New Year’s in London

By seeing London, I have seen as much of life as the world can show. – Samuel Johnson

Winter might not seem like the perfect time to visit the UK but the city of London has a lot to offer especially during the holiday season. Spending Christmas or New Year’s in the English capital is well worth a trip.

To enjoy the holiday season in a metropolis like London one has to avoid the crowds and find the more calm and quiet areas. This seems impossible at first but it’s well worth the effort.

Right before the holiday season Hyde Park turns into this incredible Christmas extravaganza, which is basically a huge fair with a ferris wheel, an ice rink, food stands, a Christmas market, live music and even circus shows. A visit in the park really puts you in the mood for the holidays. It’s as if the park itself wishes you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Entering the wonderland from the west end side after leaving the Hyde Park Corner tube station will lead you directly to a more decent and calm area of the park. That’s where local bands and singers perform their music and passengers simply stop and listen.
I personally really enjoy these kinds of concerts where the focus is still on actual music and the artists interact with their audience. Last time I was in London for New Year’s I came across two very talented British singers, who both seem to be on the verge of great success. If you’re interested check out the following two videos.

Latch by Olly Chamberlain
American Boy/Beggin’ by Fraser Churchill

Afternoon tea in London is a must and what better time to sit down for a  of hot cup of tea than a cold december afternoon. The Café at the Hotel Café Royal on Regent Street close to Piccadilly Circus has become one of my favorite places to just hangout with friends while sipping tea and enjoying some delicious pastries, cakes or chocolates.

Taking in all the twinkling lights and sparkling Christmas decorations while wandering the streets of London during the holiday season turns your trip into an even more festive experience.

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New Bond Street
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Regent Street

A stop at Covent Garden is inevitable if you’re looking for a little something for your loved ones. There you can find all sorts of souvenirs and presents. Various shops offer you the biggest variety of tea. You might even get a free sample. 😉

When the temperature drops at night you don’t have to hide in your hotel room. Go and watch a musical at London’s West end. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is brand new and celebrates great success all over the world. As an alternative there is  “The Lion King” and “Wicked”. Both are must-see musicals that keep fascinating people over and over again.

Also at Covent Garden you will find typical English bakeries and sweet shops. My favorite one is the old fashioned sweet shop called Hope and Greenwood. If you get a chance go and check it out.

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London’s spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display at the London Eye is famous around the world. At midnight, Big Ben will ring out and is followed by the UK’s largest annual fireworks display.

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On New Year’s day there is a parade taking place to ring in the new year. It starts on Piccadilly and finishes in Parliament Square.

The experience the city will provide is one of a kind and filled with possibilities to create unforgettable memories. London never seemed like a place to visit in the winter. One would expect the low temperatures to freeze the entire city and bring everything to an abrupt stop. Surprisingly it turned out to be this really amazing city full of life and holiday spirit. Everything just seems like one huge celebration.

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