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 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 presently of 12 months with a lot consuming, consuming, enjoyable, and buying.
Festive Issues To Do in London at Christmas
On this information, we’ll let you know the whole lot you might want to find out about the very best sights and actions to tick off when visiting London at Christmas. From Christmas lights to boozy scorching chocolate and searching for handmade presents, these are the very best 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, hundreds 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. Attempt 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’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 be an important spot for scrumptious mulled wine. Wander by means of the Christmas markets and see should you 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 the whole lot from Christmas bushes 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.
You could ebook tickets upfront, which prices round $60 per individual. And it is perhaps greatest to ebook a guided tour that features transport, as a result of the studio is positioned north of town heart, and is troublesome to succeed in with no automotive.
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. Severely, this place is gigantic. 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 enormous 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 ebook upfront (instantly on the official web site to keep away from scams), because it sells out rapidly.
5. Go Ice Skating
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 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 a lot 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 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 take a look at one of many Christmas concert events. Carol singing and Christmas songs are the very best methods to get in a festive temper. A lot of London’s occasions are hosted in stunning venues, just like the Royal Albert Corridor, which hosts conventional concert events and Christmas carol performances. St. Paul’s Cathedral is one other great place for Christmas carols in festive, atmospheric performances. Our advice? Plan to attend at the very least 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 the whole lot 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 additional festive inspiration all through December and into January. Leicester Sq. is action-packed and dramatic, and the general public house pulls out all of the stops in the course of the festive season. In order for you free issues to do in London this Christmas, visiting Leicester Sq. ought to be one among 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 by means of 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. On the subject of Westminster Abbey, you’ve simply acquired 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 lined 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 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 motive to cease by. The sq. has reworked right into a festive masterpiece and presently 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 alternate for Britain’s help in World Struggle II. Due to the Norwegian hyperlink, it’s also sometimes embellished in Norwegian type 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 Struggle II – making visiting one of the crucial fashionable issues to do in London at Christmas. Moreover, what’s a London Christmas with no 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 displays. 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 sensible place to go to all 12 months spherical. Nonetheless, there’s one thing about artwork galleries at Christmas that’s simply additional particular. Escape from the chilly and moist, and revel 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 exterior. You possibly can spend a couple of 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 additional particular options, together with a festive mild path that wows guests with elaborate mild installations. You stroll by means of the gardens admiring artwork options like a water fountain exploding with illuminated colours or golden mild tunnels. Kew Gardens is an exquisite place to have fun Christmas, and strolling by means of such inventive shows at night time is implausible. There are even distributors promoting scorching chocolate and piping scorching festive meals alongside the best way.
You could ebook 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 12 months spherical, however nothing feels extra festive than getting dressed up for a West Finish manufacturing in December. The comfortable and indulgent vibe is unequalled. And you may bask in a champagne and settle right into a heat seat when you loosen up with a night of leisure. West Finish productions run on loops, with common exhibits like The Lion King.
Nevertheless, you too can 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 very best concept on your itinerary. Take a look at 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 virtually every day. Make the most of this traditional vacationer attraction and peek at among 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 Court docket
Hampton Court docket 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 Court docket Palace at Christmas is gorgeous. There are even carriage rides with shire horses across the palace grounds. And should you catch it on a snow day, simply thank your fortunate stars. The purple brick constructing appears to be like attractive 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 very best in London if you’re an grownup however an enormous child deep down. Neverland London is the place to embrace your internal Peter Pan, with a synthetic seaside membership by means of summer season and a winter wonderland by means of the festive season. At Christmas, Neverland transforms into an alpine village with igloos, lodges, and even a ski raise which you could dine and drink in.
Neverland is a lot enjoyable, particularly if you wish to take pleasure in cocktails in type. 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 will likely be suitably decked out.
There’s the whole lot 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 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. 1000’s of contestants wearing Santa costumes dash their method by means of 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 those who favor to look at can benefit from the spectacle of hundreds of Santas working round London.
Collaborating in or watching the Santa Run London is among the most original 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 get entangled.
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.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 doable contestants. The primary race was held in 1864 when the creator of Peter Pan awarded the successful trophy to the triumphant contestant. That is what offers the race its title.
You possibly can compete or, should 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 fallacious, these run all 12 months spherical. However you’ll be able to ebook distinctive dinner cruise experiences particularly devoted to celebrating Christmas. These cruises have festive music blaring, social gathering 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 important 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 retailers like Burberry, and in December, you’ll be able to admire all of the decorations in Christmas home windows. Regent Avenue can be the place you’ll discover among the most dramatic Christmas lights within the metropolis. As a busy, protected space of London, it’s very best for solo vacationers to discover and embrace a festive night within the metropolis.
Strolling down Regent Avenue is aesthetic and very best for last-minute buying. It’s a protected and straightforward exercise to squeeze into even the busiest London itineraries. Most retailers shut at 8 or 9 pm, so we recommend heading there round 5-7 pm.22. Pure Historical past 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 relating to 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’re 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 reward 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 energetic time of the 12 months to buy groceries. Armed with a protracted record of current concepts, it’s no surprise that folks wish to splurge a lot when buying in London, which has among the greatest retailers 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 may head all the way down to window store or seize last-minute presents below the celebs.
Oxford Avenue has additional 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 an exquisite place to have fun Christmas with a lot of enjoyable. There may be – after all – a festive market. Nevertheless, there are additionally choir performances and theatrical productions like The Nutcracker and Christmas Really. There are dance courses, a free Winter Gentle artwork exhibition, and free concert events. Southbank Centre actually places the tradition into celebrating Christmas. So, should you love something art-related, simply test it out. It is filled with unbelievable actions, and you may get actually caught in.
Most occasions at Southbank are free, and there’s no must ebook. However you’ll be able to 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’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 whole part to them. These markets sometimes run for December, however you get the odd early birds working from November and stragglers persevering with into January. The most effective markets in London are:
Spitalfields Leadenhall Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland Portobello 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 crucial well-known varieties 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.
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 stunning lights and supplying you with the very best seat in the home – watching the lights go from a rooftop perch. The Christmas lights are so shut you’ll be able to virtually contact them, and also you’ll get to see the whole lot with out the chaos of crowds on the road degree beneath. If you’ll do only one factor in London this Christmas, this may 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 have got hundreds 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, take a look at these frequent FAQs.
Is London a very good place to spend Christmas?
London is an unbelievable place to spend Christmas. There are numerous 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 a very good 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 presently of 12 months. 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 ebook the whole lot upfront to counteract the crowds.
What ought to I do for Christmas in London?
You must go to among the Christmas markets in London and take a bus tour across the metropolis’s Christmas lights. London’s fundamental sights are all stunning presently of 12 months, with large 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. Take a look at the annual occasions like Neverland and Winter Wonderland. But in addition take a look at 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 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 at the very least 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.
Are you in search of extra London inspiration? Examine 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.