Visiting London at Christmas is among the most extraordinary experiences you’ll be able to have. Town transforms right into a magical ambiance of fairy lights, festive spirit, and pop-up bars with boozy sizzling 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 presently of yr with a lot consuming, consuming, enjoyable, and buying.
Festive Issues To Do in London at Christmas
On this information, we’ll let you know all the things you must learn about the perfect sights and actions to tick off when visiting London at Christmas. From Christmas lights to boozy sizzling chocolate and purchasing for handmade presents, these are the perfect issues to do in London this December.
1. Covent Backyard
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 heart 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 received’t miss it.
Covent Backyard is among the greatest locations for undercover Christmas buying and a dependable white Christmas.
2. Strive Mulled Wine
One other factor you’ll be able to’t have a London Christmas with out is mulled wine. Fortunately, there’s no scarcity of this tasty festive drink within the metropolis. You will discover scrumptious mulled wine throughout London. The drink is simply piping sizzling crimson wine with spices like cinnamon. You will discover 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 a fantastic spot for scrumptious mulled wine. Wander via the Christmas markets and see for those who can spot some to takeaway, or head for a comfy seat inside one of many London pubs.
3. Hogwarts within the Snow
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 method for followers to have fun Christmas within the wizarding world and runs generously between mid-November and mid-January. There’s all the things from Christmas timber within the Nice Corridor and Xmas Ball dance classes. After all, you’ll see pretend snow in every single place – a particular plus with London’s hit-and-miss white Christmases.
It’s essential to guide tickets upfront, which prices round $60 per particular person. And it is likely to be greatest to guide a guided tour that features transport, as a result of the studio is positioned north of the town heart, and is troublesome to succeed in and not using a 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. 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 big tents promoting Christmas cocktails and German beer, a fairground, meals stalls, and rustic pop-up stalls promoting handmade presents 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’ll be able to see why.
For a little bit of festive cheer, you’ll be able to’t go fallacious. Keep in mind to guide upfront (instantly on the official web site to keep away from scams), because it sells out shortly.
5. Go Ice Skating
Talking of festive cheer, what about going ice skating as a standalone exercise? Ice rinks are simply one of the vital 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. 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 plenty of ice rinks, we actually imply it. Choose 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 record of all the rinks in London this season.
6. Watch a Christmas Live performance
You possibly can’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 a minimum of one live performance when celebrating Christmas in London. The beautiful venues and conventional expertise of carol singing make it the best addition to your festive itinerary.
7. Leicester Sq.
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 all the things 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 in the course of the festive season. If you would like free issues to do in London this Christmas, visiting Leicester Sq. ought to be considered one of your prime selections.
8. Westminster Abbey
Everybody is aware of Westminster Abbey – the house of British politics and faith, for higher or worse. You possibly can take guided excursions via the Abbey all year long, admiring its grand structure. Nevertheless, what’s actually thrilling is Westminster Abbey at Christmas.
You possibly can 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. In terms of Westminster Abbey, you’ve simply bought 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 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 positively add London Bridge and its surrounding neighborhood to your record 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 possibly can stroll throughout and admire the festive lights alongside the banks of the River Thames. Or you’ll be able to head to the close by London Bridge Rooftop and Christmas market.
10. Trafalgar Sq.
Trafalgar Sq. is among the most well-known landmarks in London and attracts thousands and thousands 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 present boasts a 70-foot tree transported from Norway. It’s 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 Warfare II. Due to the Norwegian hyperlink, it’s also usually embellished in Norwegian fashion with vertical Christmas lights.
You possibly can head to Trafalgar Sq., admire the tree, hearken 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 vital in style issues to do in London at Christmas. Apart from, what’s a London Christmas and not using a tree or two?
11. Somerset Home
Somerset Home is a number one attraction in London, and the neoclassical constructing in central London homes loads of creative and cultural reveals. Essentially 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 good place to go to all yr spherical. Nonetheless, there’s one thing about artwork galleries at Christmas that’s simply further particular. Escape from the chilly and moist, and revel in a few of the Most worthy artwork in England.
What actually makes Somerset Home so festive, although, is its huge ice skating rink outdoors. You possibly can spend just a few hours admiring the artwork, then head out to ice skate and let your hair down.
Guided Tour: Courtauld Gallery Entrance at Somerset Home
12. Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is a spot of utmost 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 via the gardens admiring artwork options like a water fountain exploding with illuminated colours or golden mild tunnels. Kew Gardens is a fantastic place to have fun Christmas, and strolling via such inventive shows at night time is unbelievable. There are even distributors promoting sizzling chocolate and piping sizzling festive meals alongside the best way.
It’s essential to guide upfront for Kew Gardens as it’s – understandably – very talked-about. Nevertheless, it runs from November till January, so you’ll be able to squeeze in there in some unspecified time in the future.
13. Watch a Musical or West Finish Present
West Finish performs run all yr 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 exhibits like The Lion King.
Nevertheless, you can even catch festive movie variations in different theaters throughout London, discovering play variations of classics like Charles Dickens. If you would like a play different to a Christmas movie, that is the perfect thought in your itinerary. Try theater performances that coincide with the dates you go to London.
14. Kensington Palace
If you’re visiting London at Christmas, it’s important to cease by a royal residence or two. Kensington Palace is house to Will and Kate and their kids, however a part of the palace is open to the general public nearly day by day. Reap the benefits 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 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 sights.
Guided Tour: Kensington Palace Entrance
15. Hampton Courtroom
Hampton Courtroom Palace is all the time a good suggestion to go to in London. The palace was really house to Henry the eighth – a particularly infamous determine in UK historical past. Nevertheless, it comes much more to life every Christmas, with a large ice skating rink, beautiful decorations, and a Christmas market with over 100 artisan producers. Hampton Courtroom Palace at Christmas is gorgeous. There are even carriage rides with shire horses across the palace grounds. And for those who catch it on a snow day, simply thank your fortunate stars. The crimson brick constructing appears attractive within the snow.
You should buy tickets to Hampton Courtroom 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 Courtroom Palace Entrance
16. Neverland’s Winterland
This bar is the perfect in London if you’re an grownup however a giant child deep down. Neverland London is the place to embrace your interior Peter Pan, with a synthetic seashore membership via summer season and a winter wonderland via the festive season. At Christmas, Neverland transforms into an alpine village with igloos, lodges, and even a ski carry that you could dine and drink in.
Neverland is a lot enjoyable, particularly if you wish to get pleasure from 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 stylish Shoreditch – who doesn’t love this cool London neighborhood – and runs a special Christmas theme annually. In 2023, that is gothic Venice, and its winter rooftop beer and cocktail backyard can be suitably decked out.
There’s all the things from gondola seating to Italian chandeliers. If you would like 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 beautiful rooftop space.
18. Watch or Take part within the Santa Run London
The Santa Run London is among the most hilarious stuff you’ll see. Hundreds of contestants wearing Santa costumes dash their method via the town heart on 5k or 10k routes. The entire occasion is designed to boost cash for charity, and the match amongst you’ll be able to participate, whereas people who want to observe can benefit from the spectacle of 1000’s of Santas working 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 received’t see it on the usual vacationer record, however that’s half the attract. Embrace the British humorousness and become involved.
There are a handful of Santa working occasions in December, however the primary one is round Victoria Park.
19. Hyde Park’s Serpentine
If you’re courageous, you’ll be able to take part within the Peter Pan Cup – a.ok .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 doable contestants. The primary race was held in 1864 when the creator of Peter Pan awarded the profitable trophy to the triumphant contestant. That is what provides the race its identify.
You possibly can compete or, for those who 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 fallacious, these run all yr spherical. However you’ll be able to guide distinctive dinner cruise experiences particularly devoted to celebrating Christmas. These cruises have festive music blaring, get together 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 fun of sightseeing, with the London landmarks passing by your window.
You can provide it a Google or simply test the hyperlink under to see a fantastic instance of Christmas dinner cruises in London.
Guided Tour: Christmas Social gathering Dinner Cruise
21. Stroll Down Regent Avenue
Strolling down Regent Avenue is among the greatest issues to do in London at Christmas. The road is famed for high-end outlets like Burberry, and in December, you’ll be able to admire all of the decorations in Christmas home windows. Regent Avenue 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 excellent for solo vacationers to discover and embrace a festive night within the metropolis.
Strolling down Regent Avenue is aesthetic and excellent for last-minute buying. It’s a secure and straightforward exercise to squeeze into even the busiest London itineraries. Most outlets shut at 8 or 9 pm, so we propose heading there round 5-7 pm.22. Pure Historical past Museum
The Pure Historical past Museum is known. 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 Pure Historical past Museum has Christmas and winter-themed workshops and pop-up actions. Simply test its web site to see what’s on when you’re in London.
There’s additionally a Christmas on the Museum occasion on the twenty second of December and Storytelling with Santa periods from the eleventh to the twenty third of December in 2023. The Santa expertise features a present and a non-public picture alternative. If you’re touring with younger kids, that is an absolute should.
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 yr to buy groceries. Armed with an extended record of current concepts, it’s no marvel that individuals wish to splurge a lot when buying in London, which has a few of the greatest outlets in Europe. At Christmas, Oxford Avenue is among the greatest locations to move. 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 underneath the celebrities.
Oxford Avenue has further sights, like a life-sized snow globe you’ll be able to go inside, Santa’s Grotto inside John Lewis, and an immersive artwork expertise showcasing the northern lights.
24. Southbank Centre Winter Competition
Southbank Centre Winter Competition is a fantastic place to have fun Christmas with plenty of enjoyable. There may be – in fact – a festive market. Nevertheless, there are additionally choir performances and theatrical productions like The Nutcracker and Christmas Truly. There are dance courses, a free Winter Gentle artwork exhibition, and free concert events. Southbank Centre actually places the tradition into celebrating Christmas. So, for those who 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 guide. However you’ll be able to try the entry necessities for particular occasions and an occasion calendar with a fast Google.
25. Head to London Christmas Markets
Now we have already touched on Christmas markets whereas discussing the opposite greatest issues to do in London at Christmas. Nevertheless, markets are such a giant a part of the vacation season that we simply had to dedicate a whole part to them. These markets usually run for December, however you get the odd early birds working from November and stragglers persevering with into January. One of the best markets in London are:
- Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland
- Fleet Avenue
- Covent Backyard
- Leicester Sq..
You possibly can seize drinks and meals from festive takeaway stalls. Or you’ll be able to store for artisan and handmade presents or decorations like hand-painted baubles.
26. London Christmas Lights Bus Tour
When visiting London, it’s important to admire the Christmas lights. Dazzling lights and shows dangling throughout the streets are one of the vital well-known forms of Christmas decorations and one thing for the entire household to get pleasure from. London actually goes to city on Christmas lights. Town virtually lights up with twinkling, extravagant, festive-themed lighting decorations.
One of the simplest ways to see as lots of London’s Christmas lights as doable is with an open-top bus tour. These buses take you thru the middle of London, passing probably the most lovely lights and providing you with the perfect seat in the home – watching the lights cross from a rooftop perch. The Christmas lights are so shut you’ll be able to nearly contact them, and also you’ll get to see all the things with out the chaos of crowds on the road stage under. If you’re going to do only one factor in London this Christmas, this is able to be our prime advice.
Guided Tour: Open Prime Bus Tour
FAQs: Festive Issues to Do in London
Spending the Christmas holidays in London means you could have 1000’s of festive issues to do. There are Christmas markets, ice rinks, concert events, and thousands and thousands of buying experiences you’ll be able to match into an itinerary. However earlier than you rush off and revel in that, although, try these frequent FAQs.
Is London an excellent 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 final word festive aesthetic, and nothing beats wandering its Christmas home windows on Regent Avenue and the little Christmas markets.
Is Christmas an excellent time to go to London?
Christmas is an incredible time to go to London. The festive occasions and beautiful Christmas aesthetic make it probably the greatest locations to remain presently of yr. Sure, it will get busy. However 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 guide all the things upfront to counteract the crowds.
What ought to I do for Christmas in London?
You need to go to a few of the Christmas markets in London and take a bus tour across the metropolis’s Christmas lights. London’s foremost sights are all lovely presently of yr, with big Christmas timber and decorations, particularly Hampton Courtroom 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 hundreds on at Christmas in London in 2023. Try the annual occasions like Neverland and Winter Wonderland. But in addition 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 ready to be no totally different.
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 a minimum of 3 days to have fun Christmas in London. That is lengthy sufficient to enterprise out on a day journey to Hampton Courtroom or Richmond Park and spend 2 days having fun with markets, concert events, Christmas lights, and museums.
Are you in search of extra London inspiration? Test these articles out on the greatest issues to do year-round, day journeys, and greatest London landmarks. It’s value 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 beautiful at Christmas, so make good use of the trains and keep longer.