Browse traditional Christmas markets, enjoy outdoor ice-skating, witness glittering festive lights and catch seasonal events and shows. Start your countdown to Christmas with our suggestions for a magical weekend in London.
Friday in London
Evening: Catch a Christmas show and enjoy one of London’s coolest Christmas experiences
Kick-start your Christmas weekend in London with a magical seasonal show to spark that festive feeling. There’s plenty to choose from, including Christmas pantomimes such as Snow White at the London Palladium and seasonal ballet performances including The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House.
To round off the night, get cosy in a private igloo, the latest Winter craze to hit London. Wrap up in a sheepskin blanket and order a festive cocktail at Coppa Club near Tower Bridge or head to Jimmy’s Lodge along the Southbank to enjoy stunning views of the Thames.
Saturday in London
Morning: Go Christmas shopping
Get in early before the crowds arrive and enjoy a spot of Christmas shopping in London.
Head to iconic London shopping destinations Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street, and visit some of the capital’s most popular department stores, including John Lewis, Selfridges, Fenwick and Liberty London, as well as high street stores such as Topshop and Primark.
Enjoy a festive visit to Harrods in Knightsbridge, an Instagram favourite that is famous for its food halls, luxury goods and impressive window displays.
Afternoon: Festive foodie treats, Christmas pastimes or Hogwarts in the Snow
After all this morning shopping you’ll have no doubt worked up an appetite. Visit the countless food stalls at Borough Market for a Christmas bite or go for a quintessentially British afternoon tea with a festive twist.
Time for some seasonal fun! Whizz over to Somerset House for a spot of ice-skating in the iconic courtyard, and stay for Skate Lates, late-night sessions including rink-side DJs and warming drinks. Those wanting to try something new can give curling a go at Roof East, opposite Westfield Stratford City.
Harry Potter fans won’t want to miss Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how the movies were made and see Hogwarts covered in snow for the Christmas season.
Evening: Fill up on food and Christmas lights
Now content with a belly full, it’s time to feed your eyes with some festive lights.
Start with Carnaby Street, whose Christmas lights are always some of the coolest in town and which dons a Queen (the band) theme for 2018.
Carry on with a visit to the ever-impressive Christmas lights of Oxford Street and Regent Street, where twinkling seasonal displays invoke plenty of festive spirit. Listen to the traditional carols sung under the giant tree on Trafalgar Square or head over to Covent Garden and enjoy the street entertainment on the piazza.
Sunday in London
Morning: Sunday brunch day
Get your Sunday in London off to a good start with a hearty brunch - that’s what Sunday mornings are made for after all. The Delaunay’s buttermilk pancake stacks are legendary, as is brunch at Duck & Waffle, 40 floors above London.
Afternoon: Time to hit the Christmas markets
A visit to one of London’s Christmas markets is the best way to spend a festive Sunday afternoon. Christmas by the River at London Bridge features a variety of stalls, set against the backdrop of iconic landmarks such as Tower Bridge and The Shard. Lined with wooden cabins, Southbank’s Christmas market is one of the most popular in the capital, perfect for those unique Christmas gifts and festive foodie treats.
For the ultimate Christmas experience in London head to Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland. Browse the alpine chalets for hand-crafted gifts, hit the fairground rides, glide the ice rink and enjoy the circus and comedy shows. Grab a drink at the Ice Bar or feast on German sausage at the Bavarian Village. You can even learn how to create ice sculptures at this Christmas extravaganza.
Evening: Wrap up warm for some festive fun
Christmas at Kew is the perfect way to round off a Christmas weekend in London and is well worth the venture out. London’s beautiful botanical gardens are illuminated by thousands of festive lights, set to a soundtrack of seasonal classics.
ZSL London Zoo is another one of London’s attractions to receive a magical makeover. Once the animals have gone to bed, a one mile long trail illuminates with twinkling lights, vintage fairground rides come to life and mulled wine and roasted chestnuts offer a warming treat.