There are so many reasons you need to head to Leicester Square this Christmas…
Christmas in London is one of the most magical times of year – the lights, the buzz of gift shopping and the festivities taking place all across town. One of London’s busiest hubs – Leicester Square – is a popular meeting spot for tourists and visitors to the city. It’s always filled with activity, from street performers and movie premiers to the hype of theatreland and the casino nightlife. Not to mention the major draw of the M&Ms flagship and TWG Tea’s lush immersive tasting rooms.
Yet while Leicester Square is meeting point for so many exciting forms of entertainment and always on the map for visiting tourists, it lacks a little love when it comes to locals. As someone’s who’s lived in London all my life, who works just a stone’ throw way in Holborn, I must admit that Leicester Square is usually more of a gateway for me between Covent Garden and Piccadilly. I’m sure I’m not the only one who regularly walks through the square, ducking the crowds while perhaps stopping only occasionally to indulge in some dance or mime act. It’s been a long time since I truly looked into what Leicester Square has to offer as a destination, rather than a means to get somewhere.
This year, Leicester Square is changing all that. From Christmas markets to new bars and restaurants, there’s plenty on offer to make Leicester Square your go-to, rather than your go-from. Here are our top picks on things to do in and around Leicester Square this Christmas:
Eat: MOD Pizza
Nothing warms the soul in winter better than wholesome hot food favourites like pizza. We need those extra carbs to get through the cold, wet, rainy season! Fortunately, MOD pizza has you sorted. It a terrific casual dining experience, where you can pick from a selection of house concoctions or where foodies can get creative and creative their own pizza from a selection of bases, sauces, toppings and finishes. There’s an overwhelming selection to choose from, with blue cheese and asiago cheese for adventurers, Italian sausage in mild or spicy options, MOD’s special pesto drizzle and everything from chickpeas to artichokes to make sure you get one or two of your five-a-day! There are also vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free options, so this is a great choice for friendship groups with lots of different dietary requirements.
Drink: Indigo Bar at Hotel Indigo
A newcomer to the Leicester Square scene, Hotel Indigo is a gorgeous addition to the accommodation options in the heart of the capital. The hotel’s art-deco inspired rooftop bar offers spectacular views over Leicester Square, all the way through to the London Eye. It’s one of the most stunning spots to sip a sunset cocktail and take in the sights. Set upon the Hotel’s 9th floor, guests can enjoy the landscape from inside or out, with panoramic views of the London skyline visible from the floor-to-ceiling glass façades on all sides, or the balcony that surrounds the bar. Simply breath-taking. What’s more, until 31st December, guests will be able to get into the festive spirit by wrapping themselves in thick blankets and sitting on the rooftop’s terrace with warming glasses of spiced mulled wine and childhood fancies for just £7.50 per person.
This incredible dance show is packed with all of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits with mind-blowing choreography set to the King of Pop’s greatest anthems. I was treated to a sneak peek backstage to get up close and personal with all of the sequins and spangle that go into making the show. We even got a mini private performance from Ebony Clarke, Thriller’s unbelievably talented choreographer. Shows are incredibly varied, with routines and line-ups changing all the time, so it’s worth seeing again and again. A super talented cast will have you on your feet dancing the night away – quite different from your typical west-end musical – and a must visit in Leicester Square this Christmas.
Shop: Leicester Square Christmas Market – until 5 January 2019
Once again this year, Leicester Square is hosting a wonderful array of boutiques at its European-style Christmas Market, right in the centre of the square. Over 25 stalls fill the market, offering everything from beautiful handcrafted homewares to sweet treats and fruity preserves. It’s the perfect place to get some culture and stock up on stocking fillers. There’s even a 1920s Belgian Spiegeltent hosting live entertainment throughout the festive season, so you can grab you gifts then settle in for a show. The highlight of Leicester Square’s line-up this festive season is Briefs: Close Encounters – the infamous all-male “Boylesque” group. Promising side-splitting humour and quite an eyeful, it’s a fun and fabulous alternative to the usual west-end entertainment. It’s only on until 3 January 2019 so don’t miss out on anything at Leicester Square this Christmas!