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Once again for Christmas, Leicester Square has been transformed into a delightful Christmas market complete with 1920’s Spiegeltent adding a festive centrepiece to the existing attractions.
We love Leicester Square as a destination for a festive family outing because it’s location close to the end of Regent Street makes it a great start or endpoint for a day of Xmas shopping or walk to look at the festive lights and shop windows. For families with younger children, Leicester Square is a great choice of destination because it’s relatively compact so saves a lot of legwork on the busy streets.
This year we wandered down Regent Street from Oxford Circus, marvelled at the display in Hamley’s windows and the giant Burberry baubles and started our afternoon with a festive feast in the Hard Rock Cafe at Piccadilly Circus. Opened in July this year, this Hard Rock Cafe now sits in the centre of Piccadilly Circus, we thought it was great to see the iconic restaurant in such a prominent position and were really excited to visit for the first time.
Upstairs houses the Hard Rock shop, a great place to buy a souvenir of London or even a Christmas gift. Downstairs the seating surrounds a large bar with the kitchen open to view on one side. To the rear of the restaurant are some really cosy looking booths whilst the whole place is, of course, decorated with some really incredible rock and roll memorabilia. From Geri Halliwell’s platform shoes to Freddie Mercury’s microphone it’s a treasure trove showcasing so many of the UK’s best bands and the visitors that have played here. We loved the costume corner with the suits of Elton John, George Michael and robes of Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne!
We ate from their set festive menu which offers 3 courses for £37.95 or 2 for £30.95 the children’s menu is £9.95 for 2 courses with a drink and the main is served on a very rock and roll guitar-shaped plate. The set menu offers a choice of 2 starters and desserts and at least 8 mains, including steak, salmon and of course a great variety of burgers. The food was really well cooked, flavoured and filling and even had a festive flair with a bit of peppermint on the brownie dessert.
After lunch and in the home of London’s red-carpet premieres what better place to sit and let your food digest than the cinema. Leicester Square has all the big names with the biggest screens and plushest seats, we visited Cineworld to watch Frozen II on their Superscreen. We’ve watched films here a few times but are always in awe at just how big the screen is, it really is a fantastic way to see your favourite releases. Frozen II did not disappoint, I had a row of emotional children from tiny to teens as they watched the return adventure of some of their favourite Disney characters.
If you’re looking for the ultimate cinematic treat; Cineworld’s 4DX experience includes movement, light, water, wind, scent and even snow. This is a fully immersive viewing experience which will make you feel like you’ve stepped into the screen. This Christmas, Cineworld will be showing, Gremlins, Charlie’s Angels, Jumanji: The Next Level, Frozen II and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with full 4DX effects. For the 4DX experience children must be at least 4 years old and 102cm/3’3” tall and I would add that this experience is quite intense and will enhance scary scenes as well as make you jump in bits that aren’t scary so it is worth taking this into consideration when planning what to see with a younger child.
Having been Frozen, we needed to warm up and what better place than with a hot chocolate than under the lights of the Christmas market. I like that the market is purely focused on festive treats, hot chocolate, pancakes some fudge and gifts. There’s a grotto but not a load of funfair rides that the children are distracted by and begging to go on.
Something’s that might just distract the children whilst wandering the Christmas market are the two iconic stores that towers above. The London LEGO Store & M&M’s World are two of the biggest in the world in their categories and no trip to Leicester Square would be complete without a visit. Both are perfect for stocking up on Christmas goodies and in the M&M’s store, in particular, it’s hard to resist treating yourself from their rainbow wall of chocolate.
We love Leicester Square year-round, it’s a great location with fun for all ages and the Christmas market really gives it an extra sparkle at this time of year. It’s lovely to get out as a family and see our beautiful city lit up for Christmas, the hustle and bustle is exciting and really gets you in the mood for the festivities of the season.
This day was organised by Discover Leicester Square. To find out more about Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus visit www.leicestersquare.london.