The Christmas market was moved to Hyde Park a couple of years ago, and has taken the crowds with it. A walk from the National Theatre and under Waterloo Bridge past the Southbank Centre to Hungerford Bridge is a pleasure at any time of the year. In fading afternoon light in December, the art deco folly that squats over Charing Cross Station is a joy to behold. The illuminated carriages of the trains crossing the bridge look like a string of gaudy Christmas crackers. The river becomes a sleek gun-metal grey and the black lighters slide silently down river on the afternoon tide. There is reduced stock in the cases of the second-hand book stalls so the damp winter air won’t damage the fragile bindings. The booksellers huddle under Waterloo Bridge chilled by the piercing easterly wind. In contrast, the scarlet and gold window display of Foyles Bookshop offers a more attractive, and warmer alternative venue for book buyers. Outside Foyles a blizzard of coloured lights streams across the walkway. And all this is while you’ve got your back to the eastern prospect. It’s not until you reach Hungerford Bridge and get onto the Golden Jubilee walkways that you can look back to St Paul’s, the Shard, Oxo Tower and the City.