Visiting London at Christmas is likely one of the most extraordinary experiences you possibly can have. The metropolis transforms right into a magical ambiance of fairy lights, festive spirit, and pop-up bars with boozy scorching chocolate and road 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 massive sufficient to tear you off your couch and away from all these back-to-back Christmas movies. Whether 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 yr with a lot consuming, ingesting, enjoyable, and procuring.
Festive Things To Do in London at Christmas
In this information, we’ll inform you all the things you could find out about the perfect sights 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 Garden
There’s no higher place to rejoice a London Christmas than Covent Garden. Covent Garden is likely one of the most famed locations within the metropolis. It is an ornate procuring and leisure middle in London’s theatrical West End 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 faux snow flurries between 12 pm and 9 pm every day. The faux snow is on the hour in West Piazza – you received’t miss it.
Covent Garden is likely one of the finest locations for undercover Christmas procuring and a dependable white Christmas.
2. Try Mulled Wine
Another factor you possibly can’t have a London Christmas with out is mulled wine. Luckily, there’s no scarcity of this tasty festive drink within the metropolis. You can discover scrumptious mulled wine throughout London. The drink is simply piping scorching crimson wine with spices like cinnamon. You can discover it at pop-up bars and established ingesting holes like The Hawk’s Nest in Shepherd’s Bush. Mr Fogg’s Tavern can also be an awesome spot for scrumptious mulled wine. Wander by way of the Christmas markets and see when you can spot some to takeaway, or head for a comfy seat inside one of many London pubs.
3. Hogwarts within the Snow
Everyone is aware of about London’s Harry Potter studio expertise. But do you know it hosts a Christmas particular? Hogwarts within the Snow is a approach for followers to rejoice Christmas within the wizarding world and runs generously between mid-November and mid-January. There’s all the things from Christmas timber within the Great Hall and Yule Ball dance classes. Of course, you’ll see faux snow in every single place – a particular plus with London’s hit-and-miss white Christmases.
You should e book tickets prematurely, which prices round $60 per particular person. And it could be finest to e book a guided tour that features transport, as a result of the studio is situated north of the town middle, and is troublesome to achieve with no automobile.
Guided Tour: Warner Bros Studio from London
4. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is a Christmas vacation spot in its personal proper. Seriously, this place is gigantic. If you wish to embrace the Christmas spirit in central London, this is likely one of 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 enormous 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. Everyone goes to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, however you possibly can see why.
For a little bit of festive cheer, you possibly can’t go flawed. Remember to e book prematurely (immediately on the official web site to keep away from scams), because it sells out rapidly.
5. Go Ice Skating
Speaking of festive cheer, what about going ice skating as a standalone exercise? Ice rinks are simply one of the traditional festive actions. When in London, you’ll have dozens at your fingertips. There’s the plain selection of the ice rink in Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. But there’s additionally the Canary Wharf Ice Rink, JW3 Ice Rink, and even one on the foot of Battersea Power Station. When we are saying London has plenty of ice rinks, we actually imply it. Pick one (or two) and get your skates prepared.
Enjoying the rinks is likely one of the finest issues to do in London this Christmas. Here is a listing of the entire rinks in London this season.
6. Watch a Christmas Concert
You can’t be in London at Christmas and never take a look at one of many Christmas concert events. Carol singing and Christmas songs are the perfect methods to get in a festive temper. Many of London’s occasions are hosted in stunning venues, just like the Royal Albert Hall, 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 suggestion? Plan to attend at the least one live performance when celebrating Christmas in London. The beautiful venues and conventional expertise of carol singing make it the perfect addition to your festive itinerary.
7. Leicester Square
Leicester Square is the place to be this Christmas in London. Every yr, the sq. is decked with an all-action Christmas market that runs for 2 months, promoting all the things from meals to mulled wine and providing free entrance. However, we’ll cowl Christmas markets in additional element later.
What we actually love about Leicester Square are its road performers, which tackle further festive inspiration all through December and into January. Leicester Square is action-packed and dramatic, and the general public house pulls out all of the stops in the course of the festive season. If you need free issues to do in London this Christmas, visiting Leicester Square needs to be certainly one of your high selections.
8. Westminster Abbey
Everyone is aware of Westminster Abbey – the house of British politics and faith, for higher or worse. You can take guided excursions by way of the Abbey all year long, admiring its grand structure. However, what’s actually thrilling is Westminster Abbey at Christmas.
You can attend quite a few free occasions at Westminster Abbey in December, together with the First Eucharist of Christmas Night and even the Christmas Day Holy Communion. There’s even a Royal Carol Service, the place HRH hosts the festivities. When it involves 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: Walking Tour with Westminster Abbey
9. London Bridge
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 complete space round London Bridge turns into a hive of exercise, so positively add London Bridge and its surrounding neighborhood to your listing of issues to do in London this December.
The Seventies bridge is a traditional little bit of structure and an actual hub for Christmas cheer. You can 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 Square
Trafalgar Square is likely one of the most well-known landmarks in London and attracts tens of millions of vacationers annually. At Christmas, although, there’s much more cause to cease by. The sq. has remodeled right into a festive masterpiece and at the moment boasts a 70-foot tree transported from Norway. It is a part of a convention that has been occurring since 1947, with Norway gifting London a Christmas tree annually in change for Britain’s help in World War II. Because of the Norwegian hyperlink, additionally it is usually adorned in Norwegian type with vertical Christmas lights.
You can head to Trafalgar Square, admire the tree, take heed to the carol singers, and watch any road performers. The story behind Trafalgar Square’s Christmas tree is healthful and a poignant reminder of the tragedies of World War II – making visiting one of the common issues to do in London at Christmas. Besides, what’s a London Christmas with no tree or two?
11. Somerset House
Somerset House is a number one attraction in London, and the neoclassical constructing in central London homes loads of creative and cultural reveals. 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 is a superb place to go to all yr spherical. Still, 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 a few of the most respected artwork in England.
What actually makes Somerset House so festive, although, is its huge ice skating rink outdoors. You can spend a number of hours admiring the artwork, then head out to ice skate and let your hair down.
Guided Tour: Courtauld Gallery Entrance at Somerset House
12. Kew Gardens
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 lovely place to rejoice Christmas, and strolling by way of such inventive shows at night time is incredible. There are even distributors promoting scorching chocolate and piping scorching festive meals alongside the way in which.
You should e book prematurely for Kew Gardens as it’s – understandably – highly regarded. However, it runs from November till January, so you possibly can squeeze in there sooner or later.
13. Watch a Musical or West End Show
West End performs run all yr spherical, however nothing feels extra festive than getting dressed up for a West End manufacturing in December. The cozy and indulgent vibe is unequalled. And you possibly can bask in a champagne and settle right into a heat seat whilst you loosen up with a night of leisure. West End productions run on loops, with common exhibits like The Lion King.
However, you can too catch festive movie variations in different theaters throughout London, discovering play variations of classics like Charles Dickens. If you need a play various to a Christmas movie, that is the perfect thought to your itinerary. Check out theater performances that coincide with the dates you go to London.
14. Kensington Palace
If you’re visiting London at Christmas, you need to cease by a royal residence or two. Kensington Palace is residence to Will and Kate and their kids, however a part of the palace is open to the general public virtually each day. Take benefit of this traditional vacationer attraction and peek at a few of the grandest Christmas decorations within the metropolis.
Kensington Palace additionally opened the Luna Winter Cinema, which exhibits open-air Christmas movies. The complete place comes alive with Christmas cheer. And for a homely – if extraordinarily grand – aesthetic, Kensington Palace is likely one of the finest Christmas variations of traditional London sights.
Guided Tour: Kensington Palace Entrance
15. Hampton Court
Hampton Court Palace is all the time a good suggestion to go to in London. The palace was truly residence to Henry the eighth – a particularly infamous determine in UK historical past. However, it comes much more to life every Christmas, with an enormous ice skating rink, beautiful decorations, and a Christmas market with over 100 artisan producers. Hampton Court Palace at Christmas is gorgeous. There are even carriage rides with shire horses across the palace grounds. And when you catch it on a snow day, simply thank your fortunate stars. The crimson brick constructing appears beautiful within the snow.
You should purchase tickets to Hampton Court Palace on-line. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and is open from Wednesday till Sunday from 10 am till 4:00 pm.
Guided Tours: Hampton Court Palace Entrance
16. Neverland’s Winterland
This bar is the perfect in London in case you are an grownup however a giant child deep down. Neverland London is the place to embrace your internal Peter Pan, with a synthetic seashore membership by way of summer time 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 raise you can dine and drink in.
Neverland is a lot enjoyable, particularly if you wish to get pleasure from cocktails in type. It additionally serves meals – a bar-restaurant with a distinction and among the best 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 is located in stylish 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 will probably be suitably decked out.
There’s all the things from gondola seating to Italian chandeliers. If you need someplace to admire the London surroundings and have a elaborate drink, the Queen of Hoxton is the perfect place to go to. The pub has three ranges, plus its beautiful rooftop space.
18. Watch or Participate within the Santa Run London
The Santa Run London is likely one of the most hilarious belongings you’ll see. Thousands of contestants wearing Santa costumes dash their approach by way of the town middle on 5k or 10k routes. The complete occasion is designed to boost cash for charity, and the match amongst you possibly can participate, whereas people who want to observe can benefit from the spectacle of 1000’s of Santas operating round London.
Participating in or watching the Santa Run London is likely one of the most original and humorous issues to do within the metropolis at Christmas. You received’t see it on the usual vacationer listing, however that’s half the attract. Embrace the British humorousness and become involved.
There are a handful of Santa operating occasions in December, however the primary one is round Victoria Park.
19. Hyde Park’s Serpentine
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 first race was held in 1864 when the creator of Peter Pan awarded the profitable trophy to the triumphant contestant. This is what provides the race its identify.
You can compete or, when you aren’t feeling like freezing water on Christmas Day, watch from the banks of Serpentine Lake.
20. Thames Dinner Cruise
A Thames dinner cruise is one other London traditional. Don’t get us flawed, these run all yr spherical. But you possibly can e book distinctive dinner cruise experiences particularly devoted to celebrating Christmas. These cruises have festive music blaring, get together hats, decorations, and conventional Christmas foods and drinks. This Thames dinner cruise is precisely what you want on a festive London itinerary. And you continue to get all the fun of sightseeing, with the London landmarks passing by your window.
You may give it a Google or simply test the hyperlink beneath to see an awesome instance of Christmas dinner cruises in London.
Guided Tour: Christmas Party Dinner Cruise
21. Walk Down Regent Street
Walking down Regent Street is likely one of the finest issues to do in London at Christmas. The road is famed for high-end outlets like Burberry, and in December, you possibly can admire all of the decorations in Christmas home windows. Regent Street can also be the place you’ll discover a few of the most dramatic Christmas lights within the metropolis. As a busy, secure space of London, it’s ideally suited for solo vacationers to discover and embrace a festive night within the metropolis.
Walking down Regent Street is aesthetic and ideally suited for last-minute procuring. It is a secure and simple exercise to squeeze into even the busiest London itineraries. Most outlets shut at 8 or 9 pm, so we recommend heading there round 5-7 pm.22. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is legendary. You’ve positively 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 relating to festive cheer. The Natural History Museum has Christmas and winter-themed workshops and pop-up actions. Just test its web site to see what’s on if 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 non-public photograph alternative. If you’re touring with younger kids, that is an absolute should.
Nothing beats a Christmas store. With the joy, the music, the crowds, and the Christmas lights, it’s the most full of life time of the yr to buy groceries. Armed with an extended listing of current concepts, it’s no marvel that individuals wish to splurge a lot when procuring in London, which has a few of the finest outlets in Europe. At Christmas, Oxford Street is likely one of the finest locations to move. In 2023, it’s adorned with 300,000 floating stars strung over the road in scenic zigzags. And you possibly can head all the way down to window store or seize last-minute presents underneath the celebrities.
Oxford Street has further sights, 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 Festival
Southbank Centre Winter Festival is a lovely place to rejoice Christmas with plenty of enjoyable. There is – in fact – a festive market. However, there are additionally choir performances and theatrical productions like The Nutcracker and Christmas Actually. There are dance lessons, a free Winter Light artwork exhibition, and free concert events. Southbank Centre actually places the tradition into celebrating Christmas. So, when you love something art-related, simply test it out. It is filled with unimaginable actions, and you will get actually caught in.
Most occasions at Southbank are free, and there’s no have to e book. But you possibly can take a look at the entry necessities for particular occasions and an occasion calendar with a fast Google.
25. Head to London Christmas Markets
We have already touched on Christmas markets whereas discussing the opposite finest issues to do in London at Christmas. However, markets are such a giant 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. The finest markets in London are:
Spitalfields Leadenhall Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland Portobello Fleet Street Covent Garden Leicester Square.
You can 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
When visiting London, you need to admire the Christmas lights. Dazzling lights and shows dangling throughout the streets are one of the well-known kinds of Christmas decorations and one thing for the entire household to get pleasure from. London actually goes to city on Christmas lights. The metropolis virtually lights up with twinkling, extravagant, festive-themed lighting decorations.
The finest method 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 probably the most stunning lights and providing you with the perfect seat in the home – watching the lights move from a rooftop perch. The Christmas lights are so shut you possibly can virtually contact them, and also you’ll get to see all the things with out the chaos of crowds on the road stage beneath. If you’ll do only one factor in London this Christmas, this is able to be our high suggestion.
Guided Tour: Open Top Bus Tour
FAQs: Festive Things to Do in London
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 tens of millions of procuring experiences you possibly can match into an itinerary. But earlier than you rush off and luxuriate in that, although, take a look at these widespread FAQs.
Is London a superb place to spend Christmas?
London is an unimaginable place to spend Christmas. There are many 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 Street and the little Christmas markets.
Is Christmas a superb time to go to London?
Christmas is a tremendous time to go to London. The festive occasions and lovely Christmas aesthetic make it among the best locations to remain at the moment of yr. Yes, it will get busy. But that’s the entire level of Christmas; it creates a festive and sociable ambiance. We’d say that Christmas is an ideal time to expertise London – simply be organized and e book all the things prematurely to counteract the crowds.
What ought to I do for Christmas in London?
You ought to go to a few of the Christmas markets in London and take a bus tour across the metropolis’s Christmas lights. London’s most important sights are all stunning at the moment of yr, with large Christmas timber and decorations, particularly Hampton Court and Kensington Gardens. There are additionally issues like ice skating and the much-adored Winter Wonderland spectacle in Hyde Park.
What is on in London for Christmas 2023?
There are hundreds on at Christmas in London in 2023. Check out the annual occasions like Neverland and Winter Wonderland. But additionally take a look at upcoming West End performances, Christmas movies, and carol-singing occasions. There’s no higher place to rejoice the festive season than in London, and 2023 is about to be no totally different.
There’s no higher place than London to unfold that Yuletide pleasure. There are so many pop-up occasions and actions between the ice rinks and Christmas markets. Ideally, you’d have at the least 3 days to rejoice Christmas in London. This is lengthy sufficient to enterprise out on a day journey to Hampton Court or Richmond Park and spend 2 days having fun with markets, concert events, Christmas lights, and museums.
Are you searching for extra London inspiration? Check these articles out on the finest issues to do year-round, day journeys, and finest London landmarks. It is price noting that London is simply one of many finest locations to go to within the UK. Some northern cities like York and Manchester are additionally beautiful at Christmas, so make good use of the trains and keep longer.