This was an epic year of travel for me – the best ever. I was very fortunate to be able to go somewhere special each month.
I visited National Parks in the US as well as a few new places in my home country. I had a completely unique experience as a volunteer citizen scientist in Kenya. And my feet touched the soil of South America for the first time. To top it all off, I was totally spoiled on a one of a kind barge cruise on the Burgundy Canal in France. I don’t think any year in travel can get much better.
Some days I wish I had a magic wand. Or that I also had received a letter on my eleventh birthday saying I was accepted into the Hogwarts School of Wizarding and Witchcraft. Of course the Sorting Hat would put me in the Gryffindor house and I also would have a beautiful white owl as my companion. For one day, I was able to be part of this magical world during my Wizarding World of Harry Potter London experience.
To all my friends, family, readers and followers – sending you lots of butterbeer and other Hogwarts goodies for a truly magical season, whatever holiday you celebrate. (Wishing this was a photo of my castle, but it is actually the Hogwarts Great Hall at Warner Brothers Studio outside of London).
I can’t think of any better way to get into the holiday spirit than with a special Christmas train trip that hearkens back to the golden age of train travel. I love taking unique rail journeys, and the British Pullman day trip from London to the Winchester Christmas market certainly promised to be a magical experience.
Christmas Markets, decorated trees, sparkling lights and holiday concerts galore. On my recent trip to London I found the city wrapped up in all things Christmas. There is always a lot to do in London and this time of year, even more so. So after spending ten days getting into the holiday spirit, here is my list of festive things to do in London in December.
Each year the official Christmas tree in London is displayed at Trafalgar Square. The tree is a Norwegian Spruce from Norway that is 50 to 60 years old and is donated by the city of Oslo. This tradition started in 1947 as a show of gratitude for Britain’s help to Norway during WWII.
One of the fun holiday events I observed in London was the Great Christmas Pudding Race at Covent Garden. To raise money for Cancer Research, teams dressed up in costume raced around an obstacle course while trying to hold on to a Christmas Pudding. In the UK a Christmas pudding is a steamed cake, which does wobble a bit but not quite as much as an American pudding would.
Along with Big Ben and the Tower Bridge, the London Eye has become an iconic structure that immediately identifies the city which is ironic because it was initially built for only a five year run to celebrate the millennium. This Christmas tree is one of many that I saw throughout London on my visit this December.
This statue of two time British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stands in Parliament Square Garden in London and has him looking directly toward the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. It’s almost as if he is standing guard and keeping an eye on the Houses of Parliament across the street.
One of my favorite department stores in London is Fortnum and Mason. It started as a grocery store in the early 1700’s and continues to be a purveyor of fine food and drink to this day. I especially love having afternoon tea at the store’s Diamond Jubilee Tea Room. For the Christmas Holidays, Fortnum and Mason went all out decorating both inside and outside the store.