5 Tips For Avoiding The Christmas ‘Crush’ in London

December 3, 2011

London Travel Tips

Just like any other big city at this time of year, as Christmas approaches London’s West End gets more and more crowded with shoppers every day in the run up to 25 December. Here are five tips to keep you sane when faced with the Christmas rush on Oxford Street and elsewhere.

1. Avoid shopping at the weekend

 Most of London’s population of 6 million seem to be in central London on Saturdays and Sundays in the weeks before Christmas. If you can plan your shopping for mid-week you’ll have much more space to move and will be much less likely to make snap purchases just to get out of there as quickly as you can!

 2. Shop as late in the day as possible

 The major shopping areas in town have late opening evenings throughout December and are much more relaxed places after about 8pm. On December 20th specifically, all of the central London department stores will be open until 10 or 11pm, including Selfridges, Harrods, Liberty and Fortnum and Mason (a perfect destination for those little culinary treats).

 3. Think about venturing out of Zone 1

 Both of the sparkling new Westfield shopping centres in White City and in Stratford (next to the 2012 Olympic Park) are open until 11pm every weeknight from mid December. Arrive at 7pm and you have enough time to have a leisurely stroll around the stores and enjoy a meal in one of the centres’ many restaurants. You can also go ice-skating or take in a movie at one of their large theatres while you’re there.

 4. Do it online?

 This doesn’t work for clothing of course, but it might be worth considering avoiding the high street altogether and staying warm and snug at home while you browse for your gifts online. Unfortunately, if you do that then you will miss out on the spectacular festive lights that are a feature of the West End at Christmas. While Regents St and Oxford St have big displays, both on the street and adorning the big stores, venture down to New Bond St and Carnaby St for a funkier take on festive decorations.

 5. Recycle

 You know that unsuitable gift that you got from Aunt Jane last year? Well it might be suitable for Auntie Joan this year, and if she’s your favourite aunt then why not take her out for dinner at one of the inexpensive little restaurants in Soho with all the money that you’ve saved?

About The Londoneer

Pete Stean is a keen blogger, amateur photographer, singer and ham radio enthusiast in his spare time... Google+

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