Fall/Winter Traditions in London

I have always adored the late fall, probably not as much as I love the snow in the winter, but enough that it’s a season I look forward to over others. It’s probably because I can literally live in leggings, chunky knits, and boots (like actually never take them off), but I like to think it’s because of all the traditions that are associated with the fall/winter transition. They don’t feel forced since they are not all a result of holidays, but I feel like fall has some of the best traditions that I have picked up while growing up. Pumpkin picking and corn mazes, hot apple cider, Navy football, Thanksgiving parties with friends, etc.

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Now that I am living in London, I am looking forward to picking up new traditions for each season. As lists come out of the top things to do in the fall and winter, I find myself clearing my calendar to spend time trying new things and starting my own traditions with London friends.

Here are a few of the fall traditions that I’ve already started, or look forward to starting, here in London:

  1. Christmas Shops: All of the department stores in London open their Christmas shops at the end of August. I’ve already visited nearly all of them, ogling at the Christmas decorations and planning my own. It is fun to go out of season because it brings to life Christmas in an incredible way. My favourites are Liberty, Selfridges, and (of course) John Lewis. We’ll be buying our decorations from John Lewis and I couldn’t be more excited!
  2. Bonfire Night: This is one that I just found out about this week, and I can’t wait! In the US, I used to have a bonfire every fall, and I miss it so much. Though it’s nice not to have to get the smell of smoke out of my hair, there is something so “fall-y” about a bonfire that brings the whole season an incredible feeling. Here in the UK, “Bonfire Night” is in remembrance of Guy Fawke’s day and there are huge bonfire and fireworks festivals. I’m just really excited to go watch the fireworks at Alexandra Palace, because who doesn’t love fireworks!
  3. Friendsgiving: Sean experienced Thanksgiving for the first time last year and is a huge fan. It’s also one of my favorite holidays because of…well, food. Living in London has left me feeling disconnected with Thanksgiving, but we are hoping to bring it back by introducing a Friendsgiving. This not only gives me (and my American friends) the opportunity to enjoy a holiday I love so much, but gives Sean and I the opportunity to introduce it to our English friends. I’m already planning the recipes and decorations!
  4. Ice Skating: London has some gorgeous outdoor skating rinks that open up for the winter season in November. I honestly want to try them all. I used to have an ice skating party for my birthday every year at Reston Town Center, and I miss it so much. There’s something about bundling up to go around the rink a couple of times and then unbundling in the closest restaurant to order some hot chocolate and pudding. Except, here it’s going to be mulled wine and pudding in the closest pub!
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