Christmas in London: weekend itinerary

Plan a festive weekend trip to London with our guide to the merriest things to do in London at Christmas.

From traditional Christmas markets and ice skating, to glittering lights, seasonal events and Christmas shows, enjoy the countdown to Christmas with our festive itinerary and spend a magical weekend in London.

Below are some of our favourite things to do at Christmas in London from 2017. Check back later in the year for more Christmas activities in 2018.

Friday in London

Evening: See a Christmas show

Start your weekend with a magical Christmas show to spark that festive feeling. Take your pick from spectacular seasonal performances including pantomimes, ballets, cabaret acts and musical shows.

Before settling in for the show, try one of the capital’s best restaurants. Sample traditional British cuisine, splash out on a Michelin-starred eatery, or dine on cheap eats and money and time-saving menus at many London restaurants.

Saturday in London

Morning: Go Christmas shopping

Avoid the last-minute rush and long queues with some early morning Christmas shopping.

Shop for gifts on Oxford StreetBond Street and Regent Street, while taking in the legendary seasonal window displays at Selfridges. From affordable fashion to designer items, you’ll find plenty of options including department stores Debenhams and John Lewis, and high-street brands Primark and Topshop. Stop by the Apple Store for the latest gadgets, look for luxurious stocking fillers at Liberty London or head to Hamleys to pick up toys for little ones.


London is lit af this time of year. Literally.

A photo posted by Nash 🇲🇻 (@nash.nasheed) on

Alternatively, visit the iconic Harrods in Knightsbridge, where you’ll find beautiful baubles and delicate decorations in the Christmas shop, alongside delicious festive treats in the famous food halls. And if you still have more things to tick off your Christmas shopping list, head over to nearby Harvey Nichols for luxurious fashion and homewares or walk a little further to Fortnum & Mason, best known for gorgeous Christmas hampers and wooden advent calendars.

Afternoon: Immerse yourself in Christmas traditions

Now you’ve worked up an appetite, treat yourself to a Christmas afternoon tea, before heading back out for more Christmas activities.

Next, jump on the Tube and spend the afternoon museum-hopping across London. Enjoy a series of seasonal activities at The Charles Dickens Museum, found within easy reach of Russell Square.

If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, book ahead before taking a trip to Hogwarts in the Snow for a behind-the-scenes look at how the movies were made and see the famous film sets transformed for the Christmas season.


Hogwarts looked lovely in the snow❄️ #warnerbrosstudiotour #harrypotter #hogwartsinthesnow

A photo posted by Alice Stevens (@typical_wonderland) on

Evening: Be wowed by Christmas lights

Add some sparkle to your evening: marvel at the twinkling Christmas lights in London’s West End. You’ll find some of the most dazzling decorations and seasonal art installations around Oxford Street, Carnaby and Regent Street.

Feeling peckish? Head to nearby Kingly Court, just off Carnaby, or the charming streets of Seven Dials for a diverse range of restaurants. Alternatively, dine on delicious dishes from the Far East under the colourful lanterns of Chinatown.

Trafalgar Square is also well worth a visit to take snaps of the world-famous Christmas tree and sing along to traditional carols under the stars. Then wander over to the gorgeous Covent Garden to admire the festive scenery, before finishing your evening with a well-earned drink in the The Opera Quarter, overlooking the shimmering piazza.

Sunday in London

Morning: Enjoy some festive sightseeing

Start your morning with a hearty breakfast. Order up a stack of buttermilk pancakes at The Delaunay, enjoy a quirky Peruvian breakfast at Monmouth Kitchen or a basket of mini pastries at Balthazar London.

After breakfast, head to the magnificent court of Somerset House, and be amazed by the wonderful Christmas tree and ice rink. Then, enjoy a spot of seasonal sightseeing with a hop on hop off bus tour to see more of the capital’s jolly decorations and famous landmarks. Alternatively, embark on a more unusual tour to see a different side to London.

Afternoon: Visit the Christmas markets

No visit to London at Christmas is complete without a trip to the capital’s most spectacular festive attraction, Winter Wonderland. You can browse the wooden chalets for hand-crafted gifts, feast on German sausage at the lively Bavarian Village, see stunning ice sculptures at the Magical Ice Kingdom and enjoy a skate on the ice rink. Perfect for families, there are also several rides for younger and older kids, the highlight of which is the observation wheel which offers sweeping views of the fair and beyond.


Winter Wonderland opening night at Hyde Park ⛄⛄ . . . . . #london #hydepark #winterwonderland #christmas #winter

A photo posted by Michael Pickton (@mrpickton) on

If you’re looking for a more relaxed afternoon, you’ll also find merry festivities taking place at the Winter Festival at Southbank Centre including foodie treats, a seasonal programme of family entertainment and a traditional Christmas market dotted along the glittering South Bank.

Evening: Wrap up warm for outdoor activities

Grab your mittens and take to the ice for an evening of frosty-fun at one of London’s beautiful ice skating rinks. Picture-perfect rinks include Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and the Natural History Museum.

Or venture further afield: catch the Tube over to Kew Gardens and experience the enchanting atmosphere of Christmas at Kew. Wander down an illuminated mile-long trail through the gorgeous botanic gardens, admiring the twinkling lights and decorative displays along the path before defrosting with a hot chocolate.


☄ #christmasatkew @kewgardens

A photo posted by Jessica Giles (@jessicagiles) on

As the cold begins to bite, head to a cosy pub and snuggle up in front of a crackling fire with a comforting meal to round off your weekend trip to London.

For more magical things to do in London, check out our fun-packed guide to Christmas and start planning where to stay in London for your festive break.