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London Events December 2011

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London events in December largely centre on Christmas, from last-minute shopping to carol concerts and visits from Santa! However, you can head to non-Christmas-related London events such as the Degas exhibition at the Royal Academy.

It is worth noting that hotels in London can be expensive in December at the height of the tourist season, so make sure you check out TravelStay, which lists cheap London hotels and London hostels throughout the capital.

London Events December 2011 Harrods London Events December 2011 Grotto London Events December 2011 Shopping London Events December 2011 Oxford Street

Christmas shopping: Brave the crowds at Harrods!

London in December wouldn't be the same without Christmas shopping and there is plenty to see and do while you're out and about! The crowds in London's main shopping areas of Oxford Street and Bond Street will be vast, but if you're brave enough to get stuck in then you can be sure to pick up a bargain or two! Some London shops will also be putting on special events to mark the occasion, such as the Harrods Christmas Grotto, a long-standing tradition at the luxury department store.

Harrods Christmas Grotto; From November; Knightsbridge; £5

London Events December 2011 Messiah London Events December 2011 John Rutters London Events December 2011 Pudding Race London Events December 2011 Trafalgar Square

Handel's Messiah: Go traditional at one of London's top events

To many people, attending Handel's Messiah at St Paul's Cathedral marks the start of Christmas and is a hugely popular London event in December well worth a visit. Performed every year by the Cathedral Choir and Chorus and the City of London Sinfonia, the work is perfectly set in the surroundings of Christopher Wren's church. Meanwhile, the Royal Albert Hall will showcase a calendar of festival concerts, including John Rutter's Christmas Celebration, featuring carols and songs performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. For a traditional event outside, watch the carol singers gathering under the large Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square, which has been a gift from Norway since 1947.

Handel's Messiah; December 7th; St Paul's Cathedral; free
John Rutter's Christmas Celebration; December 10th; Royal Albert Hall; South Kensington; from £12.50
Carol singing in Trafalgar Square; December; Charing Cross; free

Great Christmas Pudding Race: Find something odd to do at Christmas!

It's always fun to find London events that are a little bit different, so why not support a charity and head on down to the Great Christmas Pudding Race. Now in its 31st year, the event aims to raise money for Cancer Research UK and sees teams dress up and run through Covent Garden Market, with a few obstacles in the way! Last year the event managed to raise £19,000 and hopes to get more this year!

Great Christmas Pudding Race; December; Covent Garden; free

London Events December 2011 Eve London Events December 2011 National Gallery London Events December 2011 Ice Skating London Events December 2011 St Pauls

Midnight Mass: Welcome Christmas Day in London!

While on Christmas Eve in London you might have some last minute shopping to do, there are other things to do in London on this day. For example, head to one of London's ice rinks. Canary Wharf and the Natural History Museum both have outdoor rinks set up over the festive period and you can even grab a cup of mulled wine when you take a break from the ice. Then, build up the excitement of Christmas at the Christmas Eve Carol Service at St Paul's Cathedral, featuring the church's outstanding choir, before bringing in Christmas Day in London at Midnight Mass. Many churches across London will have a midnight service, but stay on after the carol service at St Paul's and welcome the new day surrounded by crowds of people!

Canary Wharf Ice Rink; From November 13th; Canary Wharf; from £10
Natural History Museum Ice Rink; From November 4th; South Kensington; From £10
Christmas Eve Carol Service; December 23rd-24th; St Paul's Cathedral; 4pm; free
Midnight Mass; December 24th; St Paul's Cathedral; 11.30pm; free

Degas Dancers Eye and Camera: Catch the end of the Royal Academy's exhibition

It is well worth catching the end of this exhibition hosted by the Royal Academy of Art. Whether you are a fan of Degas or have just seen Black Swan, Degas Dancers: Eye and Camera promises to take a new perspective on his famed ballet dancers, showing the Impressionist's engagement with dance and space. Another great exhibition heading to London at the end of the year is Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan. On display at the National Gallery, the exhibit will be the most complete display of the artist's rare surviving paintings ever held and will focus on his aims and techniques as a painter.

Degas Dancers: Eye and Camera; Until December 11th; Royal Academy of Art; Piccadilly Circus; £10
Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan;
November 9th-February 5th; National Gallery, Charing Cross; Admission charge tbc

London Events December 2011 Fireworks London Events December 2011 Royal Academy London Events December 2011 Fireworks London Events December 2011 London Eye

Mayor of London's New Year's Eve fireworks: Bring in 2012 in London

If you are planning on being out among the crowds during New Year's Eve in London, then the best place to go is the River Thames, where the Mayor of London's New Year's Eve fireworks will take place. Although the streets will be heaving with people, there are specific viewing areas, usually between Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge. The fireworks themselves are attached to the London Eye, creating a spectacularly colourful display. However, you could also head to New Year's Eve at Trafalgar Square, which sees thousands of revellers celebrate the start of the year ahead.

Mayor of London's New Year's Eve fireworks; December 31st; Embankment; from 8pm; fireworks at midnight; free

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