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Christmas cheer in the city: The best of London's fun-filled festivities

21 NOVEMBER 2012 The Christmas countdown has officially commenced in the city of London. Marking the start of Christmas, the annual turning on of twinkling lights on iconic Oxford Street beckoned tens of thousands to join A-listers Robbie Williams and pop sensation Leona Lewis, all anticipating the exciting season that awaits.

From the sparkling of lights to candlelit carolling, theatre hopping to reindeer spotting, London's infinite Christmas attractions earn it a first place prize for a Christmas getaway – complete of course with snow covered rooftops and delicately decorated trees.

Forget the appeal of a mince pie and mulled wine combination cuddled next to the fire place, it's time to journey out of the house to really appreciate a little of London's legendary yuletide spirit.

Oxford street

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Wander around Winter Wonderland's festive funfair
With its glittering golden lights, sky-high rides and never ending markets, the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park could persuade even the most cynical of Scrooges to join in the wintertime festivities.

London's skyline is well and truly lit up. Overpowering the potentially grey winter sky, Winter Wonderland casts a glistening sparkle across the entire park and beyond. It's even free to enter, and will remain open until January 6, 2013.

Indulge in candy floss treats or sinful toffee apples, popcorn and pretzels, or join in the merriment and sample German brews and spicy mulled wines on a rotating carousel bar. Dare to ride The Power Tower, Helter Skelter and Giant wheel, or channel your inner child on dodgem rides and ghost trains galore.
Hyde Park, London W2 2UH

Winter Wonderland

Look for the reindeers at London Zoo
Open for the Christmas period only – the brand new Reindeer Lodge at London Zoo offers the chance to meet the famous reindeers seen in every Christmas film in town – whether Rudolph and Blitzen or Dancer and Prancer. 

Families are cordially invited on a trip around Santa's Grotto with gifts handed out to children, and even the possibility of a photograph with an elf.
Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY

An unforgettable experience at the theatre
We all know the enchanting story of The Nutcracker, but a trip to one of the best loved ballets which is performed at The Royal Opera House in London will leave you feeling even more mystified.

Following the bitter-sweet journey of young Clara, expect award-winning set design, incredible choreography and a charming interpretation of the traditional Christmas favourite that combines a child's magical fantasy with first class ballet and Tchaikovsky classics.
Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD

The Nutcracker

Take to the winter ice at London's lovely Somerset House
The picturesque setting of Somerset House is glamourous to say the very least and makes for a stylish experience on the rink – depending on your ice skating abilities.

Located within the heart of London and right next to the Courtauld Gallery, the ice rink combines the magic of a historical setting with the festive fun of outdoor entertainment, to be enjoyed with all the family and loved ones.

A gorgeous 40-foot Christmas tree towers before the iconic landmark and is sponsored by Tiffany & Co. You can purchase delectable chocolate treats sold in a giant version of the famous little blue box.

Ice skating

And if all this doesn't suffice, other Christmas credentials include the German-styled wooden chalets at Southbank's Christmas market, late night shopping on Columbia Road and illuminous Christmas displays at Harrods, Fortnum and Mason's and Selfridges.

Don't let the cold chills stop you from discovering London's Christmas winter wonders...

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