Sunday 23 December 2012

A London Christmas

Leaving Christmas shopping to the eleventh hour is not an entirely bad idea when your hunting ground is London decked out for the season. 
Although the Siberian freeze has receded and been replaced by floods, so that we are now dreaming only of a wet Christmas, London is still majestic and enchanting at this time of year.

Regent Street, celebrating the twelve days of Christmas, was where I began, with a side trip to Liberty's ... 

showing us better than anyone how to do Christmas with flowers and greenery ...

Heading onwards via Bond Street towards Piccadilly ... What recession? declared Bond Street's jewellers and the Ritz (bottom left), though closing-down sales on Piccadilly told a different story ...

Immortal ghosts these two, heedless of the rain, FDR must have said something funny to make the curmudgeonly Winston crack a smile ...

Who would dare challenge these two burly uniformed gents watching over the entrance to the Burlington Arcade?

... where Santa was moonlighting with a little shoe-shine business.

One could take respite from the rain and shopping here in the Royal Academy, where it's business as usual ...

but I was pressing on to pick up treats for the Christmas table at Fortnum's ... whose windows this year are Dick Whittington-themed

and from here on to Hatchards for book gifts ... their windows impossible to resist.

After a pit-stop at Richoux's for tea and scones, it was properly dark outside, the Piccadilly Arcade glowing in lantern light

and to counter the scones I took a long walk northwards again via Berkeley Square, where I imagined a nightingale sang above a giant silvery Christmas tree ...

and the windows of grand homes made me want to press my nose longingly against the glass ...

and magic lanterns danced in trees ...

until I was almost full circle back in Oxford Street, where never mind the rain, there were sparkling umbrellas floating in the air in front of Selfridges' purply-illuminated grand pillars ...

... and where, after braving the store's hectic crowds and queues (though always polite and patient - how I love that about the English!), my final reward was to plop myself down, surrounded by bags, for a glass of bubbly, Christmas shopping done.


  1. Just gorgeous. I was in Canterbury once, just before Christmas. It was like a fairy tale. I love the English spirit. I had a hard in France, they don't do a big Christmas like us. No carols, very few decorations, etc. This is lovely!!

  2. What a perfect tour! Nothing but the best.

    For five magical years we lived jut behind Liberty, in Soho, in the old Liberty warehouse, and one of the things I loved was being able to walk the children round the West End (avoiding Oxford Street!), through the back streets, and having tea at Fortnums at the end. Concerts in St James and St Martins in the Fields, all the marvellous museums, feeding the birds in St James' Park or Regents Park... not a bad back yard!

  3. There is nowhere quite like London...for me, it is simply the best City in the world...sounds like you had a fabulous day.
    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.
    With my love,

  4. Oh my Godness, dear Karen! So, so beautiful, it makes me "homesick" for London!
    As usual - you've captures the atmosphere brilliantly and all your pictures are just simply stunning!!!! What else can I say....

    Oh,yes, I like to say that we were so enchanted to have seen you both here at La Pouyette and we hope to have you here again!

    All our very best wishes for a wonderful CHRISTMAS!
    Will "talk" again before the New Year :)

    Tres amicalement,
    Karin and Ron,
    and Oskar sends a deep purr-purr-purr to you and your 4-legged ones!

    p.s. Sorry for my long absence regarding commenting, just started to go somewhat back into the blogworld.....
    But please be assured that you're always in my mind.

  5. Oh to be in London now that Christmas is here! Merry Christmas and Happy New year Love from Sydney xx

  6. Dear Karen
    I wish you a very Merry Christmas filled with lots of joy and warmth!
    Big Christmas hug from Lene

  7. Dear Karen
    What a glorious glimpse of London!
    Quite a treat for me as you can imagine -- loved every minute of it.
    Wishing you a most blessed and peaceful Christmas.
    Happy birthday to your daughter
    (So sorry to be late)

  8. Karen, I so enjoyed that walk around those beautiful London spots...some of my favorite haunts in any season. The decorations are so stylish...loved the illuminated umbrella!

    Yes, last minute shopping (if one does have a list) can be rather enjoyable.

    Cheers to you, and very Merry Christmas to you and yours! xo


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