45 things to do in London in December 2024

See the capital transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland in December, and join in the New Year's Eve festivities.
Content contains affiliate links, marked with asterisks (*). If you click through and make a purchase, Visit London receives a commission – every purchase supports London’s jobs and economy.
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.

Looking for things to do between Christmas and New Year? Check out the top things to do in London during Twixmas.

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. TBC
  2. 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. TBC
  3. Whisk the family away on a magical adventure at the Kingdom of Winter at ExCel London: An indoor festive experience that has everything from a winter-themed circus, ice skating and an alpine-style Christmas market. TBC
  4. Visit the London Zoo for their Christmas takeover (included in standard entry): Last year visitors could follow the Christmas Sleigh Trail, send a letter to Santa or meet the big man himself. TBC
  5. Join The Postal Museum's immersive Christmas celebrations (included in standard entry): In 2023 visitors discovered the first ever Christmas card and ride the festive Mail Rail. TBC
  6. Celebrate Christmas at Shreks Adventure! London (included in standard entry): Swap the North Pole for the Swamp at this fun family immersive experience. TBC
  7. Venture to the beautiful Hampstead Heath for Christmas at Kenwood: The dazzling light trail, full of colour and sparkle, is not to be missed. TBC
  8. 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
  9. 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. 

Join a magical Christmas tour

Join a top festive tour in London and beyond!

Learn more

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. Be dazzled by the Christmas Lights London by Night bus tour: See iconic London landmarks sparkle on a special guided tour. Nov-Jan
  3. Attend a magical Christmas carol concert: Hear classic songs by the world-renowned choirs or have fun at a Christmas Carol Singalong at the Royal Festival Hall.
  4. Treat yourself to a luxury experience: Raise a glass of champagne as you enjoy a luxury spa day or a unique experience in London.
  5. Celebrate at a top London restaurantBook in advance to get a seat at your favourite restaurant for a festive feast.
  6. Shop for great deals during the winter sales: Find top discounts on fashion, electronics and more.
  7. 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

Buddy, wearing a red ad green elf costume stands next to his half brother eating a bowl of pasta.
Elf the Musical at the Dominion Theatre, image courtesy of Mark Senior
  1. See London's top Christmas shows and pantomimes: From classic Dickensian tales to hilarious festive comedies and slapstick pantos.
  2. Take the whole family to a memorable London musical: Sing along to award-winning shows in London's West End.
  3. Discover the best London shows for kids: Exciting plays and child-friendly musicals await including The Gruffalo and Stick Man.
  4. Be dazzled by Circa's Duck Pond at the Royal Festival Hall: Watch a blend of ballet and world-class circus at this epic show that is perfect for people of all ages.
  5. Join Buddy on his adventure across New York at ELF The Musical: The beloved film takes to the West End for a second run this Christmas. 
  6. See the dazzling festive favourite The Nutcracker by the English National Ballet: Follow Clara's magical adventure this Christmas Eve.
  7. Enjoy an enchanting performance at St Mary Le Strand Church: See everything from candlelight concerts, to festive orchestra renditions of popular Christmas songs.

Check back nearer the time for theatre shows happening in the capital in December 2024.

Best activities and immersive experiences

Two guests sat opposite eachother at a table, dressed in Western-themed clothes and enjoying cocktails. A man is sat in the middle, also wearing Western attire, interacting with the couple as part of the immersive experience
Smuggle in a bottle of liquor to show Clyde Cassidy you have what it takes to join his smuggling gang. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.

Discover some of London's top winter activities, or escape the cold with some unique indoor experiences.

  1. See the city sparkle at Christmas with a London Eye Champagne Experience: Admire the views as you sip on a glass of chilled Pommery Brut Royal Champagne.
  2. Or reach new heights with London's new glass elevator at Lift 109: See the city from above, and join in with seasonal events in this unique space.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Check out the city's best exhibitions: From the immersive works of renowned artists at Frameless to the impressive paintings of Frans Hals on display at the National Gallery.

Top London tours and day trips this winter

Three people walk through the old streets of bath where christmas lights hang above their heads.
Explore the beautiful city of Bath at Christmastime. ©Dyana Wing So/Unsplash.

From brisk walking tours that uncover hidden corners of the city to festive adventures out of London, join one of London's best tours and day trips this winter.

  1. Have fun with all the family on a Paddington Bear Walking TourLearn all about London's lovable marmalade-eating bear. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. Check out London's top sporting venues: Get a guided tour of the home of Rugby at Twickenham Stadium, or take on The Dare Skywalk at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
  5. Enjoy delicious bites on a Borough Market Food Tour: The perfect way to explore the city on colder days, enjoying iconic, warming British dishes and beverages.
  6. Pick up a unique gift on a Christmas Market Day Trip: Head to one of two iconic cities that come alive at Christmastime, the beautiful Bath and historic York.
  7. Wander Scotland's most charming city on a day trip to Edinburgh from London: Visit quaint bookshops, sample the finest whisky and explore the city's majestic Edinburgh Castle.
  8. Explore iconic landmarks and Christmas markets on a day trip to Paris: See the city of lights at its most magical time of year.

Check back nearer the time for more walking tours in London, and explore more unusual tours of the city.

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. TBC
  2. Step into the Southbank Centre Winter Festival: Enjoy some festive family fun on the bank of the Thames, with jolly musical and twinkling markets. TBC
  3. Check out Greenwich MarketBrowse wooden stalls for stocking fillers and tick off your Christmas list. TBC
  4. Venture to Kingston Christmas Market: Find unique Christmas gifts in the picturesque town's Ancient Market Place. TBC
  5. Head to King's Cross Canopy Market: Artisan festive treats and handmade craft await at this charming market. TBC

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 Christmas afternoon tea: Sample sweet and savoury treats with a glass of bubbles.
  3. Catch a show on London's West End: See top musicals and more.

Find all the best ways to welcome 2024 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.