Why Visiting London Should Be Top of Your Festive Bucket List
Let’s be honest; in spite of the busy streets and pricey nature of the city, the Christmas shopping and attractions make this the ultimate travel experience for the festive season. In fact, this is possibly the most colourful and fun city to explore during the run up to Christmas, full stop.
But what exactly makes London so appealing at this time of year?
Let’s take a look at five reasons why London should be top of your bucket list for the festive season:
1) LONDON IS EVERY SHOPPERS PARADISE DURING THE FESTIVE SEASON
As you may know, London is world famous for shopping high streets, designer stores and bustling markets. Prices may be a little on the high side in places but the truth is, bargains are common and there is always something for every budget.
For many people, Mayfair and London Designer Outlet are great spots to check out the latest luxury clothing while Covent Garden has everything from craft shops and department stores to the most fantastic Santa’s Grotto! That being said, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street and Carnaby Street usually take centre stage at this time of year. That is to say, large numbers of locals and tourists gather in these areas to experience the festive atmosphere and enjoy easy access to many of the best stores in London. As you can imagine, shopping in London never fails to disappoint and this is certainly true when the festive season comes around.
2) YOU CAN GRAB A CHRISTMAS JUMPER FOR THE COLD SOUTH AFRICAN WINTER
Christmas Jumpers were somewhat of a fad just a few years ago but today, this is a must-have accessory for the festive season. In case you might be asking yourself, Christmas Jumpers are a big deal in the UK. Quite often, relatives will buy these jumpers as gifts for each other but nonetheless, everyone wears them! In fact, when you visit London, this is not only a great way to join in with the festive cheer but also an ideal way to ward off the cold London weather. Needless to say, this same Christmas Jumper will also provide a little more colour and warmth for when you come back to the South African Winter.
3) WINTER WONDERLAND IS THE ULTIMATE FESTIVE EXPERIENCE
Taking a trip to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is one thing you absolutely must do during the festive season in London. In fact this is probably the biggest Christmas attraction in London with endless attractions including theme park rides, live music, festive markets, an ice statue kingdom, and the largest ice skating rink in the UK. As if that’s not enough, you will also find endless places to enjoy some mulled wine and sample traditional European food such as grilled salmon, mushy peas and even bratwurst. If you’re lucky enough to arrive during a snowy period, this is arguably one of the most memorable experiences that you can find in London during Christmas.
4) CHRISTMAS LUNCH ONBOARD THE STEAM OPERATED BELMOND BRITISH PULLMAN!
Speaking of food, the Steam Operated Belmond British Pullman is by far the most unique place to eat during the festive period in London. In case you might not know, the Pullman is a world-famous steam train that still features all the glam and class of 1920’s train travel. What’s more, the Belmond British Pullman allows guests to dine in style while travelling through some of the most iconic British countryside.
You might think that the romance of a steam engine trip would be the highlight of this festive experience but the truth is, the food is nothing short of sublime. In fact, you can enjoy a full five-course meal on the train and simply put, the food experience more than lives up to the reputation.
5) THE COLOURFUL WEST END AND THE VIBRANT NIGHTLIFE IN LONDON
It’s true, there are just so many things to do during the day in London and choosing between them is never easy. Likewise, you should know that the options regarding London nightlife is just as impressive.
For example, Soho is a lively district in London where hidden bars and trendy hangouts are just as common as houses. One such hangout is the Cahoots Tube Station, where sparkling cocktails are served in a post-war 1940’s train station. That being said, this quirky side of the city is evident throughout the London nightlife and there’s simply no end of bars, events and live venues to check out.
On the other hand, London is also famous for the “West End” where the most spectacular shows take place. During Christmas, you can even enjoy Snow White at The London Palladium and given that the pantomime is typically a British affair, this is yet another unique way to experience the capital.
HOW TO GET TO / FROM LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT
When you touch down in London, you might be tempted by the famous black taxi cabs waiting outside. However, the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to get into the city from Heathrow Airport can be found in the Heathrow Express. This comfortable train runs frequently and can help you avoid the traffic congestion that often builds up around this incredibly busy city.
THE OYSTER CARD
Have you heard about the Oyster Card? This is the easiest and most affordable way to get around London and allows the card holder to use various modes of transport including all suburban trains in the City Centre (Zones 1 – 9).
RECOMMENDED HOTELS IN LONDON
As for where to stay, there are just so many fantastic hotels in London. As always, location will often decide the cost but the standard of these hotels is always exceptionally highly.
Here’s just a few of the best hotels in London for the festive season:
Amba Hotel Marble Arch
In spite of the 1930’s facade, this hotel features a beautifully modern interior with luxury furnishings and attention to detail throughout. In terms of the sleeping quarters, the facilities are just as impressive with smart television, espresso machines and mini-bars in every room. Situated on Oxford Street, the busiest street in London, the location is perfect for shopping and offers the perfect base for exploring London on foot.
Amba Hotel Charing Cross
The Amba Hotel Charing Cross is situated inside a 150 year old Victorian building that was once a railway station. You will find all the latest technology here and a very friendly lineup of staff but once again, the central location, just steps from Trafalgar Square makes it so much easier to explore the city. You will also find a bar, gym, garden terraces and an excellent restaurant which add a wonderful touch to what is certainly one of the best hotels in London.
Amba Hotels are United Europe’s preferred choices as their location, comfort and budget range are unbeatable.
There are a myriad of alternative hotels catering for all budgets and specific locations, all bookable through United Europe.
GETTING EVERYTHING BOOKED
As the leading travel wholesaler for packages to London from South Africa, United Europe is always at hand to help you organise your festive travel arrangements. Whether you yearn for a luxury stay or something more frugal, we have many options that can help you turn a festive time into an unforgettable Christmas.
As you can see, London is such a vibrant and interesting place to visit during the festive season. With endless things to do during the day and such a colourful nightlife, this is also one of the more “complete” travel destinations that has something for everyone, at every time of the day.
Either way, are you ready to pull on the Christmas Jumper and join in with the festive cheer?
Get in touch and let’s make it happen!