Christmas and New Year in the capital

Category: News 18th December 2023

enjoy London over the festive season

As we rapidly approach Christmas and the New Year nothing could be more festive than a Berrys trip up to London to either see the lights, complete your purchases, enjoy a show or take in the New Year. Using one of our high-speed luxury services into Hammersmith Bus Station you can then take the tube into Central London to see the lights walking along Piccadilly, Regents Street, up to Oxford Circus and then along to Marble Arch.

All over central London you will find a plethora of Christmas trees decorated for the season. Angels above Regent Street and endless displays along the ever-popular Carnaby Street nearby. If you are in Hammersmith, then you will find the high street awash with coloured lights. Some of London’s many famous stores also have some excellent displays in their windows. For example, Fortnum and Masons have a giant advent calendar outside which is counting down to the big day.

Sallie Smith, Fortnum & Mason’s Head of Visual Presentation says: “Fortnum & Mason is the home of Christmas, so there is a lot of pressure each year to make sure that our Christmas theme and windows are extraordinary. Customers come from far and wide to see our Christmas displays each year, and I am really proud of our 2023 design, which is full and colour and energy, and shows that Fortnum’s really is ‘Where Christmas Comes Alive’.”

Hamleys the famous toy store in Regent Street has its usual amazing display not only outside but inside as well.  A trip here is a real experience with the many different demonstrations that take place, from flying things to incredible talking dolls. Regent Street which was one of the first in Central London to be lit back in the 50s has a spirit of Christmas display and 45 trumpets which extend into St James.

The lights in Oxford Street this year have taken the theme of stars. Made with environmentally friendly materials they include over 300,000 LED light bulbs. Also, you must look out for the lights on the Shard.

Special outdoor events are taking place including ice rinks at Somerset House, Hampton Court, Queens House, Canary Wharf and at the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland where they have been sponsored by Lidl’s.

The Winter Wonderland runs until 1st January and includes such delights as Zippos Christmas Circus, Circus Berserk: Tornado, the ice rink and the magical Ice Kingdom and a chance to board the giant wheel for a view of the lights of London from above.

Pantomimes also abound within the capital with one of the main favourites being Peter Pan at the London Palladium. The stars of this wonderful panto which runs to the 14th January include Jennfer Saunders, Nigel Havers, Julian Clary and Gary Wilmot. This spectacular show is said to one of the biggest pantos in the UK. Elsewhere you can see Paul Merton in Dick Whittington at the Richmond Theatre. Performing alongside Paul is Suki Webster, Vivien Parry and Wendy Mae Brown. The ultimate panto adventure you could easily fit in a matinee between arriving at Hammersmith around 11am traffic permitting and departing on service back to the west country at just after 6pm. Performances start at 1 and 2pm on certain days, the show lasts around 2 hours 20 minutes including the interval. You can catch a regular District Line train to Richmond from Hammersmith.

If you are staying over in London and want to try a theatre just outside the centre then there is Cinderella at the Churchill in Bromley, around 20 mins by train from Victoria. It stars Brenda Edwards as the Fairy Godmother and Steven Dalziel as Buttons.

Aladdin is on in Hackney until 31st December and Jack and the Beanstalk at Stratford until 6th January. If you want a taste of Strictly then make for the new Wimbledon Theatre where Craig Revel Horwood will be on stage until early in January. A great array of shows so check out some of the matinee times to see if they could fit in with a Berrys trip to the capital.

Lots of clubs and bars in London will be in full flow over New Year or you might like to take yourself off to the River Thames around Westminster where at midnight on 31st December you will be enthralled by the spectacular display put on along the river. There are a large number of companies offering dinner cruises or a chance to see the fireworks from the river so do check social media platforms and search around for who has the best deals.

On New Years Day there is the London Parade which can be seen along Piccadilly Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall. There is free standing for the public, but you can buy tickets if you want a better view. The show starts at noon with tickets holders arriving an hour earlier.

This year’s revised route starts at the Ritz Hotel, along Piccadilly-to-Piccadilly Circus, down Regent Street, then along Pall Mall to Trafalgar Square, into Whitehall and then Parliament Square. There is also plenty of other things you might do on New Year’s Day including a chance to visit Christmas at Kew Gardens or one of the many museums. Look out also for bargains in many of the London stores or take a hop on hop off bus tours and see the sights. After dark there are the winter lights on the Southbank or a conducted tour of the many Christmas lights on an open topped bus. Finally, you may just like to soak up the atmosphere in one of lined cosy pubs which can be found around the city centre. Often tucked away down a side street you might to try the Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden. John Snow, Soho, the Viaduct Tavern in St Pauls or Mr Fogg’s Tavern in Leicester Square.

One of the oldest pubs in central London is said to be the Seven Stars in Aldwych. Just behind the Royal Courts of Justice it was built in 1602. One of the most atmospheric pubs in London it is well worth a visit. The oldest waterside pub in the capital is said to be the Prospect of Whitby along Wapping Wall which supposedly dates back to 1520.

So, book your Superfast coach and enjoy the festivities that abound all over London whether it be a pantomime, Christmas show or outdoor pursuit.