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71 Christmas things to do in London

From glittering Christmas lights and ice skating to traditional markets and Christmas shows, London is a Christmas wonderland.
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A crowd walks through London past a bright red telephone box and christmas trees.
Christmas in London. © Unsplash/ZhivkoDimitrov

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

  1. Visit Hogwarts in the SnowSee Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter decked out for Christmas.

Hogwarts Castle dusted in filmmakers' snow.

  1. Go on a Christmas lights bus tour: Enjoy a sparkly night-time tour of London's spectacular festive lights. 

Angel-shaped white and yellow lights hang above Regent Street at night.

  1. Wander around Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park: Find all sorts of magical Christmas activities in one place. 

People dressed in coats visiting Christmas market stalls either side of twinkly string lights at dusk.

  1. Be mesmerised at Christmas at Kew at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew: Take an enchanting journey into a glittering wonderland. 

Two girls look up as they walk through a tunnel of white lights at Christmas at Kew.

  1. Explore Windsor CastleMarvel at the magnificent Christmas decorations as the famous castle is given a festive makeover fit for royalty. 

Windsor castle the long walk covered in snow in winter.

Discover more top London attractions and famous landmarks to tick off this Christmas.

See a London Christmas show

The actress portraying Elsa in Frozen The Musical is wearing a silver dress and is walking on an icy landscape.
Be mesmerised by Frozen the Musical and travel to a winterwonderland with your favourite Disney characters. Image courtesy of Disney- photo credit: Johan Persson.
  1. Book ahead for the top musicals in London this Christmas: Enjoy incredible shows over the festive period, from Frozen to The Lion King musical London.
  2. Catch one of the many Christmas shows and pantomimes that come to London over the festive period: From classics such as the Nutcracker to Christmastime comedies.
  3. See a classic play at Shakespeare's Globe: Head to the world-famous theatre for a festive show this Christmas. 

Find more London theatre shows and dedicated Christmas shows.

Book a Christmas day out

The iconic Tower Bridge in London is surrounded by snow
Tower Bridge on a snowy day. ©Robert Bye/Unsplash.
  1. Book onto a Christmas tour or day trip from London: Visit historic sites such as Stonehenge, Bath and Canterbury over the festive period.
  2. Revel in the Golden Age of Travel Aboard Belmond British Pullman*: Tuck into a five-course meal with bubbles as you take a five-hour journey on this luxury locomotive.
  3. Take a Christmas market day trip: Soak up the festivities whilst grabbing some memorable gifts for loved ones at the Canterbury, Winchester or Birmingham markets. 
  4. Treat a loved one to luxury experiences in LondonGive the perfect present, from incredible helicopter tours to relaxing spa days.

Discover the best things to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, from special tours and attractions to last-minute shopping.

Christmas activities for the family in London

Santa claus, dressed in a classic red outfit, stands in an old english underground train at the christmas event at the London Transport Museum.
Santa rides the tube at the London Transport Museum. Image courtesy of London Transport Museum.
  1. Check out the capital's top attractions for kids: Many attractions have festive-themed fun to enjoy over the school holidays.
  2. Go through transport history at the London Transport Museum: See famous London buses and enjoy hands-on activities.
  3. See the crown jewels at the Tower of London: Step back into the gruesome history of this attraction during its Christmas takeover.
  4. Head to Kensington Palace for the festive season: Explore the grand halls decked out for Christmas before spending an evening enjoying a Christmas movie in the Pavilion.
  5. Book a sightseeing pass to see many of London's top sights during the holidays: The London Pass, the Go City London Explorer Pass and Merlin London Attractions Pass offer plenty of options to sightsee and save.
  6. Take on a new challenge together with adrenaline-fuelled activities: Try the Up at The O2 climb or Tottenham Hotspur Stadium's Dare Skywalk.

Treat the kids to more family fun in London.

Go ice skating in London

A large illuminated Christmas tree stands in the middle of a large ice rink in front of Battersea Power Station, where people are happily skating with Christmas lights in the background.
This Christmas, take your skates to Glide, the only ice rink in London with river views and vintage-style fairground rides. Image courtesy of LD Communications/ photo credit Joshua Atkins
  1. Skate on the Hampton Court Palace ice rink: Enjoy magnificent background views of Henry VIII's residence. 
  2. Show off your skills at the Queen's House Ice Rink: Within the special surrounds of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
  3. Don't miss the beautiful setting of Somerset House: Skate in the 18th-century courtyard.
  4. Glide across the ice at Ice Rink Canary Wharf: A different setting amidst the surroundings of Canary Wharf's twinkling towers. 
  5. Learn to skate at Skylight Tobacco DockTake to the ice whilst enjoying amazing views of the London skyline on this rooftop bar-turned-ice rink.
  6. Enjoy the ice rink at Glide Battersea Power Station: Glide on London's only riverside ice rink and head up Lift 109 for a 360-degree view of the twinkling lights.

Find more top winter ice rinks in London.

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 © visitlondon.com / Ben Pipe. Image courtesy of visitlondon.com / Ben Pipe.
  1. Go Christmas shopping at Greenwich Market: Explore antiques and jewellery under pretty lights.
  2. Amble around Kingston's Christmas market: Shop for foodie treats, lovely decorations and handmade crafts.
  3. Be spoilt for choice at the Covent Garden Christmas markets: Get handcrafted items and unique gifts for your loved ones at one of the three daily markets. 
  4. Pick up festive gifts from Christmas in Leicester Square: Hunt for prezzies and enjoy fun shows and activities, from baby disco to comedy and cabaret.
  5. Enjoy browsing at riverside Christmas markets: Stop off at the Winter Market at Southbank Centre, find views of Tower Bridge with Christmas by the River at London Bridge City.

Look for stocking fillers at more Christmas markets in London: tuck into tasty treats and warming drinks between shopping sprees.

Enjoy a quirky London Christmas

A woman wearing a green ornament on her head while swimming. Credits: Serpentine Swimming Club.
The Christmas Day Peter Pan Cup in Hyde Park. Credits: Serpentine Swimming Club.
  1. For a day out with a difference, check out immersive experiences across the city: Enjoy immersive games, attractions, theatre and more
  2. Don your Santa outfits for Santa Run London: Join the runners or watch on as thousands of "Santas" race through Victoria Park. TBC
  3. Watch swimmers brave the icy waters of Hyde Park’s Serpentine: See them compete in the Peter Pan Cup on Christmas Day. 25 Dec
  4. Catch up with friends and family at London's top activity bars: Get competitive as you try everything from axe throwing to ping pong.

Check out more quirky Christmas activities.

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. Look up to see the lights above Regent Street: Marvel at more than 300,000 Christmas lights, alongside glowing spirits.
  2. Don't miss the beautiful Oxford Street Christmas lights: See them shimmer above the world-famous shopping district.
  3. Check out the lights twinkling across Carnaby Street: Each year sees a new theme. 
  4. Admire the gorgeous mistletoe chandeliers at Covent Garden: Also explore the magical Christmas lights in nearby Seven Dials.
  5. See the luxurious area of Bond Street sparkle: Admire the magnificent Christmas lights.
  6. Grab a selfie under the arches along South Molton Street: Spot some of London's most unique Christmas lights.
  7. Stroll along the South Bank for more magic: Be dazzled by the seasonal twinkle.
  8. Look out for London’s magnificent Christmas trees decked in lights: Don't miss the world-famous tree in Trafalgar Square.

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

Head to a London Christmas concert or service

Join a carol service in London. ©Unsplash/David Beale
  1. Attend a church service at venues across London: Go to an advent, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day service at the likes of Westminster Abbey, iconic St Paul's Cathedral and Southwark Cathedral.

Find more carols and concerts this Christmas.

Sing Christmas carols

Choir wearing red coats singing, in the gold-coloured surroundings of St Martin's in the Fields.
A Christmas Celebration at St Martin's in the Fields. Credits: Marc Gascoigne. Image courtesy of St Martin's in the Fields.
  1. Welcome in the festive season with a Christmas Carol Singalong at the Royal Festival HallSoak up the festive atmosphere. 
  2. Enjoy festive songs, carols and classical works at the BarbicanHear the angelic voices of the chapel choristers or dance to top festive live tunes.
  3. Attend the Mayor of London's Carol Service from Southwark Cathedral: Join in traditional carols at this special service.
  4. Get into the seasonal spirit with Christmas at the Royal Albert HallEnjoy shows from carols and family concerts to classical recitals. 
  5. Enjoy carols and concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields church: Soak up the festive atmosphere.

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. Relax on a dinner cruise on the Thames: Look out for special menus and experiences during December.
  2. Treat yourself to a jolly Christmas-themed afternoon teaDiscover an afternoon tea to remember with carols, decorations and festive treats galore.
  3. Take a foodie tour this Christmas: Try festive treats at Borough Market or head to Camden Town Brewery for some beer tasting. 
  4. Snuggle up in front of a crackling fire in a cosy pubEnjoy seats you can sink into and plenty of comfort food.
  5. Book a table at one of London's pop-up winter rooftop bars: Soak up the seasonal cheer and enjoy magnificent views.
  6. Make a Christmas toast at one of London's champagne bars: There's always time for a glass of fizz, especially during the festive period!

Check out the London food and drink guide for more ideas, including quirky dinner spots to restaurants with a killer view.  

Christmas shopping in London

A giant toy soldier stands in Hamleys toy shop.
Hamleys. © Shutterstock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. Snap up some designer deals at Bicester VillageHop on a train to Bicester to spend the day exploring the outlets and a festive bite or two. 
  2. Treat friends and family to luxury London gifts: From cocktail masterclasses and fine-dining experiences to special days out.
  3. Or order them a Fortnum & Mason hamper*: The iconic store has many options overflowing with seasonal treats and speciality food and drink.
  4. Visit the West End's famous shopping streets: Splash out on flagship-lined Oxford Street, upscale Bond Street and elegant Regent Street.
  5. Find tasty treats at Fortnum & Mason in St James's: Look out for gourmet Christmas treats and hampers.
  6. 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!
  7. Head to Covent Garden: Find a diverse mix of designer labels, vintage stores and high-street brands. 
  8. Check out Carnaby: Seek out its independent shops and cool fashion boutiques.
  9. Be dazzled by baubles in one of London’s famous department stores: You'll find dedicated Christmas shops, including Harrods and Liberty London.
  10. Treat kids to a visit to one of London's best toyshops: Shop for a wide range of toys, from retro board games to cool gadgets.
  11. Spend an afternoon on King's Road in Chelsea: Explore the eclectic range of boutiques and designer labels.
  12. Go shopping after hours at these late-night shopping spots: Get all your Christmas shopping done after dark. 

Discover more Christmas shopping hotspots in London.

What next?

The London Eye at night illuminated in blue, with blue, yellow and red fireworks exploding around it.
London's New Year's Eve Fireworks © Shutterstock.
  1. Start planning your New Year's Eve celebrations: Welcome in 2025 in style, with the best things to do on New Year’s Eve in London.
  2. Have a memorable evening enjoying the London's New Year's Eve fireworks in 2024: Find out how you can see the iconic fireworks display.
  3. Book onto a New Year's Eve tour: See the sights in London and beyond with these seasonal days out.
  4. Discover what else is on in DecemberPlan your visit, with special events and activities throughout the month.
  5. Find even more seasonal suggestions with our pick of 101 winter activities: Get out and explore with a walk over frosty leaves or snuggle up in a cosy pub in front of a crackling fire.
  6. Book a stay at a London hotel to be near the action: It's time to plan your trip!

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

Come back later in 2024 to see our top recommendations for an unforgettable Christmas in London.

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