London at Christmas time is a wonderful place to be. Quite apart from the opportunity to do some really great Christmas shopping, you can extend the experience by staying longer in hotels near Wembley stadium, enjoying the illuminations and taking in a show.
As night falls over London, the city takes on a very special atmosphere as the streets light up with thousands of pretty festive lights. What makes it extra fun is the fact that there are so many different styles. You can move from era to era, from one concept to another within a short walk. Take Oxford Street for example which has 1778 giant snowballs lit by 750,000 LED lights stretching the full length of the street. Move into Carnaby Street and the atmosphere changes dramatically. This is the setting for vintage/retro chic with giant vinyl records forming snowflakes, and bright blue, yellow, green and red geometric light displays.
Only a few minutes walk away is the elegance and sophistication of Bond Street complete with giant peacock feathers twinkling and glittering like diamonds. Giant angel wings set above a blue ‘sky’ capture the attention in Regent Street. The traditional Norwegian Pine tree adorning with a host of vertical strings of twinkling lights take centre stage in Trafalgar Square, just as it has done since 1947, when the very first tree was donated by Norway in recognition of British help during World War Two.
Over in Covent Garden there is yet another change in tempo with over 40 mistletoe chandeliers to be found on buildings and streets as well as an eyecatching giant silver reindeer standing proudly on top of a pile of gifts. The wonderful range of cafes and pubs to be found around the area make this a good place to stop and relax for an hour or so, before heading to one of the many theatres in London’s West End for a Christmas show.
As always The Royal Opera House is a venue for some spectacular ballet performances, this year in the form of a production of Sleeping Beauty. The Nutcracker too can be seen on stage, with Clara and her Nutcracker prince charming their way through the Kingdom of Sweets. Pantomimes are returning for the season with the London Palladium staging Cinderella with celebrities like Julian Clary, Amanda Holden and Nigel Havers taking part. Alternatively head for the Lyric Hammersmith for a production of the story of Aladdin, complete with genie and magic carpet as he challenges the wicked Abenezar for the hand of a beautiful princess.
Enjoy a taste of Victorian London at the East End’s stunning Wilton’s Music Hall while you are a resident at Palm hotel. The architecture might be Victorian, but the performances are very contemporary. This is the setting for Mother Goose, a rarely seen pantomime involving a range of nursery rhyme characters who help to save the Goose who lays golden eggs.
If you prefer musicals, there is plenty of choice in London this Christmas as all the popular ones, such as Mama Mia, The Lion King, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Wicked continue throughout the festive season.
When it comes to accommodation, hotels in Cricklewood London are definitely a place to stay to check out the majority of the capital’s sites and destinations of great importance.