Hi, I have been to London 3x before on business and each time had a chance to squeeze in some tourist time. I have a chance to go again but for the first time will be going in the winter - early Dec. to be exact. I will have Sunday to myself, perhaps and an evening or two to myself also, and my flight home does not depart until Friday mid-afternoon, so maybe I can fit in something that morning before grabbing the Heathrow Express. I am staying near Knightsbridge. Any suggestions for making the most of this time in December London VERY much appreciated.
Go see a play or an orchestral concert or an opera. Performance prices tend to be cheaper there than over here. Have fun!
No matter when you go, there is always lots to do in London. Once you arrive pick up the current issue of "Time Out" magazine. It will have complete listings of absolutely everything going on. The hardest part will be narrowing the choices down :)
There are tons of things that you can do in London in the evenings, depending on your interests. I think the evening pub walks are a great way to see a neighborhood in London. Check the London walks website (www.walks.com). The schedule will be slightly different in December, so check before you go. The walks will be less crowded than they are in the summer. You could go see a show or concert. Check out www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk or http://www.timeout.com/london/. Also, a number of museums (British, National Gallery, V&A, etc) are open late one evening a week.
For your last day, Knightsbridge is close to the Victoria and Albert, Science, and Natural History museums so you could squeeze in a visit to one of these. Another option is the Food Hall at Harrods. They will have out some special British Christmas foods like Christmas pudding and brandy sauce, etc. I brought a Christmas pudding home one year. No one liked it, but it was fun for them to try.
Thanks everyone for some great suggestions. Laura, thanks for directing me to the London Walks site - this looks great! Any further suggestions from all most welcome.
Take a few min. and just people watch! Go to Leciester Square or Covent Garden and just enjoy! If you have an afternoon, go to Kew Gardens. They are nice even in winter. We go every year in late Nov/early Dec. We love to go to the Christmas markets... Bath and York have great ones, so if you have a day, take the train and explore. Windsor is close enough to do a short excursion. Shopping is nice there and the castle is beautiful. Definetly enjoy the theatre and the resturants. China Town is fun and my favorite there is "Top of the Town". Good food, good value. The Tower of London is good for an afternoon. Lots to see and explore. Sunday is a good day to go to Greenwich. They have a market there on Sundays and there's lots to see and do.
If you have an interest in history, the British Museum is hosting some of the Terracotta Army from China until April. We're going to make a point of seeing the 20 statues when we're in town in Dec, as we don't often get to China.
Kath, hope you've already got your tickets to see the Terracotta Warriors already . You won't just be able to walk into the museum and see them. It's the hottest thing in London in quite awhile. Huge!
Mikey, I would check out the Sir John Ritblat Gallery in The British Library. A hidden gem. London Walks are fabulous. Seeing who won the Turner Prize at the Tate is always interesting. The Camden Lock Market is always fun and crowded. I always stroll the Hampstead Heath if the weather is good. Fun watching everyone out and about, with their dogs off leash. Highgate Cemetary is very interesting. You'll find Karl Marx buried there as well as Sir Ralph Richardson and other noteables. As others have suggested get a Timeout when you arrive. You can go online now but it won't have much on there about December happenings. Oh and try to see a panto. Enjoy.
I've found that Time Out has scaled back their web operations over the past year; it's not as good as it used to be. I still prefer to have use their magazine when I arrive.
Not sure if this interests you at all, but there is a huge Christmas fair going on in Hyde Park (SE corner, walking distance from you - starting Dec. 1. Most of it is geared towards the younger crowd with a huge observation wheel and ice skating, but here will also be an authentic German christmas market set up with several stalls and food. I'm planning on hitting it up for some mulled wine and sausages! London is one of the most festives cities when it comes to the holidays and the city really comes alive. Hope you have a great time, I'll be there that same week!
Mikey, I just got back yesterday from London and stayed just minutes from Knightsbridge. Basically you have to decide what YOU want to do... if you want to shop, go to the theatre, sightsee, etc.
My friends and I were there for the Anaheim Ducks/ LA Kings hockey game, so our time was limited, but we were able to squeeze a lot of things in 5 days. Get an Oyster Card and take the tube and bus. You'll have so much access and things are just minutes away.
If you DO want theatre tickets you can plan ahead and get them, or take a gamble and get it when you arrive.
As for Heathrow, allow yourself at least 3 1/2 hours. We gave ourselves 3 hours to get back to LAX via Virgin Atlantic and barely made it through the checks.