Christmas in New York City

It is pretty much a given that Christmas is one of the best times of the year to visit New York City. You will find that the Big Apple is bursting with cheer, filled with joy and there are so many wonderful attractions just waiting to be visited, many for free, that you would be mad to miss out! Below is a list of some of the best things to do for free during the festive season.

Shopping:

Whether you are window shopping or actual shopping you will be blown away at some of the displays that are on offer in New York City at Christmas time. Saks on Fifth Avenue now has an amazing 3D display that sees the entire building being covered with amazing virtual snowflakes, bubbles and anything else that takes their fancy. This amazing light show runs until the 6th of January and is a real delight to the eyes. If you are visiting Saks Fifth Avenue during the day time then you will find that the usual festive window displays are up and you can even see designer pieces on display from the likes of Alexander McQueen and other fantastic designers.

If you visit Barney’s you will find that they now have a Gaga Workshop which sells some truly amazing Lady Gaga inspired and designed pieces with everything from platform shoes to tea cups available here and you will find some stunning gifts for the Lady Gaga fan in your life. The boutique is designed with such beauty and style that even just some window shopping here is absolutely fantastic!

You will find wonderful window displays all over Manhattan, so many that you could easily spend a whole day just looking at window displays.

Visit old St Nicholas (the real one):

When thinking of Christmas films one that always springs to mind is Miracle on 34th Street and this is probably one of the most popular Christmas films of all time. Visit Macy’s to see Father Christmas but be warned that you may have to queue for a while due to the popular of this fantastic grotto. You will find wonderful Christmas displays and even a postbox for sending letters to Father Christmas.

Ice skate out in the open:

Skating in New York City is one of the most fantastic experiences around Christmas time and if you visit one of Manhattan’s fantastic ice skating rinks you will not be disappointed. Central Park’s Wollman is THE ice skating rink to go, particularly if you want the chance to see a movie being shot! Rockefeller Centre, with its giant Christmas tree, is another fantastic place to ice skate, particularly if you are looking for a romantic setting.

The Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree is one of the best in all of New York City and a visit here will allow you some fantastic photographs and memories that will last a lifetime. The tree this year is over 70 foot and is covered in over 30,000 LED lights before being topped with the ultimate decoration, a Swarovski crystal covered star. If you are visiting Sak’s Fifth Avenue then you will be right near the Rockefeller Christmas Tree so you can even combine a few different activities in one day for the ultimate festive day in New York City.

Xmas And New Year’s Eve Celebrations In London

The UK capital is a great place to spend the holiday season, with its traditionally cold climate and good chance of a white Christmas.

The festive season is a big deal in London, with the city authorities, businesses and individuals all getting in on the act to create a truly festive atmosphere across the area – offering a seasonal warm welcome for all visitors.

Celebrating Christmas in London

Christmas in the UK is a traditional affair with most people choosing to spend it with friends and family. If you are staying in a hotel then it is advisable to ask about Christmas meals at the time of booking to ensure you secure yourself a slot if you want to stay at you accommodation on the day itself. Alternatively there is a wonderful selection of restaurants across the city that will offer a Christmas day menu – booking will, however, be essential. Traditional Christmas dinner in the UK is a combination of roasted meats, served with seasonal vegetables and trimmings such as a selection of stuffings, chipolata sausages and bacon wrapped treats (most venues will offer a vegetarian option such as a nut roast or festive filo tart) followed by Christmas pudding served with brandy butter and cream.

In the days around Christmas, London offers the opportunity to take part in a range of seasonal festive traditions – from attending a traditionally British Pantomime (family Christmas shows with audience participation, usually staged in December and January) to seeing a production of a seasonal ballet such as the Nutcracker or Coppelia. Visitors can see the stunning Christmas light shows on London’s well-known thoroughfares including Oxford Street and Regent Street, and browse the seasonal selections in big name stores including Harrods, Fortnum and Masons and Selfridges.

Celebrating New Year in London?

If you want to see in the New Year in style, then London offers some great opportunities. Entertainment venues from nightclubs to comedy clubs offer special parties in honor of the occasion, while Londoners take to the streets in droves to mark the passing of midnight, with hot spots for gathering including the banks of the Thames and Trafalgar Square. New Year is marked in the UK by the sounding of the “Bongs” the deep chimes of the world famous Big Ben bell that literally ring in the new year. A fireworks display is put on above the Thames itself – with the spectacular display illuminating such English icons as the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral. One great option to view this is to take a New Year’s river cruise along the Thames on one of the many pleasure boats offering dinner dance packages for the festive season.

If you have spent Christmas in London and fancy experiencing something more of the UK for the New Year, however, why not consider looking into hire cars and heading north to Scotland – the home of Hogmanay – where street parties take place in Edinburgh and Glasgow complete with traditional pipers, wee drams and first footing – a great way to round off an amazing British holiday experience.