December 2020: Christmas Cheer(s) in London


The last trip of 2020, and for an as yet indeterminate period thereafter, was once again to London. Outbound travel was on Sunday 13 December. The first two nights of this four-night visit would be spent at an established favourite: the InterContinental O2 on the North Greenwich peninsula.

On the river

The first item on the Monday’s agenda after breakfast was a river bus trip from North Greenwich Pier to Westminster Pier. The service is operated by Thames Clippers and can paid for by contactless tap-in / tap-out. As on my previous similar ride, the power and acceleration of these vessels was breathtaking. Ridership on this occasion was desperately low, but we weren’t complaining!

South Bank

Here are some views seen on a walk from Westminster Bridge to the Tate Modern and Borough Market.

Emirates Air Line

Tuesday got underway with a ride on the Emirates Air Line cable-car system, just a short walk from our first hotel.

National Gallery

A DLR ride and a bus ride brought us to the thoroughly familiar territory of Trafalgar Square. Although the National Gallery is one of London’s most recognisable buildings, to the best of my recollection I had only made one previous visit. Clearly it was time to put this right.

Location change

Our second base for this visit was the brand new Hampton by Hilton London Ealing. Despite 2020 being a year of highly restricted travel, we had managed to clock up several stays at similar properties, with positive results.

West End by night

London tends to do a good job with its Christmas decorations, and at this time of year – weather permitting – it’s usually a good idea to stroll around one of the main shopping areas after dark to admire the displays.

Fortnum & Mason’s

Fortnum & Mason’s, located on a prime site in Piccadilly, is one of London’s most respected department stores. While this is a sector of the economy that was badly hit by the pandemic on top of being in long-term decline, there are some stores that feel as though they will always be around. This is one of them. We visited it by night and again the following day.