This year, inspired by our ever-popular “I Heart My City”
series on Intelligent Travel, we’re reveling in the holiday season by asking our readers to share their favorite ways to celebrate in their cities. Today’s city-lover is travel writer Erin Maury, and she shares what she loves most about celebrating the holidays in London.
We’ve put together a festively-themed fill-in-the-blank questionnaire, and we’d love to hear your responses. So cut and paste the list, fill in your answers, and e-mail us your picks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Please include links and photos if possible). We’ll be featuring your “My City Celebrates” posts through the New Year, click here for a list of cities we’ve featured so far. Happy Holidays!
My City Celebrates: London
When I need a dose of holiday cheer, I always head to Harrods for spectacular window displays. This year is a Wizard of Oz theme, complete with Dorothy’s
red shoes, sticking out from the building. Now how does this relates to the holidays you ask? I’m not so sure, but amazing nonetheless.
The best place to grab a cup of cocoa (or tea, really) is at The Wolseley. Grand and special yet unpretentious, the Wolseley is a former car showroom on Piccadilly.
If you want to find great sledding you have to head Hampstead Heath, but of course snow is required. Either way, the view of London is lovely.
Strap on your skates at the Natural History Museum and enjoy the view of the festive lights and the German Romanesque architecture. Temporary rinks pop up all over the city from November through January, rinks at Somerset House and the Tower of London are also quite festive settings.
For a classic holiday photo op, be sure to check out the Royal Guards at Buckingham Palace, which are known for their bearskin hats. They look like they have been scooped out of a scene from The Nutcracker.
A great place to take the kids during the season is to a traditional pantomime, a silly, music- and dance-filled interactive play. Kids never tire of shouting, “HE’S BEHIND YOU!”
For all of your gift-giving shopping in one store, check out Liberty of London. Step back in time in the Tudor building complete with creaky old floors and timbered ceilings and tackle that list.
Borough Market is London’s 250-year-old market and still the foodies’ choice. Be sure to pick up a turkey, Christmas pudding and the perfect bottle of wine for your Christmas dinner while sipping on Monmouth coffee.
No holiday meal in my city is complete without mince pies with brandy butter.
My favorite holiday tradition in my city is walking Oxford and Regent Streets to view the spectacular Christmas lights, then onto Trafalgar Square for the lighting of the Christmas tree. Each year Norway donates a tree to Britain to thank them for their support in WWII.
Locals know to avoid the throngs of mad shoppers and find the real magic in the “Carols by Candlelight” concert in the Royal Albert Hall.
The best part about my city during the holiday season is the gathering with friends and family for a pint or mulled wine at a cozy pub along the River Thames.
Photo: Erin Maury