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101 Christmas things to do in London

From glittering Christmas lights and ice skating to traditional markets and Christmas shows, London is a Christmas wonderland.

Make the most of the capital's jolly festivities and add some sparkle to your trip with 101 of the best things to do in London during Christmas

You'll usually find unique, iconic and unusual Christmas activities at venues across the capital. From atmospheric outdoor markets filled with chalets, to memorable pantos, carol singing and concerts.

Experience magical Christmas attractions

A family of four looking up at the festive features of Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
Discover all the magical things happening in London this Christmas, including Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. © David Parry. Image courtesy of Fever PR.
  1. See Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter decked out for Christmas with Hogwarts in the Snow. 13 Nov-16 Jan
  2. Spend a whole day frolicking around Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, where you can find all sorts of magical Christmas activities in one place. 19 Nov-3 Jan
  3. Marvel at the magnificent Christmas decorations as Windsor Castle is given a festive makeover fit for a queen.
  4. Take an enchanting journey into a glittering wonderland with Christmas at Kew at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. 17 Nov-9 Jan
  5. A trip to the capital at Christmas wouldn't be complete without seeing the top 10 attractions in London.

Book a Christmas day out

Tower Bridge and the surrounding walkway in the snow on a sunny Christmas day
Tower Bridge in the snow on Christmas day © Robert Bye / Unsplash. Image courtesy of Robert Bye / Unsplash.
  1. Book onto a Christmas tour or day trip from London to visit historic sites such as Stonehenge, Bath and Canterbury over the festive period.
  2. Get your Christmas culture fix of London during a morning tour or an afternoon tour aboard a luxurious coach. Look out for iconic spots such as Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament.
  3. Enjoy a scenic ride around London as you admire the sparkling Christmas lights on a Christmas day hop-on hop-off bus tour.
  4. Give the perfect present and treat a loved one to luxury gifts and experiences in London, from incredible helicopter tours to relaxing spa days.
  5. Discover the best things to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, from special tours and attractions to last-minute shopping.

See a London Christmas show

A ballet dancer in a beautiful white dress stands in the middle of a snowy forest holding a nutcracker doll out in front of her.
English National Ballet's The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum. Image courtesy of English National Ballet.
  1. Book ahead for the top musicals in London this Christmas, from Cinderella to The Lion King.
  2. Be dazzled by the golden age of circus and a line-up of world-class acts as Circus 1903 returns to Southbank Centre for a third Christmas season. 16 Dec-2 Jan
  3. Take a side-splitting tour through seven pantomime classics in just 70 minutes with Potted Panto. 11 Dec-9 Jan
  4. Enjoy an enchanting ballet performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum (16 Dec-8 Jan) or the Royal Opera House (23 Nov-8 Jan) 
  5. Alternatively, Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! takes to the stage at Sadler's Wells. 7 Dec-30 Jan
  6. ...Or see a reworked version of the same Christmas classic with The Nutcracker on Ice at Alexandra Palace10-12 Dec
  7. Celebrate musical theatre and the festive season with the limited run of West End Musical Christmas at Lyric Theatre. 20 Dec
  8. The London Palladium goes panto crazy as Julian Clary leads a star cast in laugh-a-minute Pantoland at The Palladium. 4 Dec-9 Jan

Find more theatre and dedicated Christmas shows.

Christmas activities for the family in London

  1. Treat the little ones to the capital's top attractions for kids over the school holidays.
  2. Aspiring explorers can bring the world of transport to life at theLondon Transport Museum.
  3. Chase away the winter blues as you go on a delightful road trip at Peppa Pig's Best Day Ever. 2 Dec-2 Jan
  4. Enjoy Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved Stick Man live at Leicester Square Theatre. 10 Dec-3 Jan
  5. Explore the Illuminature light trail through WWT London Wetland Centre, which features illuminated bird sculptures and interactive lily pads. 22 Oct-9 Jan
  6. Enjoy Christmas at ZSL London Zoo with a festive trail, the chance to meet Santa and animal-themed fun. 27 Nov-3 Jan

Treat the kids to more family fun in London.

Be dazzled by Christmas lights in London

Angel-shaped white and yellow lights hang above Regent Street at night.
Regent Street Christmas lights © Shutterstock
  1. Enjoy a sparkly night-time tour of London's spectacular festive lights with the Christmas lights bus tour.
  2. Or join a special Illuminations of London Christmas Eve tour to see the city twinkle as Christmas Day approaches.
  3. Marvel at more than 300,000 Christmas lights above Regent Street, alongside glowing spirits.
  4. See the beautiful Oxford Street Christmas lights shimmer above the world-famous shopping district.
  5. Check out the lights twinkling across Carnaby Street, which is filled with more than 600 Insta-worthy butterfly illuminations in 2021. 
  6. Admire the gorgeous mistletoe chandeliers at Covent Garden and explore the magical Christmas lights in nearby Seven Dials.
  7. See the luxurious area of Bond Street sparkle with magnificent Christmas lights.
  8. Grab a selfie under the arches along South Molton Street, some of London's most unique Christmas lights.
  9. Head over to Chelsea to see Duke of York Square gloriously dressed in festive lights.
  10. Stroll along the South Bank and be dazzled by the seasonal twinkle.
  11. Look out for London’s magnificent Christmas trees decked in lights, including the world-famous tree in Trafalgar Square.

Discover more Christmas lights in London from mid-November until January.

Feast on festive food and drink

A reindeer cake on a white plate and table
Festive food © Alex Hu / Unsplash. Image courtesy of Alex Hu / Unsplash.
  1. Festive foodies can tuck into a feast of treats at Taste of London at Tobacco Dock. 18-21 Nov
  2. Stuff your face with indulgent treats aboard an evening tour of London with a selection of desserts and wine.
  3. Or join one of the many Christmas tours that include a festive meal, including a Christmas Day river cruise and guided city tour and Christmas Eve with dinner and Midnight Mass.
  4. Watch Christmas cooking demonstrations, pick up festive treats and more at Hampton Court Palace's annual Festive Fayre. 3-5 Dec
  5. Dine on a spectacular four-course dinner and then take to the dance floor at the Festive Live event at The Ritz London. 
  6. Enjoy a festive cocktail at one of London's best cocktail bars.
  7. Snuggle up in front of a crackling fire in a cosy pub.
  8. Treat yourself to a jolly Christmas-themed afternoon tea.  
  9. Check out the food stalls full of bratwurst, hot toddies and more seasonal fare at London's top Christmas markets.
  10. Share a fondue with friends at one of London's top cheese spots.
  11. Soak up the seasonal cheer at one of London's pop-up winter rooftop bars.
  12. Find seasonal produce such as gingerbread and hot mulled cider at Borough Market.
  13. Make a Christmas toast at one of London's champagne bars.

Outdoor Christmas things to do in London

A man and child wearing Santa's hats smile while enjoying a speedboat ride on the river Thames.
Whizz down the Thames this Christmas with Thames Rockets. Credit: Thames Rockets. Image courtesy of Thames Rockets.
  1. See London from the water on the Jingle Bell Blast boat tour with Thames Rockets. Dates TBC
  2. Work off those mince pies with adrenaline-fuelled activities, such as the Up at The O2 climb or Tottenham Hotspur Stadium's Dare Skywalk
  3. Marvel at the handmade and hand-painted lanterns that make up the Lightopia light trail in Crystal Palace Park.19 Nov-2 Jan
  4. Head to Wembley Park for the annual Winterfest showcase, as light and art installations pop up across the area. 24 Nov-9 Jan
  5. Enjoy a magical horse-drawn carriage ride through Richmond Park, led by shire horses. 27 Nov-2 Jan
  6. Watch swimmers brave the icy waters of Hyde Park’s Serpentine to compete in the Peter Pan Cup on Christmas Day.
  7. Walk off those festive treats with an amble around one of London’s beautiful parks.
  8. Pick up foodie gifts and snap away at the iconic lanterns and gates in vibrant Chinatown, which has many restaurants open on Christmas Day.

Go ice skating in London

Ice skaters enjoying themselves at the Natural History Museum's open-air ice rink after dark.
Ice skating at the Natural History Museum. Credit: Trustees of the Natural History Museum. Image courtesy of the Natural History Museum.
  1. Skate on the Hampton Court Palace ice rink: Enjoy magnificent background views of Henry VIII's residence.
  2. Don't miss the beautiful setting of Somerset House: Skate in the 18th-century courtyard.
  3. Make your way to the Natural History Museum Ice RinkCreate unforgettable memories in South Kensington. 
  4. Glide across the ice at Ice Rink Canary Wharf: A different setting amidst the surroundings of Canary Wharf's twinkling towers.
  5. Show off your skills at the Queen's House Ice Rink: Within the special surrounds of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  6. Learn to skate at Alexandra Palace ice rinkTake to the ice indoors.

Find more top winter ice rinks in London.

Sing Christmas carols

Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square at night time with fountains and surrounding buildings lit up
The world-famous Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square © James O Jenkins. Image courtesy of James O Jenkins.
  1. Belt out your favourite carols at the Barbican's Christmas Carol Singalong. 11 and 18 Dec
  2. Sing along to carols around Trafalgar Square’s world-famous Christmas tree. Dates TBC
  3. Join in with carols in stunning surroundings at the Royal Albert Hall. 18-24 Dec
  4. Enjoy carols and concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields church.

Explore London Christmas markets

Two girls enjoying evening drinks at a London Christmas market with a Christmas tree, Ferris wheel, market stalls and lights behind
Explore London Christmas markets © / Ben Pipe. Image courtesy of / Ben Pipe.
  1. Explore antiques and jewellery under pretty lights at Greenwich Market.
  2. Amble around Kingston's Christmas market, overflowing with foodie treats, lovely decorations and handmade crafts.

Look for stocking fillers at more Christmas markets in London.

Christmas shopping in London

A giant toy soldier stands in Hamleys toy shop.
Hamleys. © Shutterstock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Treat friends and family to luxury London gifts, from cocktail masterclasses and fine-dining experiences to special days out.
  2. Visit the West End's famous shopping streets, including flagship-lined Oxford Street, upscale Bond Street and elegant Regent Street.
  3. Look out for gourmet Christmas treats and hampers at Fortnum & Mason in St James's.
  4. Check out the spectacular window displays at Selfridges, go inside to explore its dedicated Christmas shop and tick off the majority of your shopping list!
  5. Head to Covent Garden for a diverse mix of designer labels, vintage stores and high-street brands. 
  6. Check out Carnaby’s independent shops and cool fashion boutiques.
  7. Be dazzled by baubles in one of London’s famous department stores’ dedicated Christmas shops, including Harrods and Liberty London.
  8. Treat kids to a visit to one of London's best toyshops.
  9. Explore the eclectic range of boutiques and designer labels on King's Road in Chelsea.
  10. Get all your Christmas shopping done after dark at these late-night shopping spots
  11. Find last-minute Christmas presents at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.
  12. Bag bargains galore in the January sales that begin on Boxing Day, or even earlier.
  13. Take in the Christmas cheer during the Christmas Fair Weekend at Fulham Palace House and Garden. 27-28 Nov
  14. If you're not able to make it to London to pick up gifts this year, buy your loved ones London gift vouchers to use later.

Discover more Christmas shopping hotspots in London.

Head to a London Christmas concert or service

  1. Savour crooner classics such as "Baby it's Cold Outside" and "White Christmas", as Boisdale Canary Wharf hosts The Definitive Rat Pack Christmas Show. 30 Nov-30 Dec
  2. Take your seat for Grand Christmas Classics with Alan Titchmarsh at the Barbican, which features carols from the London Philharmonic Choir. 22 Dec
  3. Sing along to your favourite festive hits as the Jingle Belles dance troupe joins the London Concert Orchestra for Jingle Bell Christmas at the Barbican. 23 Dec
  4. Watch Love Actually in Concert with a live orchestra at Eventim Apollo. 11 Dec
  5. Get into the seasonal spirit with Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall featuring shows such as an orchestra-led screening of the Muppets Christmas Carol in Concert, classical showcase Handel's Messiah and more. 2-31 Dec
  6. Attend an advent, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church service at venues across London, including Westminster Abbey.
  7. Celebrate Hanukkah with services and concerts at venues across London, including Chanukah at JW3 (28 Nov-5 Dec).

Get cosy in a Christmas winter pop-up

A night-time panoramic view of clear plastic domes "snow globes", with tables and chairs inside, along the South Bank.
Snow globes at Jimmy's Lodge, Winter at Southbank © India Roper Evans. Image courtesy of Southbank Centre.
  1. Enter an adults’ playground at Neverland's Winterland, with cocktails, fondue, DJ vibes and private forest cabins. 23 Oct-30 Jan
  2. Dine alongside the Thames in special "snow globes", as Jimmy's Winter Lodge makes a return to the South Bank. 5 Nov-9 Jan
  3. Celebrate Christmas at rooftop hotspot Queen of Hoxton Drop by for a warming drink and hang out in its heated tent. 

Discover more winter pop-ups and rooftop bars in London.

Watch Christmas films at a winter cinema

  1. Venture through the Snow Kingdom or the mystical Winter Night Garden on your way to a Christmas screening in Backyard Cinema's two festive spaces. 1-31 Dec
  2. Watch Christmas films in sumptuous surroundings at the Rivoli Ballroom's pop-up cinema. 16-17 Dec
  3. Get your fix of feel-good festive movies in a winter wonderland at Pop Up Screens' "Cinema in the Snow" in Peckham. 20 Nov-20 Dec

Discover more unique and unusual cinemas in London.

Enjoy a quirky London Christmas

  1. Treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of London's quirkiest restaurants this Christmas. 
  2. Watch teams in fabulous fancy dress run through Covent Garden in The Great Christmas Pudding Race. 21 Dec
  3. Tuck into festive food during the Aeronaut pub's Christmas cabaret and be dazzled by acrobatics, fire performers and a virtual reality room.

What next?

  1. Start planning your New Year's Eve in London celebrations!
  2. Find even more seasonal suggestions with our pick of 101 winter activities.
  3. It's time to plan your trip! Book a stay at a London hotel to be near the action.

For more festive ideas, check out our guide to Christmas in London, including the best London Christmas tours and top Christmas shows.

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