Don't you just hate those people that go somewhere one time and then pretend to be an expert about it? Those people are the worst. Here are my favorite things to do in London for Christmas, based on the one time I went to London for a weekend in December.
Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland
I, along with the rest of Great Britain, visited Winter Wonderland on a Saturday night. It was almost like a larger version the Independence County Fair in Arkansas, but with more teeth and fewer camo jackets. As it is with everything in my life, the best part was the food: little German cabins roasting juicy bratwurst, French stalls offering freshly-made crepes. There were cozy (or, if we're being British, "cosy") lounges, including a slowly-rotating carousel filled with pub tables, where people could enjoy a warm drink and delicious food with friends. I wandered the park devouring my oh-so-perfect, spicy bratwurst, grinning like an fool while mulled wine gloriously burned my tongue and warmed my innards.
I also bought a ticket for The Magical Ice Kingdom Presents: The Secret Forest, which takes you through the wardrobe into Narnia with a brief stop in Middle Earth, all while expertly avoiding copyright infringement. The building's temperature is set to 14°F (-10°C) to keep the ice sculptures intact. It's difficult to change camera settings when you're not sure if you still have fingers, but I did my best to capture the intricate details of these enchanting sculptures. They also included an homage to my Arkansas Razorbacks, which was very sweet of them. #WPS
Services at Westminster Abbey
My favorite part of the entire weekend was attending the Eucharist service at Westminster Abbey. On Sundays, the Abbey is only used for church services (no tours), but all are welcome to attend. The Abbey's staff was incredibly kind and helpful; I got there early and was directed to the South Africa seat, directly behind the famous Abbey choir. When we began singing the chorus of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," the sunlight burst through the windows, illuminating the entire sanctuary. The beauty of this moment moved me to tears. People from all over the world, with different backgrounds and cultures, singing together as one. It was a little glimpse of heaven.
Southbank's Centre and Underbelly Christmas markets should probably be in a Hallmark Christmas movie. A stressed-out bratwurst-roaster who's forgotten the meaning of Christmas accidentally drops a bratwurst link on an arrogant stranger's expensive loafers. After a misunderstanding or two, and a few interactions with a "maybe-he's-Santa" old man, the frazzled sausage-dropper learns that the handsome stranger actually spends his free time reading to underprivileged puppies. They fall in love and get married on their first date. I'm expecting a call from big-shot movie producers any day now, but I digress. The area was buzzing with Christmas lights, street performers, and even more European market stalls. I tried some mini pancakes smothered in Nutella (It was a cheat weekend, okay?!?). At this point, I would say my body was about 98% mulled wine, and 2% actual human cells, but I still drank more mulled wine. I regret nothing.
Christmas Tea Bus Tours with B Bakery
B Bakery's tours are the most precious thing to do in London. The buses are bedecked in Christmas lights with Christmas music playing in the background. The food is so perfectly divine, and I can't imagine a better way to get into the Christmas spirit. Be sure to book a tour after 5:00 pm so you can see the Christmas lights!
Have extra time? Do some shopping at Harrod's, attend an advent service at St. Paul's Cathedral, view the Christmas lights on Carnaby and Regent Streets, and wander around the Christmas market in Leicester Square. Also, go to the middle of the Covent Garden market and stare at the ceiling covered in giant silver ornaments and mistletoe. It's brilliant. Maybe some handsome stranger will swoop in, kiss you, and then you'll get married. I may need to cool it on the Christmas movies.