UCL School of Management

Ashleigh Topping | 25 January 2024

MSc Finance student Ernest Keung shares his highlights from spending the Winter Break in London

With 2024 and the new semester recently beginning, I wanted to start by saying that I hope you all had a wonderful and restful winter break! I spent the festive period in the vibrant and magical city of London and wanted to share the highlights from this incredible experience. The city truly comes alive during the holiday season, offering an array of enchanting experiences.
In this blog, I will share my unforgettable adventures - from exploring the fun and excitement of Winter Wonderland to marvelling at the festive Christmas lights and witnessing the dazzling fireworks on New Year’s Eve. Join me as we embark on a journey through the wintry wonderland that is London.

Winter Wonderland: A Dreamlike Escape

One of the highlights of my winter break was a visit to the iconic Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Stepping into this enchanting world felt like entering a fairy tale. The air buzzed with excitement as families, friends, and tourists alike gathered in the festive spirit. The sprawling site boasted a variety of attractions, including ice skating rinks, roller coaster rides, charming Christmas markets, and delicious food stalls.
As I glided across the ice on the rinks, the twinkling lights and joyful laughter surrounding me created a truly magical atmosphere. The scent of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine wafted through the air, tickling my senses and adding to the festive atmosphere. I couldn’t resist exploring the charming market stalls, brimming with unique handicrafts, handmade ornaments, and delectable treats. Although my wallet felt a bit lighter after the festive indulgence, Winter Wonderland was still a delightful escape that truly captured the essence of the holiday season.

Festive Christmas Lights: Illuminating the City

One cannot experience the winter break in London without admiring the breathtaking Christmas lights that illuminate the city’s streets. From Oxford Street to Regent Street, the city’s most iconic shopping destinations were decorated with dazzling displays, turning the bustling metropolis into a true “Winter Wonderland”.
The moment I set foot on Oxford Street, I was amazed by the spectacular light installations. The street came alive as cascading fairy lights and intricate designs embellished the exterior of the grand department stores. The festive atmosphere was infectious, as shoppers revealed their joyful spirit, and street performers stopped passers-by with dance performances and Christmas carols. Wondered by the Christmas Lights, I also took a photo with the famous fairy lights at Regent Street, which you can see has become my Unibuddy profile picture!

New Year’s Eve Fireworks: A Spectacular Celebration

As 2023 drew to a close, I eagerly anticipated the grand finale of my winter break—an unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebration. London is renowned for its spectacular fireworks display, and I was fortunate enough to witness it first-hand. The city’s iconic landmarks provided the perfect backdrop for this dazzling display.
Joined by thousands of people, I eagerly awaited the stroke of midnight. As Big Ben chimed, the sky erupted in a symphony of vibrant colours and glittering lights. The fireworks danced above the River Thames, illuminating the London Eye and Tower Bridge. The atmosphere was electric, as cheers and applause filled the air, marking the start of a new year filled with excitement.
A quick tip: If you want to avoid being squished like a sardine in a tin can of people, make it like a punctual penguin and waddle your way to the city centre by 10:30 PM. Trust me, you’ll thank me later when you have a clear view of the illuminating fireworks, while others are stuck playing a game of “Where’s Wally” in the sea of people.


My winter break in London was truly a magical experience, filled with enchantment, joy, and wonder. From the captivating Winter Wonderland to the mesmerising Christmas lights and the breathtaking New Year’s Eve fireworks, every moment was a testament to the city’s festive spirit. So, as the next winter break approaches, be sure to consider staying in London, and let yourself be captivated by the magic that awaits!
Last updated Thursday, 25 January 2024