Visit London Blog » hyde park Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Video of the Week: London in 1927 and 2013 Fri, 28 Mar 2014 15:06:56 +0000

Compare the live footage of London in 1927 and 2013 in this fascinating video. The images of London in 1927 were captured by cinematographer Claude Friese-Greene who travelled across the UK with his new colour film camera. BFI recently restored these images.

Film-maker Simon Smith followed in Friese-Greene’s footsteps, providing a recent view of London landmarks like Tower Bridge, Peter Pan’s Statue, Big Ben and the Houses of ParliamentPetticoat Lane Market, Hyde Park and the River Thames.

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To celebrate the release of our latest London Story video featuring Mayor of London Boris Johnson, we asked Boris to be our guest editor on’s homepage from 23 to 25 January 2014, populating it with some of his favourite London experiences.

While making his London Story video for us – which was filmed in a pod on The EDF Energy London Eye – Boris waxed lyrical about some of his top things to see and do in London.

British Museum

“As I kid, because I was a bit of a nerd, I used to love going to the British museum where I would spend hours loitering in  the Duveen galleries,  looking at the Elgin Marbles – the ‘ta Elgíneia Mármara’, as they are called in Greece.”

The British Museum in Bloomsbury is the UK’s most visited tourist attraction, welcoming millions of people each year. Entry is free and provides access to an enormous wealth of historical artefacts, paintings, sculptures and scriptures from across the world (8 million in total) that make up the museum’s stores. These include the Rosetta Stone, The Elgin Marbles, the Easter Island Statue of Hoa Hakananai’a, and The Vindolanda tablets. As well as permanent exhibits, the museum curates temporary displays, and the Great Court and Reading Room are particularly popular with visitors due to their impressive architecture.

Regent’s Canal

“I cycle a lot but I also particularly like walking down the canal. There’s a fantastic walk just near us along the Regent’s Canal where you see these ancient bits of industrial architecture with new dwellings springing up among them.
“The buildings have got all this glass and steel and it’s the combination that’s so attractive. It’s 18th and 19th century industrial architecture that’s been brilliantly renovated with 21st century technology. It’s a fantastically vibrant area and so unlike any other city.
“We walk down the canal for a purpose – not just because it’s romantic and beautiful but because there is a pub, called The Narrow Boat, that sells fantastic sausage and mash.”

The 8.6-mile (14km) Regent’s Canal links the River Thames in the Limehouse Basin with Little Venice in north-west London. Along its route the canal bisects ZSL London Zoo, curves along the edge of Regent’s Park, passes through the busy shopping district of Camden, and then on to Islington and on to East London’s developing landscape, such as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. When it was built in the early 19th century, the canal’s primary function was for carrying goods; today it mainly provides a conduit for relaxation and leisure time.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

“I love getting on my bicycle and riding all the way through Hackney. It is an area changing very, very fast with all these bars being opened and new startup businesses. I then go through Victoria Park, right the way to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which is connected up in the most extraordinary way. I recommend that for a day out and particularly when we reopen the whole park this year.”

Once London secured the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, work began on this piece of land in East London to turn what was previously wasteland into a hub for Londoners and visitors alike. The initial phase saw the creation of Europe’s largest shopping mall, Westfield Stratford City, next door, followed soon after by the Olympic Stadium and its sister sporting arenas. When the London 2012 Games finished, the park closed for refurbishment but the north section has since reopened for sporting events and festivals. Incremental new openings will occur throughout 2014 including parklands featuring new plant life, affordable homes, plus a variety of public-use sports and event venues.

Riverbus / Boat to Greenwich

“[My family and I] go to Greenwich and hang out there because it has such a beautiful park. You can have a wonderful afternoon having a picnic, feeding the ducks, hiring a boat – which you can also do at the Serpentine – and all that kind of stuff.”

London’s River Thames has a number of river bus services available. To get to Greenwich you can board one at Embankment, head east past the London Eye, Tower of London, Canary Wharf, and onto Greenwich where you disembark to enjoy The Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory Greenwich and Greenwich Park. As well as hosting the Prime Meridian Line, this 183 acre (74 hectare) Royal Park dates back to 1427 and offers a stunning vantage point from which you can look across London at landmarks such as The O2 Arena, Canary Wharf and The Gherkin. There is also an enclosure for wildlife including deer and foxes.

24 Hours in London: Food & World-Class Attractions  

“London has a superb range of places to eat and you are spoilt for choice for Michelin starred restaurants – not that I go to Michelin Star restaurants! I love this café called Frank’s in Southwark Street, where you can get one of the best fry-ups in the world or I can recommend a Turkish joint in Islington, called Pasha.
“It is very, very important to see the British Museum and the Tower of London. The Tower was built in Norman times and is the most interesting example of how London thrives on alien imports because every stone of that initial structure came from Caen in France.  Visitors should also go and see the crown jewels.
“There are so many unbelievable hidden jewels in London, like the Wallace Collection for instance.
“Then you’ve got the Tate Modern – which is not only the biggest but has the most number of visitors of any modern art museum in the world.”

Discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at #TheLondonStory

What would you recommend to visitors to London?

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Chinese Year of the Horse 2014: Equestrian Attractions in London Tue, 21 Jan 2014 09:32:24 +0000 Equestrian armour, possibly Ulrich Rämbs, c. 1480 © By kind permission of the Trustees of the Wallace Collection

2014 is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac, beginning on 31 January. According to Chinese Astrology Online, the horse is a symbol of competition, swift success and travelling – good news if you’re planning a visit to London!

To celebrate the start of the new Lunar year, join in the vibrant Chinese New Year Celebrations in London’s Chinatown – or pay a visit to one of these 10 horse-related attractions in London.

Royal Ascot 2014

The world’s most famous race meeting, Royal Ascot is a favourite among British Royals, high society and social butterflies. See lightning-fast horses compete to win in the Golden Jubilee Stakes and Gold Cup races, and experience the ceremony, tradition and glamour of this historic event. It’s not all about posh hats, you know!

Meet the Horses at Kentish Town City Farm

At Kentish Town City Farm you’ll not only find horses but also chickens, cows, ducks, geese, goats, pigs and sheep – including some rare breeds. Take the family along to stroke the horses, see their stables and (at the weekend) go on a pony ride (£2). More city farms in London.

War Horse

War Horse

War Horse has won over audiences around the world with its beautiful, moving story of friendship and heroism in battle – and, of course, its jaw-droppingly accurate, life-size horse puppets. Catch it now at the New London Theatre on Drury Lane.

Polo in the Park 2014

The horses are back at Hurlingham Park this June, for three days of high-octane polo matches – plus summer cocktails, delicious street food, luxury shopping and kids activities. Polo in the Park uses simplified polo rules to up the excitement and make it easier to follow the action – if you’re not too busy enjoying an impromptu picnic.

The Household Cavalry Museum

Household Cavalry Museum

You’ve seen the Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade, now find out what goes on behind the scenes at The Household Cavalry Museum. Peer through the glass partition to see troopers working in the original 18th century stables, then explore the museum’s fascinating collection of personal stories, interactive displays and ceremonial artefacts. Please note: the museum is closed for refurbishment until 24 January. If you’re visiting before then, why not check out the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace instead?

Trooping the Colour 2014

Every year, London marks the Queen’s (official) birthday with a colourful military parade known as Trooping the Colour. Dating back to the 18th century, the procession sees fully trained and operational troops – including horses from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery – parade past the Queen. Apply now for a place on the seated stands around Horse Guards Parade, or head along on the day to watch from The Mall.

Horse riding in Hyde Park

Horse Riding in Hyde Park

Saddle up and take a trot around the beautiful environs of Hyde Park. Horse riding has a long history in this Royal Park, dating back to 1536 when Henry VIII galloped around in pursuit of deer and wild boar. Contact the Hyde Park Stables or Ross Nye Stables to hire your noble steed.

London International Horse Show at Olympia

The London International Horse Show at Olympia took place in December, but plans are already underway for the 2014 edition. See horses and their riders compete in dressage, jumping and a host of other thrilling competitions, and enjoy the special displays. Last year’s guest spots featured The Kennel Club, The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrianism and Shetland Pony Grand National, so who knows who you’ll see this year. Tickets available from May.

Stables Market

Stables Market

Located in former stables dating back to the Victorian era, Stables Market is now a bustling hub of food stalls, bars and shops. But its past life is still apparent, from the old catacombs to the 200-year-old Grade II Listed Horse Hospital – now home to Proud Camden, a gallery and live music venue. Look out too for the huge bronze statues of horses, added during the market’s recent restoration.

Horse Armour at The Wallace Collection 

The highlight of The Wallace Collection’s huge assortment of European and Oriental armoury is undoubtedly the stunning life-size horse (and rider) dressed in German Gothic equestrian armour from c. 1480-1500 (see main picture). The museum, which is free to enter, also features a number of paintings featuring horses, from the likes of Rembrandt, Velázquez and Bellangé.

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Five Fun Ways To Get Active in London Sun, 12 Jan 2014 11:00:30 +0000 Jogging in London

Overdone it during the festive break? Work off the Christmas flab and have fun with these five action-packed experiences in London.

Join a Free Parkrun

If the thought of going to the gym makes you shudder, take your exercise outdoors on a Parkrun. These 5km timed runs take place weekly across London – in fact across the world – and best of all it’s free to join in. Search the Events List on the Parkrun UK website to find your nearest run. Just a sample of the locations include Alexander Palace (‘Ally Pally’), Finsbury Park, Greenwich, Hackney Marshes, Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common.
One hour running (at 8mph) burns: 877.5 kcals*

Lee Valley White Water Rafting

Try white-water rafting in Lee Valley

For something that will really get your adrenalin pumping, go hurtling down the Olympic rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre. All you have to do is book a seat on the raft or charter your own, then the centre’s staff will organise everything else – from equipment and clothing to training and safety instructions. But once you’re on the course, it’s down to you and your team!
One hour of white-water rafting burns: 325 kcals*

Cycling along the South Bank

Follow the Thames Cultural Cycling Tour

Get off the beaten track, and explore London with the help of the Thames Cultural Cycling Tour. This 27km (16.8 mile) route starts at the South Bank and follows the River Thames to Greenwich before heading north to Canary Wharf and Limehouse before heading back to the South Bank. The map even includes interesting facts about notable spots en route. More about cycling in London.
One hour of cycling (under 10mph) burns: 260 kcals*

Skating in Hyde Park

Go rollerblading in Hyde Park

Pick up your blades and head down to Hyde Park to show off some moves. Just remember to stick to the (nice and smooth) roads and cycle tracks. If you fancy some company, join the London Friday Night Skate or – if you prefer a slower pace – the Sunday Stroll. These weekly, marshalled events are free and all about, they say, the pure joy of skating.
One hour of skateboarding (well it’s almost the same) burns: 325 kcals

English Country Dancing at Cecil Sharp House. Photo credit: Fabian Acker

Learn English Country Dancing at Cecil Sharp House

Learn the basic steps of an English country dance at the London home of English folk, Cecil Sharp House (near Regent’s Park). The drop-in classes take place every Thursday evening and will whisk you through moves used in ceilidh dances, barn dances, American Contra dances and English country dances. More London dance classes.
One hour of dancing burns: 422.5 kcals*

*We worked out how much you’ll burn in one hour (based on a person weighing 65kg) thanks to a little help from the Bupa calories counter.

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Top Five Things to do in London This Summer by Kane, Eight Wed, 24 Jul 2013 11:54:26 +0000

Young Londoner Kane, eight, shares his five favourite things to do in London during the summer holidays.

Hampstead Heath

kane-face-250Hampstead Heath is awesome. When I went last time I played Frisbee on the hill and when we walked through the wood we saw two really cool guys doing sword fighting and another man practising the tightrope. It is really good to fly a kite and they have a lido which is amazing as you can swim outdoors. When we go to Hampstead Heath we always walk to Hampstead village after we have played and have a burger or fish and chips in a pub.

The South Bank

I love the South Bank as there are lots of performing actors, like people pretending to be statues. There is a gold man who jumps out at anyone who walks past, which is really funny. You can get pictures with them. Once I saw a chameleon riding a bike and a man pretending to be a dog. There are magic people who do tricks like escaping from chain jackets and juggling swords, and amazing limbo dancers who are really cool – even when they are just half a metre above the ground they can still get under the limbo pole. There are always ice cream vans on a sunny day and the big wheel is on the South Bank too.

kane-hyde-park-610-2Roller Blading in Hyde Park

If you go skating in Hyde Park you can hire skates from the Blue Room near the Marble Arch. It is a really exciting thing to do. You get to try skates on and pick your own colour. It is fun skating because you see more advanced skaters doing cool tricks; you may even see me skating when you go as I like skating a lot. The really cool thing about skating in Hyde Park is that it is bigger than any other place I skate and the roads are really smooth, so you don’t trip up and it is a lot easier to do stuff like slalom, wheelies and one foot tricks. There is a really cool lake if you skate further down, which has a lot of ducks on it. The park is really busy so you see a lot of people, but you still have lots of room to skate and do tricks.


Hamleys is awesome. It’s really fun. There are loads of toys. When I first went in I said, “Woah, I have never known anything so cool”. It is massive. There are guys playing with remote controlled helicopters; there are giant models hanging off the ceiling, like Ben 10; and there are also loads of computer games if you like that sort of thing. My favourite visit to Hamleys was when my mum’s friend took me to choose my birthday present – I got so many different types of Trash Pack.

Legoland Windsor

Legoland is a brilliant day out for all the family. It is really fun. There is a massive roller coaster made out of Lego with a dragon on it, and a baby one for kids who are younger. My best friend really loves it as well. There is a toy shop where you can buy loads of Lego. Once I bought a sword and shield and an Egyptian tomb with loads of gems. I still have them and still play with them. When you drive in you see Lego people waving and building things like tables. If you go you should spend about five hours there. It is definitely worth spending five hours – they have loads of flavours of popcorn, ice cream and hotdogs. There are loads of rides. You get squirted by water dragons when you go on the roller coaster. There are also big spaces where you can play. It is so much fun, I have been twice.

Want more kid-friendly London ideas? Read these top London suggestions from eleven-year-old Stan and leave your own ideas in the comments below. For even more child-friendly things to see and do in London, visit our Family page

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What’s On This Weekend: 5-7 July 2013 Mon, 01 Jul 2013 09:00:46 +0000 In case you hadn’t noticed that summer is upon us, this weekend’s amazing series of festivals should get you in a sunny mood – whatever the weather!

Barclaycard British Summer Time at Hyde Park

Head to Hyde Park for two weekends of fantastic music, featuring sets from the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez and many more. As well as a world class line-up of music every evening at weekends, you can also enjoy live comedy, film, sport and much more during the week, which is centred around three fun festival areas within the park. Tickets to music events start from £55, and you can find out more programme details on our event page. 5 – 14 Jul  

Carnaby Sound

London’s iconic Carnaby Street hosts Carnaby Sound, a free one-day music festival this Saturday, as part of its year-long celebration of music. More than 15 live bands will be playing throughout the area, covering all the musical genres that have made Carnaby so famous – everything from blues and jazz to mod, urban and rock. The main stage will be on the  Liberty department store roof, but music, giveaways, exhibitions and much more will be happening all over the area throughout the day. The festival takes place between 12pm – 7pm. 6 Jul

Summer Streets on Regent Street

Love shopping but hate the traffic that separates you from your favourite shops? Head to Regent Street on Sundays for the next four weeks, where the roads will be pedestrianised as part of the Summer Streets programme. Between 10am to 7pm every Sunday in July, Regent Street will become a traffic-free environment that hosts installations, entertainment, live music and – of course – unparalleled shopping opportunities! Shops are typically open from 12pm to 6pm. Until 28 Jul  

elBulli: Ferran Adrià and The Art of Food at Somerset House 

There are few more famous names in the culinary world than elBulli, or indeed Ferran Adrià - the renowned Spanish chef who transformed it into the globe’s premier destination for molecular gastronomy. You can now get closer to the world of elBulli than ever before, thanks to this fascinating new exhibtion at Somerset House, which takes you behind the scenes of the restaurant and explains how Adrià’s unique dishes went from concept to delicious reality. Tickets are £10. 5 Jul – 29 Sep

Silly Sports Day at the Queen of Hoxton

QOH No Sweat © Tom Wholohan

Do you and four friends think you have what it takes to be crowned sporting champions? Head to popular Shoreditch pub the Queen of Hoxton to test your mettle: you’ll be pitted against other teams in events such as beer pong, speed foosball and limbo! As well as the chance to be crowned champions, you can enjoy a BBQ on the terrace, DJ music and lots of other sports day fun. Entry for a team of 5 is £50. 6 Jul

Truck Stop, Woodwharf 

Experience phenomenal street food at Truck Stop, which brings more than 20 of the UK’s best food trucks to Woodwharf in London’s docklands. Not only can you buy tasty meals at the likes of Mother Clucker, Spit & Roast and Baba G, but you can also enjoy a locally-produced tipple at one of the many bars. Entry is £10, which includes 10 truck stop dollars for you to spend. 4-5 Jul

More London events

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The Best Places to Picnic in London Sat, 25 May 2013 09:00:33 +0000 When the sun is shining, there are fewer more pleasant ways to relax than by having a picnic in one of London’s public spaces. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favourite spots below – grab a blanket, pack a hamper and stretch out on the grass for an afternoon to remember.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park has many attractions that make it a perfect picnic spot – not only is there oodles of space in which you can stretch out to enjoy some nosh, but you can also go roller-blading, play numerous sports and go boating on the Serpentine. Hyde Park is also the venue for fantastic events at which picnics are welcome – September’s Proms in the Park is just one of the great options. The wonderful Kensington Gardens is just a short stroll away, why not spend a day exploring both?

Ham Polo Club

Serve up some high-octane sporting action with your picnic on Sundays at Ham Polo Club, when spectators can lounge by the side of the pitch and watch London’s only polo team compete, whilst munching on sandwiches and scotch eggs. Entry to matches, which take place until 29 September, is £5 per person, or £20 for a car of up to four people.

Highbury Fields

If you like your picnics sizzling, head to Highbury Fields where you can BBQ in the park. As well as a warm welcome for your disposable barbecues, the park offers a children’s playground, sports facilities and a dog-free picnic area.

St James’s Park

Situated next to Buckingham Palace, St James’s is one of London’s prettiest parks. Not only can you have a picnic whilst admiring the surrounding architecture, the park’s foliage and the stunning expanse of water, but you can also see the park’s famous pelicans when they’re fed every day at 2.30pm.

Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which adjoins one of the four Inns of Court at which all barristers are members, is the largest public square in London. It’s a peaceful place for a picnic in between seeing the sights of central London – both Covent Garden and the British Museum are less than 10 minutes away.

Hampstead Heath

At 790 acres, you’re truly spoiled for choice as to where to picnic on Hampstead Heath. You could head to Parliament Hill, from which you can get an unrivalled view over London, sit in the grounds of historic Kenwood House or picnic next to the lido if you feel like an afternoon swim.

Greenwich Park

It’s not often you can picnic in a World Heritage Site, but London’s Greenwich Park allows you to do just that. Situated by the river Thames, the park offers stunning views of both the water and central London. Closer at hand are the magnificent Royal Maritime Museum and the old Royal Observatory, which provide a dramatic backdrop as well as the perfect post-picnic activity.

Victoria Tower Gardens

Picnic next to the Houses of Parliament in this riverside park, which gives you a chance to study the historical palace of Westminster up close. The park itself also contains a range of interesting features, including a replica of Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais and the Buxton Memorial Fountain, commemorating the emancipation of slaves.

The Regent’s Park

The stunning Regent’s Park is a wonderful place to have a picnic, especially if you’re having a relaxed meal before you see a production at the park’s Open Air Theatre.  Picnic-ers can enjoy views over the lake, the glorious expanse of roses in Queen Mary’s Gardens or even the entire city of London from the heights of the park’s Primrose Hill.

Battersea Park

South London’s Battersea Park is full of picturesque picnic spots, as well as a host of attractions. Explore the children’s zoo, float on the boating lake or see an exhibition at the striking Pump House Gallery.

Where’s your favourite place to have a picnic in London?

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London Video of the Week: A Perfect Winter’s Day in London Fri, 07 Dec 2012 14:01:00 +0000

Here’s a lovely video from British Airways, showing two of their cabin crew, Mark and Lucy, enjoying a perfect day in London. 

From London Heathrow Terminal 5, to the Houses of Parliament, Primrose Hill, Camden Passage, The Langham, Hamleys, Fortnum & Mason, Natural History Museum Ice Rink, and Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, they certainly enjoy a busy day. (I’m just not sure about that picnic, considering today’s temperatures are hovering around the 3°C mark.)

For more London videos, check out our YouTube channel.

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Five Places to See Santa in London This Christmas Tue, 04 Dec 2012 10:30:12 +0000

Using a bit of his Christmas magic, Santa is appearing at spots all over the capital this month, sometimes even at the same time!

Santa’s Grotto in Duke of York Square
Kids can have their photo taken with Santa and receive a gift at Duke of York Square’s free grotto, where there’s also a special post box to send your Christmas lists to Lapland. On some dates in December, Liz Earle will provide complimentary hand and arm massages in the back of the grotto, so parents can get pampered while the kids chat to Santa. Advanced booking recommended. 
Until 23 Dec

Santa’s Grotto at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City
Seeing Santa in the flesh is exciting enough, but at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City he’ll be appearing in 5D. Every child will see their name and picture appear in a personalised film, which sees Elbow the Elf save Santa’s presents. Visiting also lets you download the “Elbow Saves Christmas” mobile phone game, so you can take him away in your pocket. Tickets are £3 per person or £10 for a family.
Until 24 Dec

Santa Baby
Santa will be popping into this pop-up Christmas cocktail bar, tucked away in the arches under the railway lines at 347 Old Street in Shoreditch. Indie Christmas tunes provide the soundtrack and top mixologists have designed treats like mulled champagne and molecular Santa Baby Eggnog, using techniques like high-pressure distillation. Santa Baby has a vintage feel - the venue is modelled on a 1950s American suburban living room. 
Until 23 Dec

Santa and His Reindeer at London Zoo
Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Blitzen and of course Rudolph are all at London Zoo this Christmas. You can visit them in their paddock, as well as meeting Santa and telling him your present list (as long as you’ve been good). Cheeky elf photographers will be on hand to take a picture and each child will receive a gift to take home. Tickets are £7.
Until 24 Dec

Winter Wonderland
Every Winter, Hyde Park becomes more festive than a penguin in a Christmas jumper. Winter Wonderland is back in the park with a Christmas market, ice skating, observation wheel and a kingdom of ice and snow sculptures. Santa Land includes a free visit to Saint Nick, as well as the new “Santa’s Factory” where the elves are making gifts ready for the big day.
Until 6 Jan

Find Christmas grottos all over London with our Christmas grottos guide

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What’s On At The Weekend In London. 23-25 November 2012 Mon, 19 Nov 2012 10:20:39 +0000 This weekend presents fantastic opportunities for getting your Christmas shopping out of the way: check out the great stalls at Winter Wonderland and the Scandinavian Christmas Market, or enjoy a traffic free day in the West End. Families will also love the Mickey and Oswald exhibition at Westfield Stratford, as well as the fascinating astrology festival at UCL.

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

One of London’s most popular festive attractions returns, with even more rides, stalls and entertainment. Take a spin on the giant observation wheel, buy a tasty snack from the Bavarian Village or show off your moves on the UK’s largest ice rink. A new feature for this year’s Winter Wonderland is the Magical Ice Kingdom, a captivating maze of ice sculptures that will spark your imagination. Entry is free, although some attractions require pre-booking. 23 Nov – 6 Jan

Mickey & Oswald’s Epic Tales, Westfield Stratford

The Getty Images Gallery at Westfield Stratford hosts this fun temporary exhibition, which celebrates the launch of the video game Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. Featuring important artefacts and cartoons, it charts the history of early Disney character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and his more famous successor Mickey Mouse, both of whom feature in the game. After enjoying the exhibits, some of which date back to the 1920s, visitors can try Disney Epic Mickey 2 for themselves. Entry is free. 23-25 Nov

West End VIP Day, Oxford Street and Regent Street

Regent Street and Oxford Street are pedestrianised for the day, allowing visitors to roam freely around this excellent shopping destination. Not only will you be able to stroll beneath the Christmas lights between Selfridges and Hamleys without seeing a single car, but there will be lots of special promotions, festive performances and surprises. 24 Nov

The Scandinavian Christmas Market, Rotherhithe

Find unique Christmas gifts at this festive market, which contains a range of great Scandinavian products. Better still, after you’ve shopped for everything from jewellery to furniture you can unwind with traditional food and a glass of mulled wine. See the website for opening times. 23-25 Nov

London: Your Universe, at University College London

Now in its seventh year, UCL’s popular astronomy festival is a great way for families to explore the wonders of the universe. All of its fascinating events, exhibitions and activities are free: highlights include special telescopes that let you peer at the stars, a lecture on the Large Hadron Collider and the amazing Magic Planet projection. See the website for full programme details. 23-24 Nov

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