61 things to do in London in December 2022

See the capital transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland in December, and join in the New Year's Eve festivities.
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Tower Bridge illuminated in purple nights at light, with the snow falling and the bridge reflecting in the Thames below.
Tower Bridge in the snow. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

What's on in December in London?

December is the most magical month to visit London, with lots of festive things to do as Londoners celebrate Christmas and New Year.

Book ahead to enjoy Christmas pantomimes and shows, or join a Christmas tour of London and beyond.

London's shopping streets sparkle with Christmas lights in December, and shops are full of gift hunters finishing off their Christmas shopping.

A focal point of the holiday season in London is Trafalgar Square, which resounds with carol singing around the capital’s biggest Christmas tree, and lights up with a giant menorah for Chanukah.

Shop for handmade gifts and festive food at a charming Christmas market; go ice skating on one of the stunning outdoor ice rinks that pop up across the capital; enjoy carols and concerts accompanied by mulled wine and mince pies.

Unmissable events in December

Two children look up in a tunnel of fairy lights during Christmas at Kew at Kew Gardens in London.
Tunnel of light at Christmas at Kew. Image courtesy of Royal Botanical Gardens Kew.
  1. Don't miss the spectacular Christmas at Kew: Follow a glittering trail of lights, music and colours around the famous botanic gardens after dark. 16 Nov-8 Jan
  2. Go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter movies with Hogwarts in the Snow: See the iconic sets dressed for Christmas. 12 Nov-15 Jan
  3. Celebrate the festive season at Winter Wonderland: Experience Hyde Park transformed into an extravagant winter spectacle filled with fairground rides, ice skating, charming Christmas markets and fun family shows. 18 Nov- 2 Jan
  4. Magic awaits at the immersive Christmas at Kenwood: The historic palace is transformed into a festive spectacular with an illuminated walking trail and seasonal favourites such as mince pies and mulled wine. 2 Dec-1 Jan
  5. Head to the Palace of Light at Hampton Court Palace: Discover the enchanting lantern and light experience inspired by the Royal Beasts, a collection of heraldic statues commissioned for Henry VIII. 7-26 Dec
  6. Enjoy the spectacular Winter Lights Festival in Canary Wharf: See over 20 stunning light installations with illuminated art and interactive displays. Until 28 Jan
  7. Singalong at Yule Rock at Conway Hall: Enjoy an evening of festive classics, from Elton John to Wizzard. 
  8. Catch The Great Christmas Pudding Race in Covent Garden: Watch as teams race around a festive obstacle course whilst trying to balance their Christmas Pudding on a tray. 10 Dec
  9. Don your best Father Christmas outfit for the London Santa Run: Join this fun run where thousands of 'Santas' make their way through Victoria Park. 4 Dec
  10. Head to Hyde Park's Serpentine for the Peter Pan Cup: A Christmas Day tradition since 1864, watch as swimmers race in the freezing lake. 25 Dec
  11. Make the most of London's outdoor ice rinksGo ice skating on one of the stunning ice rinks that pop up across the capital.

Check back closer to the time for more amazing events in December. 

Magical ways to spend Christmas in London

A red telephone box in front of an illuminated Christmas tree at Christmas time in London
Christmas in London © Shutterstock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day (25 and 26 December) are both bank holidays (public holidays) in London, with reduced opening times and transport service. But there are still plenty of things to do during this festive period:

  1. Book a Christmas tour: Explore the city during the festive season or enjoy a day trip to historic sites such as Stonehenge, Canterbury or Bath.
  2. See the sights on a Christmas Day hop-on hop-off bus tour: Enjoy a scenic ride as you explore London without the crowds.
  3. Be dazzled by the Christmas Lights London by Night bus tour: See iconic London landmarks sparkle on a special guided tour.
  4. Set sail on a Christmas Day Lunch Cruise and Guided City TourSip on bubbly, sing carols and tuck into on traditional Christmas lunch as you cruise along the Thames.
  5. Attend a magical Christmas carol concert: Hear classic songs by the world-renowned Choir of Kings College or have fun at a Christmas Carol Singalong at the Royal Festival Hall.
  6. Visit the city's top attractions at Christmas: Send a letter to Santa in ZSL London Zoo's Polar Post Room or celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas brought to life at the Tower of London
  7. Treat yourself to a luxury experience: Raise a glass of Champagne as you enjoy a luxury spa day or a unique experience in London.
  8. Celebrate at a top London restaurantBook in advance to get a seat at your favourite restaurant for a festive feast.
  9. Shop for great deals during the winter sales: Find top discounts on fashion, electronics and more.
  10. Find exciting things to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in London: Book tours, go ice skating and find fun events.

December shows in London

A group of three adults and three children are looking at each other as they sing around a green and sparkling christmas tree at the dolly parton christmas carol musical.
Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol. Image courtesy of Raw Pr.
  1. Be mesmerised by Frozen at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane: Join sisters Elsa and Anna on a magical adventure in the Kingdom of Arendelle.
  2. Head back to Hogwarts at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre: Watch as Harry Potter and his son Albus embark on a brand-new adventure.  
  3. See the much-loved tale of Jack and the Beanstalk at the London Palladium: A star-studded pantomime not to be missed this Christmas.
  4. Experience the enchanting Handel's Messiah at Christmas by CandlelightSee a selection of the artist's work performed by the spectacular Piccadilly Sinfonietta. 22 Dec
  5. Celebrate the festive season at Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol at the Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall: Enjoy a country takeover of the Christmas classic. Until 8 Jan
  6. See much-loved fantasy novel The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the Gillian Lynne Theatre: Step through the wardrobe and experience the magical world of Narnia. Until 8 Jan 
  7. Mischief awaits at ELF The Musical at the Dominion Theatre: Join Buddy the Elf as he causes mayhem across Manhattan. Until 7 Jan   
  8. Enjoy Vivaldi's Four Seasons at Christmas at the St Mary Le Strand Church: Talented musicians perform festive tunes at this candlelit concert. 10 Dec and 28 Dec
  9. Award-winning actor David Tennant takes to the West End in GOOD at the Harold Pinter Theatre: Follow the story of German professor John Halder as he navigates a world facing war. Until 24 Dec
  10. Don't miss the fantastic Circus 1903 at Eventim Apollo: A memorable evening of impressive acrobatics and death-defying stunts. Until 1 Jan
  11. Be amazed at Showstopper! The Improvised Musical at the Lyric Theatre: Witness as this unique unscripted performance unfolds before your very eyes. 12 Dec
  12. Sleigh over to Royal Albert Hall for a festive show: See Carols at The Royal Albert Hall, My Christmas Orchestral Adventure, Guy Barker's Big Band Christmas and The Nutcracker.

Check out more top London theatre shows and discover festive plays, concerts and pantomimes in the capital this December.

Best activities and immersive experiences

A girl stands in a space suit style jacket holding a cocktail in a magically bright and alien world at the immersive experience Avora in London.
Be transported to a magical new world at Avora. Image courtesy of Inventive Productions.
  1. Head down the rabbit hole and into the the Alice in Wonderland VR Experience*Take on the Queen of Hearts in this exciting VR adventure in Wonderland.
  2. Spend the day as an honorary member of the Shelby family at Peaky Blinders: The Rise: An unmissable chance to help the famous gang take over London. 
  3. Combine a Comedy Show and Dinner at Inamo in Covent Garden*: Prepare for a hilarious evening of comedic entertainment paired with delicious pan-Asian food at Inamo.
  4. Sample fantastic tipples at a Beer Masterclass and Meal at a Brewhouse and Kitchen*Perfect your brewing and tasting skills as you learn about all types of beer.
  5. Live like an outlaw in the Wild West at the Moonshine Saloon Immersive Theatre and Cocktail Experience*: Play some dice, see the Moonshine Distillery and avoid the fearsome Sheriff. 
  6. Seek out the secret gateway to Avora and enter a new magical world: A brand new theatrical cocktail experience that addresses ongoing climate issues as recruits forage for their ingredients to make delicious concoctions. From 2 Dec
  7. Take on a London treasure hunt at The Secret City: This urban adventure will have you discovering endless hidden gems and the city's best secrets. 
  8. Don't miss London's new immersive art exhibition Frameless: A multi-dimensional experience that transports you into a live painting. 

Top guided tours in winter

A guide gives a highlights tour for visitors to The National Gallery in London.
The National Gallery Official Highlights Tour with Afternoon Tea. Image courtesy of Red Letter Days.
  1. Have fun with all the family on a Paddington Bear Walking TourLearn all about London's lovable marmalade-eating bear. 
  2. Follow in the footsteps of 00 on a Jam7es Bond Walking TourLearn all about the secret service and discover locations from the world-famous film series. 
  3. Capture incredible images of London on a Private London Photography Tour: Learn from the experts as you create enviable shots of London in winter. 
  4. Explore some of the world's most impressive art on the Official National Gallery Highlights Tour: Hear the history and stories behind each masterpiece.
  5. Feast on an array of classic British dishes on a Borough Market Food Tour: From a full English, and fish and chips to the best of British cheeses. 
  6. Hope on a bike and discover hidden gems on a Secret London Bike Tour: Make your way along the river and take in top sights.
  7. Enjoy a classical music-themed guided walk on a Composers of the West End Walk: A classical music buffs .3 Dec
  8. Learn all about London's gruesome history at the London Bridge Experience and London Tombs: Uncover dark secrets and tales of terror at this London landmark. 
  9. Head to Greenwich for a Film and TV Location Tour of the Old Royal Naval College: From Pirates of the Caribbean to Thor: The Dark World. 
  10. Travel across 150 years of history on a Tour of the London Underground: Begin at the first ever Tube station and end at one of the city's most futuristic.  

Fun London winter festivals

Two girls enjoying evening drinks at a London Christmas market with a Christmas tree, Ferris wheel, market stalls and lights behind
Explore London Christmas markets © visitlondon.com / Ben Pipe. Image courtesy of visitlondon.com / Ben Pipe.
  1. Shop till you drop during Festive Fayre at Hampton Court Palace: Indulge in warming treats and enjoy entertainment with a seasonal twist. 2-4 Dec
  2. Step into the Southbank Centre Winter Festival: Enjoy some festive family fun on the banks of the Thames, with jolly musical and twinkling markets. 3 Nov-8 Jan
  3. Visit Bankside's Frost Fair: Expect augmented reality installations and animations along with events, workshops and fantastic food and drink. 1-31 Dec
  4. Check out Greenwich MarketBrowse wooden stalls for stocking fillers and tick off your Christmas list. 1-31 Dec
  5. Venture to Kingston Christmas Market: Find unique Christmas gifts in the picturesque town's Ancient Market Place. 10 Nov-24 Dec
  6. Head to King's Cross Canopy Market: Artisan festive treats and handmade crafts await at this charming market. 26 Nov-23 Dec

Discover more of London's charming Christmas markets.

Celebrate New Year's Eve in London

Four women, dressed in colourful dresses, celebrate as ticker tape falls around them.
Celebrate on a New Year's Eve boat party. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.
  1. Enjoy a New Year's Eve Dinner and Thames Cruise with Fireworks: Celebrate in style with a three-course meal, live entertainment and an unrivalled view of the dazzling fireworks display. 
  2. Raise a glass to the New Year with a Champagne afternoon tea at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane: Sample sweet and savoury treats with a glass of bubbles.
  3. Celebrate New Year's Eve at an exciting immersive experience: Take on an alien invasion at Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds
  4. Disco with the dinosaurs at the New Year's Eve: Jurassic Party at the Natural History Museum: Ring in 2023 at this unforgettable prehistoric celebration.

Find all the best ways to welcome 2023 in London: see top shows, enjoy wintry activities and seek out celebratory dining spots.

For more things to do in December in London, take a look at this events calendar and guide to what's on in London, find the best London theatre shows or look at these best things to do this winter in the capital.

WEATHER: For average seasonal temperatures and rainfall, see this London weather page.