Chilly Festive attractions in London

Nov 23rd, 2008 | By | Category: London News

Its cold, damp and grey – the usual London weather on the build up to Christmas yet I seem to recall that the last few Christmas Day mornings have been sunny and blue skied but still damn cold.

Anyway, London is gearing up for the festivities and as usual there is a plethora of things to do and see many of which are great for visitors to our capital.

Lets start with my personal favourite, the skating at the Natural History Museum.  The Ice Rink is open from 6 November to 18 January from 10.00 to 22.00 on weekdays and 08.45 to 22.00 on weekends with a few exceptions over Christmas itself so check the website for more info.  There are many Kensington hotels close to this venue so if you are staying in the area check it out.

Other ice and snow London attractions include skiing at the O2 which this year will have two indoor slopes.  Pricey but worth a try at £15 an hour, this is open from Nov 30 to January 25, 2009. Somerset House also has its annual ice rink which this year is operational until January 25.

Covent Garden will also be a worthwhile visit to see the Interactive Light Show. Covent Garden’s Market Building has been transformed into a futuristic winter palace with modular light displays where individually controlled light pixels display an ever changing display of swirling snow, gently falling. Full visitor interactivity comes through a touch screen panel situated in the South Hall of the market building, so at various times of the day, visitors can create their own snow storms.

The largest ice rink in Europe is now open in Hyde Park and runs until until January 4th along with a giant wheel and a German market. 

The Royal Albert Hall in Kensington is offering its popular carols singing sessions (14th December 2008 – 24th December 2008) culminating in Carols by Candlelight ( Dec 21 to Dec 24).

Bankside is staging Londons largest ever free winter festival themed on the medieval fairs that used to take place on a frozen River Thames. This years event has husky dog sledges, a street theatre, market stalls, kids workshops and ice sculpturing. The market opens with a Frost Fair-themed lantern parade on Friday 12 December at 4:30pm. With approximately 270 local school children taking part, the parade will bring to life aspects of the Frost Fair with lanterns the shape of ice-skaters, dancing bears and roasted chestnut sellers and much more.  The lantern parade will end outside Tate Modern, where a Frost Fair lantern scene will be assembled and will remain on display for the entirety of the festival.

At 11.00am on Saturday 13th December there will be celebratory procession of Traditional Thames Cutters carrying Frost Fair flags on the River Thames between Southwark and Blackfriars Bridges. Visitors should watch the boats from the best vantage point on the Millennium Bridge.�

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