Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas Comes But Once A Year To The Heart Of London

By Flick Hardingham.

At the start of December, the Square Mile was transformed for one magical day of Christmas festivities.  Not one to normally wander to Cheapside, I took this as the perfect opportunity to see the finance district in a whole new light. ‘Christmas in the City’ was the brainchild of the Cheapside Initiative who strive to promote the area as a must-shop, must-see, must-do destination. Traffic ceased for the entire day as families, tourists and City regulars took to the streets for a day in retail Nirvana.
Over 150 shops in the area took part offering delights for all.  There was a Bollywood Brass Band, bell ringing, ice skating, performances at the enchanting Leadenhall Market and enough mince pies to fill Santa.  Punters even got free rides from cycle-rickshaws to make sure they didn’t miss a single sip of mulled wine.
After a swift shopping spree at One New Change, we gorged ourselves silly at Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa before dashing down Cheapside to the Royal Exchange. Here we were bewitched by the Snow Queen ballerina as she emerged from a gigantic magical jewellery box over-spilling with pearls and trinkets large enough to grace the necks of a giant.  Every hour she danced and whirled to the Nutcracker Suite.

Seeing the streets from St Paul’s to Poultry without a single suit hailing a black cab or Blackberry wielding exec on the way to a power lunch was a true eye-opener.  You can truly appreciate why Dickens was inspired by the romance of Victorian London.


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