7 ways to warm to the festive season early in London

Christmas is coming, and the UK capital is a fantastic place to experience the broadest range of festive experiences. Thanks to its rich multicultural society, there are plenty of different traditions to take part in as part of this seasonal Christian festival. Here’s a guide to the top seven festive events going on around London during the build-up to Christmas.

Christmas mistletoe

Harrods Christmas Grotto

An annual London tradition, the Harrods Grotto is almost as magical for adults as it is for children. It opens its doors to the public from the first Saturday of November, and it’s highly advisable to book your tickets well in advance to grab a place on Santa’s knee. Each child gets to take home a Harrods book, badge and some Christmas chocolate.

Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair

Held near Angel, this fair is host to over 400 exhibitors, all of which are all keen to get you into the festive spirit. It’s a top choice for picking up stocking fillers, decorations, and seasonal food and drink items. The venue is surrounded by the lovely shops of Islington, so there’s always more to see when you’re finished at the fair.

Enchanted Woodland

From 22 November, Syon Park is transformed into the Enchanted Woodland. A great one for families on the outskirts of the city, a signposted trail leads you through the trees and around the lake of the park. It’s all lit with colourful lights and you can warm up after exploring with a hot drink at the café.

Winter Fine Art & Antiques Fair

Held at Olympia in Kensington, this fair has been going strong for over two decades. Drawing in celebrities and other high profile collectors, it’s just as popular with people looking for items to decorate their kitchen. It’s certainly a bit of a luxurious experience, with Royal caterers Mosimann’s running the brasserie, complete with fine wines.

The Snowman

The Snowman continues to be a wonderful, wintery children’s tale. This year, Sadler’s Wells is staging the story as a dance performance, running from the 27th November. Expect dancing reindeer, magical penguins, an on-stage winter wonderland, and obviously, lots of flying through the air.

Freeze Festival

Head to Clapham Common from the 27th November, and you’ll fall upon the UK’s biggest winter sports and music event. You don’t need to make it to the mountains to enjoy a bit of après ski – especially not when 500 tons of snow has been shipped into town. There’s always great food, live music stages and ski kit to buy.

Columbia Road Christmas Shopping

Famous for its early morning flower market, this East End road opens late on Wednesday from the 27th November for a less hassled shopping experience than in central London. There are lots of quirky, original gifts to be found including vintage fashion, home wares, deli goods and handmade jewellery.

Stuart Leckie is Director of Sales & Marketing at St. Ermin’s Hotel.

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