Winter in London

London in winter, it sounds ominous- dark and dreary yet the industrial London of yester year is no more. Nowadays we have light pollution...

London in winter, it sounds ominous- dark and dreary yet the industrial London of yester year is no more.

Nowadays we have light pollution; there is hardly a dark corner to be found in the city. In fact now it’s filled with sparkling lights even Elephant and Castle has great globe lights hanging from its trees. Start at Tottenham Court Road and you’ll be welcomed into Oxford Street and its lights.

Chestnut roasters on Oxford Street will keep you toasty warm and add a little Christmas cheer. The Regent Street lights, are, as usual, sponsored by Disney and are advertising Ice Age 2, coming out in January.

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

As of the end of November the Norwegian Christmas tree is lit up in Trafalgar Square, a present from the people of Oslo for Britain’s help during World War Two. The switching of the lights have, unfortunately passed by, but remember to be on the ball mid to late November next year as this is when such events, as Oxford Street’s turning on of the lights and Bond Street’s street party takes place.

Ice Skating

London has a feast of Ice-skating events, Marble Arch, Somerset House and The Natural History Museum being amongst the many to be found.

Somerset House not only has Ice Skating but an 8-meter Ice Climbing Wall, which you can scale! Both events are open till the 29th January, insure you book tickets though as Somerset House is very popular.

The Natural History Museum is a great destination for ice-skating as well; you can visit the museum, which is free, ice skate and also look round their Christmas market, open till the 22nd of January.

Marble Arch ice-skating is situated right at the end of Oxford Street so you get the real Christmas in the city experience, the rink was even briefly featured in ‘Love Actually’ so definitely not too be missed!Winter Peace Walk

Christmas time is professed to be a time for goodwill and peace towards all men, and so why not practice what you preach and partake on a peace walk.

Throughout London there are scattered monuments to great people and great events that recall to us the need for peace and love towards our fellow man. The following website leads you through the landmarks of peace in London: Peace Walk, it begins at a Gandhi monument in Tavistock Square and ends at a Tibetan Peace Garden.

This is the perfect antidote to those Christmas shopping trials and perhaps an aid to your conscience, this year you didn’t just participate in the gimmicky, commercial Christmas you extended some of its virtues as well. My favourite on the trail is the memorial to Gandhi, at Tavistock Square, the garden also bares monuments to conscientious objectors, an Hiroshima tree, an Holocaust memorial and a Virgina Woolf bust- there is a lot to see in such a small space!

Not far from here is a perfect winter café in the surroundings of Russell Square Gardens, The Café in The Gardens, has great glass windows to overlook the frosty garden, and fountains, a lovely little romantic place.Christmas Spirit

The best way to get into the Christmas spirit and beat the cold is to stick to the good old British tradition of panto!

Aladdin at the Old Vic is not to be missed especially with Ian McKellan in the role of Widow Twankey! Aladdin is running from 7th December to 22nd January.

Scrooge is also a great panto favourite; Tommy Steele is back at the London Palladium in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, until January 14th.

If you’re not a theatre fan then why not try the cinema, there are many festive films out, to get the true Harry Potter experience, head to Leicester Square, there’s the Goblet of Fire above the Odeon and banners hanging down from the trees. A cheaper alternative to the high prices of cinemas in London is The Prince Charles’ Cinema, also located in Leicester Square, near the Haagen-Dazs shop, previous blockbuster films are shown for more than half the price of a usual ticket, Friday is the best day to attend though as its just 1 pound per entry. They also do fantastical singalong events where you can dress as your favourite characters to such movie greats as The Sound of Music and The Rocky Horror Show and, of course, singalong.

Winter in the New Year

New Year’s festivities don’t end on the 1st of January, on the 2nd at Bankside by The Globe Theatre; at 2.30 a traditional pagan New Year’s celebration is taking place mixed with some modern frivolity.

On the 14th of January comes the celebration of the old Russian New Year, at Trafalgar square from 11am-6pm, expect Russian dancing, food and fun. The Chinese New Year begins mid February and festivities will also be taking place at Trafalgar Square to welcome in the Year of the Dog, 2006.


Author: Emily Cracknell

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