Things to do in London in December 2018

See the capital transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland in December, and join in the New Year's Eve festivities.

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

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.

Get into the festive spirit during your December visit by experiencing some of London's favourite seasonal activities: 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; take children to meet Santa in a magical Christmas grotto; enjoy carols and concerts accompanied by mulled wine and mince pies; and watch a Christmas pantomime, ballet or family show.

Christmas market at London Bridge City's Christmas by the River

December events in London

London's Christmas festivals and pop-up festive villages

  • Explore London's biggest and most popular Christmas experience, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, for ice skating, an observation wheel and fairground rides, stalls brimming with toys and sweets, festive shows and more. 22 Nov-6 Jan
  • Enjoy wintry activities, including a Christmas market, festive shows and seasonal food along the river at Southbank Centre's Wintertime Festival. 8 Dec-6 Jan
  • Find a festive haven in the centre of London's bustling West End with Christmas in Leicester Square. 9 Nov-5 Jan
  • Discover the Greenwich Wintertime Festival, set in the grounds of the majestic Old Royal Naval College, which features ice skating, live music, Christmas shopping and more activities for all ages. Dec TBC
  • Find more seasonal activities for all the family at these top Christmas markets this December in London.

Magical Lantern Festival

Top London winter events

  • Follow a glittering trail of lights, music and colours around the famous botanic gardens after dark at the annual Christmas at Kew. 22 Nov-5 Jan
  • Go behind the scenes of the Harry Potter movies and see the iconic sets dressed for Christmas with Hogwarts in the Snow. 17 Nov-27 Jan
  • Wander past huge illuminated lanterns including enchanting Christmas-themed installations and traditional Chinese handmade sculptures as the Magical Lantern Festival returns to Chiswick Gardens. Nov-Jan TBC

Christmas Day and Boxing Day in London

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:

Natural History Museum ice rink

New Year's Eve in London

London’s famous New Year's Eve fireworks take place every year at the Coca-Cola London Eye on 31 December: buy your ticket in advance to secure a place at this popular London December event. Alternatively, there are plenty of other things to do in London on New Year’s Eve during the day and right through the night, from family shows and ice skating, to parties and dining on the river.

For more things to do in December in London, take a look at our events calendar and guide to what's on in London. And catch the best of the London stage with our theatre guide.

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

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