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Experience Christmas on foot through a mile-long themed walkway guiding you through the transformed Botanical Gardens in Kew, the place back in the 1790’s where Queen Charlotte dressed the first Christmas tree. Here giant light sculptures decorate glass houses while dancing fountains provide the perfect background. Close-by in Syon Park, an Enchanted Woodland awaits with illuminated oak trees and gardens offering a trail leading to its 18th century lake.

The Vaults beneath Waterloo play host to competitive Christmas board games as well as a round of golf. Presented by the Underground Film Club, Birdies crazy golf club pop-up combines golf and social libations! But at a higher there’s an elevated view from eight hundred feet above the city from The London Shard, one of the tallest buildings in Europe.

IMG_0074Heming the Thames, The Southbank Centre is running a calendar of festivities, from award-winning theatrical performances, a London premiere of the new show We Are the Monsters, a concert from The Choir with No Name, and a festive winter market.

For Harry Potter fans, the Great Hall has been transformed with roast turkeys, puddings and cakes, garlands and wreaths at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in The Snow as part of the Warner Bros Studio Tour. Here, all is revealed on how the Christmas scenes in the Harry Potter film series were filmed.

If the traditional Turkey has lost its appeal, there’s an alternative. A Scandinavian forest theme – the “Little Feast” is on offer at Shepherd’s Bush Yard. Surrounding by fir trees, ivory pergolas, bark floors and wood from Norway, this fully heated forest serves seasonal food and winter drinks!

IMG_0104Casting a spell in East London is Queen of Hoxton’s winter rooftop pop-up, inspired by the Grimms’ brothers Fairy Tales, from Little Red Riding Hood to Rapunzel. The fantastical forest and magical menu brings cups of cheer and a unique dining experience with the help of festival production maestros.

Set amid Hyde Park is Winter Wonderland, a destination offering a Christmas day atmosphere every day. Free to visit, it offers over 100 rides and attractions. The Magical Ice Kingdom, Cirque Berserk and Zippos Christmas Circus are a handful of attractions which require booking in advance.

Away from London on December 21st, Brighton will see paper lanterns fly for the annual “burning of the clocks” to celebrate the shortest day of the year by lighting up the sky. Along the coast, Bournemouth’s Lower Gardens feature ten beach huts, each with themed lighting, sound and video installations by lighting designer Michale Grubb. A giant lava lamp, modern grotto and ice skating rink also add to its winter activities!

img246But if all these festivities sound too much, there’s a host of Christmas movies to enjoy at home. Topping the list this year are Elf, Scrooge, It’s a Wonderful Life, Bad Santa, Gremlins, Home Alone, The Snowman, Love Actually, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Whichever Christmas tradition you choose, here’s wishing you a healthy, happy Christmas season.

About Jane Wilson

Jane Wilson is both a journalist and PR expert. She has worked as a travel writer for over 20 years in the UK and the Middle East. Her articles have spanned travel, tourism developments, spas and more recently medical & health tourism. She has written on Dubai with its futuristic take on tourism, the benefits of the early health “farms" in the UK, the revival in rail travel and the highlights of niche destinations around the world. Jane is based in London and founded the specialist portal in medical & health tourism, The Healthcare Holiday www.thehealthcareholiday.com Jane Wilson Tel: +44 7778 875647 Email: editor@thehealthcareholiday.com