History at The Athenaeum : Dawn Geddes
This months Mayfair Insider series features Freelance Journalist Dawn Geddes, who tells of her family stay at The Athenaeum
15th July 2019
Each year, a huge swathe of Hyde Park is transformed into a large German Christmas market, plus rides, entertainment and shopping opportunities aplenty. This year Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is open from 22 November 2019 until 6 January 2020, bringing six weeks of winter festivities.
Although Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is London’s Christmas market on a large scale, there are many other popular Christmas markets in the city too. These include the Southbank Centre Winter Festival, Christmas Market Winterville and Christmas by the River at London Bridge. On an even smaller scale is the enchanting Novikov’s Mayfair Christmas Market.
A centre of many festivities in London, Trafalgar Square lights up each Christmas with a huge Christmas tree donated to Britain from Norway taking centre stage. The Christmas tree’s lights are usually turned on during the first week of December.
London’s streets glisten and gleam each Christmas with ever more creative Christmas lights adorning the roads each year. A focal point of London’s Christmas lights is on the city’s main shopping street – Oxford Street – which are usually switched on by a celebrity in November.
Christmas is a time when ice rinks pop up at spots across the city for people to get involved in a festive pastime. Popular locations for ice skating are the Natural History Museum, Somerset House, Winter Wonderland and the Tower of London. There’s more than ice skating going on at these venues too, with mulled wine and spiced hot chocolate available in abundance.
A great British tradition across the country, Christmas is a time when slapstick fun and traditional tales combine at pantomime performances. This year Goldilocks and the Three Bears will be on at the London Palladium from 7 December 2019 to 12 January 2020. A Christmas Carol will also be on at The Old Vic until 18 January 2020, while the Broadway musical Elf – A Christmas Spectacular will be showing at Wembley for two nights only on 21 and 22 December. Ice skating and children’s theatre combine just after Christmas too, with Disney on Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic showing at the O2 Arena from 26 December 2019 to 5 January 2020. A new version of A Christmas Carol will be on at Wilton’s Music Hall this Christmas too, complete with a female Scrooge!
London comes alive with music at Christmas, with traditional carol concerts in particular taking place across the city. Find music on a large scale at spots such as the Royal Albert Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral and St Martin-in-the-Fields, or more intimate performances in Trafalgar Square, The Scoop and St John’s Smith Square.
As well as dazzling Christmas lights to be found along many London streets, some of the city’s outdoor spaces put on incredible light shows too. Kew Gardens is a particular favourite, with illuminated buildings and plants giving an enchanting Christmas atmosphere.
Harry Potter fans have all their Christmases at once if they manage to get their hands on tickets for Hogwarts in the Snow! Taking place each year at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter, Hogwarts in the Snow sees sets from the films recreated with some extra festive magic. Visit the Great Hall decked out for the Yule Ball, see the Gryffindor common room sparkling for the season, and watch some filmmaking snow fall on Hogwarts Castle. This experience runs from 16 November 2019 until 26 January 2020.
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