The cold December weather doesn't stop Londoners from having fun. This is one of the most exciting times of year to visit the capital, with a host of winter activities to suit all ages.
London's shopping streets are decorated with sparkling Christmas lights, and the stores are full of gift hunters finishing off their Christmas shopping. Christmas markets also make a welcome appearance this month, offering charming crafts and excellent food, not to mention a festive atmosphere and plenty of warming mulled wine.
The seasonal nostalgia continues in Trafalgar Square, where the capital’s biggest Christmas tree glistens, donated each year as a gift from the city of Oslo. Carol services are held around the tree throughout the month.
Christmas and New Year are the perfect excuse for a party and London is certainly not lacking in places to let your hair down. From vast nightclubs with the hottest DJs to sophisticated cocktail bars, the city's party venues are many and varied. You'll find delicious celebratory menus in most London restaurants too.
Little ones will be in awe of Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, a feast of festive fun with ice skating, a Ferris wheel, stalls brimming with toys and sweets and, of course, Santa's grotto.
For a bit more festive fun, check out the annual Great Christmas Pudding Race in Covent Garden where you can cheer appropriately dressed teams attempting to make round an obstacle course without dropping their puddings.
Even on Christmas Day, London offers a must-see event: the Peter Pan Cup. Not just any normal swimming race, it sees hardy members of the Serpentine Swimming Club compete in the icy waters of the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park.
London’s famous fireworks display at the London Eye happens every year. This year's event is ticketed. Tickets are available from london.gov.uk/nye. If you miss out on a ticket, you can still watch the fireworks broadcast live on BBC One, or enjoy the many other activities happening in the capital on New Year’s Eve.
WEATHER: For average seasonal temperatures and rainfall, see our London Weather page.
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