26 Festive Issues To Do In London For Christmas This 12 months


Visiting London at Christmas is among the most extraordinary experiences you possibly can have. Town transforms right into a magical environment of fairy lights, festive spirit, and pop-up bars with boozy scorching chocolate and avenue meals. London celebrates the Christmas season higher than most different cities in Europe.

The quantity of festive issues to do in London for Christmas is giant sufficient to tear you off your couch and away from all these back-to-back Christmas movies. Whether or not you head to Tower Bridge to take a look at its Christmas market or to one of many ice skating rinks dotted across the metropolis, you’ll have a lot enjoyable. London lights up at the moment of 12 months with a lot consuming, consuming, enjoyable, and buying.

Festive Issues To Do in London at Christmas

top things to do in London for Christmas covent garden market

On this information, we’ll let you know every little thing you’ll want to find out about the perfect points of interest and actions to tick off when visiting London at Christmas. From Christmas lights to boozy scorching chocolate and searching for handmade items, these are the perfect issues to do in London this December.

1. Covent Backyard

London for christmas Covent garden

There’s no higher place to have fun a London Christmas than Covent Backyard. Covent Backyard is among the most famed locations within the metropolis. It’s an ornate buying and leisure middle in London’s theatrical West Finish neighborhood. At Christmas, although, this magical place transforms once more, internet hosting a small Christmas market, 1000’s of festive lights and decorations, and even pretend snow flurries between 12 pm and 9 pm every day. The pretend snow is on the hour in West Piazza – you gained’t miss it.

Covent Backyard is among the greatest locations for undercover Christmas buying and a dependable white Christmas.

2. Attempt Mulled Wine

London for christmas mulled wine

One other factor you possibly can’t have a London Christmas with out is mulled wine. Fortunately, there’s no scarcity of this tasty festive drink within the metropolis. You’ll find scrumptious mulled wine throughout London. The drink is simply piping scorching purple wine with spices like cinnamon. You’ll find it at pop-up bars and established consuming holes like The Hawk’s Nest in Shepherd’s Bush. Mr Fogg’s Tavern can also be an excellent spot for scrumptious mulled wine. Wander by way of the Christmas markets and see in the event you can spot some to takeaway, or head for a comfy seat inside one of many London pubs.

3. Hogwarts within the Snow

Hogwarts in the Snow at Christmas in London

Everybody is aware of about London’s Harry Potter studio expertise. However do you know it hosts a Christmas particular? Hogwarts within the Snow is a manner for followers to have fun Christmas within the wizarding world and runs generously between mid-November and mid-January. There’s every little thing from Christmas bushes within the Nice Corridor and Yuletide Ball dance classes. After all, you’ll see pretend snow all over the place – a particular plus with London’s hit-and-miss white Christmases.

You need to e book tickets prematurely, which prices round $60 per particular person. And it could be greatest to e book a guided tour that features transport, as a result of the studio is situated north of the town middle, and is tough to achieve and not using a automobile.

Guided Tour: Warner Bros Studio from London

4. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

London for christmas Hyde Park market

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is a Christmas vacation spot in its personal proper. Critically, this place is big. If you wish to embrace the Christmas spirit in central London, this is among the most sought-after and well-known festive occasions to take action at. It transforms Hyde Park right into a Bavarian-esque winter wonderland, with large tents promoting Christmas cocktails and German beer, a fairground, meals stalls, and rustic pop-up stalls promoting handmade items and candy treats. And that’s to not point out its huge ice bar and ice skating rink. Everybody goes to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, however you possibly can see why.

For a little bit of festive cheer, you possibly can’t go incorrect. Bear in mind to e book prematurely (immediately on the official web site to keep away from scams), because it sells out rapidly.

5. Go Ice Skating

London for christmas Ice skating somerset house

Talking of festive cheer, what about going ice skating as a standalone exercise? Ice rinks are simply one of the crucial traditional festive actions. When in London, you’ll have dozens at your fingertips. There’s the apparent selection of the ice rink in Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. However there’s additionally the Canary Wharf Ice Rink, JW3 Ice Rink, and even one on the foot of Battersea Energy Station. After we say London has a number of ice rinks, we actually imply it. Decide one (or two) and get your skates prepared.

Having fun with the rinks is among the greatest issues to do in London this Christmas. Here’s a listing of the entire rinks in London this season.

6. Watch a Christmas Live performance

London for christmas Royal albert hall

You’ll be able to’t be in London at Christmas and never try one of many Christmas concert events. Carol singing and Christmas songs are the perfect methods to get in a festive temper. Lots of London’s occasions are hosted in lovely venues, just like the Royal Albert Corridor, which hosts conventional concert events and Christmas carol performances. St. Paul’s Cathedral is one other great spot for Christmas carols in festive, atmospheric performances. Our advice? Plan to attend no less than one live performance when celebrating Christmas in London. The gorgeous venues and conventional expertise of carol singing make it the best addition to your festive itinerary.

7. Leicester Sq.

Leicester square in London at Chritmas

Leicester Sq. is the place to be this Christmas in London. Yearly, the sq. is decked with an all-action Christmas market that runs for 2 months, promoting every little thing from meals to mulled wine and providing free entrance. Nevertheless, we’ll cowl Christmas markets in additional element later.

What we actually love about Leicester Sq. are its avenue performers, which tackle further festive inspiration all through December and into January. Leicester Sq. is action-packed and dramatic, and the general public area pulls out all of the stops through the festive season. In order for you free issues to do in London this Christmas, visiting Leicester Sq. must be certainly one of your high selections.

8. Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey in London Christmas Eve

Everybody is aware of Westminster Abbey – the house of British politics and faith, for higher or worse. You’ll be able to take guided excursions by way of the Abbey all year long, admiring its grand structure. Nevertheless, what’s actually thrilling is Westminster Abbey at Christmas.

You’ll be able to attend quite a few free occasions at Westminster Abbey in December, together with the First Eucharist of Christmas Night time and even the Christmas Day Holy Communion. There’s even a Royal Carol Service, the place HRH hosts the festivities. Relating to Westminster Abbey, you’ve simply obtained to maintain your eye on its calendar. The Abbey actually goes to city with Christmas occasions in December.

Guided Tour: Strolling Tour with Westminster Abbey

9. London Bridge

London Bridge City Christmas Market

London Bridge is an iconic a part of the London skyline and embraces an annual Christmas theme. Not solely does the well-known landmark run a Christmas market, however the London Bridge Rooftop transforms right into a magical festive expertise for adults. The coated venue whacks out DJ units, mulled wine, baubles, and Christmas lights – plus a packed menu of festive cocktails and meals. The entire space round London Bridge turns into a hive of exercise, so undoubtedly add London Bridge and its surrounding neighborhood to your listing of issues to do in London this December.

The Nineteen Seventies bridge is a traditional little bit of structure and an actual hub for Christmas cheer. You’ll be able to stroll throughout and admire the festive lights alongside the banks of the River Thames. Or you possibly can head to the close by London Bridge Rooftop and Christmas market.

10. Trafalgar Sq.

Trafalgar Square in London at Christmas

Trafalgar Sq. is among the most well-known landmarks in London and attracts hundreds of thousands of vacationers annually. At Christmas, although, there’s much more cause to cease by. The sq. has reworked right into a festive masterpiece and at the moment boasts a 70-foot tree transported from Norway. It’s a part of a convention that has been happening since 1947, with Norway gifting London a Christmas tree annually in trade for Britain’s help in World Warfare II. Due to the Norwegian hyperlink, it’s also usually embellished in Norwegian fashion with vertical Christmas lights.

You’ll be able to head to Trafalgar Sq., admire the tree, take heed to the carol singers, and watch any avenue performers. The story behind Trafalgar Sq.’s Christmas tree is healthful and a poignant reminder of the tragedies of World Warfare II – making visiting one of the crucial common issues to do in London at Christmas. In addition to, what’s a London Christmas and not using a tree or two?

11. Somerset Home

Somerset House Ice Skating in London

Somerset Home is a number one attraction in London, and the neoclassical constructing in central London homes loads of creative and cultural reveals. Probably the most well-known of those is the Courtauld Gallery, an artwork gallery that includes the esteemed piece Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear by the beloved Vincent Van Gogh. It’s a sensible place to go to all 12 months spherical. Nonetheless, there’s one thing about artwork galleries at Christmas that’s simply further particular. Escape from the chilly and moist, and luxuriate in taking a look at among the Most worthy artwork in England.

What actually makes Somerset Home so festive, although, is its huge ice skating rink outdoors. You’ll be able to spend just a few hours admiring the artwork, then head out to ice skate and let your hair down.

12. Kew Gardens

christmas at Kew Gardens in London

Kew Gardens is a spot of maximum magnificence on the outskirts of London. The botanical backyard involves life each winter with further particular options, together with a festive mild path that wows guests with elaborate mild installations. You stroll by way of the gardens admiring artwork options like a water fountain exploding with illuminated colours or golden mild tunnels. Kew Gardens is a wonderful place to have fun Christmas, and strolling by way of such artistic shows at night time is incredible. There are even distributors promoting scorching chocolate and piping scorching festive meals alongside the best way.

You need to e book prematurely for Kew Gardens as it’s – understandably – extremely popular. Nevertheless, it runs from November till January, so you possibly can squeeze in there sooner or later.

13. Watch a Musical or West Finish Present

West End Show Shakespeares Globe Theatre

West Finish performs run all 12 months spherical, however nothing feels extra festive than getting dressed up for a West Finish manufacturing in December. The comfy and indulgent vibe is unequalled. And you’ll bask in a champagne and settle right into a heat seat whilst you calm down with a night of leisure. West Finish productions run on loops, with common reveals like The Lion King.

Nevertheless, it’s also possible to catch festive movie variations in different theaters throughout London, discovering play variations of classics like Charles Dickens. In order for you a play different to a Christmas movie, that is the perfect concept to your itinerary. Try theater performances that coincide with the dates you go to London.

14. Kensington Palace

London for christmas Kensington Palace

If you’re visiting London at Christmas, you must cease by a royal residence or two. Kensington Palace is dwelling to Will and Kate and their youngsters, however a part of the palace is open to the general public nearly each day. Benefit from this traditional vacationer attraction and peek at among the grandest Christmas decorations within the metropolis.

Kensington Palace additionally opened the Luna Winter Cinema, which reveals open-air Christmas movies. The entire place comes alive with Christmas cheer. And for a homely – if extraordinarily grand – aesthetic, Kensington Palace is among the greatest Christmas variations of traditional London points of interest.

Guided Tour: Kensington Palace Entrance

15. Hampton Court docket

Celebrating Christmas ar Hampton Court in London

Hampton Court docket Palace is at all times a good suggestion to go to in London. The palace was really dwelling to Henry the eighth – an especially infamous determine in UK historical past. Nevertheless, it comes much more to life every Christmas, with an enormous ice skating rink, gorgeous decorations, and a Christmas market with over 100 artisan producers. Hampton Court docket Palace at Christmas is gorgeous. There are even carriage rides with shire horses across the palace grounds. And in the event you catch it on a snow day, simply thank your fortunate stars. The purple brick constructing appears beautiful within the snow.

You should buy tickets to Hampton Court docket Palace on-line. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and is open from Wednesday till Sunday from 10 am till 4:00 pm.

Guided Excursions: Hampton Court docket Palace Entrance

16. Neverland’s Winterland

This bar is the perfect in London in case you are an grownup however an enormous child deep down. Neverland London is the place to embrace your interior Peter Pan, with a synthetic seaside membership by way of summer season and a winter wonderland by way of the festive season. At Christmas, Neverland transforms into an alpine village with igloos, lodges, and even a ski elevate that you may dine and drink in.

Neverland is a lot enjoyable, particularly if you wish to take pleasure in cocktails in fashion. It additionally serves meals – a bar-restaurant with a distinction and probably the greatest issues to do in London at Christmas.

17. Rooftop Views Queen of Hoxton

When in London at Christmas, the Queen of Hoxton is a must-visit venue. It’s located in fashionable Shoreditch – who doesn’t love this cool London neighborhood – and runs a distinct Christmas theme annually. In 2023, that is gothic Venice, and its winter rooftop beer and cocktail backyard can be suitably decked out.

There’s every little thing from gondola seating to Italian chandeliers. In order for you someplace to admire the London surroundings and have a flowery drink, the Queen of Hoxton is the best place to go to. The pub has three ranges, plus its gorgeous rooftop space.

18. Watch or Take part within the Santa Run London

Santa Run London

The Santa Run London is among the most hilarious belongings you’ll see. Hundreds of contestants wearing Santa costumes dash their manner by way of the town middle on 5k or 10k routes. The entire occasion is designed to boost cash for charity, and the match amongst you possibly can participate, whereas those who want to look at can benefit from the spectacle of 1000’s of Santas operating round London.

Taking part in or watching the Santa Run London is among the most unusual and humorous issues to do within the metropolis at Christmas. You gained’t see it on the usual vacationer listing, however that’s half the attract. Embrace the British humorousness and get entangled.

There are a handful of Santa operating occasions in December, however the primary one is round Victoria Park.

19. Hyde Park’s Serpentine

Hyde Park's Serpentine christmas swim
Photograph credit score: Steve Lippitt

If you’re courageous, you possibly can take part within the Peter Pan Cup – a.okay .a. a mad swim round a 100-meter course in Serpentine Lake on Christmas Day- the place the winner is awarded a trophy. The quirky attraction attracts within the bravest attainable contestants. The primary race was held in 1864 when the writer of Peter Pan awarded the successful trophy to the triumphant contestant. That is what offers the race its identify.

You’ll be able to compete or, in the event you aren’t feeling like freezing water on Christmas Day, watch from the banks of Serpentine Lake.

20. Thames Dinner Cruise

Thames luxury charters dixie queen christmas dinner
Photograph courtesy of Thames Dinner Cruise

A Thames dinner cruise is one other London traditional. Don’t get us incorrect, these run all 12 months spherical. However you possibly can e book distinctive dinner cruise experiences particularly devoted to celebrating Christmas. These cruises have festive music blaring, celebration hats, decorations, and conventional Christmas food and drinks. This Thames dinner cruise is precisely what you want on a festive London itinerary. And you continue to get all the thrill of sightseeing, with the London landmarks passing by your window.

You may give it a Google or simply examine the hyperlink beneath to see an excellent instance of Christmas dinner cruises in London.

Guided Tour: Christmas Social gathering Dinner Cruise

21. Stroll Down Regent Road

London for christmas Walk Regent Street

Strolling down Regent Road is among the greatest issues to do in London at Christmas. The road is famed for high-end retailers like Burberry, and in December, you possibly can admire all of the decorations in Christmas home windows. Regent Road can also be the place you’ll discover among the most dramatic Christmas lights within the metropolis. As a busy, protected space of London, it’s splendid for solo vacationers to discover and embrace a festive night within the metropolis.

Strolling down Regent Road is aesthetic and splendid for last-minute buying. It’s a protected and simple exercise to squeeze into even the busiest London itineraries. Most retailers shut at 8 or 9 pm, so we propose heading there round 5-7 pm.22. Pure Historical past Museum

London for christmas Natural History Museum

The Pure Historical past Museum is known. You’ve undoubtedly heard of it earlier than. It may not have struck you as a Christmas attraction, however don’t be fooled; this museum has a lot on its sleeve concerning festive cheer. The Pure Historical past Museum has Christmas and winter-themed workshops and pop-up actions. Simply examine its web site to see what’s on when you find yourself in London.

There’s additionally a Christmas on the Museum occasion on the twenty second of December and Storytelling with Santa classes from the eleventh to the twenty third of December in 2023. The Santa expertise features a present and a personal picture alternative. If you’re touring with younger youngsters, that is an absolute should.

Shopping on Oxford Street at Christmas in London

Nothing beats a Christmas store. With the thrill, the music, the crowds, and the Christmas lights, it’s the most full of life time of the 12 months to buy groceries. Armed with a protracted listing of current concepts, it’s no surprise that individuals prefer to splurge a lot when buying in London, which has among the greatest retailers in Europe. At Christmas, Oxford Road is among the greatest locations to go. In 2023, it’s embellished with 300,000 floating stars strung over the road in scenic zigzags. And you’ll head all the way down to window store or seize last-minute presents below the celebs.

Oxford Road has further points of interest, like a life-sized snow globe you possibly can go inside, Santa’s Grotto inside John Lewis, and an immersive artwork expertise showcasing the northern lights.

24. Southbank Centre Winter Pageant

Southbank Centre Winter Festival

Southbank Centre Winter Pageant is a wonderful place to have fun Christmas with a number of enjoyable. There may be – after all – a festive market. Nevertheless, there are additionally choir performances and theatrical productions like The Nutcracker and Christmas Truly. There are dance lessons, a free Winter Gentle artwork exhibition, and free concert events. Southbank Centre actually places the tradition into celebrating Christmas. So, in the event you love something art-related, simply test it out. It is filled with unimaginable actions, and you may get actually caught in.

Most occasions at Southbank are free, and there’s no must e book. However you possibly can try the entry necessities for particular occasions and an occasion calendar with a fast Google.

25. Head to London Christmas Markets

London Christmas Markets

We’ve already touched on Christmas markets whereas discussing the opposite greatest issues to do in London at Christmas. Nevertheless, markets are such an enormous a part of the vacation season that we simply had to dedicate a complete part to them. These markets usually run for December, however you get the odd early birds operating from November and stragglers persevering with into January. One of the best markets in London are:

  • Spitalfields
  • Leadenhall
  • Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland
  • Portobello
  • Fleet Road
  • Covent Backyard
  • Leicester Sq..

You’ll be able to seize drinks and meals from festive takeaway stalls. Or you possibly can store for artisan and handmade presents or decorations like hand-painted baubles.

26. London Christmas Lights Bus Tour

London for christmas Bus Tour

When visiting London, you must admire the Christmas lights. Dazzling lights and shows dangling throughout the streets are one of the crucial well-known sorts of Christmas decorations and one thing for the entire household to take pleasure in. London actually goes to city on Christmas lights. Town virtually lights up with twinkling, extravagant, festive-themed lighting decorations.

The easiest way to see as a lot of London’s Christmas lights as attainable is with an open-top bus tour. These buses take you thru the middle of London, passing essentially the most lovely lights and supplying you with the perfect seat in the home – watching the lights cross from a rooftop perch. The Christmas lights are so shut you possibly can nearly contact them, and also you’ll get to see every little thing with out the chaos of crowds on the road degree beneath. If you’ll do only one factor in London this Christmas, this could be our high advice.

Guided Tour: Open Prime Bus Tour

FAQs: Festive Issues to Do in London

Celebrating the holiday season under a Christmas tree in London at Christmas.

Spending the Christmas holidays in London means you’ve gotten 1000’s of festive issues to do. There are Christmas markets, ice rinks, concert events, and hundreds of thousands of buying experiences you possibly can match into an itinerary. However earlier than you rush off and luxuriate in that, although, try these widespread FAQs.

Is London a superb place to spend Christmas?

London is an unimaginable place to spend Christmas. There are a lot of Christmas lights, scenic ice rinks, and festive decorations; it has the last word festive aesthetic, and nothing beats wandering its Christmas home windows on Regent Road and the little Christmas markets.

Is Christmas a superb time to go to London?

Christmas is an incredible time to go to London. The festive occasions and lovely Christmas aesthetic make it probably the greatest locations to remain at the moment of 12 months. Sure, it will get busy. However that’s the entire level of Christmas; it creates a festive and sociable environment. We’d say that Christmas is an ideal time to expertise London – simply be organized and e book every little thing prematurely to counteract the crowds.

What ought to I do for Christmas in London?

You need to go to among the Christmas markets in London and take a bus tour across the metropolis’s Christmas lights. London’s predominant points of interest are all lovely at the moment of 12 months, with big Christmas bushes and decorations, particularly Hampton Court docket and Kensington Gardens. There are additionally issues like ice skating and the much-adored Winter Wonderland spectacle in Hyde Park.

What’s on in London for Christmas 2023?

There are masses on at Christmas in London in 2023. Try the annual occasions like Neverland and Winter Wonderland. But additionally try upcoming West Finish performances, Christmas movies, and carol-singing occasions. There’s no higher place to have fun the festive season than in London, and 2023 is about to be no completely different.

Christmas Day in London.

There’s no higher place than London to unfold that Yuletide pleasure. There are such a lot of pop-up occasions and actions between the ice rinks and Christmas markets. Ideally, you’d have no less than 3 days to have fun Christmas in London. That is lengthy sufficient to enterprise out on a day journey to Hampton Court docket or Richmond Park and spend 2 days having fun with markets, concert events, Christmas lights, and museums.

London Christmas lights on Christmas Eve.

Are you searching for extra London inspiration? Test these articles out on the greatest issues to do year-roundday journeys, and greatest London landmarks. It’s price noting that London is simply one of many greatest locations to go to within the UK. Some northern cities like York and Manchester are additionally gorgeous at Christmas, so make good use of the trains and keep longer.

Plan Your Subsequent Journey To London With These Assets


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