Christmas is around the corner, and the United States dollar is so strong against the Great British pound right now that it’d put a smile on even Ebeneezer Scrooge’s face. back in February 1972, spending £1 bought the Brits a whopping $2.61. Last month that same pound was only worth $1.11.
There’s never been a better time for Americans to fulfill those long-awaited dreams of spending Christmas across the pond. Not only is it a magical time of year in the UK capital, but your money will stretch far enough to truly make the most of it.
Before you book your tickets, it’s best to research exactly what to do there. Look no further. Here’s precisely how to spend a successful Christmas in London.
3 Key Reasons to Visit London at Christmas
Just because the GBP’s weak right now, doesn’t mean Christmas in London will be “cheap,” per se. In 2019, people on vacation in London forked out over GBP 8.2 billion. If you’re still unsure about spending lots of money and time on the trip, here are a few incentives that may help make up your mind:
The Festive Atmosphere
Seeing the city’s iconic landmarks and monuments lit up for the festive season is unforgettable. It’s the quintessential Christmas – exactly as you see in the movies.
Danny Newman, a digital nomad who has lived in London for three years, says, “London’s a magical place at Christmas. The city seems to transform with the festivities. If you’re going there during the holidays this year, don’t miss the market down on the South Bank. It fizzes with festive fun, teems with merrymakers, and the food is to die for.”
Visit this December, and you’ll see what he means. A frosty chill hangs in the air. Bright lights illuminate the wintery darkness, and beautiful decorations hang above famous streets. Festive music plays, and happy people sing Christmas carols while sipping mulled wine. It’s London at its very best.
The Christmas Markets and Endless Attractions
London comes alive with unique attractions in the lead-up to Christmas. The Christmas markets are chief among them – unique venues made to feel like you’re in an alpine village, full of wooden stalls selling delicious food and handmade crafts that make amazing last-minute gifts.
The Shopping and Sights
As we’ve noted, the pound is at historic lows, meaning your dollars go much further now. That’s good news considering the amount of shopping there is to do in London. Christmas sales start right after the 25th.
Christmas in London
Ready to pack your bags and book a flight? Here’s a list of activities for your “Christmas in London” itinerary that should ensure you have an incredible trip:
Enjoy The Lights
London’s so special at Christmas because beautiful light displays illuminate almost every street and building.
Explore the city on foot to see them for yourself. A few places that go above and beyond with these Christmas lights and decorations include Trafalgar Square, Regent’s Street, and Oxford Street.
See a Christmas Show
London is renowned for its shows, boasting 39 different theatres in the West End alone. Christmas is a fantastic time to book your tickets, with many musicals, plays, pantomimes, and ballet performances occurring daily.
Don’t forget about the Royal Albert Hall. This remarkable concert hall devotes its entire program in December to Christmas performances.
Visit The Markets
The Christmas markets in London are truly unmissable. There are more than ten to choose from, each with similar elements but often a very distinctive vibe.
Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is arguably the most famous, but it can also be busy and pricey. The Southbank Center Winter Market is another well-known one that offers a lovely artisan ambiance in a fantastic location. The markets at Covent Garden and Leicester Square dazzle thanks to thousands of lights and a lively atmosphere.
Go Ice Skating
Going ice skating is another classic activity to do when traveling in London during Christmas time. The rinks are temporary and artificial, but still something different and fun to do.
The tricky part’s actually deciding which rink to skate on. They’re dotted across the city, often in unique places like historical museums and squares. The most popular ones are at the Natural History Museum, Tower of London, and Somerset House. Whether you do one or all of them, you’re guaranteed a good time.
Do Some Shopping
With world-famous department stores like Selfridges, Harrods, and Fortnum & Mason to enjoy, you’d be remiss not to include shopping on your list.
These vast, historical, and luxury stores offer unique shopping experiences throughout the year, but – thanks to the festive lights, displays, and deals – they’re particularly noteworthy at Christmas. This is where the current exchange rates come in handy. Get ready to bag some bargains and make memories in the process.
Visit Kew Gardens
Founded in 1840, Kew Gardens, also known as the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, is a beautiful botanic garden in southwest London that houses over 50,000 different plants and 7 million preserved specimens.
It’s worth visiting on any trip to London, but its Christmas shows make this arguably the best time of year to come. Expect food, music, fairground rides, and sparkling light displays, complete with a synchronized sound that’ll leave you speechless.
Experience a Service at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is more than 1,000 years old, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, and one of the most incredible buildings on the planet. Steeped in history, this is where every British monarch has been crowned since William the Conqueror in 1066 and is also the final resting place of many other bygone kings and queens.
Visit at Christmas to enjoy one of the carol services open to the public. A magical experience. It’s surreal to think you’ve sat somewhere that’s been a place of worship since the 10th Century.
Have an Amazing London Christmas
London is an ancient and diverse city that welcomes almost 20 million people annually. There’s never a wrong time to visit. However, spending Christmas in London is particularly special – especially now the exchange rate is so favorable.
This post was produced by Dividend Power and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.