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Museum hideaways and window shopping in snowy London

This year, heavy snowfall offered a particular charm and Christmas atmosphere to the European capital of shopping, despite the havoc it wreaked on flights into and out of the city. The snowfall did not discourage hoardes of foreigners from crowding the streets and invading Regent Street’s luxury stores. I noticed Europeans mainly, but also large numbers of tourists from Asia and the Middle East. I wondered sometimes if I was in London or Paris, as I could hear French being spoken everywhere.

What I find makes London pleasant during the warm season are its parks where people hang out, play sports and have picnics. But the harshness of the winter renders parks less enjoyable, so I took advantage of my winter trip to visit my favourite museums. Preferring art over the expansive British museum, I was happy to spend hours hanging out in the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, where the most beautiful paintings in the world are exhibited.

In front of the National Portrait Gallery I found one of the cheapest and cosiest pubs in London–Chandos. In my opinion it's one of the best places in London to enjoy a pint, comfortably slumped in one of their trademark huge leather armchairs.

I also visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, which extensively and impressively covers the whole history of European art with its wonderful exhibitions.

I didn't only lose myself in museums, as I consider going to London without going shopping to be a shame. Even window shopping provides amazing entertainment–the Abercrombie and Fitch store sparked a furuore this winter when hundreds of people queued to get inside, having heard that models had been hired as shop assistants. And then there's the luxurious Liberty store, located in a medieval half-timbered structure.

Naturally, I didn't forget to take British tea, biscuits and lemon curd at Fortnum and Mason. This 17th century shop has everything a posh Brit needs to enjoy his national beverage. As a final touch, I went shopping for trinkets and random stuff in the open market of Covent Garden and St James Piccadilly Market.

At St Pancras Station, the terminal for Eurostar, thousands of shivering passengers spent their days queueing and waiting for information after all reservations were cancelled. Luckily, I arrived in London one day before all the mess started and left the city one day after Eurostar re-established a normal service–perfect timing, and a perfect Christmas break.

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