoria park in hackney. Last year I think I recall a roller disco under the hungerford bridge at south bank.

Somerset house has a pretty famous ice rink, but we prefer the one at broad gate circle in the city - not v busy and the City is never busy on the weekend, but to wonder you could still visit spittle fields market etc.

Toomanycats99 Wed 05-Oct-16 11:43:23

Covent garden nice. I'd avoid winter wonderland in Hyde park. It's just too busy and expensive. John Lewis have a roof garden and last year it was all done up with tress and fake snow and it had Woden cabins with blankets and you Could have hot chocolate or whatever from the cafe in them. If they fancy something different you can see Santa on the golden hinde.

Excited101 Wed 05-Oct-16 11:48:12

Depends what you like, I LOVE winter wonderland and go every year. I'd possibly leave the Harrods ice cream parlour as there's other more wintery and Christmas options. At winter wonderland there's a bit with a fire pit and you can buy and toast your own marshmallows.

franksidebottom Wed 05-Oct-16 14:01:00

Winter wonderland is fun but very busy. Last year I did an open top bus ride with my eldest dd (got reduced tickets with wowcher) it was so lovely, it goes round the back streets and main streets and there are some gorgeous lights i never knew were there and you get a free cup of mulled wine and sweets for the kids. I personally love harrods at xmas time to visit and the southbank usually has an Xmas market on, it's by the London eye. It really does depend on what you like

jopickles Wed 05-Oct-16 16:06:05

BB Bakery do an afternoon tea on a London bus and they do 5pm tours so you can see all the Christmas lights while having your food, not cheap but we did the normal tour and it was great fun

LEWestminster Tue 22-Nov-16 13:12:31

Try our MN Local site for Westminster & City, which has thousands of listings including a Christmas What's On guide - - attractions, restaurants, hotels... in central London:

KC225 Tue 22-Nov-16 17:37:02

If your up on the west end ie Hamleys, the lights, go and have ice cream at Fortnum & Mason parlour restaurant. They serve old fashioned knickerbocker glory and ice cream sundaes and the shop is beautiful decorated for Christmas

winterisnigh Tue 22-Nov-16 19:08:08

Not sure about the ice cream parlor at Harrods( I think fortnums maybe nicer) however their toy department is EXCELLENT, always buzzy loads of great demos going on - I far prefer it to Hamleys I am sure you had it down anyway but thought I would mention it.

Selfidges also has roof bar ( not been ) and WW can get hideously busy,but it does depend when you go. When I was last there it was busy as in, scared of loosing dc and forcing body through crowd, however friends also been and been fine...

Sittingintheautumnsunshine Tue 22-Nov-16 19:12:36

Winter Wonderland is best if you've booked something, in my opinion. The circus and ice sculptures are fun.

I find Harrods a nightmare at Christmas, but love Somerset House ice skating. We go back via Trafalgar Square to see the Christmas Tree.

herecomesthsun Tue 22-Nov-16 20:29:49

We are planning to go to the South Bank Christmas market around the same time.

cwtchme Tue 22-Nov-16 20:55:36

Hyde Park is really overrated and will be horribly busy, I would avoid!

If I were you, I would go to Southbank (really easy to get to from Waterloo, so a good starting point!) and look at the Christmas market, have a wander along as there's loads to see around there.

Then walk across Waterloo bridge which is my fave London bridge - you can see Parliament and Westminster Abbey, the Shard, the Eye etc. On a clear winter's day the view is amazing! Once you're on the other side of the river you're right by Somerset House, which I LOVE at Christmas. You walk through the arch and there's a massive Christmas tree and the ice rink. The decorations are so beautiful! You can either go skating or just watch others doing it for a little while.

Next, you're a five minute walk from Covent Garden, which would be a perfect place to spend the rest of day - you can shop, look at the lights, walk around the main market square or go up to Seven Dials which has more cool, independent shops and is lovely at this time of year. There are lots of great cafes and restaurants for lunch/dinner (plus stalls selling mulled drinks in CG!) and then you're right by all of the main theatres if you did want to take in a show. I would really recommend Matilda which I saw recently and loved.

I really think that bit of London is so lovely at this time of the year without the madness of Hyde Park. Covent Garden will be busy, but it never feels as bad as HP or Oxford Street.

Hope that helps, OP!

winterisnigh Tue 22-Nov-16 22:33:19

jo that bus tour sounds like a wonderful idea

agree if you go to WW booksomething - just seen they are doing nutcracker on ice this year

herecomesthsun Wed 23-Nov-16 00:44:27

Do you have to pay to get into the Hyde Park Wonderland thing? Also, it is not that much fun going to a fair ground and just telling the kids that you are not paying for all the overpriced rides...

Whowherewhywhat Wed 23-Nov-16 00:51:01

Marking place smile

Tobebythesea Wed 23-Nov-16 05:25:33

I believe you don't have to pay to get into Winter Wonderland but all the rides etc are seriously overpriced. if you have pre-booked an event e.g. Circus, you skip the massive queue and go straight to the front.

We really enjoyed the ice sculptures and circus. Better than expected. Have fun. smile

camelfinger Wed 23-Nov-16 05:54:57

I would do what cwtchme suggests. It will be more relaxing not having to schlep across to Hyde Park.

JeanGenie23 Wed 23-Nov-16 06:04:27

Winter wonderland at Hyde Park is free in and has lovely market stalls but it's packed and the rides are mega expensive.

A walk along the southbank is lovely. Lots of places selling mulled wine and hot chocolate. There is the big carousel and if the weather isnt good you can always go into the BFI and catch a festive film.

Hamleys is mad. However the children will love it. You could have a wonder round there and then walk to Carnaby Street, pop into Liberty's and then go and get some food at Five Guys. You are bound to see a Salvation Army band playing around there as well star

ChippyMinton Wed 23-Nov-16 06:30:04

Leicester Square has a small Xmas market now, and a (new?) Lego store with great models - huge Big Ben in the window.
Regent Street lights are gorgeous this year, and the South Bank is very pretty.

Jetcatisback Wed 23-Nov-16 13:26:03

imip Winterville in Victoria Park isn't on this year, back next year apparently.

Can anyone tell me the best bus to get to see all the lights please? And I see a few posters mention walking along the South Bank, what is the best way to get there?

cwtchme Wed 23-Nov-16 13:46:03

Jetcatisback The South Bank runs along the river on the south side (obviously!) by Waterloo Bridge. You can get to it via the stairs at the side of bridge or by walking along the back road out of Waterloo Station. It's impossible to miss - y'all see the big National Theatre building which is usually lit up and the South Bank Centre, plus all of the restraints and shops.

cwtchme Wed 23-Nov-16 13:46:53

*restaurants! It's not funny sorts of shops, I promise! ;)

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