Turn your Christmas errands into an event not a chore

There is much to see and do around London and many a silly person to laugh at if you know when and where to go.

Venturing out onto the streets of London this December doesn’t need to be an anxious and rushed affair spent dashing from one shop to the next to buy Christmas presents, whilst attempting to dodge the masses of people who are frantically charging about with the same motive in mind. Turn your Christmas shopping spree into an enjoyable excursion and combine it with a couple of festive events and themed markets to make it an experience you’d like to remember instead of one you’d prefer to forget.

The Great Christmas Pudding Race has been a London annual event since 1980. It’s a charity event to raise money for Cancer Research. Teams of contestants wearing fancy dress have to run around Covent Garden piazza while trying to balance a Christmas pudding on a plate! It’s too late to enter this year’s race but it is most definitely worthwhile watching it. Obstacles, such as balloons full of flour, are put in participants’ way, which make it even more fun to watch.

When: Sat 3rd December
West Piazza, Covent Garden Market, London, WC2E 8RF
Nearest Tube Station: Covent Garden

The DIFC London Santa Run will be taking place in Greenwich Park this Sunday. Up to 2,000 people are expected to take part raising funds for hundreds of different charities. Each runner is given a Santa suit to wear, with a few cheeky individuals making slight enhancements to their own in order to stand out from the crowd. What a spectacle to observe! I guess even Santa needs to stretch his legs after laboring all year in his factory!

When: Sun 4th Dec
Greenwich Park
Nearest Tube Station: Cutty Sark DLR

Window Shopping Around the Capital

I’m sure many of us can identify with the stereotypical London shopper: head down and eyes focused on the pavement to avoid stumbling over random obstacles that litter the pathway, and to dart around those casual strollers who annoyingly seem to have all the time in the world and no urgent task to accomplish. This is the perfect time to take heed of their casual way. Many of the stores in this dynamic city have taken the time to decorate their window frontages with spectacular themed displays. Take a casual meander down London’s streets before heading indoors and be mesmerized by the scenes the stores have created. Make sure you tick the following off on your list of windows that can now be observed: Harrods, Selfridges, Hamleys, Fortnum & Mason and Harvey Nichols.

Harrods: A Crystal Christmas Inspired by Swarovski

London Christmas Markets

Traditional Christmas Market at Southbank Centre:
18th Nov 2011 – 24th Dec 2011

This traditional market is one to visit whether you are on your way home from work, heading to a Christmas show at the Royal Festival Hall or making a special trip into London for the weekend. It promises to get you feeling festive in no time with handmade gifts and warming food and drink.

60 wooden chalets line the banks of the Thames and stock everything from amber and silver jewellery, Christmas tree ornaments and wooden toys to handmade soap and ceramics. A variety of German food and drink is also available at the market, including bratwurst sausage, gingerbread hearts, roasted almonds, warm crepes and Glühwein, a German-style mulled wine.

There are a number of other markets and seasonal events taking place along the South Bank this December. Foodies can look forward to the Christmas Chocolate Festival (9th – 11th Dec) and The Real Food Christmas Market (2nd – 4th Dec), while music fans can enjoy a special rendition of Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Festival Hall, as well as other festive concerts and shows.

When: Friday 18th November – Saturday 24th December
11am – 8pm Monday – Thursday, 10am – 10pm Friday – Saturday and 10am – 8pm Sunday
Nearest Tube Station: Embankment or Waterloo

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Angels Christmas Market:
19th Nov 2011 – 3rd Jan 2012

The Angels Christmas Market has a charming array of decorated wooden stalls offering a variety of wintery culinary delights and artfully crafted, unique gifts.

It is the largest Christmas market in London and is free to enter so take the time to browse around and delight in all that is on offer. There are over 100 stalls of the best arts & crafts from around the world, gourmet food plus loads more.

When: Saturday 19th November 2011 – Tuesday 3rd January 2012 (excl. 25th Dec)
Daily from 10am – 10pm
Hyde Park
Nearest Tube Station: Hyde Park Corner

Skating your way around the City

London in December has a magical quality to it, with its glittering Christmas-themed street lights, enchanting shop window displays and, of course, the numerous exciting seasonal ice skating rinks that appear.

Ice skating is a fun way to get active without even realising it! Try one or try all of the selection of ice skating rinks we recommend: