Glittering lights, decorated windows, & Christmas markets. Welcome to London at it’s festive best !
This time of year, just about every street corner in London is adorned with lights and festive decorations.
The city is transformed into an enchanted wonderland…
Making it a wonderful time to wander.
Perhaps there’s no better way to experience London, than on foot.
You can wander down quiet passageways, get up close and personal with details, and use your senses to explore.
There are certainly opportunities to roam year-round in London. Whether you take a summer urban wander in Shoreditch or a winter nature walk in Richmond Park.
But, London in December is something special…
It’s an ideal time to immerse your senses in a mindful photo walk.
I’m a die-hard advocate for wellness travel and believe that traveling with wellness in mind can help everyone to better thrive in today’s hectic world.
Mindful photo walks are an ideal opportunity to support well-being, relax, & immerse in new places.
Personally, I like taking photo walks by myself. But, you could take one with a friend too! Any way you slice it, walks are a great part of a healthy mind & body travel routine.
Today I wanted to share a recent walk from my winter break. It starts in the Seven Dials area of central London, during the cheery Christmas season!
Exploring London in December
I have my morning priorities, and coffee is always at the top of the list.
Monmouth Coffee is a great artisan option in this area. You can order take out so and enjoy your java right next door and in Neal’s Yard courtyard. It’s a mindful way to start the day in peace & quiet.
Later in the day, this small and vibrant corner of London will be full of people snapping photos. Yet early in the early morning, you can just about have the place to yourself.
Seven Dials is known for their Christmas street lights and since it’s early they are still alight.
Meandering the small lanes this area is known for and enjoying the lights along the way, I work my way back to Covent Garden.
In this area, seasonal flowers, trees, and garlands are everywhere. It’s atmospheric taking in the sights and it definitely feels like Christmas in England.
This time of the morning is incredibly quiet and it’s a joy to wander the city when it’s like this.
There are woodland animals and nutcrackers, just like the Christmas seasons of my youth.
The Covered Market is particularly quiet in the mornings. The lights reflect off of the silver hanging ornaments and dances along the walls. It’s mesmerizing.
The sun finally makes an appearance as I continue down the maze of lanes, making my way towards Cecil Court. Walking past the uniform wooden Victorian shopfronts is like taking a step back in time.
Next up is Trafalgar Square. Every year Norway gifts the UK a large Christmas tree that graces the center. This year’s tree is a bit skinny for my tastes, but I do enjoy the aromas coming from the food stands!
Listening to the fountains here is always a joy, and I pause for a minute to take it all in. I smile inside, then turn and walk towards Whitehall.
Every morning the ceremony of Changing The Guard takes place at Horse Guards Parade, which is the official entrance to St. James and Buckingham Palace.
While the crowds flock to Buckingham Palace, here instead you can experience a quiet and more mindful moment of appreciation. There is no railing to stand behind and the view is beautifully unencumbered.
The horses are majestic and it’s an intimate look at British pageantry. Mark the bucket list for this unique experience, and be sure to check the daily schedule.
There is a bit of auditory bliss as I approach Parliament Square. A Scottish bagpipe player is serenading the crowd. It’s pure happiness, really who doesn’t love that sweet sound floating across the air?
For a minute, I long to be in Scotland. And it just goes to show, you never know what may come your way when you let the day just unfold!
Since quiet was the goal for part of this morning’s walk, the next stop is a quiet residential area behind Westminster Abbey. It’s full of old-world charm with its intricate doorways, gas street lamps, and architectural details.
This area is full of textures that could keep you fascinated for hours. And it’s so quiet, you’d never know Parliament is right around the corner!
Crossing Millbank Road, I enter Victoria Tower Gardens to take a nature pause.
I turn around to look at Parliament basking in the sun and catch this beautiful reflection. Sometimes good things can be found looking in puddles!
When I turn to find a bench by the river to relax for a bit, I see a rainbow! This has been a good morning.
My relaxation is blissful but short-lived. My stomach starts growling, which means it’s lunchtime. On to the last stop of the morning, The Southbank Centre Winter Market. To eat and enjoy the festivities!
Christmas in London brings plenty of markets and even more yummy food stalls!
The crowds are now out and my rather quiet morning is a thing of the past.
Yet, a wander through the market provides a different kind of mindful. With people comes the opportunity to listen to the laughter and music, observe the holiday happiness of others, and let my nose enjoy the holiday celebration.
It’s a reminder that it’s possible to be mindful, even when things are busy and full of people. With my belly now full, it’s time to head back across the Thames. There’s a bit of holiday shopping to be done!
What do you think? Is London in December calling you?
I hope your next new year is full of mindful walks, good health, and all of your heart’s desires.
until the next time…
…live well – travel well – be well
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