London Prepares For Christmas – 17 December 2011

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Scroll down or click here for my video of London’s Christmas preparations.

REGENT STREET LIGHTS_Looking down Regent Street at its shining Christmas lights.

With just a week to go until Christmas Eve, I headed to London with my good friend Zac Brooke to marvel at the sights and enjoy the Christmas lights.

THE HOUSE AND CASTLE_'My' hotel in Westbourne Street, Paddington.

We got off the train at Paddington and walked through Hyde Park, eventually ending up at its annual Winter Wonderland and traditional German Christmas Market. It’s not the first time I’ve been, so I knew what to expect, but (unlike the brilliant Mary Portas) I still don’t like it. Like two old codgers, Zac and I cursed the commercialisation of the ancient Christian festival and moved on.

CHEEKY BLIGHTER_A well-camouflaged squirrel seen in Hyde Park.

BUSY BUSY_The annual Winter Wonderland always draws crowds due to its free admission.

COOKING UP A STORM_A trader at the authentic German market.

 

Bringing back fond memories of the Royal Wedding day, we strolled past Buckingham Palace and its tremendous Christmas tree, down the Mall, and under Admiralty Arch.

ACROSS THE WATER_Looking towards Whitehall from Buckingham Palace.

We soon found ourselves at Trafalgar Square where Zac took a photo of me, before jumping on the Tube and heading for the impressive Lego Christmas tree at King’s Cross St Pancras. I’d seen a picture of it in a newspaper and decided to take a shot of it myself. It was, however, difficult to get a sense of scale in whilst retaining the Lego brick detail.

CHEEKY CHAPPY_Smiling for a photograph in Trafalgar Square.

TALL ORDER_This Christmas tree is made of Lego bricks and stands in King's Cross St Pancras Railway Station.

We continued our day by travelling to Covent Garden, again by the Underground, where we had lunch at Bella Italia. After settling the bill, we admired the giant Christmas tree in the main area, which was far better decorated than the Norwegians’ one in Trafalgar Square and was complete with reindeer and a sleigh for visitors.

SANTA'S SLEIGH_Zac sits on Father Christmas' sleigh, as offered in Covent Garden.

It’d been a long time since I last visited the London Transport Museum, and given admission for under-16s was free-of-charge, both Zac and I decided to spend half an hour there. I was under the impression that there was a prototype for the new bus for London housed there, but it seemed I was wrong: instead, though, we found a dummy car for the Emirates Air-Line opening in summer 2012.

PROTOTYPE_The Emirates Air-Line is expected to be completed in summer 2012.

BUS STOP_Visitors to the museum are able to hop aboard various modes of transport, once used to carry Londoners around the city.

Our quest for Christmas related things, though, had been put to one side, but as it was darkening we decided that there was nowhere better than the Oxford Street lights. As ever, they were beautiful, and for us – having only broken up from school yesterday – were one of the final steps in the countdown to Christmas, and a reminder that Christmas is now just one week away.

OXFORD STREET LIGHTS_Passing traffic creates these light effects in this long-exposure photograph.

HOUSE OF FRASER LIGHTS_Christmas decorations adorn the House of Fraser department store.

BUSY BUSY_Despite showers, Oxford Street was heaving with shoppers.


Video

With Christmas now just one week away, watch the last in my series of festive ‘Countdown to Christmas’ videos.


Count down to Christmas with The Andrew Burdett Blog.

Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a 20-year-old from Maidenhead in Berkshire. A self-professed "lover of life", he enjoys a busy calendar of activities and engagements. With regular involvement in the Scout Association and his church, he was made Head Boy in his final year at school. After a gap-year spent as a Teaching Assistant at a local junior school, he is now half-way through his Journalism Studies degree at the University of Sheffield. In his spare time, he swims, reads, and enjoys writing about himself in the third-person.