Christmas is coming to a castle near you. The spirit of Christmas is being prolonged and expanded this year in the UK. Instead of keeping it to the malls and shopping districts, British businesses are taking the whole month to celebrate the magic of Christmas.
In London, an ice rink awaits in Hyde Park, where families can skate to holiday music. The Magical Ice Kingdom has snow and ice sculptures to “ooh” and “ahh” over. Take a stroll around the ice village, hop a ride on an ice swan, or join in adventures with all manner of fairy-tale creatures. Of course, there is also a castle with the expected dungeon along with a very popular ice slide. The new Ice Bar provides grown-ups with their favorite winter beverages.
In Edinburgh, Scotland, the German Christmas Market harkens back to old-fashioned winter festivals. It includes handmade crafts and delicious winter food and drink sampling. The event website invites you to cozy up to a mug of Glühwein. Glühwein is a warmed, sweetened red wines with various spices including cinnamon, cloves and vanilla with a touch of citrus. Visitors can also try traditional German treats including biscuits, sweets and venison burgers.
The Edinburgh Market also showcases 1,300 performers from 63 different community groups on George Street around the theme of the ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Groups ranged from primary school choirs to community based dance projects. A temporary ice rink is set up in Princes Street Gardens as well.
The season used to be shorter, but savvy business people are determined to take advantage of the season to inspire the Christmas spirit and to profit in a strictly economical way. In this way, they assure attendees that Christmas is coming in a truly festive setting.
Alison Battle, a former inner-city primary schoolteacher and mother of four sons said, “We’d take them to Father Christmas every year in some shop that just wanted the footfall and it was really disappointing. It’s such a precious moment for a child, that magic and suspension of belief.” So she established Lapland, UK, during the season in Berkshire, after experiencing Christmas in the Laplands with her family.
London’s Hyde Park is the venue for a beautifully lit ice rink.
In Brighton, Shella Parkin decided to promote Christmas in Brighton Pavilion. She started Laine, Ltd. in order to build a temporary ice rink. Parkin said she was astonished when Brighton and Hove council agreed to let her run the rink so close to the Pavilion, but already it has become a centerpiece of Christmas in the area.
The British are taking the Christmas festival to a new level, many of them being inspired by Europe’s treatment of festival events.
The organizers of Spin London, the Urban Cycle Show and the London Coffee Festival offer a unique Christmas shopping experience. The season’s festival offers ready-to-ride bikes, cycle-wear and accessories, as well as single origin coffees and espresso machines. As a bonus, craft beer makers, Brewers & Union, are offering a “bespoke brew” especially for the event.
It appears that in the UK, Christmas is coming and it shines.