WHEN it comes to a fun filled festive break there's snowwhere quite like it. Amazing shopping, brilliant shows, plenty of places to party, London is a truly hot destination when the weather turns wintry. Make the most of a visit to the city with JAMES MOORE'S top tips to the best it has to offer in the run-up to the big day.
IT'S the coolest new Christmas spectacle, attracting top stars like Pixie Lott.
Winter Wonderland, set over 20 acres in Hyde Park, has got everything from a giant observation wheel to the Angels Christmas Market, with 100 stalls selling all manner of dreamy stocking fillers.
If you fancy getting your skates on, the illuminated new ice rink is one of the nation's biggest.
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Plus there is Zippos Circus, a rotating bar and a Bavarian village serving up delicious bratwursts.
Winter Wonderland is free to enter, open from 10am-10pm daily and running until January 3.
See hydeparkwinterwonderland.com or call 0844 858 6755.
ICE ONE, SON
PIPPA Middleton has been flashing her blades at the Somerset House rink.
And there are more great skating venues across the capital.
Check out the one at Hampton Court with Henry VIII's palace as the stunning backdrop.
The Canary Wharf rink sports a bar while other places to glide include the Tower of London, the Natural History Museum and the London Eye.
See visitlondon.com for details.
DECK THE STALLS
ENJOY a glass of warming mulled wine and gingerbread at London's Southbank Centre with tempting treats and gifts being served up at 60 different stalls.
There's even a Chocolate Festival from December 9-11 and a mouth-watering Real Food Christmas Market from December 16-23.
ICONIC Oxford Street has 300 stores and nearby is Regent Street, home to Hamleys, the world-famous venue for buying the latest toys and gadgets.
On Thursdays the shops are open late and on December 10 and 11 there are special traffic-free days with festive entertainments laid on.
Shops of the moment to explore include the Topman General Store in trendy Shoreditch and Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green in Carnaby Street.
Away from the centre of town there are the brilliant new malls. Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City both have ice rinks as well as all the big name stores.
BOARD Santa's Express for a train ride to Santa at Selfridges in Oxford Street.
The Westfield Centres have special Santa Ice Kingdoms for the little ones, while there is even the chance to meet his reindeer at London Zoo, near Regent's Park (£5 plus admission fee). See zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo.
Or for something different head to the West End's Rainforest Cafe, this year turned into Winter Jungleland for special Christmas adventures priced £39.50 per child.
WHAT could be more festive than a trip to London's theatreland?
For a real blast check out Rock Of Ages, the smash hit new musical featuring 28 barnstorming 1980s hits, plenty of high hair and the X Factor's Shayne Ward.
It's playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
Or, if it's a really festive show you're after, there's The Snowman, great for kids, at The Peacock Theatre.
Or how about the unique Slava's Snowshow with incredible, winter-themed special effects at the Southbank Centre? See slavasnowshow.co.uk
THE Radisson Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel in Covent Garden has re-opened following a £15million refurbishment.
Its ultra-chic interior, decorated with leopard print chairs, Japanese art and seductive mood lighting, make it a real treat, without the London price tag.
Rooms are modern, sumptuous and adorned with silks, and the buzzing Dial Bar and Restaurant, serving contemporary British food, is relaxed and stylish.
One night's B&B at the four-star luxury boutique bolthole, plus festive afternoon tea, costs from £202.50 per night from now until January 31.
The price includes 20% discount in Dial Restaurant, Liberty bag and voucher, Westfields VIP London pass, complimentary WiFi and a late checktary WiFi and a late checkout until 4pm on a Sunday.
To book call 0207 836 4300 and quote "Star offer" when booking.
Or book on radissonedwardian.com/mercerstreet.
Offer is based on two sharing.
ALADDIN is at The Lyric in Hammersmith, Dick Whittington is at the New Wimbledon Theatre, Cinderella is on at The Hackney Empire and Patsy Kensit stars in Snow White at the Churchill in Bromley.
There's also a fun show called Potted Panto where eight traditional pantomimes are crammed into one 80-minute spectacular, running at the Vaudeville Theatre in Central London.
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GET THE PARTY STARTED
WHERE better to sip something warming than London's amazing Ice Bar - the first of its kind in the country, permanently kept at -5C.
You also get a thermal cape to keep you warm.
At the Nordic Bar, just off Oxford Street, you can knock back cocktails like Snowflake and Sex In The Snow.
And there are also loads of great Christmas-themed club nights.
One of the top picks is Christmas Eve at Proud Camden, costing £15 for a night of dancing to ultimate party anthems.
Or what about a titillating Christmas cabaret at the sexy burlesque venue Volupte, with their special Snowtime Showtime events.
FOR something a bit special try the London Eye, offering flights on specially decorated Mistletoe Cupid Capsules with drinks and chocs.
There's the Taste of Christmas foodie event, fronted by Jamie Oliver, at the ExCeL Centre this weekend - see tasteofchristmas.com.
Or head to The London Dungeon, which features a comical Satan's Grotto.
To book call 0871 423 2240.
TAKE an open-top bus tour to enjoy the sparkling illuminations along Oxford Street and Regent Street.
And also check out the light shows at Covent Garden, a great place to pick up unusual presents and to admire the piazza decked out in giant baubles.
TO round off your Christmas break in London head for Trafalgar Square where you'll find a 25-metre Christmas tree.
Each evening until December 22, there are choirs performing carols from 5pm to 9pm.