Nancy Merrill Photography challenge this week is Reflection so in keeping with the season, though it’s not a travel photo, here’s my take.
So far, London is my favourite city. It’s probably obvious considering that I’ve been there over a dozen times. With my fiance living in Manchester, we often take the opportunity to go “down south” to London or stop over on the way back from somewhere else. Even before I met him, I had been to this world class capitol city a handful of times. As I blogged the other day, I’ve not been in London during the Christmas season too often, just a couple of times.
One of these years, that’s going to change. Currently, I get a monthly newsletter from the official London tourist website, Londontown.com and this month, it’s about fab things to do in London over the holidays, as you would expect, and there really are a lot of things to do, many of them free.
Skating in London has always been popular. There’s always been outdoord skating at Somerset House on the Thames/Strand but did you know there are also outdoor rinks at Alexandra Palace, Hampton Court, Canary Wharf and beneat the London Eye, just to name a few?
There are Christmas markets, which would certainly be a draw for me! There are the big ones in Covent Garden and on the Southbank Centre and Hyde Park has a huge Winter Wonderland with markets, skating and events. But you know, sometimes the smaller ones are even better. I see there’s one in the Chelsea Physic Garden and I bet that would be really special.
There are special West End shows and I’d also be taking in one or two of them! It’s not all family friendly, though. I see something called Grotto Outre which looks to be a club or some kind of week long event party for adults only. I have a feeling I’m probably a bit long in the tooth for that! It would definitely be different! I think probably Alice in Wonderland would be more my speed after all but there’s a huge list of theatre, dance and other shows.
Back to traditions, though. The cathedrals and churches have choirs and carol singing. The shops and streets of London are decorated and lit up. Shopping, oh yes, the shopping is epic if you can handle the crowds. Smaller shops and neighbourhoods might be a better bet than Oxford Street or King’s Row and you’ve got a better chance of getting something made locally or something unique.
Does all this sound like a tourist advertisement? Yeah, pretty much. But, loving London as much as I do, I could spend hours on the Londontown Christmas website making lists of things I’d love to do if I had the chance to spend a week in London in December and one day, I am determined to do it.
Actually, I haven’t traveled around this time of year very often. It’s usually expensive and the weather is unpredictable. Ten years ago, I arranged to fly to Manchester a couple of days after Christmas and a snowstorm cancelled the flight. I couldn’t get out for two more days but at least I got there a day or two before New Year’s Eve.
I’ve also done a bit of traveling in November now and then. Sometimes I’m lucky enough that the Christmas decorations have started to go up though normally, I think that’s just a bit too early for it! Still, I thought I’d post a few photos that I do have from my few sojourns, mostly from November visits.
The Manchester town hall always has an oversized Santa. This is a newish one that they put up a few years ago. Locals were dismayed that the old style Santa was gone and don’t really like this new, stylized version. He lights up with glitter after dark. From Mid November on the city centre has a few blocks chock full of the Christmas Markets
Halifax’s Christmas tree, in the Grand Parade square.