The festive season is my favorite time to be in London. With beautifully displayed lights and decorations throughout the city, imaginative shop displays teeming with gift ideas and the bustling Christmas markets and ice rinks, there’s a lot to enjoy. Since we spend Christmas in Italy, once the festive lights start going up from mid-November, we’re out enjoying as much of the festivities in London as we can before we leave, and I’ve already shared some of the stunning decorations and fun festive activities in the November recap.
December was all about Christmas parties and Little T’s first preschool concert, baking gingerbread cookies and making Christmas cards and crafts, gift shopping and then carefully packing for our flight. We only had one actual day out, which was to the Diana Memorial Playground on a rare sunny afternoon – the rest of the photos are from being out and about shopping or on the way to lunch or dinner.
Here are some snapshots around London in December, from Chelsea to Westminster to the City. For more updates, you can find us over on Instagram at @piccoloexplorer.
Sloane Square & Duke of York Square, Chelsea
Chelsea looked absolutely lovely with bare trees glistening with lights around Sloane Square…
And beautifully decorated trees in Duke of York Square.
The moment the sun made an appearance after several days of dreary weather, we were out blowing away the cobwebs at Hyde Park.
The Princess Diana Memorial Playground is one of our favorite places to visit in the area, and we had a great afternoon wandering around the various areas. It’s a fun place with this amazing pirate ship right in the middle to explore!
We also stopped by to see the most festive pub in London, the Churchill Arms in Kensington, decorated with 85 Christmas trees and 21000 lights on the outside with several more Christmas trees inside!
One day while in central London, I made a stop in Westminster to take in the view along the Thames River…
And also spotted the Christmas tree in front of the Houses of Parliament.
Especially over December, I tend to avoid the crowds and do most of my shopping online but made an exception for Fortnum & Mason to pick up some goodies to bring back to Fano which was more fun to do in person. Funnily enough, we just received a gift hamper right as I was about to head out so I also had some inspiration before browsing the Food Hall.
It was very busy at Fortnum & Mason but the cash registers were well staffed and moving very efficiently, so there was hardly a wait to make my purchase. The department store looked amazing inside and out with stunning decorations throughout and fantastic festive window displays.
A glimpse of the festive lights on New Bond Street as I headed back to the tube station…
On another evening, Mr. G and I went out to Mayfair for a date night, starting off with drinks at The Ritz, which was so beautifully decorated starting off with this very tall Christmas tree at the entrance…
and the opulent, stunning decorations in the lobby and restaurants.
The day before leaving to Fano, Little T and I headed into the City to meet up with Mr. G for lunch. We went to Leadenhall Market, which was bustling with people at the pubs and restaurants. We ended up choosing a restaurant perhaps more suited for business lunch meetings so did stand out with a spirited preschooler, but overall we ate well and it was great to visit this lively, historical part of the City.
I mentioned in our 2015 adventures and travels recap that I’m taking part in the #Take12Trips challenge to take at least one trip a month – it could be a holiday abroad, a weekend break, a day out or a visit to a museum or other local attraction.
I’ve been including an update on how that’s going in each of these monthly round-ups – and for 2016, we’ve been on a grand total of 51 days out and 9 overseas trips including our Christmas holiday in Italy with my in-laws.
Coming Up in January
We spent the first week of January in Italy and so far back in London, with mostly grey, dreary weather, we’ve spent most of our time indoors. I’m not a big fan of cold weather, so I expect our days out over the next few weeks to continue to involve mostly museums and other indoor attractions. I’ve been looking forward to checking out some new museums and re-visiting old favorites, which is the plan so far.
I’ve also fallen behind on the blog over the past few months and will be catching up on reviews and destination guides from previous trips to San Diego, Bali and Oahu. Stay tuned for more updates as I catch up – starting off with a look back on our adventures and travels from last year that will be posted very soon!
In the meantime, you can follow along on our adventures on Instagram @piccoloexplorer. Thanks for reading!