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5 top attractions that make London a luxury winter travel destination

London. The bustling metropolis may be less exotic than a warm sandy beach in the Caribbean, but it certainly comes into its own during the bleak winter months. Transformed by rows of glistening lights and decorations, the streets of London are abuzz with excitement in December. Department stores are adorned in extravagant decorations, Christmas markets and funfairs pop up across the city, and hotels, restaurants and bars open their doors, and their fireplaces to drinkers and feasters from across the globe. So, step into London for the month of December, and make sure to try these these five fabulous attractions, you won’t be disappointed…

Winter Wonderland

From the 21st November 2014 until January 4th 2015, Hyde Park plays host to the country’s largest Christmas fairground. Cosy log cabins, revolving tavernas and apres-ski style parties, complete with DJs and live music, all contribute to the utterly festive atmosphere.

As you walk through the bustling pathways of this Christmas paradise, your eyes will be delighted by the abundant displays of melt-in-the-mouth gingerbread, crispy roasted chestnuts and brightly coloured lollipops, reminiscent of a scene from Willy-Wonka.

Undoubtedly, Winter Wonderland’s most popular attractions come in the form of the many rides and rollercoasters on offer. Children may pick from a choice of ornately decorated carousels, vibrant helter skelters and exhilarating Pirate adventure rides. For the adults, there are a few more thrilling experiences in store. Hop onto a chair on the Sky Flyer and take in some breathtaking views of the brightly-lit park and surrounding areas. Or, if you’re feeling a little more daring, take a ride on the Power Tower. At 216 feet tall, it’s the highest travelling drop tower in the world, and will bring you even more impressive views over London.

The English National Ballet’s Nutcracker

There are few shows more befitting than Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker when it comes to getting into the Christmas spirit. At this year’s show, available from the 11th December 2014, to January 4th 2015, transport yourself back in time, to the Edwardian era of perfectly-coiffed, powdered wigs and flickering gas-light lamps.

You’ll be enchanted by the bewitching dancing, floor trembling instrumentals and bedazzling costumes of the show. Whether you’re alone, in a couple, or attend as a family, The Nutcracker will provide an absolutely wonderful Christmas experience.

Christmas Carol’s Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester Hotel

Every weekend, from Saturday 22nd November, 2014 until Sunday December 21st, 2014, London’s iconic Dorchester Hotel throws open its perfectly polished wooden doors for its renowned Festive Afternoon Tea.

Nestle into a seat in the Hotel’s luxurious marble Promenade, lavishly decorated with wreaths, Christmas trees and more. There you will enjoy a delicious spread of freshly baked scones with clotted cream, sugar dusted mince pies, and the most delicate and rarest of teas.
Accompanying your meal, and many glasses of champagne, are the delightful choruses of traditional Christmas carols, sung by local school choirs and accompanied by the hotel’s talented resident pianist.

Fortnum & Mason

London’s emblematic Fortnum & Mason, based in Piccadilly and founded all the way back in 1707 is the ultimate stop off for international foodies with a taste for luxury. Tastefully decked out with the very best of Christmas decorations, a real sense of timelessness pervades as you step through the building’s bustling entrance. Christmas treats are available in abundance at Fortnum & Mason, from perfectly baked mince-pies to rich christmas puddings and beautifully crafted advent calendars. And, if you’re feeling really generous, or very hungry, take the time to carefully select an infamous Fortnum & Mason Christmas hamper. Prices range from £50 to £5,000, with the grandest, ‘The Imperial Hamper,’ stuffed with delicious edibles including wild smoked salmon, Beluga caviar, truffles and Veuve Clicquot Champagne.

The Cigar and Cognac Bar at Duke’s Hotel

Since Christmas is the season for over indulgence, it’s only right to spend a full evening at the Duke Hotel’s fabulous Cigar and Cognac bar. The hotel, in St James, just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, has worked hard to design the bar’s intimate secluded garden.

Despite London’s chilly temperatures during the month of December, you’ll be safely protected from the cold outside by dramatic hanging canopies and toasty heaters. Featuring antique mirrors, plush cushions and an extensive selection of both Cigars and Cognac (naturally), rest assured you’re in safe hands with the bar manager, Alessandro Palazzi, who has extensive experience sourcing cigars for the Ritz Hotel in Paris.

Daniel Abrahams is Co-founder and CEO of MyTravelMoney.co.uk.

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