When a friend (AJ) asked me to join him on a visit to London during Christmas time I agreed immediately. It had been over 20 years since I visited this city on a high-school trip. And London is famous for its Christmas lights and fairs. A perfect time to spend some days in the capital of England.
On the 24th of December we were on the early morning flight from Eindhoven to London Stansted to arrive in our hotel at Lancaster Gate before lunch. When we started our sightseeing on Piccadilly Circus the rain was pouring down, but the sky cleared and we had a great walk in the city of Westminster to see the famous landmarks like Trafalgar Square, the Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.
On Christmas Eve we walked into the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, a large fair and Christmas market. Being used to the yearly Tilburg funfair in my hometown I didn’t fancy going in an attraction. Though a beer in the Bavarian Village was welcomed.
We were warned that virtually everything is closed for business on Christmas Day in London. Since there was no public transport running, we were happy to have our hotel situated in Westminster. In the morning we walked through Hyde Park to Buckingham Palace and found an opened Pret a Manger for some coffee and a croissant. We continued our day walking around the city. Around Leicester square it was no problem to find a pub for Christmas drinks and a restaurant for some food.
Boxing Day means football in England and we visited Griffin Park to see the football match (Championship) between Brentford (‘the Bees’) and Brighton and Hove. The ground is known for being the only English league football ground to have a pub on each corner and is situated in a predominantly residential area. The match was a goal-less draw, but the atmosphere felt quite authentic. In the evening we learned that Boxing Day means the start of sales as well (Oxford Street was packed with people).
On our last day in London we watched the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace before we took the tube to London City. This area boasts a mixture of very old (e.g. Tower, Towerbridge and St Paul’s Cathedral) and modern architecture. To complete the London tourist trail we ended our stay with a musical (Blues Brothers) on West End.