The Christmas season comes early to Britain. Without our American Thanksgiving, there is nothing to mark a change in holiday seasons. By the middle of November Christmas displays fill shop windows and the famous lights of Regent Street cast their festive sheen into the long, dark evenings.
Holiday parties fill pubs, restaurants, homes and offices with bonhomie and raised glasses (often raised a few times too many). For the fun-loving Brits, the partying continues unabated into the first week of January.
From the time of the Tudors, London has evolved many of its own Christmas traditions. For many years, the courtyard at Somerset House near the banks of the Thames has been transformed by mid-November into London's most beautiful and popular ice-skating rink. Practice your pirrouettes and then warm up in the Christmas arcade with fondue, mince pies, smoked salmon and wines, all served up by Fortnum & Mason.
Throughout the capital, boulevards and thoroughfares, side streets and parks glow and sparkle with lights and the dec-orations of Christmas displays inspired by the traditions of countries across Europe.
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