Other places to enjoy london at christmastime than the masstourismplaces...? | London - LikeALocal Guide

Other places to enjoy london at christmastime than the masstourismplaces...?

By Traveller December 5, 2016
London

Other places to enjoy london at christmastime than the masstourismplaces...?

(19 answers)
By An Traveller December 5, 2016

We will be in London between Christmas and Newyear. We thought it wouldn't be that busy then (maybe somewhat naive of us). However someone I know, who was there last year said that it is superbusy! Metrostations that were closed because of too many people, overcrowded shoppingmalls ... So my question: are there any places, maybe a bit away from the crowd where we can enjoy the christmas feeling in london. We travel with our 2 daughters (7 and 10). Is an hopon-hopoff bus an option (instead of metro) for traveling around in london?
Thanks!

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19 answers

Borough Market near London Bridge is busy but magical. Ice skating at Somerset House or out of town at Hampton Court ?
T
Local December 7, 2016
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Hi An!
It's really a busy time in London, but also very charming!
I would recommend you to avoid regents street and Oxford street areas as it's shopping streets and they are always full
Of people. Fulham or Earl's Court area can be a nice option for you as central London can be reached on a short ride on a bus and it's really lovely area to stay. It all depends on your budget as well, but I think staying too far away from the centre won't make sense as you will just spend too much time and money on commute. Let me know of you have any other questions
Local December 7, 2016
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Christmas time is the busiest in London and one of the most beautiful times to be in London as well. You can move around in town by bus without using the underground. The buses are coming within 5-10 minutes and in my point of view is the best way to travel around in london because it's like having a mini tour of London.
Traveller December 7, 2016
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Hi, as trains may or may not be running, it is better to get either an weekly travel card or weekly bus card. This is for 7 days. On an oyster it starts to cap after a certain price. It's at £21.20
Local Ambassador December 6, 2016
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The weekly bus card is £21.20
http://londonist.com/2016/10/things-to-do-in-london-between-christmas-and-new-year
Check out this website, some good ideas. Kew gardens is only 30 minutes from Waterloo. It really is magical.
London walks are a good thing to do. It shows you hidden bits of London that aren't too busy.
Local December 5, 2016
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http://londonist.com/2016/10/things-to-do-in-london-between-christmas-and-new-year
Check out this website.
I live not too far from Kew gardens & that is really magical. You can get the overground train from Waterloo to Kew bridge. It takes about 30 minutes.
Local December 5, 2016
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Depends where you are staying - Oxford Street; Covent Garden, Picadilly Circus, Leciester Square will be busy. But I have only seen tube stations closed either during the crush at rush hour - 7:30-9am / 5:30-6;30pm - or if there is a problem with the trains. But there re so many great Christmasy places to go in London - Spitalfields Market, Hampstead (a whole shop dedicated to fairies), Portobello Market on Fridays, Camden Market all week (crazy on weekends) or Chelsea - This is a great trip for shopping as the Kings Road, Chelsea is never as crazy as Oxford St but has all the same shops and lots more independents). The SouthBank in front of the Royal Albert Hall has a German Christmas market which will be busy but should be walking distance - most of the centre of London is within walking distance so if you get to one of the stations by train you shouldn't need to do much hopping on and off. Buses in the very centre of London tend to get snarled in traffic.

Check out the kids shows at the Unicorn Theatre https://www.unicorntheatre.com/baddies2016 for something different, it's down the river past tower bridge which is a beautiful walk, or the famous Panto at Hackney Empire https://hackneyempire.co.uk/whats-on/sleeping-beauty/, probably the best in London - now there is a trip to an unusual part of town - walk through Broadway market in London Fields if you go on a Saturday - it will be buzzing with Christmas food and atmosphere.
P
Local December 5, 2016
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Ooops sorry for multiple replies. Don't know what happened there.
Traveller December 5, 2016
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Hop on, hop off is certainly an option but you'll also find it just as easy and probably see as much if you buy an Oyster card and use the regular bus service. Richmond is a pretty place and you can walk through the deer park there. A train trip will take you all the way to Epping Forest which is another lovely area. Greenwich is a nice part of London and there is a fan museum there which is an interesting place to visit, however I'm not sure of opening times over the holiday period so best to check that out. Hampstead Heath and Highgate are also nice places to check out and not too far from central London. What might be interesting is to go to Golders Green, where there is a strong orthodox Jewish community to compare how much the season is celebrated there. Also some excellent kosher cafes and restaurants.
Traveller December 5, 2016
Reply
Hop on, hop off is certainly an option but you'll also find it just as easy and probably see as much if you buy an Oyster card and use the regular bus service. Richmond is a pretty place and you can walk through the deer park there. A train trip will take you all the way to Epping Forest which is another lovely area. Greenwich is a nice part of London and there is a fan museum there which is an interesting place to visit, however I'm not sure of opening times over the holiday period so best to check that out. Hampstead Heath and Highgate are also nice places to check out and not too far from central London. What might be interesting is to go to Golders Green, where there is a strong orthodox Jewish community to compare how much the season is celebrated there. Also some excellent kosher cafes and restaurants.
Traveller December 5, 2016
Reply
Hop on, hop off is certainly an option but you'll also find it just as easy and probably see as much if you buy an Oyster card and use the regular bus service. Richmond is a pretty place and you can walk through the deer park there. A train trip will take you all the way to Epping Forest which is another lovely area. Greenwich is a nice part of London and there is a fan museum there which is an interesting place to visit, however I'm not sure of opening times over the holiday period so best to check that out. Hampstead Heath and Highgate are also nice places to check out and not too far from central London. What might be interesting is to go to Golders Green, where there is a strong orthodox Jewish community to compare how much the season is celebrated there. Also some excellent kosher cafes and restaurants.
Traveller December 5, 2016
Reply
Hi An,
I wouldn't really recommend buses in central London as they traffic can be pretty bad and you will waste a lot of time, and hop on/off bus is also not ideal for regular travel.
You can go to the theatre, there are plenty of plays around Christmas time which are suitable for younger children. For example Shakespeare Globe Theatre (great attraction in its own right) is showing H.C. Andersen's The Little Match Girl all throughout December. Nearby outside the Tate Modern there is a nice Christmas Market. Another nice one is on the South Bank in central London.
Kew Gardens always does a Christmas light trail - there are also stalls and fairground rides for the children. As Kew Gardens entrance is paid, the crowds are usually smaller than free events in the centre.
There are also a lot of carol concerts in the city, both free and paid as well as some lovely ice rinks (outside Natural History Museum and at the Somerset House are my 2 favourite).
There is no getting away from the fact that London is very busy all year round including December but tube stations closing due to overcrowding only ever happens during commuter rush hour or late at night on weekends in Covent Garden / Leicester Square area so I wouldn't be too concerned. Shopping centres will also be busy but as I mentioned before there a lots of nice things you can do in London instead of staying in an indoor shopping mall.

I'm sure you and your family will have a lovely time!.

Best,
Dominika
Local December 5, 2016
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Go off the beaten path!

There is a wonderful Xmas market in Greenwich (still zone 2) which is not as popular with tourists as WinterWonderland and Southbank Xmas market.

There is also a really nice atmosphere and decorations in Camden, and a little market there too.
Here are some tips http://blog.cityunscripted.com/the-best-christmas-shopping-in-london-paris-and-barcelona-recommended-by-locals

...and many more on our blog!
Local December 5, 2016
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London Bridge Market is lovely and will still be running when you're visiting. (http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/london-bridge-city-christmas-market#tab_panel_3) I shouldn't think it'll be as busy after Christmas, and the London Bridge area is very nice to explore. Perhaps Borough market would be nice for Christmas foods around that time too, and that is very close to each other. A lot of the actual Christmas stuff will be closed down by the 25th, so it might not be as busy, but I'd definitely try to avoid shopping areas like Covent Garden and the West End (Oxford Street etc) as the sales begin boxing day! Buses are definitely an option, I often travel by bus to avoid people traffic, but then you have to deal with car traffic.
Local December 5, 2016
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Borough Market is a great place to explore if you're a foody. Also nearby is Cross Bones cemetery on Redcross Way, which is where prostitutes were buried in the Middle Ages because their profession barred them from being buried on hallowed ground despite the fact that the revenue from the "stews" as brothels were known went into the pockets of the Bishop of Winchester. A little further down Redcross Way are the Red Cross l gardens and some of the first social housing in London. A tribute to the philanthropist and social reformer Octavia Hill. There is a playground there too which your children might enjoy .http://www.bost.org.uk/open-places/red-cross-garden/
Gwen Traveller December 5, 2016
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All of the markets are to die for!!! I would recommend Columbia Road Flower Market (only open Sunday mornings 8am-12) as it has SUPER great Christmas vibes.
Local Ambassador August 11, 2018
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sadlers wells little match girl performance is special and great for all ages altho aimed at children. it's only about an hour or so and is so lovely. and take your girls to a pantomime!! I like the hackney empire.
Local November 10, 2017
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I absolutely love Marylebone high street at Christmas. start at Marylebone road. make sure you go to daunt books, also the fromagerie on moxon street. explore. if you time it right, the lights will come on and it's magical.
if you have weekend time, I recommend Broadway market in Hackney (London fields overground) and columbia road flower market which is outstanding at Christmas time. one more must for me is the geffrye museum (Kingsland rd, hoxton overground or old street underground) for the beautiful Christmas rooms on display.
Local November 10, 2017
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Go to see the xmas display at Dennis severs house. Pricey but it will restore your faith in xmas. You need to book well in advance. Keep checking the website for tickets.
Local May 15, 2017
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Hi,
Assuming your doing the tourist thing tale a look at https://www.theoriginaltour.com/p/tickets/the-original-tour/ - a great way to sight see; I have dome this myself in London (my home city) as well as in San Francisco. Not the cheapest option but I'm told there are currently some deals available.
R
Local December 5, 2016
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