I've just been very lucky enough to spend two days Christmas shopping in London. Below are my highlights!
We visited Harrods as the sun was setting and the lights that covered the store looked very pretty indeed. They have a festive themed window at the moment which is based on Disney princesses - they've asked various designers to design a one of piece based on their favourite Disney princess. My favourite part was the diamond encrusted Laboutin stiletto!
Harrods wasn't as busy as expected but it certainly was expensive. I paid £8 for some tea bags and £7 for the harrod's 2012 Christmas bauble :-O we had fun people watching though, especially when somebody slammed a wad of £50 onto the desk of the Gucci bag department while his wife was browsing!
2. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
This was the main reason for our trip - it is only a 5-10 minute easy walk from Harrods and was easy to find. We went when it was dark and it looked beautiful all lit up. I was apprehensive about how busy it would be but at 5:30pm on a Monday evening it was absolutely fine.
The atmosphere here was so festive - with Christmas songs being played, Christmas smells coming from the many mulled wine, gingerbread and candle stalls and all of the festive decorations with live music and open fires dotted about too.The items from the stalls were expensive but it is free to browse and soak up the atmosphere. I splashed out on a hot mulled wine with a shot of amaretto in a German themed bar (£5) and a ride on the Ferris wheel which didn't have much of a queue and had carols and christmas songs playing in our pod as we enjoyed the view (cost £8). We could have spent a lot more as there were various other activities on offer such as ice sculptures and ice skating but we were happy with what we did.
3. Covent garden
Covent garden looks very festive at this time of year. There is a large Christmas tree, a huge advent calendar. Giant baubles suspended from the ceiling of the indoor markets - a huge reindeer And a tower of Jack Daniels whiskey barrels lit up with lights next to a pop up Jack Daniels store. I bought my daughter a beautiful sketch of a ballerina which looks just like her for the bargain price of £8 from the craft market at the heart of covent garden.
4. Camden markets
Camden is certainly the place to go for some stocking filler bargains. I have been before and was impressed but the prices seem web cheaper now! We bought London pencils for 17p each, a hand printed coin purse for 70p, a London bag for £1.49, a watch necklace for £2.99 and a London bus toy for 99p. Even if you don't buy anything, the markets are a lovely place to wonder around. Make sure you stop for some street food or hot ginger wine and have a seat on the scooter seats by the loch.
5. Southbank markets
We visited these markets at teatime on Tuesday evening- it is a nice walk from embankment over the bridge and gives you lovely views of the London eye lit up at night. The market is lively and with many bars and restaurants nearby, it is easy to spend a night here. There are about 100 wooden huts joined with fairy lights selling fudge, nuts,candles, jewellery, hot food and drinks and other gifts. I bought a lovely giant Santa gingerbread cookie all wrapped up in cellophane and tied with festive ribbon - at £3.50 it was a lot cheaper than the £95 they were asking for a giant gingerbread house.
All in all we had a fabulous trip to London, we didn't buy Loads but thoroughly enjoyed the festive atmosphere and will certainly return at this time of year in the future.