The ‘NutCracker’ and ‘Carols by Candlelight’
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without ‘The Nutcracker’, Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet composition. Join young Clara’s magical night of dancing toy soldiers, sugar plum fairies, and the growing Christmas tree at the Royal Opera House or other productions by the English National Ballet. With the ballet group celebrating their 120th anniversary, makes it the perfect time!
If this doesn’t get you in the festive mood, the Carols at the Royal Albert Hall unquestionably will. The Mozart Festival Orchestra perform traditional Carols in dazzling Victorian costumes from 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' to 'Silent Night'.
Check out the Pantos!
Pantomime or ‘Panto’ is as much an ingredient of the Christmas ritual as Turkeys and Christmas trees. Characteristically based on fairy tales, they date back to the 1800’s. Traditional ‘pantos’ include comedy, magic, singing, and dancing. The fun part is audience participation. Some of the pantos you might consider are 'Peter Pan' at the Richmond Theatre, Jack and the Beanstalk' at the Lyric Hammersmith and 'Cinderella' at The Saw Theatre and many more.
Indulge in the quintessential British traditions
'High Tea' is one of the most quintessential British traditions. Afternoon tea became quite fashionable in the 1880’s when high society ladies would change into long gowns, hats, and gloves to enjoy tea served in their living room around 4pm. I don’t suggest donning the garb (that would just be odd!). However, I do highly recommend trying out a Devonshire Cream Tea, which comes with scones, jam, and clotted cream. Try not to have a full blown row with the English about which comes first, the jam or cream. The result will be pretty similar to the age old chicken and egg debate plus miffing the locals! There are many places to experience this tradition during the holiday season. You could try Claridges, The Dorchester, The Ritz, The Savoy, or even Harrods.
Feel the holiday vibes with the locals and visit some of the Christmas markets. Try the 'Cabbages and Frock' market at St Marylebone's Parish Church. Contrary to what you might imagine, you will find an array of designer goodies ranging from Italian cashmere to cupcakes set in beautiful surroundings.
In addition to the traditional Real Food Christmas market, the Southbank has the famous German Christmas market that I personally love with Glühwein (mulled wine), Bratwurst (German sausages), and ginger bread sold from the alluring German-style wooden huts alongside the river (between the Southbank and London bridge).
Winter Wonderland Indeed!
This is an annual spectacle in Hyde Park, which has become a fixture during the festive season. Glide through one of the largest ice rinks in London, set around the Victorian bandstand lit with 100,000 lights. The experience doesn’t end there. The ‘Cirque Beserk’ is a modern-day circus with all the thrill of high wires, knife-throwing, fire, and unique characters. Add a dash of luxury by availing the private VIP box and some bubbly.
Enter the Magical Ice Kingdom and surround yourself with a breathtaking experience made out of over 200 tons of ice and snow. Meet Santa himself at his workshop with his hard working elves or take a ride on the Santa Express. This is a perfect treat for the little ones.
Romance on the Wheel
I wanted to save my favourite for last. The Giant Observation Wheel gives you the most stunning view of the vicinity. Infuse a little romance if you are with your loved one. Share a bottle of champagne or more as you soar 60 metres into the sky.
Do take a breather and enjoy hundreds of stalls displaying clothes, handicraft, accessories, and scrumptious eateries during your stroll through Hyde Park.
Travel tip shared by Pooja