Nowhere does Christmas quite like London. From thetraditional Norwegian tree decorating Trafalgar Square, to charming outdoor icerinks and candlelit carol concerts, there’s something for every taste.
We’ve rounded up some of the most romantic festive dates thecapital has to offer.
Ice skating at the Natural History Museum
Outdoor ice rinks have become synonymous with Christmas in the capital, with more and more popping up at wonderful locations around London (Hyde Park, Somerset House, Canary Wharf, London Eye and Hampton Court Palace to name a few). One of our favourites has just opened at the Natural Histor yMuseum. There’s a separate beginners’ rink and a larger one for budding Torvills and Deans. And the intoxicating combination of amazing rink-side hot chocolate, the infinite charm of this area of South Kensington, and the proximity of the dinosaur hall on the other side of the museum doors, makes this a classic Christmas date for festive romantics. www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/ice-rink/
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
To say there’s something for everyone at this lollapalooza of a Christmas event, is putting it mildly! This year’s pop-up theme park houses a circus, ice sculpture gallery, roller coaster, Ferris wheel, the largest ice rink in the UK, Santa’s grotto, artisan Christmas market, ice bars, and more mulled wine than you can shake a sprig of mistletoe at. By day or night, this is a hugely fun (and free) event that will make for an unforgettable date. www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Southbank Christmas Festival
There’s always a million and one things going on on London’s Southbank, and December is no exception. For an eclectic date, get lost in the glowing Christmas tree maze (see picture below) before sampling some festive delights in the festive food market. There’s also a fantastic programme ofevents, including circus, stand-up comedy and live carol concerts, as well as free outdoor art installations. Evenings are best for taking in the spectacular light shows from the cider lodge’s neighbouring viewing platform. www.southbankcentre.co.uk/winter
Christmas At Kew Gardens
Spectacularly beautiful at any time of year, Kew Gardens is bringing Christmas 2014 in a major way. Guided by sparkling giant snowflakes (see video), you’ll follow an illuminated trail of glittering festive lights around the botanical gardens. Aside from that you can fill up on pulled pork, mulled wine, spiced cider, mince pies and roasted chestnuts, indulge your inner child with a spin on the traditional carousel, and roast a marshmallow or two on the fire. All the usual highlights – from the Palm House to the Princess of Wales conservatory have been given a dusting of Christmas magic by renowned lighting artists. www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/christmas-at-kew-2014
Main image: © TheTrustees of the Natural History Museum, London