Let me take you to London at Christmas time. It's not this year's Christmas, but Christmas all the same. I will show you my photograph album of pictures which I took at the end of 2007. There was no snow that winter and I didn't have my camera with me all the time, but I took a few and I guess they might give you an idea of what the Christmas time in London is like.
You will not find classic photos of London. There will be no sights or monuments. I decided to show you pictures connected with Christmas time since Christmas is just around the corner.
If you find the photographs too small, you can click on any of them and they will pop out larger in a new window.
So sit back, relax and indulge in the Christmas spirit.
Let's start in Oxford Street, which is probably the longest shopping street in the world. You can buy there virtually anything and there are also many department stores, such as Marks and Spencer, Debenhams 'debənəmz , John Lewis, BHS or Next. There is also Selfridges, which is (together with Harrods) the most expensive department store in London.
You can see red double-deckers in both pictures, which are world-famous London buses.
The yellow lights, which you can see on the left, are covering Debenhams department store, which is usually best decorated. The main shop window, facing Oxfrod Street, always has something very special. Back in 2007 there was an installation of 'Santa's little helpers', which was basically dozens of different teddy bears and other toys constantly moving and 'helping' Santa prepare the Christmas decorations of the shop window.
You can see a few pictures below, but since photographs are static, you will not probably enjoy it as much as the real thing.
Why don't you go to this link on youtube.com? You can see all the toys moving. I'm sure you will find more videos of the same shop window there.
As I read in local papers back in 2007, it all started that year and the store was inspired by Parisian shop windows. You can read an article about the event here.
Let's move on. Look at the following two pictures:
No, these are not photos of someone's living room. This is actually another shop window. And it's still Debenhams, this time from the back. If you don't believe me, you can find the proof here.
Oxford Street is, of course, not the only street with elaborate holiday decorations. There are many others. Virtually every single street has some kind of Christmas decoration.
This is Carnaby Street in Soho, for example. Do you remember making these paper chains for your Christmas tree when you were kids? Well, in Soho, they decided to take it to a totally different new level and prepared this brightly coloured chain installation.
The two pictures below are Regent Street, which is perpendicular to Oxford Street. This street is also well-known and among other shops, you can find Hamleys, a very famous toy shop.
The decoration was very unique that year, with clusters of lights that continually changed colours and sequence. The lights reacted to different things such as music, movement on the street, population density of the people below or weather conditions. At 7pm there was always a special light show.
The whole installation was brought by Nokia, because they opened their largest flagship store in the world in Regent Street on 14th December 2007.
The next four images depict a few other streets.
As you can see on the left (below), there were also 'real' chandeliers. The photo on the right is a double-decker, of course, with an advert for Magners (an Irish cider).
There are many shopping arcades in London, too. These are just two examples of festive decorations.
London has a lot of markets and fairs. They have a very festive atmosphere, especially during Christmas. You can read more about this year's market here.
They are always buzzing with people, which you can see in the first picture below:
You can buy almost anything there. From chocolates and cakes,
different beers (they claim to have over 600 beers) and dried fruits,
to bread and traditional turkeys, geese or ducks, of course.
And you can taste virtually anything that is on sale there. The above pictures are from Borough Market, about which you can read more here.
There was another market where I took pictures, some of which you can find below. Doesn't the bread look yummy?
You might be surprised why I'm mentioning a park here, but it was a fantastic experience to go there on the Christmas Eve. The park was speckled with various attractions, stalls and kiosks.
In the first photo, though, you can see something else. No, this is not the famous London Eye. This observation wheel is much smaller. In fact, half its size, but it still gives you a spectacular view across the park and its many attractions.
Unfortunately, it was too dark for me to take any photos from the ride. Anyway, right next to the wheel there's an ice rink.
On the left is an example of one of the stalls and on the right is a tree decorated with many tiny lights.
And last four pictures of Hyde Park during Christmas:
Ok, I said there would be no sights, but I took a picture of the Big Ben, where you can see one of dozens Christmas trees that can be found throughout the city. There's also the London Eye in the background. On the right, there's a photo of The Sherlock Holmes Museum.
And now a little quiz. I took a picture of a man on the bank of the Thames. What is the man in the picture doing? Click on the photo and take a closer look.
Fly to London!
This is the end of our journey. I hope you had fun. Did you like what you saw?
Well, you can go to London around Christmas, too.
Book your flight through one of these no-frill (low-cost) airlines:
The above mentioned airlines depart from Prague. You can use Ryanair from Brno.
After you've booked your ticket, you might also want to find a hotel for a reasonable price. Visit one of these sites:
What can you do there this Christmas? Follow these useful links:
Your Advent Calendar for a London Christmas 2009 (londontown.com)
(launch their very practical HotelMap there)
London Monthly - December 2009 (londonmonthly.com)
Christmas in London 2009 (visitlondon.com)
Christmas in London 2009 (timeout.com)
Christmas in London (viewlondon.co.uk)
London for Christmas