How to Spend a Festive Weekend in London

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London knows exactly how to charm over a festive weekend. The city streets glitter with gleeful lights, aromas of hot chocolate and mulled wine tinge the air and you’ll be dazzled by lofty Christmas trees at every corner.

Arriving into the city, restaurants near Paddington Station will greet you with festive decorations and enchant you with special yuletide menus. Meanwhileif you’re looking to shop, you’ll be pleased to hear that many of the shops and department stores have special offers and discounts in the final lead up to Christmas.

Follow our suggested itinerary to discover how to make your festive weekend in London as magical as possible.

Friday evening:

Start your winter weekend in London in style by enjoying a delicious meal in one of the restaurants near Paddington, such as the Paddington Social Restaurant at The Chilworth. You can choose between traditional, hearty British fare or sample international cuisine ranging from Indian to Lebanese or Mexican!

After dinner, hop on the tube to Charing Cross where you can admire the 2019 Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in all its glory. Every year since 1947, the city of Oslo has donated one of their finest Norwegian pines to adorn London’s landmark square. The tree serves as a thank you for Britain’s support of Norway during World War II and its arrival in the city marks the beginning of the festive season in the capital! Throughout the month of December (Monday 9 to Tuesday 24 December 2019), local choirs will gather in the square to perform festive songs and Christmas carols. The performances are free and take place between 2-7pm at the weekends, and attending one is a charming way to kick start your festive weekend.

Once you’ve got your fill of carols, induce yourself with a London show whilst you’re in the West End. The long-running Leicester Square productions often have last-minute seats available at a discounted rate over the winter months. There are plenty of seasonal performances in December too, including phenomenal ballet productions and Christmas spectaculars. A few options include A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic, White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre or English National Ballet’s Nutcracker at the London Coliseum.

If you are travelling with young children, you could check out a Christmas pantomime for a night of family-friendly giggles and gags. The Lyric Hammersmith are hosting Cinderella, and the London Palladium have chosen Goldilocks and the Three Bears for their offering this year.

An alternative option to the theatre is to watch your favourite Christmas film at one of the London film screenings which take place across the city throughout December. The Prince Charles Cinema has a full Christmas programme with daily showings of all the festive flicks, including special sing-along events. Pioneers of the cinematic pop-up, the Luna Cinema, are hosting their winter season in the grounds of Kensington Palace for something particularly lavish.

After your evening entertainment, return to your hotel where you can warm up with some complimentary mulled wine if you booked the special Christmas package at The Chilworth London Paddington. For those travelling with children, hot chocolate with marshmallows awaits them!

Saturday morning:

Awake to tuck into your nourishing breakfast in your hotel room, provided with compliments to those who have booked our aforementioned Christmas hotel offer. Rise and shine and head out early to experience a bit of shopping in London before the crowds amass. Check out the incredible window displays at Harrods (Knightsbridge) or Selfridges (Oxford Street), which are works of art. You might be tempted to do more than window shop here, so if you still have gifts to buy for Christmas – now is your chance to tick off the rest of your list.

Take the tube to Waterloo and have a mooch of the South bank Centre Winter Market where you can pick up sustainable and artisan crafts which make excellent stocking fillers, or will be perfect for any Secret Santa needs. Be sure to wrap up warm before the temperatures begin to plummet – you can always pick up a pair of mittens for yourself!

Saturday evening:

As the sun begins to set, take a twirl on one of London’s winter ice rinks. The rink within the palatial courtyard at Somerset House provides a stunning backdrop for your escapades.

After your ice skating, walk to nearby Covent Garden, which is a delight to see by night. The market is kitted out in gigantic baubles, swathes of tinsel, and in the piazza, you can visit the giant reindeer who has delighted crowds over the past few years.

Retreat to your comfortable lodgings at The Chilworth London Paddington for some downtime in the Club Lounge. Then, bundle up in your layers again and head to the spectacularly festive Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Gorge on German sausages, mulled cider and festive treats. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel for pretty views across London by night, or summon the courage to ride some of the hair-raising rides in this fairground extravaganza! Winter Wonderland is free to enter and is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas in London as a family or with your loved one or group of friends.

Sunday morning:

After a busy day yesterday, make the most of your hotel comforts and enjoy a leisurely morning watching a film in bed as you decorate your own mini Christmas tree – the perfect souvenir from your weekend in London. You could opt to hit the spa in your hotel for a relaxing massage treatment, or burn off those market mince pies in the gym!

Sunday afternoon:

As a final treat before you head home, sit down to experience an afternoon tea in your London Paddington hotel. Make the experience more festive by opting for the Christmas themed tea, complete with yuletide savouries, candy canes, gingerbread men and a chilled glass of sparkles! Whatever you can’t finish, you can take back with you on the train to keep the Christmas spirit with you.