25 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.
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

Blue laser-style lights spread out from the Palm House at Kew Gardens at night.
Christmas at Kew © RBG Kew. Image courtesy of Kew Gardens.
  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. Nov-Jan TBC
  2. Go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter movies with Hogwarts in the Snow: See the iconic sets dressed for Christmas. Nov-Jan TBC
  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. Nov-Jan TBC
  4. 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. Dec TBC
  5. Make the most of London's outdoor ice rinksGo ice skating on one of the stunning ice rinks that pop up across the capital.
  6. Enjoy carols and concerts across the city: Accompanied by mulled wine and mince pies, naturally.

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 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. Treat yourself to a luxury experience: Raise a glass of Champagne as you enjoy a luxury spa day or a unique experience in London.
  6. Celebrate at a top London restaurantBook in advance to get a seat at your favourite restaurant for a festive feast.
  7. Get up early to watch the Peter Pan CupBrave members of the Serpentine Swimming Club compete in the icy waters of the Hyde Park lake on Christmas Day. 
  8. Shop for great deals during the Boxing Day and January sales: Find top discounts on fashion, electronics and more.
  9. Find more things to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in London: Book tours, go ice skating and find fun events.

December shows in London

Exterior view of the Royal Albert Hall's North Entrance lit up at dusk
Royal Albert Hall at dusk © Royal Albert Hall. Image courtesy of Royal Albert Hall and David Iliff.
  1. 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.
  2. Don't miss Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre: Laugh out loud at the hilarious stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved book. Until 18 Dec
  3. Sing along to TINA - The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre: Discover the story of the rock 'n' roll legend featuring her much-loved songs. Until 18 Dec
  4. Check out more top London theatre showsAlso discover festive plays, concerts and pantomimes in the capital this December.

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 Selfridges Christmas Market at Edwards Mews: Flock to the foodie and fashionista favourite, complete with its own Helter-Skelter for some festive fun.
  3. Check out Greenwich MarketBrowse wooden stalls for stocking fillers and tick off your Christmas list.
  4. Venture to Kingston Christmas Market: Find unique Christmas gifts in the picturesque town's Ancient Market Place. 
  5. Discover more of London's charming Christmas marketsShop for handmade gifts and treat yourself to festive food.

Celebrate New Year's Eve in London

  1. Find ways to welcome 2023 in London: see top shows, enjoy wintry activities and seek out celebratory dining spots. Find all the best New Year's Eve things to do to send off 2022.

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.