With the holidays fast approaching, travelers to London are spoiled for choice of interesting ways to spend a few hours. The Christmas lights are up and on in most areas, holiday markets are here, festive afternoon teas are on and we’ve also sussed out fun under-the-radar workshops. The countdown to Christmas has officially begun!
See the Christmas lights: An exciting new display on Oxford Street of 27 giant energy-efficient LED screens with holiday images will light the length of London’s busiest shopping street starting November 21, the rest are already lit. Nearby, Carnaby Street also has an environmental angle in collaboration with ocean conservation charity Project ZERO, this year's light installation has an aquatic theme and is sustainable with every element using recycled, repurposed or reusable materials including water-based, eco-friendly, vegan paint. Other top picks: Marylebone Village, Covent Garden and Coal Drops Yard in Kings Cross.
This year, holiday markets have a green theme, too. The top eco-friendly market is London's Zero Waste Christmas Market on December 7 with 50 ethical traders offering up zero-waste, plastic-free, sustainable and vegan-friendly wares, as well as vegan food and mulled wine. Etsy is also hosting a London-made market on December 7 in North London, and, through November and December, you can find hand-made crafts and independent designers at Urban Makers. In Central London, we love Canopy Market in Kings Cross, the picturesque Christmas by the River, where twinkly Aspen-style cabins sit beneath London Bridge and Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park (which also has a fun amusement park and ice skating).
Our best under-the-radar find: New holiday themed workshops at Notting Hill’s most charming cafe, The Tin Shed, on December 2 they are holding a Christmas Cracker workshop, where you enjoy Prosecco and mince pies while making these traditional gifts and on December 6 they are holding a wreath-making workshop. Booking essential, email Patrick Cadell [email protected]inandgarden.com
After you’ve seen the lights, shopped and workshopped, there’s no better respite than a festive tea. Not far from Oxford Street and Selfridges, we love the holiday tea menu and set up at The Dorchester, where you can see the magical gingerbread replica of the hotel; and about two blocks from Harrods is the intimate Egerton House Hotel, where they’re serving up stollen, mince pies and gingerbread as part of full tea service. Near Hyde Park Corner and Piccadilly, there’s live festive music at The Lanesborough, and for fashionistas, The Berkeley’s Pret-a-Portea has cakes and cookies inspired by the current catwalk looks (during the holidays mulled wine is added to the menu!) and it happens to be one block from designer emporium Harvey Nichols. The hotel also has a cozy winter rooftop cinema.