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The beginning of new week and hello to the Festive Season! As soon as December arrives there’s a collective sigh of relief as people begin to wind down towards the Christmas break. If you can ignore the over-commercial nature in the run up to Christmas it is still a really special time of year, and it’s possible to immerse yourself in all the traditions and events that show the real spirit of Christmas. Even if you’re a bit of a ‘Bah Humbug’, you may still find a little bit of joy in our Bravissimo ‘Christmassy Things To Do’ guide.

Somerset House in London has just opened their now famous Christmas ice rink. There is no better place to practice your ‘Dancing on Ice’ steps than in the beautiful and breathtaking surroundings of Somerset House. They have normal skating sessions, a skate school for people who want to learn to skate, and they even hold club nights, starting with the London summer festival Lovebox coming to the ice this very weekend.

Not to be left out, the rest of the country are going ice crazy too, The Ice Factor is 900 sq. m rink in York and is part of the Winter Wonderland Village Square. Or for an authentic Christmas atmosphere, you can skate to the sound of the choir, at the rink next to 11th-century Winchester Cathedral. You will find other rinks at Spinningfields in Manchester, one in Cardiff next to City Hall, the Eden Project, Cornwall and one of Europe’s biggest and most awe inspiring, is at the foot of Edinburgh Castle.

If you don’t want to take the risk of breaking a bone before the December 25th, how about meandering around a Christmas Market. Christmas Markets began as early as the late middle ages in Germanic Europe, one of the oldest recorded is Dresden Christmas Market, first held in 1434, it is still going today and attracts between 1.5 and 2 million people a year. There are some amazing Christmas markets up and down the UK check out http://www.christmasmarkets.com/ for one local to you. Here is a selection… Traditional Christmas Market in Glasgow at St Enoch Square, Nottingham Christmas Market Smithy Row, Leeds Christkindelmarkt Traditional German Christmas Market, Bath Christmas Market and Dickens Christmas Market At Rochester Castle.

How about listening to something magical, that is guaranteed to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. English Cathedral Choirs are performing in Cathedrals all over the country. Take a look at the music schedules listed on the Cathedral websites there will be a mixture of free and ticketed events. There are carols at Winchester Cathedral on 9th December at 2.30pm and Carols By Candlelight on 22nd December 2011 at 7:30 pm at Ely Cathedral. And for the ultimate experience, if you are visiting London have a look at the music programme at St Pauls http://www.stpauls.co.uk there are many carols concerts taking place, starting with The Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten, this coming Saturday 10th December at 5pm.

Christmas can be more than just buying presents; it can also be about sharing amazing experiences with your loved ones.