Visiting London at Christmas is without doubt one of 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 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 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 right now of 12 months with a lot consuming, ingesting, enjoyable, and purchasing.
Festive Issues To Do in London at Christmas
On this information, we’ll inform you the whole lot it’s essential to find out about one of the best sights and actions to tick off when visiting London at Christmas. From Christmas lights to boozy sizzling chocolate and searching for handmade items, these are one of the best issues to do in London this December.
1. Covent Backyard
There’s no higher place to have a good time a London Christmas than Covent Backyard. Covent Backyard is without doubt one of the most famed locations within the metropolis. It’s an ornate purchasing 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 faux snow flurries between 12 pm and 9 pm every day. The faux snow is on the hour in West Piazza – you gained’t miss it.
Covent Backyard is without doubt one of the finest locations for undercover Christmas purchasing 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 purple wine with spices like cinnamon. You will 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 ideal spot for scrumptious mulled wine. Wander via 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
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 a good time Christmas within the wizarding world and runs generously between mid-November and mid-January. There’s the whole lot from Christmas timber within the Nice Corridor and Xmas Ball dance classes. In fact, you’ll see faux snow in every single place – a particular plus with London’s hit-and-miss white Christmases.
You have to guide tickets prematurely, which prices round $60 per individual. And it is likely to be finest to guide a guided tour that features transport, as a result of the studio is situated north of town heart, and is tough 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. Significantly, this place is gigantic. If you wish to embrace the Christmas spirit in central London, this is without doubt 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 large 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 incorrect. Keep in mind to guide prematurely (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 some 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. However there’s additionally the Canary Wharf Ice Rink, JW3 Ice Rink, and even one on the foot of Battersea Energy Station. Once we say London has a lot of ice rinks, we actually imply it. Choose one (or two) and get your skates prepared.
Having fun with the rinks is without doubt one of the finest issues to do in London this Christmas. Here’s a checklist of the entire rinks in London this season.
6. Watch a Christmas Live performance
You may’t be in London at Christmas and never try one of many Christmas concert events. Carol singing and Christmas songs are one of the best methods to get in a festive temper. Lots 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 spot for Christmas carols in festive, atmospheric performances. Our suggestion? 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 the whole lot from meals to mulled wine and providing free entrance. Nonetheless, we’ll cowl Christmas markets in additional element later.
What we actually love about Leicester Sq. are its road 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 need free issues to do in London this Christmas, visiting Leicester Sq. ought to be considered one of your high decisions.
8. Westminster Abbey
Everybody is aware of Westminster Abbey – the house of British politics and faith, for higher or worse. You may take guided excursions via the Abbey all year long, admiring its grand structure. Nonetheless, what’s actually thrilling is Westminster Abbey at Christmas.
You may attend quite a few free occasions at Westminster Abbey in December, together with the First Eucharist of Christmas Evening and even the Christmas Day Holy Communion. There’s even a Royal Carol Service, the place HRH hosts the festivities. In the case 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 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 checklist 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 may 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 without doubt one of the most well-known landmarks in London and attracts thousands and thousands of vacationers annually. At Christmas, although, there’s much more purpose 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 alternate for Britain’s help in World Conflict II. Due to the Norwegian hyperlink, it’s also sometimes adorned in Norwegian model with vertical Christmas lights.
You may head to Trafalgar Sq., admire the tree, take heed to the carol singers, and watch any road performers. The story behind Trafalgar Sq.’s Christmas tree is healthful and a poignant reminder of the tragedies of World Conflict II – making visiting some of the standard issues to do in London at Christmas. Apart from, 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 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 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 among the most precious artwork in England.
What actually makes Somerset Home so festive, although, is its huge ice skating rink outdoors. You may 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 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 gorgeous place to have a good time Christmas, and strolling via such inventive shows at evening is implausible. There are even distributors promoting sizzling chocolate and piping sizzling festive meals alongside the best way.
You have to guide prematurely for Kew Gardens as it’s – understandably – very talked-about. Nonetheless, 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’ll take pleasure in a champagne and settle right into a heat seat whilst you chill out with a night of leisure. West Finish productions run on loops, with common exhibits like The Lion King.
Nonetheless, you too can catch festive movie variations in different theaters throughout London, discovering play variations of classics like Charles Dickens. If you need a play different to a Christmas movie, that is one of the best concept in your itinerary. Take a look at theater performances that coincide with the dates you go to London.
14. Kensington Palace
In case you are visiting London at Christmas, you must 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 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 without doubt one of the finest 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 truly house to Henry the eighth – an especially infamous determine in UK historical past. Nonetheless, 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 in the event you catch it on a snow day, simply thank your fortunate stars. The purple brick constructing seems 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 one of the best in London if you’re an grownup however an enormous child deep down. Neverland London is the place to embrace your inside Peter Pan, with a synthetic seaside 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 may dine and drink in.
Neverland is a lot enjoyable, particularly if you wish to get pleasure from cocktails in model. 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 distinct Christmas theme annually. In 2023, that is gothic Venice, and its winter rooftop beer and cocktail backyard might be suitably decked out.
There’s the whole lot 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 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 without doubt one of the most hilarious stuff you’ll see. 1000’s of contestants wearing Santa costumes dash their method via town heart on 5k or 10k routes. The entire occasion is designed to lift cash for charity, and the match amongst you’ll be able to participate, whereas those who desire to observe can benefit from the spectacle of hundreds of Santas working round London.
Taking part in or watching the Santa Run London is without doubt one of the most original and humorous issues to do within the metropolis at Christmas. You gained’t see it on the usual vacationer checklist, 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 principle one is round Victoria Park.
19. Hyde Park’s Serpentine
In case you are 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 attainable 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 offers the race its identify.
You may 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
A Thames dinner cruise is one other London traditional. Don’t get us incorrect, these run all 12 months spherical. However you’ll be able to guide 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 strictly 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 verify the hyperlink beneath to see an ideal instance of Christmas dinner cruises in London.
Guided Tour: Christmas Occasion Dinner Cruise
21. Stroll Down Regent Avenue
Strolling down Regent Avenue is without doubt one of the finest 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 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 perfect for solo vacationers to discover and embrace a festive night within the metropolis.
Strolling down Regent Avenue is aesthetic and perfect for last-minute purchasing. 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
The Pure Historical past Museum is legendary. You’ve undoubtedly heard of it earlier than. It won’t 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 verify 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 personal picture alternative. In case you are 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 energetic time of the 12 months to buy groceries. Armed with an extended checklist of current concepts, it’s no surprise that folks prefer to splurge a lot when purchasing in London, which has among the finest retailers in Europe. At Christmas, Oxford Avenue is without doubt one of the finest locations to go. In 2023, it’s adorned with 300,000 floating stars strung over the road in scenic zigzags. And you’ll head right down to window store or seize last-minute presents beneath the celebs.
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 Pageant
Southbank Centre Winter Pageant is a gorgeous place to have a good time Christmas with a lot of enjoyable. There may be – in fact – a festive market. Nonetheless, there are additionally choir performances and theatrical productions like The Nutcracker and Christmas Truly. There are dance courses, a free Winter Mild 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 stuffed with unbelievable actions, and you will get actually caught in.
Most occasions at Southbank are free, and there’s no must 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
We now have already touched on Christmas markets whereas discussing the opposite finest issues to do in London at Christmas. Nonetheless, 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 perfect markets in London are:
- Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland
- Fleet Avenue
- Covent Backyard
- Leicester Sq..
You may 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, you must admire the Christmas lights. Dazzling lights and shows dangling throughout the streets are some of the 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.
The easiest way to see as lots 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 supplying you with one of the best seat in the home – watching the lights move 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 the whole lot with out the chaos of crowds on the road stage beneath. If you will do only one factor in London this Christmas, this could be our high suggestion.
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 purchasing experiences you’ll be able to match into an itinerary. However earlier than you rush off and luxuriate in that, although, try these frequent FAQs.
Is London a great 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 last word festive aesthetic, and nothing beats wandering its Christmas home windows on Regent Avenue and the little Christmas markets.
Is Christmas a great time to go to London?
Christmas is a tremendous time to go to London. The festive occasions and beautiful Christmas aesthetic make it probably the greatest locations to remain right now 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 guide the whole lot prematurely 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 principal sights are all stunning right now of 12 months, with large Christmas timber 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 additionally try upcoming West Finish performances, Christmas movies, and carol-singing occasions. There’s no higher place to have a good time 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 a minimum of 3 days to have a good time 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 on the lookout for extra London inspiration? Verify these articles out on the finest issues to do year-round, day journeys, and finest London landmarks. It’s 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.
Plan Your Subsequent Journey To London With These Assets