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.
Lunch: Feast at foodie hubs or afternoon tea
Ready for lunch? Refuel at St Christopher's Place, a hidden dining gem just off Oxford Street, which boasts more than 20 restaurants and cafes.
If you're looking for world cuisine, head to vibrant Kingly Court in Carnaby to eat in its heated courtyard, try the eclectic eateries in St James’s Market and Heddon Street, or visit Seven Dials Market, which is home to numerous food and drink traders.
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 Natural History Museum, 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.
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 Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall, with more seasonal shows to be confirmed. 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.
For more seasonal events and festive things to do in London, take a look at our guide to Christmas in London.