In our household we like to make the most of the festive season. Our Christmas tree goes up on the first weekend of December as well as the house decorations. This year we got our tree through Fantastic Services for the first time. As well as sorting out your Christmas tree, the website offers an array of home services from cleaning to plumbing and pest control – all available within London.
The tree arrived promptly at our allowed time slot and placed inside our house with a brilliant stand which we can top up with water to keep the tree looking fresh. It smells amazing with the Christmas scents permeating through the house. Mrs T is certainly very happy with it!
Fantastic services will even decorate it for you if you so wish. For us, that’s the best bit! It may not look as perfect but I think it adds character, don’t you? Each decoration has a story to it. Over the years we’ve collected quite a selection: some homemade, some presents and plenty bought during our visits overseas such as the Christmas markets in Bruges and Copenhagen.
Fantastic services will also dispose of your tree when Christmas is over. It has been a great find and we are very happy with our twinkling tree. Now we’re all set for Christmas, how else to we get in the Christmassy mood here in London? Here’s a bit of inspiration.
At the weekend we braved shopping in Kingston-upon-Thames which also has a children’s literary festival going on. It was busy – and with two children in tow – certainly had its moments. Fortunately, the London suburb has some funfair rides in its Candy Cane Forest which kept my daughter entertained. It also had a Christmas market with alpine huts and mulled wine.
There’s Christmas Markets all over London, from Greenwich to London Bridge and the Southbank where wooden huts line the River Thames. There’s always a carousel as well as magical festive shows on at the Southbank centre.
Oxford Christmas Lights
Seeing the Oxford Street Christmas lights is a must. My daughters adore viewing them, sparkling in the night air. On a recent trip to the famous London shopping street, we emerged from the underground to see the lights and some flakes of snow. They were coming from some machine at the top of the Topshop building. My daughter was delighted!
It’s also free – unless you actually going shopping – in which case it can be an expensive affair. Fellow blogger Nell at Pigeon Pair and Me has detailed some other ways to enjoy the London festive events for free.
Last week we wandered the upmarket festive streets of Belgavia to Father Christmas’ London residence. It was one of the poshest Santa’s grotto’s I’ve been to before and the girls loved the experience, which you can read about here.
Ting at My Travel Monkey has also found Father Christmas residing at Battersea Park Zoo. Just one of her top activities to do with kids during Christmas time in London. I’ve also heard that Santa is at the Museum of London this year. The museum is also doing a Victorian walk, transporting you back in time.
There’s no shortage of ice rinks which pop up in some of London’s most historic buildings during the winter. The Tower of London, Somerset House and the Natural History Museum are all turned into a winter ice scenes. Cathy at MummyTravels visited the rink at Hampton Court Palace with her five-year-old daughter. You can watch how she got on here.
One of London’s top festive attractions is Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. It is packed with activities for kids. There’s a Magical Ice Kingdom, Zippos’ circus as well as food stalls and fairground rides. Find out how Lisa from Travel Loving Family got on when she visited with her two sons.
We love a good theatre show and it always gets us in the festive spirit. In previous years we’ve been to see the very Hungry Caterpillar, Stick Man and the Gruffalo.
This year we have the pantomine lined up with grandparents (oh no you don’t!). I’ve also been very tempted by these family theatre shows by Nell at Pigeon Pair and Me as well as Cultural Wednesday’s theatre trip to see Rhys Ifans in A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic.
Best of the rest
London is bursting at the seams with Christmas events for families, I particularly like one of Globalmouse Travels’ top picks, a huskey ride at the Wetland Centre in Barnes! How cool is that? Check out what Gretta at Mums Do Travel suggests for her London favourites too. They include Kew at Christmas and Howarts in the Snow – surely a must for any Harry Potter fan?
London is a magical place at Christmas – and plenty of family-friendly activities to keep the festivities going right into the new year.
What do you like to see and do in London during the festive season?
*Fantastic services provided us with a complimentary tree in return for a review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.