Out here in the desert, Mr Sunshine and I have been busy recreating all of the Christmas-mood enhancing traditions that help you to survive the festive season in Qatar.
However, we haven’t put our heart and soul into it in the same way that we did last year, because for a few weeks now we have had leave booked in to head home for the holidays. In two weeks today, we will be up in the skies and en route to our favourite place in the world to celebrate the Christmas season: London!
To help myself get into the festive spirit, I’ve put together a checklist of things we must do while we’re in the English capital in order to get the best out of Christmas.
1. Visit the West End and Mayfair
Show me anywhere on earth that feels more Christmassy than this area of London and I will eat my (Santa) hat! Beautifully decorated shops and streets, twinkling lights and even fake snow falling on Oxford Street make the Christmas shopping experience in the West End and Mayfair a rather special one.
2. Have afternoon tea
Sure, this London tradition can be done at any time of year, but many hotels put on an extra special Christmas afternoon tea for December, with special Christmassy treats accompanying the usual sandwiches and scones and live choirs and piano music playing festive tunes in the background while you eat. The perfect way to catch up with family while indulging in the way you should indulge at Christmas.
My favourite Christmas afternoon teas this year are the new Ventian dining room, Celeste at the Lanesborough.
And of course, The Ritz.
3. Go ice skating
London has a plethora of ice skating options that open up to the public every year around the end of November.
I partricularly love the rinks that are bordered by beautiful old buildings and decorated with pretty lights. Somerset House is a must, but book well in advance because places fill up very quickly. But my personal favourite is the rink outside the stunning Natural History Museum.
4. Go to a Christmas market or fair
There are many well-known markets that pop up around this time of year, such as the South Bank Christmas Market and the More London Christmas Market. However, it’s worth checking out some of the smaller, less mainstream offerings in the capital, including the Monocle Christmas Market in Marylebone and the Fair Christmas Fayre in Regent Hall, Oxford Street.
However, there is one Christmas fair in particular that’s on everyone’s minds at this time of year and that is Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. If you’re looking for ice skating, shopping, eating, drinking, games, prizes and entertainment all in one spot, this is the fair for you. Don’t forget to book your ticket online in advance!
5. Wrap up warm and have a wander
Finally, one day don’t make a plan. Pop on your scarf and hat, take a train somewhere central and simply walk around, soaking up the unique Christmas atmosphere of the capital.
Just don’t forget to stop for a warming eggnog latte to keep you going.
I am posting this as part of the monthly travel link-up. To join in, simply head over to Kelly‘s, Rebecca’s, Emma’s, or guest host Ayla’s blog at Mrs Ayla’s Adventures to link up your post on a festive season theme before the 7th December.