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Fantasy London Christmas #BriFri

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

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Last week, I learned about past and present Doctor Who Christmas Specials. Sim learned about her family’s British history, particularly a great-grandfather who died in The Great War. Heather reviewed the book Only Ever Yours and Becky reviewed Doomsday Book. Tina wrapped up her British Books Challenge for 2015.

A friend on Facebook asked how her friends would spend Christmas given any opportunity. My short comment morphed, in this post, to full-blown fantasy. I’m spending Christmas week in London and you’re all invited to join me on my trip!

Hotel. Since money is no object, we’ll stay at Claridge’s because they clearly love Christmas. Check out their Festive Hub for all the special seasonal offerings.

Sunday. December 20. Sim already reported on the Christmas activities at Kew Gardens, so we’ll start with a day and evening to explore there.

Monday. December 21.

  • 12:30pm. Christmas Tea at One Aldwych Hotel, with a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theme. Mmmm — gingerbread!
  • Browse Covent Garden, with delightful decorations and shops — some that we’d find in any mall in the US and others that are unique
  • 8:45pm. Love Actually at the Prince Charles Cinema near Leicester Square, mulled wine and mince pie included

Tuesday. December 22.

Claridge’s is a few blocks from Hyde Park, so we’ll check out what’s on offer there. It looks to me like a cross between a Christmas market and a carnival midway — Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.

6:30pm. A Christmas Carol performed at Charles Dickens house. We’re book people — how could we skip this?

Wednesday. December 23.

  • 12:30 – 2:00pm. Borough Market for browsing, lunch, and listening to the Spiral Saxophone Quartet
  • Walk along the Thames (hop a bus or Tube if we get tired)
  • 4:00pm. Festive Family Carols by Candlelight at St. Martin-in-the-Fields
  • Check out the tree and carolers in Trafalgar Square
Christmas Tree, Trafalgar Square, London
The Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square has been donated by the people of Norway every year since 1947, in gratitude to the British people for their role in World War II.

Thursday. December 24, Christmas Eve.

Victoria & Albert Museum. We’ll check out this year’s tree installation, Kalpataru, a fantastical wishing tree inspired by Indian mythology. While there, since I know Becky likes Beatrix Potter, we’ll take a look at the new exhibit in Gallery 102: The Tale of Beatrix Potter and Ernest Aris.

Swarovski Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum. Skating rinks pop up all over London in December. I skated when I was younger, but I try to avoid falls these days. I’m intrigued, however, by the photographic opportunities where twinkling trees and the beautiful museum building provide a stunning setting for skaters.

Skating at the Natural History Museum, London
We can have lunch in the Café Bar overlooking the rink, whether we skate or not.

After lunch, we’ll walk or take the Tube to Harrod’s Food Halls. I know they will be crowded, but we’ll enjoy the bustle and the decorations while picking up some treats for our Christmas Day. We’ll be back at Claridge’s by 6:30 to hear the Christmas stories.

We’ll end Christmas Eve with a walk on Bond Street to admire the lights.

Friday. December 25, Christmas Day.

There is no public transportation and very few restaurants open on Christmas Day in London. Fortunately, we’ll be able to make do with what’s in and around Claridge’s.

Claridge’s will see that Father Christmas finds us, so we’ll each have a stocking to open on Christmas Morning. They will also take us on horse-drawn carriage rides around Mayfair and serve us Christmas lunch.

Every person in the country (at least, that’s my fantasy) will stop to hear the Queen’s Christmas Broadcast at 3pm.

I don’t know what you all will be doing at 5:15, but Heather and I will be watching the Doctor Who Christmas Special while enjoying the snacks we picked up on Christmas Eve at Harrod’s.

Saturday. December 26, Boxing Day.

Our Claridge’s Christmas package ends with a Boxing Day breakfast.

Of course, we can’t leave London at Christmas without seeing a Panto, since I got so excited about it while reading That’s Not English by Erin Moore. To fit the theme of the week, I decided on a Panto set in London, Dick Whittington and His Cat, showing at Wilton’s Theater in the East End at 2pm.

Did you enjoy our trip? Fantasy travel has a lot of advantages. No jet lag. No sold-out shows. Everything’s free. Nothing has calories. I may indulge in this more often!

Happy Christmas to all! God bless us every one.

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