For sure, the Chelsea district of London comes alive with elegant light and vibrant colour in the run up to Christmas, but to be honest, so too does practically every other area in the capital. Indeed, if you’re coming to the city this month – especially if you’re staying in one of the romantic hotels London – you might want to pay one of these Christmas events and attraction-packed festivals a visit…
Hospice UK Christmas Carol Service
(St. Luke’s Church, Sydney Street SW3 6NH; 19th December)
Let’s face it; it doesn’t get more festive than a traditional Christmas carol concert. And, should you feel in the mood for harking the herald angels sing, then this one (in aid of the charity Hospice UK) looks to be a fine one, given it’ll be attended not just by celebrity readers, but also renowned opera singer David Webb, who’ll be on hand to perform a traditional tune or two. And, should that not be enough to entice you and yours, the oh-so traditional combo that’s mulled wine and mince pies’ll also be served to all attendees.
Christmas in Leicester Square
(Leicester Square WC2/ 10th November 2017-6th January 2018)
Possibly London’s most famous of all piazzas, Leicester Square’s the public space that’s home to Nelson’s Column, those four bronze lions, the National Gallery and, right now, a cornucopia of Christmasness. First of all, there’s the giant Christmas tree, of course (there’s been one erected here – donated by the people of Norway, as thanks for the UK’s role in the Second World War – every year for decades), but there’s also a fully-blown festival this winter. Dominated by an excellent Christmas market with street-food stalls and yule-related goodies, you’ll also discover a temporary performance arena (the ‘Spiegelstage’), which is putting on seasonal showcases every day. Oh, and, naturally, the kids can meet Father Christmas here too!
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
(Hyde Park W2 4RU/ open 10am-late; until 1st January 2018)
Over the few short years, it’s been around, this giant seasonal festival has established itself the daddy of Christmas attractions. Its features are many and various – the biggest open-air ice-rink in the UK; two dynamic bars (Bar Ice and Bar Hütte); two separate circuses (Zippo’s Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk); family-friendly festive shows (Cinderella on Ice and The Sooty Christmas Show); an ice-sculpture zone (Magic Ice Kingdom’s Deep Sea Adventure) and a multitude of Christmas market stalls and fairground rides, including an enormous, 60-metre- tall observation wheel.
Portobello Winter Festival
(Portobello Road W11 1LJ; 9th-10th December)
If all the above traditional Christmas ‘fare’ isn’t exactly your sort of thing, why not opt for an alternative take on the seasonal festival? The Portobello Winter Festival which, taking place on Portobello Green (at the heart of Central/ West London’s Afro-Caribbean cultural identity) and so not far at all away from the hotel San Domenico House, is the event to go for should you fancy catching some summery calypso rhythms, rum shacks and vibrant choirs in the run up to Christmas.
Once Upon a Snowflake
(Chelsea Theatre, 7 World’s End Place, King’s Road SW10 0DR; 30th November-22nd December)
Finally, don’t be thinking this seasonal show at the great venue that’s Chelsea Theatre is one for the kids alone, as reviews exclaim it’s the five-star-rated Christmas show to ‘definitely … drag the parents to!’. Mounted by theatre company Paper Balloon, it promises a brilliant blend of shadow puppetry, storytelling and original songs in a musical play full of magic, winter sprites and, yes, snowflakes. It’s suitable for audiences aged three-years-old and up.