Revel in the city’s seasonal atmosphere and discover some of the top things to do in London at Christmas with our magical day out.
Morning: Christmas shopping in London
Head out early and beat the crowds for a spot of Christmas shopping in London's fabulously festive West End. Marvel at the seasonal shop-window displays and Christmas decorations in and around stylish Bond Street, iconic Oxford Street, elegant Regent Street and historic Piccadilly while picking up Christmas gifts.
Top displays in this part of town include Fortnum & Mason, pretty Liberty London and Selfridges, which all house dedicated Christmas shops: Selfridges is the go-to store for Union Jack baubles and quirky ornaments, Liberty is known for its glass-blown decorations and gorgeous crackers; while Fortnum & Mason has lots of foodie Christmas treats.
Hamleys on Regent Street sells an amazing variety of toys, while Zara's flagship store on Oxford Street offers bold-but-affordable fashion pieces ideal for teens – not to mention plenty of festive glitter and sequins! Also keep an eye out for Cartier's iconic "wrapped present" decorations, on Bond Street.
If you’re looking for something a little different, the independent boutiques in historic Burlington Arcade, stylish Jermyn Street, charming South Molton Street and pretty Connaught Village are the perfect places for eclectic luxury items, and are just a short stroll away.
Top tip: The world’s most famous department store Harrods is an ideal spot for picking up a Christmas gift, from magical toys and delightful hampers to beautiful Christmas wreaths. Hire a personal shopping assistant to help you find the perfect present for your loved ones.
Lunch: Feast at foodie hubs or afternoon tea
Ready for lunch? For a sumptuous treat, break up the day with an elegant afternoon tea in London at a luxury restaurant or hotel, some of which offer Christmas afternoon teas filled with seasonal treats.
Afternoon: Christmas markets, ice skating and Christmas lights
After a bite to eat, it’s time for a picturesque walk along the river Thames, where you can tuck into roasted chestnuts, enjoy festive decorations and explore the Christmas market along the South Bank. Find more buzzing London Christmas markets.
If you’re looking for something more active to do in the build-up to Christmas in London with kids, wrap up warm and get your skates on at one of London's gorgeous open-air ice-skating rinks. Take in the magnificent surrounds of Somerset House or skate in the shadow of the Queen's House in Greenwich among other magical rinks.
It's now time to put your feet up and enjoy some of the best Christmas lights and iconic sights in London on a special Christmas lights bus tour. Book onto the 5pm tour to give you plenty of time to head to the theatre afterwards.
Top tip: Head to Hampton Court Palace ice rink, for an afternoon of ice skating and exploring the former home of King Henry VIII.
Evening: Christmas shows in London
You're perfectly placed to enjoy some of the many spellbinding shows in London this Christmas. Top shows this year include the magical The Nutcracker, a star-studded Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime and the hilarious Elf the Musical. Or take your pick from more theatre shows, including London’s top 10 musicals, for a memorable night in the city
There are plenty of places to try for post-theatre dinner, including quick bites in the market building and trendy eateries surrounding the piazza. Nearby, The Opera Quarter and St Martin's Courtyard are also packed with a diverse mix of restaurants.
Top tip: Catch a Christmas carol service and sing along to your favourite festive tunes at an enchanting performance at iconic spots such as St Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
For more seasonal events and festive things to do in London, take a look at our guide to Christmas in London.