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101 Things to Do in London this Christmas

From glittering Christmas lights and ice skating to traditional markets and Christmas shows, London is a Christmas wonderland.

The Luminaries at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Make the most of the capital's jolly festivities and add some sparkle to your trip with our magical guide to 101 of the best things to do in London at Christmas. You'll soon discover there are many festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London.

Listed below are some of the top Christmas activities from 2016, check back nearer the time for confirmed events and activities for Christmas 2017 in London.

Make Christmas memories

1. Soak up the festive atmosphere at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.
2. See the Warner Bros. Studio decked out for Christmas with Hogwarts in the Snow.
3. Celebrate Christmas in Victorian style at Kensington Palace.
4. Watch classic Christmas films in a winter wonderland at the Cinema in the Snow.
5. Wander along an illuminated trail through beautiful botanical gardens during Christmas at Kew.
6. Cheer on the festively-dressed teams at London's annual Great Christmas Pudding Race.
7. Take a romantic stroll through the colourful Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park.

Go ice skating

8. Get your skates on at Somerset House's glorious 18th-century courtyard ice rink.
9. Enjoy magnificent views of Henry VIII's residence at the Hampton Court Palace ice rink.
10. Skate in the shadow of the spectacular Tower of London.
11. Glide around the Christmas tree at the Natural History Museum’s magical ice rink.
12. Slice the ice next to the famous Wembley Stadium at Wembley Park.
13. Wrap up warm and go for a spin on the Broadgate Ice Rink.
14. Twirl on the ice as colourful lights dance beneath your skates at Canary Wharf.

 Natural History Musuem ice rink.

Sing Christmas carols

15. Sing along to carols around Trafalgar Square’s world-famous Christmas tree.
16. Support your favourite furry friends at the Battersea Cats and Dogs Home Carol Concert.
17. Be part of traditional Christmas carols at the historic St Paul’s Cathedral.
18. Join in with carols by candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall.
19. Enjoy carols and concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church.
20. Listen to The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir at the Cutty Sark Christmas Concert.

Meet Father Christmas

21. Experience an enchanting visit to Santa's grotto at ZSL London Zoo
22. Meet Father Christmas in his magical grotto and take a sleigh ride with adorable huskies at WWT London Wetland Centre.
23. Hop aboard a merry cruise on the river Thames with Father Christmas.
24. Say hello to the jolly man in red at his Greenwich Market home this Christmas.
25. Embark on a festive adventure to Santa Claus’ grotto at the Royal Albert Hall.
26. Travel back in time to Victorian London to meet Father Christmas at the Museum of London.

Santa's Grotto at WWT London Wetland Centre.

Create Christmas crafts

27. Design Christmas crackers and other dazzling decorations at the Wallace Collection.
28. Create seasonal crafts and discover the magic of an 18th-century Christmas during the Children's Christmas Party at Benjamin Franklin House.
29. Make your own festive ship-themed decorations at Cutty Sark.

Be dazzled by London Christmas lights

30. See the beautiful Oxford Street Christmas lights shimmer in the skies above the world-famous shopping district.
31. Check out one of the quirkiest London Christmas lights displays, glowing across the 13 streets of cool Carnaby.
32. Admire the gorgeous Covent Garden illuminations, and explore the magical forest of Christmas lights in nearby Seven Dials.
33. See the luxurious area of Bond Street sparkle with magnificent peacock-inspired Christmas lights.
34. Marvel at more than 300,000 Christmas lights and 16 glowing spirits glittering above Regent Street.
35. Head over to Chelsea to see Duke of York Square gloriously dressed in festive lights.
36. Stroll along the South Bank with a bag of roasted chestnuts and be dazzled by the Christmas lights twinkling next to the Thames.
37. Look out for London’s magnificent Christmas trees, including the world-famous tree in Trafalgar Square and spectacular spruce at London’s legendary Mayfair hotel Claridges.

Carnaby Christmas Lights 2016

See a Christmas show

38. Be wowed by La Soiree’s daring cabaret acts in Leicester Square.
39. Catch the fantastic musical Million Dollar Quartet, boasting a soundtrack from legends Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
40. Enjoy an evening of sensational ballet with The Red Shoes at Sadler's Wells.
41. Watch an enchanting candlelit performance of The Little Matchgirl (and Other Happier Tales).
42. Immerse yourself in the magical world of The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House.

Enjoy some festive family fun

43. Discover the classic story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other children’s tales.
44. See all of your favourite Disney characters during Disney on Ice presents Frozen at The O2.
45. Catch an action-packed performance of The Nutcracker on Ice at Winter Wonderland.
46. Chuckle along to Potted Panto at the Garrick Theatre.
47. Enjoy the magical tale of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre.
48. Shout "oh no it isn't!" during pantomime Cinderella.
49. Enjoy a family trip to LEGOLAND Windsor, where you can meet Father Christmas and spot festive-themed LEGO creations.
50. Be dazzled by the moon, planets and galaxies during the cosmic Christmas planetarium show at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Learn about Christmas traditions

51. See how Christmas has been celebrated in English middle-class homes over the past 400 years at the Geffrye Museum.
52. Enjoy an exciting programme of seasonal events at the Charles Dicken’s Museum.
53. Learn how Christmas was celebrated on the Home Front at the Imperial War Museum.

Head to a Christmas concert

54. Join the Christmas Party with The Overtones at Indigo2.
55. Croon Christmassy songs such as White Christmas and Jingle Bells at the BT Christmas Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
56. Book a ticket to one of the masterful classical concerts throughout the Raymond Gubbay’s Christmas Festival at Barbican.
57. Find everything from traditional carols to Christmas hits at the Royal Albert Hall’s annual Christmas Festival.
58. Spark that festive feeling with a Christmas concert or carol service in one of London's many churches.

Go Christmas shopping

59. Look out for gourmet Christmas treats and hampers at Fortnum & Mason.
60. Pick up unusual presents at The Garage Sale pop-up shop.
61. Visit the West End's famous shopping hubs of Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street.
62. Head to Covent Garden and nearby Seven Dials for a diverse mix of designer labels, vintage stores and high-street brands.
63. Check out Carnaby Street’s independent shops and cool fashion boutiques.
64. Be dazzled by baubles in one of London’s famous department stores’ dedicated Christmas shops, including Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty.
65. Treat kids to a visit to one of London's top 10 toyshops.
66. Browse beautiful books in one of London’s gorgeous bookshops, from the five-floor Foyles to glorious Edwardian bookshop Daunt Books.
67. Find arty gifts like wooden advent calendars and cool crackers at an art gallery shop, such as the National Gallery or Tate Modern.
68. Discover quirky toys at one of London’s museum shops, from the Science Museum to the Natural History Museum.
69. Get all your Christmas shopping done in one day with our shopping itinerary.
70. Finish off your Christmas shopping at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.
71. Find bargains galore in the January sales that begin on Boxing Day.

Explore festive London markets

72. Sip on mulled wine and look for gifts at the Winter Festival at Southbank Centre.
73. Find unusual crafts and tuck into seasonal treats with Christmas by the River at London Bridge City.
74. Pick up Christmas presents from more than 100 stalls at the festive Greenwich Market.
75. Browse the wooden cabins at the riverside Tate Modern Christmas Market for stocking fillers and original gifts.
76. Enjoy the BBC Good Food Festive Fayre at Hampton Court Palace, where you'll find winter kitchen masterclasses and more than 50 artisan food and drink stalls.
77. Find gifts and festive treats at more than 100 stalls at the Christmas Fair at Chelsea Physic Garden.
78. Wrap up warm to browse the market stalls at Christmas in Leicester Square.
79. Amble around the glitzy Kingston Christmas Market, overflowing with foodie treats, lovely decorations and handmade crafts.

Find Yuletide inspiration

80. Be inspired at the Spirit of Christmas Fair at Olympia, offering a programme of festive workshops and gift-wrapping demonstrations.
81. Add some festive sparkle to your home at the Ideal Home Show at Christmas.

Eat, drink and be merry

82. Enjoy a festive cocktail at one of London's best drinking spots.
83. Splash out at one of London's Michelin-starred restaurants.
84. Treat yourself to a jolly Christmas-themed afternoon tea.
85. Pick up luxurious Christmas puddings and mince pies from the famous food halls at Harrods.
86. Warm yourself with an indulgent hot chocolate at Choccywoccydoodah.
87. Sample the capital’s best food and drink at Taste of London Winter.
88. Snuggle up in front of a crackling fire in a cosy pub.
89. Check out one of London's pop-up winter rooftop bars.
90. Buy and try chocolate treats, or just marvel at Prestat's window display.
91. Find seasonal produce like gingerbread and hot mulled English cider at Borough Market
92. Make a Christmas toast at one of London's champagne bars.
93. Keep your eyes peeled for stalls selling roasted chestnuts on busy shopping streets.

Celebrate on Christmas Day

94. Watch swimmers brave the icy waters of Hyde Park’s Serpentine to compete in the Peter Pan Cup.
95. Prepare to be wowed by the amazing exhibits at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not – one of very few major attractions open on Christmas Day.  
96. Walk off those festive treats with an amble around London’s beautiful parks.
97. Tuck into a delicious Christmas dinner on the Thames.
98. Spend the afternoon in the vibrant area of Chinatown.  
99. Hop aboard an open-top bus tour to see London’s Christmas lights sparkle at night.
100. Attend a Christmas day church service at St Paul’s Cathedral.

What next? 

101. Start planning your New Year's Eve in London celebrations!

For more seasonal suggestions, check out our guide to Christmas in London including festive events and seasonal things to do in London at Christmas.