It’s no secret that London is an amazing place to visit all year round. However, in the run-up to Christmas, it’s particularly breathtaking. From the festive decorations on Oxford Street to the famous Winter Wonderland attraction at Hyde Park, there’s an abundance of things to see and do. On a time limit? Not to worry—I’ve collated a list of the best spots so that you can make the most of your trip, based on my own recent experiences in London. After all, nobody likes FOMO.
1. Regent Street, West End
Located in the heart of the West End, Regent Street is a heavenly hub of flagship stores and award-winning restaurants. The fact that it’s the world’s first shopping street makes it a popular place for international brands to set up shop—and for millions of tourists to visit each year. In December, Regent Street is home to ‘The Spirit of Christmas’ lights, which is the largest suspended lights installation in the capital—and boy, is it pretty.
2. Carnaby, West End
Also in London’s West End near Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus, the Carnaby area hosts 150 stores giving new meaning to the phrase “shop until you drop.” If you’d rather eat or drink than shop—don’t sweat it, Carnaby has over 50 independent restaurants and bars for you to explore while in the presence of some equally gorgeous festive decorations. In fact, to celebrate the recent theater release of Bohemian Rhapsody, which tells the story of British rock band Queen, you’ll find a spectacle of Freddie Mercury’s iconic lyrics embedded into neon lights. Two words: seriously impressive.
3. Annabel’s, Mayfair
Renowned as one of the most elegant clubs in the world, Annabel’s is located in a Georgian mansion house in the center of trendy Mayfair. Part of the upscale Birley Club, Annabel’s offers an all-day and all-night experience for its members to work or play. It’s made up of multiple awe-inspiring rooms, as well as a cool garden that’s considered a unique oasis in London. Plus, the handy location means that you can spend a morning or afternoon at Annabel’s before taking a walk around Hyde Park, visiting modern art galleries down Cork Street, or shopping for bespoke tailoring on Savile Row.
4. Harrods, Knightsbridge
A must-do regardless of the time of year, luxury department store Harrods is loved by locals and out-of-towners alike. Stocking the latest in men and women’s designer fashion, gifts, food, and accessories, it features a distinctive Egyptian-themed escalator room in addition to an elaborate Food Hall. Love Christmas? You’re in luck. The shopping emporium is adorned with multiple sparkling Christmas trees in December.
5. Peggy Porschen Cakes, Belgravia
If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth like me, make sure you head to Peggy Porschen Cakes in Belgravia. Run by award-winning cake designer and author Peggy Porschen and her husband, this chic bakery features “the best cupcakes in the world” according to Vanity Fair Magazine. Not a cupcake fan? That’s OK—you can get creative cakes, tea, champagne, and other sweet treats too. And the best bit? This cute spot has a lush bubblegum pink exterior which is super Instagrammable. Win-win.