With the arrival of December, the countdown to Christmas can well and truly begin. With mulled wine to be drunk and mince pies to be munched, tis indeed the season to be jolly. So in the run-up to Christmas we will be shining a light on London’s most popular destination district at this time of year; Covent Garden. From where to go, to what to do and when, we will be showcasing the best Covent Garden and its surrounding areas have to offer. So to start us off, here are the best things to do in Covent Garden this week, a mixture of shopping and poetry to warm the soul. There is an added bonus to be had if you really like massive Christmas trees!
Make a date with a discount
As we know Christmas is also supposed to be the time for giving. So the Seven Dials and St Martin’s Courtyard Christmas Shopping Night on Thursday, December 5 is designed to not only help you grab those all important gifts, but also lets face it, make a night out of it. With the area transformed into a pedestrian haven (traffic is banished for the night), this is a great chance to pick up some great bargains (with 120 shops, bars and restaurants offering 20% off) as well as having a few cheeky cocktails along the way. I went to check out the event in advance last week and started my visit with a trip to the “uplifting”, Maison Triumph. This is an amazing shop where art meets underwear, and has a truly unique window. Next up was the delightful Tatty Devine, the bespoke-jewellery makers to the stars, as well as the man and woman in the street. This is a really cool and funky shop, and they have a range of jewellery to suit every budget. The Cambridge Satchel Company was next on my list to visit. This is an incredibly colourful shop, with every type of satchel you could wish for, including a lovely Harris Tweed little number. It almost made me want to be back at school to rock the look for real (would need a really big time-machine for that). Finally I visited Coco de Mer, which is where fabulous meets daring in a fun way. It’s totally cheeky and well worth a visit, particularly for some unique “stocking” fillers. And you don’t just have to take my word for it, joining me on the sneak preview were top bloggers: JJ Miller, aka thislittlelady; Kristabel Plummer; aka iwantyoutoknow and Lucy Nicholls; aka shineythoughts. Check out their blogs to see what they thought of the shopping in Seven Dials.
To find out about all the (120) places involved in the event, and to qualify for the 20% discount – register for a free ticket at Sevendials.co.uk or follow the fun on Twitter @7DialsWC2 & @smccoventgarden.
Tree-mendous Trafalgar Square
Also taking place on December 5 at 6pm, just round the corner from Covent Garden in Trafalgar Square, is the annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. The iconic tree, a symbol of Anglo-Norwegian friendship, is a gift that has been presented to the people of London by the city of Oslo since 1947. The Poetry Society and the Royal Norwegian Embassy have collaborated with children from London schools to produce a special poem to mark the occasion. The entire poem will then be displayed in Trafalgar Square until January 26. Here is the opening verse of this rhyme in time for Christmas, with the rest to be revealed on Thursday.
“I am your tree. I grew in the north.
Year by year in the seasoned earth.
Sift, white sift, snowflakes, stars:
I was storm-shelter for carolling birds.
Dear creatures, what gifts have you brought?”
Audience participation a must in the market
Covent Garden also has a host of family-friendly fun to enjoy throughout the festive period. Boasting their own shimmering 60ft tree, a live Reindeer and even a piazza pantomime (oh yes they have), there is plenty to amuse if the Christmas shopping all gets a bit too much. Click on the link to book panto tickets for the world-premiere of “Once Upon a Christmas” or to find out more about events in the area visit www.coventgardenlondonuk.com/where you can download a guide.
Why not visit our hotels page to find out the latest Christmas deals for hotels in London, and make a real night of it