The Galleon - Portsmouth's Student Newspaper



All I Want For Christmas Is… A Cheap Getaway to London

Discover the magic that London has to offer this Christmas

It is that lovely time of the year again – Christmas!

A favourite holiday for many, with students in particular as it is a time of giving, making memories and stocking up on every piece of food possible. Additionally, it is also a break from university, due dates and other stressful obligations.

A break from university is exactly what students need every once in a while, and what could possibly be a better treat than a short get away to London during the Christmas season?

Visiting London during the festive season is indeed something extraordinary, what with its magical decorations, festive markets, and all round Christmas atmosphere. It is the city which has everything that you could possibly want when you think of a metropolitan Christmas getaway!

A lot of the things to see and do in London are free. This always comes in handy for students in particular who don’t fancy parting with their small change towards the end of term just to see a few fancy attractions.

“Many restaurants offer student discounts with the restaurant app.”

Planning ahead of time is key. In order get discounts on both National Express coach tickets as well as on train tickets, book early! Tickets can be anywhere between £5 and £15 if you’re lucky, especially with student railcards and coach cards.

When in London, the public transportation system is easy, but can quickly add up. It is always possible to walk to a lot of the attractions if taking a crowded tube doesn’t quite take your fancy. Sometimes, where you may want to end up is not always within walking distance, so there is always a travel day pass that can be purchased at any major tube station or bus depot station. Remember, those of you with railcards can get discounted travel on the underground.

Not only can you get discounts on travel tickets, many restaurants offer student discounts with the restaurant app, or NUS card around the city centre of London as well. It’s worth checking the terms and conditions beforehand though, as some discounts aren’t valid at certain times or on particular days.

There are so many things happening in London at this time of the year, but one of the greatest is the iconic Christmas lights on Oxford Street. Inspired by the image of falling snowflakes, Oxford Street is lit up by over 750,000 LED light bulbs. Continuing down onto Regent Street which leads to Piccadilly Circus, experience even more Christmas lights and decorations which will definitely guarantee a feel good festive spirit.

Covent Garden is the place to go for somewhere which has a real ambience of Christmas cheer and all things jolly. There are over 40 mistletoe chandeliers which decorate the Piazza, as well as a huge glowing Christmas tree. Covent Garden is renowned for its wide variety of unique shops, restaurants, cosy Christmas pop ups, and not forgetting some of the West End’s best entertainment, all thanks to it is location in the best theatre district in The Big Smoke.

“Even if a bit of retail shopping is not on the agenda, there is always time for a little bit of window-shopping.”

Another major event not to be missed are the Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square which take place from Monday 11th December to Friday 22nd December. A number of carol singing groups gather around an immense Christmas tree to sing and entertain. The atmosphere shouts ‘Winter Wonderland’ and it is one of the most popular gatherings for happy Christmas people to come along and sing classic Christmas songs. Some of the Christmas choirs will also be collecting money for different charity organisations, so what could possibly be better than the combination of being able to sing your heart out and contribute to a good cause.

Last but not least, even if a bit of retail shopping is not on the agenda, there is always time for a little bit of window-shopping. Selfridges and Harrods offer two of the best Christmas window displays in London this Christmas. Selfridges on Oxford Street displays their theme “With Love From”, which tells a story of a Christmas parade which has dancing and singing characters facing the window shoppers.

Harrods window display on the other hand is more luxurious and goes by the Italian Dolce & Gabbana theme. Although these stores are two of the most expensive on Oxford Street, do not be deterred by the expense of the items,  the fun experience of taking a peek at their Christmas displays definitely makes up for it. 

If you are planning some last minute Christmas shopping for friends and family, and most definitely not yourself, Westfield Shopping Centre located in White City is a safe bet, offering a wide variety of stores and restaurants, and many of them offer student discounts as well.

These are only a few ideas of what to do during a Christmas holiday get away to London which are both cheap and definitely memorable. Keep in mind London is a world metropolitan, and has so much to offer in all its districts and boroughs. You will not be disappointed; that is a guarantee.


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