19 December 2011

A Winter Wonderland in London this Christmas!

Christmas time in London is great fun with loads of thing to do and see. One of our favourites is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park so we took some friends who had not been before to enjoy an evening of Christmas cheer.  They couldn't work out what Winter Wonderland was from our description - is it a theme park, is it a Christmas market, it is a food market, is for kids or adults?  Well, it's all of these and it takes up a huge space right in the middle of Hyde Park!
You enter through a massive arch through which you can just see the beginings of the fun fair in the distance.  The first section is made up of several alleyways of Christmas market chalets but the best thing here is the talking and singing moose!  I've attached a video but in case that doesn't work for you, there's a photo as well.  I hope the video runs for you as he is wonderful and one of my highlights.  (If it doesn't download right away, come back to it)


video


You can linger for ages checking out all the gifts in the chalets of the market section as it is  extensive and tempting. Once through with shopping you are surrounded by food stalls and into the fun fair. There's everything from the old fashioned but beautiful helter skelter and big wheel, to incredibly fast whirling things, all looking very festive, to dreadfully scary rides that were too fast to take a photo of and I have know idea how people were not sick on them but it seemed fun was being had!  The roller coaster was popular, looking a little slower than the super fast rides but still resulted in a good few screams.






There are some traditions about Christmas ghost stories so there was the obligatory haunted house with a huge violin playing skeleton outside. On the cuter side, I loved the snowman, the sweets and the massive balloon





We managed to eat and drink our way round the whole experience, tasting the warming mulled wine and by the time we got to the burgers one friend was so hungry he ordered two, making the stall holder so excited that he shouted for all to hear 'he's going for 2'!  There were stalls full of churros and chocolate, candy floss, any type of grilled sausage and colourful sweets.
We almost went for the ice skating but after a wonderful dry evening, the rain started to come down so we escaped to a nearby pub to keep dry and warm. 


 
We're all going again next year and perhaps someone will be brave enough to try the scary rides but I don't think it will be me!

Bye for now,
Sue
@itsyourlondon

12 December 2011

More gorgeous London Chrismas lights!

There are so many fabulous Christmas lights in London this year I just had to put up another selection for you!  I still have some lights left to visit, so there could even be part 3...

Not quite fitting the heading of lights, but very Christmassy none the less, were the sights on show this Saturday in Trafalgar Square where I stumbled upon a massive Santa gathering! Hundreds of Santa were streaming out of the tube stations and off the buses to hang out together, sing songs, do congas and (shock - horror!) drink beer!  Everyone was having such fun it was infectious, although the tourists who had come to check out the Olympic clock were rather bemused. They kept asking 'why'? It seems the only answer was to have fun...



Nearby Covent Garden always looks beautiful at Christmas and I was eager to see if the giant reindeer was there again. Yes, he was although he had set up camp round the other side of the piazza. I missed the real ones who had been there during the day but I love this chap with his proper red nose!  There was also an intriguing and beautifully lit chalet which turned out to house a digital installation work by Martha Fiennes called Nativity. The market sections were decorated with enormous baubles and the whole area looked wonderfully festive, as I'd hoped.




Regent Street is a posh shopping street but they have a habit of putting up the most commercial lights with product placement to the fore. This year, however, they have been more restrained and have some lovely lights about sledges and elfs!




All the big shopping areas in London are great for lights, festive window dressing and decorated trees - even skating rinks!   Here is the last set of photos showing: the window at Selfridges, the tree at Whiteleys;  and the skating rink at Westfield Shepherds Bush.





I hope you've enjoyed more Christmas in London!

Bye for now,
Sue
www.itsyourlondon.co.uk
@itsyourlondon

7 December 2011

The Christmas lights in London are brilliant!

The Christmas lights seem to go up earlier each year but by December we are all getting into the swing of the festive season. Huge numbers of people come to visit to big shopping areas in London like Oxford Street, Regent Street and Covent Garden to buy presents but also to enjoy the wonderful Christmas lights.
This will be a 2 part blog as there are so many to show you. Here's part 1 and I hope you enjoy a trip around London with me!

One of the loveliest and yet very simple Christmas lights are the blue arches in South Molton Street:



I'm not usually a great fan of Oxford Street as it's so busy and has mostly chain stores but their lights are great this year and really lift the mood in the crowds:




St Pancras Station have cornered the market in lego and have this massive tree made completely of lego! I've put a close up so you can see some of the pieces - it must have taken ages to put together!






 Carnaby Street is often the best of the lot and this year they have gone all loved up with their mistletoe and holly branches and Kingly Court looks magical with its fairy lights:




Just one more for today! The tree in Trafalgar Square is very special as it is sent to us each year from the people of Norway to thank us for our help during the Second World War. It's a huge and beautiful tree and each evening you can listen to the carol singers gathered underneath it.

I hope you've enjoyed a short trip round the London Christmas lights. I'll try to squeeze a few more in very soon.

Bye for now,
Sue
www.itsyourlondon.co.uk
@itsyourlondon