Christmas is my most favourite time of the year. I love how pretty London is at night, I love wrapping up warm, I love all the festive activities. There are a few Christmas traditions that I have to do every year.
Coca Cola Truck
The Holidays are coming, the holidays are coming…. The Coca Cola truck is the perfect free activity to get into the Christmas spirit. Seeing the truck especially at night is fun.
Covent Garden is a beautiful place to visit during the christmas season. Last year we saw the Santa Lego Express, it doesn’t move but its still a great photo opportunity. It will be there again this year so go and check it out. There is a christmas market in the area and Covent Garden is famous for its reindeer and tree. On some Saturdays during December there is a reindeer there that you can pet.
Disney on Ice
Disney On Ice is an amazing Christmas activity. It is not a tradition because every year they have different shows and some shows the boys don’t have an interest in. For example this year is Frozen and they don’t like Frozen so we will give it a miss. However, I took the boys last year for the first time and it was amazing, we went on Christmas Eve and it was a fantastic early Christmas present. They had no idea where they was going and there faces lit up when they saw Mickey Mouse and Minnie. Last year the Disney shows that were featured were Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, Cars and Frozen. Disney On Ice was defiantly worth the money, especially if you are a Disney fan.
Ice Skating is a Christmas tradition we go to every year. We always try to go to a different one. The first time Ahaziah went Ice skating was when he was 3 years old. Now some ice rinks have Bob Skates for toddlers so Micaiah was able to go from 2 years old. So far we have been to,
- Somerset House- A nice big rink, I’ve been a few times, they have a smaller section for children to practice skating if they are not confident going around the whole rink yet
- London EyeSkate- It has a beautiful backdrop of the London eye which is a great photo opportunity. It can get quiet busy and it is quite small.
- Natural History Museum Ice Rink- I went to the toddler session which was nice and quiet, you can hire bob skates which is perfect if your taking your child for the first time because they are able to balance.
- Wembley Park Ice Rink- If there is a special event going on the day you visit be sure to buy something at the outlet to reduce the car park payment of £20. They don’t have enough penguins to hire I don’t think but its a good size rink.
- Canary Wharf Ice Rink- The illuminated ice rink is brilliant, we went on a date night and it was fun. The skate session last 1 hour which I think is a bit long but good if your running late. Its a big rink.
Winter Wonderland is another Christmas tradition, I have been taking Ahaziah since he was 1 and now he is 6. Winter Wonderland is very busy and can be very expensive especially if you pay to go on rides. I usually book the attractions before hand so it doesn’t seem so expensive. Seeing Santa at Winter Wonderland is free but of course the que is very long. Zippos Christmas Circus is good we have been twice. The Magical Ice Kingdom is a good experience we have been 3 times, it is cold but the ice sculptures are amazing. We went on the Giant Observation wheel once, it was OK. We have been on rides but like I said it can became expensive especially with two children. I am still contemplating going this year, it has become a tradition so I feel like I have to go but who knows…..
Indoor arts and Crafts
Of course Christmas activities don’t always have to be outdoors. I have plenty of Christmas crafts I do indoors with the boys. Traditionally we always decorate a gingerbread house, bake cookies, bake cupcakes, make a plate for santa and plenty of arts and crafts including making christmas cards, making salt dough ornaments and christmas paintings. Usually I buy gingerbread kits and cookies to decorate from Morrisons but this year I may brave it and make it from scratch.
Christmas Lights turn on
This year for the first time we made it to see the Christmas lights get turn on. Usually I miss the date, or I’m running late so it was good to finally see it. We went to Oxford street and saw Craig David turn them on. If I’m honestly I expected them to all turn on at once but they go on once after the other so was a little bit disappointed but nevertheless a new experience and buzzing atmosphere.
Festive Days Out
Last year for the first year Hamleys had a Toy Parade on Regent Street and it will be happening again this year. It is a free event where you can meet characters and Toys. Last year we met Elmo, Transformers, Fireman Sam, Ty, Bing, Sonic the Headhog and the PowerRangers. The boys enjoyed it, there are parades throughout the day and different stations for meet and greet and plenty of fun throughout the day. Defiantly worth going then walking around to Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square to see the lights and the tree.
I have always wanted to visit Kew Gardens but was not sure if the price was worth it. This year I made it and it blew my expectations away! I loved every minute of it, the lights were beautiful. There is a trail that you walk through and see different illuminated stations including fire garden and tunnel of light. We brought our head torches which is always fun and walked along the trail. There is an area where you can toast marshmallows and the flavours they have to choose from are amazing. The highlight for me was the ending where they played christmas songs, had water fountains and lit up the Palm House, it reminded me of Disney Dreams.
Last but not least a grotto, another one of my traditions that we do every year. We have been to Stratford 5D grotto which is a nice personal touch because they use the children’s photos in the movie. Blue waters winter wonderland is also a nice place to visit during the festive season. You can watch a 3D movie, go ice skating, visit santa and go to the christmas kitchen to make christmas tarts. Duke of York grotto if I remember correctly this grotto was free and there is a few christmas stalls on site. There is also grottos in shopping centres we have been to Croydon Whitgift Centre and Bromley Intu shopping centre.
Covent Garden Grotto (free)
This year in Covent Garden they no longer have the large reindeer sculpture, instead they have an interactive festive grotto where you met Santa and then go on a mission to find his reindeers. Its a quick but free activity and all you need to do is download the Blippar App.
London Wetland Centre (£6 plus centre admission)
This year we visit Santa at London Wetlands Centre. It was the first time we had ever been, Santa was amazing. I will say though the queuing time is horrendous. We waited about 20 mins for a 2 min donkey ride, we waited about 40 mins for a 2 min husky sleigh ride and waited over 2 hours for santa! We didn’t get to explore the centre at all however, the boys did enjoy the activities and didn’t complain. The christmas activities are extremely popular so be prepared to wait a long time. Hopefully with the amount of complains they received they will make a better system for next time.
N.B I will be adding to this blog post frequently as I go on more activities and find pictures so keep an eye out.