This year, we decided to stick around and see what the holiday season is like in this part of the world. We were thrilled that Dom's mom could join us to celebrate Christmas!
During the holiday season, a huge area of Hyde Park is taken over by the Winter Wonderland
. It started out as a small Christmas market back in 2007 and had been growing bigger and busier ever since.
Best of all - it's free to enter!
We went on a weekday to avoid the long lines and were amazed at how the peaceful Hyde Park had been transformed into this, massive carnival event.
Christmas is actually a wonderful time to visit London. The city is covered with beautiful decorations on the buildings and through the streets. Every high street (aka shopping street) has its own theme and each shop tries to out-do the other with elaborate and artistic window displays.
Leading up to Christmas, the shopping areas are absolutely packed with people all day and night long. The atmosphere is energetic yet relaxed, and everyone is out in the streets eating, drinking, shopping, and having a great time.
Then, overnight, the entire city stops.
We ventured out on Christmas Day and the first things we heard was... silence. It felt like we were wandering out in one of those zombie apocalypse movies where it feels like something is very wrong - it just feels too eerily quiet. The trains and buses aren't running, there are very few cars or people in the streets, the neighbourhood shops and restaurants are all closed. We actually hear the sounds of birds chirping far off in the distance.
If you venture to the main high streets you eventually start to see a few places open and a handful of tourists wandering the streets. It's the perfect time to take in all of the lovely decorations without getting bumped and pushed around by hoards of people.