It has been said more than once that London is the greatest city in the world.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. With 2,000 years of history, the Big Smoke is deeply cosmopolitan, a heart of cultural innovation, stunning architecture and design spanning centuries, the home of groundbreaking art, poetry, theatre and good times.

It is a place like no other.

And at Christmas, the Capital is nothing short of magical – even if the ghost of Covid past still hangs perilously over its head.

This is a city that needs to be alive. It is a place brimming with seas of people who march at 100mph without looking up; where millionaires and penniless thespians mix; where the historic and uber contemporary combine and where bleary-eyed commuters sit side-by-side with starry-eyed tourists to be shuttled around under the bustling streets above.

It is pure magic.

Introducing a five-year-old more used to the snail’s pace of life in a traditional southern seaside coastal town to the chaotic energy of London at any time is an experience.

But throw into the mix a Capital city high on the vibes of Christmas and the experience is all the more incredible still.

London really is a place for everyone. But for families looking for a magical escape over the festive period, London’s offering is immense.

Winter Wonderland:

The sheer scale of the attraction makes it seem implausible that it is only temporary.

Dozens of towering rides covered in flashing lights – including a giant wheel and world’s biggest portable rollercoaster – dominate the sykline, while there are stalls, themed bars and food outlets selling cuisine from across the world for as far as the eye can see.

Complete with more than 100 attractions, Bavarian Village, circus tent and backdrop of Christmas classics at every turn, Hyde Park’s transformation into a winter wonderland is an incredible feat.

Since its inception as a small funfair on the edge of the park in 2005, the attraction has grown into a world-class festive extravaganza, and it is no wonder millions have flocked to soak up the magical atmosphere on offer.


No family visit to the Capital would be complete without a trip to Hamleys – the oldest and largest toy shop in the world, which has a magic that could bring out the child-like spirit in even the biggest Scrooge.

The historic toy shop has a few stories of its own to tell but the beaming faces of youngsters soaking in floor-to-ceiling rows of toys, games, gadgets, gizmos and sweets is the one anyone venturing in at Christmas will remember.

Spread over seven floors, there are more than 5,000 toys for sale – and shoppers can also play their part in helping poorly youngsters by purchasing a special edition teddy bear that raises funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

London Zoo:

Famous the world over, London Zoo can transport you to the jungles of Indonesia where Sumatran tigers play, to the coastlines of Peru where Humboldt penguins frolic in the surf or to India, where Asiatic lions lounge on the train tracks of a replica Indian village.

And the attraction is adding a taste of Lapland to the experience during the 2021 festive season by inviting visitors to experience the Magic of Christmas on site, and giving it an added sparkle for young animal lovers.

Waving to Santa as he strolls around the site, helping to write the animals’ Christmas wish lists and visiting a sensory sweetshop complete with clouds of candyfloss, marshmallow meadow and candy cane forest bring a touch of festive magic to the already special experience on offer.

The Snowman:

As escapist fantasies go, Raymond Briggs’ book is the perfect seasonal treat for children and adults alike. And its stage adaptation has developed into something of a colourful Christmas institution all of its own.

The magical stage show has been delighting audiences for 23 years – and with a performance full of whimsy humour, breathtaking sets, a flying scene that made a five-year-old gasp in awe and production brimming with beautiful Christmas cheer, it’s no wonder why.

A packed trip to London is not for the faint-hearted – and a comfy hotel room to rest up is a must.

With every street packed with hotels and accommodation to suit the tastes and budgets of London’s eclectic visitor profile, there isn’t a shortage of places to rest your weary head.

But the Marriott Hotel, in Kensington, provided the perfect tonic to the chaotic but brilliant rat race of the city outside. Close to bus stops and Gloucester Road tube station, tastefully decorated, pristinely clean and with the most accommodating, welcoming and friendly staff imaginable, the hotel is the perfect place to relax and recharge the batteries ready to venture back into the big city.

No trip to London with a five-year-old in tow could be classed a success without said exhausted youngster falling fast asleep immediately on the train journey home. But when his first words on opening his eyes as we pull back into the seaside town he calls home are, “Mum, when can we go back?” you know it’s been a magical experience he’s truly cherished.

For more information about the many attractions on offer in London in the run-up to Christmas visit