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London at Christmas Time

London at Christmas by Jim Horan, Westport, Co. Mayo

The 7-year-old, and his Dad, are excited about trip to London for the Xmas feel. Only an hour away by plane and so much to see and do in the Capital of Brexit.  

Ireland West Airport, is so handy, 40 minutes from Westport. Improved parking facilities make it so easy to park up there and head into departures. I’ve saved money by booking the parking online and that will get me nice breakfast or coffee in the departures area. Another time I’ll try the new Executive Lounge, perhaps without the kids…. 

Great atmosphere in the lounge and I can see a lucky few are heading to see Arsenal v Man Utd. I’m tempted to see if there are any spare tickets as I’m staying 5 minutes from the Emirates! 
London is great at this time of year, December, as it has a real buzz of Xmas. Our first stop is Hamleys, still I think the largest toy shop in Europe. It’s on Regents St, and holds 5 Floors of fantasy, even I am entranced by the magic of the place. Each floor has staff members doing magic tricks, flying planes or just entertaining the crowds. 

Next stop is the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland show. It’s our 3rd consecutive year there and its great fun as it caters for everyone, families, groups of friends and couples. It’s a massive funfair with a European market thrown into the mix. There are food outlets, bars and bands playing too. Indeed, as we walk in Jackie Wilson and the beautiful sound of Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher is playing from speakers, appropriate enough with the size of some of the rides! Winter Wonderland runs from November to early January and is free to enter. 

Whilst in Hyde Park there is a lovely café which sits across from Winter Wonderland and looks out on the Serpentine Pond, again it’s a famous London landmark and a nice break from the helter skelter of Winter Wonderland. 

Tips when travelling with kids. Have a look at purchasing a Family and Friends Railcard from an airport on arrival. It costs £30 for the year, with savings on all rail journeys with kids over 5. Especially good value if visiting more than once and/or linked with friend’s name who can use on their trip. 

Also get an Oyster card from Tube stations / newsagents, again savings on tube-bus-rail travel, but so handy as transport systems are so integrated now. One final thing to visit whilst over in London is the cable car across the Thames, here’s the link, https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/emirates-air-line/