Published: Monday 19th of November 2012
There's no better city in the country to buy gifts for your family and friends this Christmas than London. With the best markets, fairs and shopping districts, visitors certainly won't be short of choices when it comes to present buying.
When visitors to London think of shopping, the first place that comes to mind is Oxford Street. It is full to the brim with all different kinds of shops, whether people are looking for high street shops, department stores or more exclusive boutique locations, they will be spoilt for choice.
The street is lined with the flagship stores of Britain's biggest retailers, including Primark, Topshop, House of Fraser, Selfridges, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer. What's more the experience is made all the more magical with the beautiful Christmas lights illuminating the street and giving it a fantastic Yuletide atmosphere.
During the Christmas period, many shops are offering late night opening hours to give visitors to London much more time to buy their presents. On top of that, in the second week of December the whole of Oxford Street and Regent Street will be traffic-free, allowing shoppers to spill out on to the streets and experience plenty of promotions and special offers.
There are all manner of Christmas markets being held throughout the capital, providing a wonderful alternative to the high street shopping.
The Traditional Christmas Market at Southbank Centre is returning to the banks of the River Thames this year, providing one of the best places to shop in festive style. Located along the Queen's Walk, the market is returning for its fifth year.
Visitors will find all manner of unusual gifts for their friends and families from the 60 or so wooden stalls in the market. They sell everything from silver jewellery and Christmas tree accessories to wooden toys and handmade soap.
While at the Traditional Christmas Market it would be silly not to try some of the fantastic German-themed food and drink. Tuck into a bratwurst sausage or roasted almonds and wash it down with some trademark mulled wine.
There are many other temporary traditional markets throughout the capital, including the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park Corner and the Finnish Church Christmas Fair on Albion Street. However, some of the capital's permanent markets are also making a special effort for Christmas.
One of London's most famous bohemian markets has its own special Christmas offering for five days from December 14th, providing plenty of entertainment, shopping and festivities.
For the duration shoppers will be able to peruse the stalls from 10:00 to 19:00 GMT, picking up all manner of things from arts and crafts to designer clothes.
The Covent Garden Piazza at the heart of the shopping district will also be having a Christmas overhaul, with all manner of festive decorations, including a 32 ft topiary reindeer. It's not all just aesthetics either, the Mulled Wine Hut will be providing Yuletide cheers and visitors can tuck into mince pies and roasted chestnuts, while shopping the diverse selection of Christmas stalls.
Kids will, however, be most excited to go to the reindeer petting enclosure, where they can get up close and personal with the festive animals. They can even enjoy a magical storytelling session from actors Olivia Armstrong and Chloe Davis.
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Posted by Kevin Smith
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