Christmas is one of my favourite times of year in London, the buzz, the festive events, the mulled wine and carols, but mainly because of the Christmas lights. London is lit up so beautifully that even those of us who have seen many many Christmases are still enchanted by the sights. Each area has its own style from classic to wacky, with Carnaby Street winning the prize for the latter! Take a stroll with me to enjoy the lights from the warmth of your own home.
I’m not a fan of the no booking fad that restaurants in London are so keen on. I’m not a fan of queuing nor of wandering around to find a restaurant that has a table. But The Barbary in Covent Garden has been on my list of ‘must visit’ restaurants for a while now so when I was in the area early one evening for a play at the nearby Donmar Warehouse, I thought I’d give it a try and hurrah there was space at the bar for 2! Top tip is to arrive at 5.15pm and to do so before Time Out makes it their number one restaurant in London as I fear it will be even more busy now!
London looks brilliant any time of the year but in the build-up to Christmas London dresses up in its very best festive lights and trees pop up all over the city.
I’d love to show you a few of the fabulous sights to enjoy right now in London. Covent Garden is a good place to start as they have the best tree, in my view, and fabulous lights. This year’s theme is mistletoe – ahhh. You can shop for gifts and enjoy some refreshment as you explore. Continue reading
Seven friends enter a tapas bar, they stare at the menu and ponder the big question: how to chose, how many dishes each, who wants which dish, do we all like the same things? We don’t have all day to make these big decisions. Then it came to us, there was an easy answer – order one of every dish on the menu! Except no one likes oysters so we drop those 3 choices and wait in anticipation for everything else to arrive.
It’s that time of year again when London comes to life with festive lights in all the major shopping areas. I’ve been out and about checking them out for you and my view on 2015 is that some new ones are great, some areas have kept with old favourites which is no bad thing but some of the major shops have not made much effort this year and one major street is just not up to our high standards.
You don’t expect to 4 horses to appear in the river Thames nor to find 100,000 balloons in Covent Garden but then London is always coming up with the unexpected to keep us guessing.
As we hurtle towards Christmas, I wanted to bring you some more pictures of the street lights and shop displays that are giving London a really festive look. Continue reading
In 2013 the winter seemed to go on forever and it was chilly through much of March but April saw the blossom come out at last. The Brits are famous for being obsessed by the weather and this blog seems to be confirming that!
Spring is a fabulous time in London and I’d like to share some photos taken during April so you can enjoy it too.
Brits are always out, sitting or laying in a park at the slightest hint of sunshine:
Outdoor yoga – seems a bit public to me but they look like they are completely in to it:
My neighbour’s front garden is always a delight:
And this is just around the corner from me, pink magnolia trees in Notting Hill and a small garden, squeezing some daffs into a corner:
Camden Market and Camden Lock are great places to hang out and shop on a sunny day:
You can’t beat the Thames on a fine spring day, looking towards the east, on a boat or near the London Eye:
Even an April shower brings its own reward – a rainbow right over London:
Another famous sight that shines in the sun is Westminster Abbey. The red buses were on hire for a wedding so we wondered if someone was getting married inside this great building – it’s not just for Wills and Kate!
Piccadilly Circus is a famous meeting and hanging out spot – never more than on a sunny day:
Primrose Hill offers fabulous views over London (how many landmark buildings can you name?) and you can hang out on the grass all day relaxing. The nearby streets have beautiful blossom:
Regent’s Park is home to an open air theatre that starts in mid May but before then you have the gracious gardens, good for strolling or playing in the fountains:
It’s another lovely day today, so I must head out to enjoy it!
Bye for now.
There are so many fabulous Christmas lights in London this year I just had to put up another selection for you! I still have some lights left to visit, so there could even be part 3…
Not quite fitting the heading of lights, but very Christmassy none the less, were the sights on show this Saturday in Trafalgar Square where I stumbled upon a massive Santa gathering! Hundreds of Santa were streaming out of the tube stations and off the buses to hang out together, sing songs, do congas and (shock – horror!) drink beer! Everyone was having such fun it was infectious, although the tourists who had come to check out the Olympic clock were rather bemused. They kept asking ‘why’? It seems the only answer was to have fun…
Nearby Covent Garden always looks beautiful at Christmas and I was eager to see if the giant reindeer was there again. Yes, he was although he had set up camp round the other side of the piazza. I missed the real ones who had been there during the day but I love this chap with his proper red nose! There was also an intriguing and beautifully lit chalet which turned out to house a digital installation work by Martha Fiennes called Nativity. The market sections were decorated with enormous baubles and the whole area looked wonderfully festive, as I’d hoped.
Regent Street is a posh shopping street but they have a habit of putting up the most commercial lights with product placement to the fore. This year, however, they have been more restrained and have some lovely lights about sledges and elfs!
All the big shopping areas in London are great for lights, festive window dressing and decorated trees – even skating rinks! Here is the last set of photos showing: the window at Selfridges, the tree at Whiteleys; and the skating rink at Westfield Shepherds Bush.
I hope you’ve enjoyed more Christmas in London!
Bye for now,