Experience the magic of Christmas in London. Because there is nothing like Christmas in the capital!
There are so many things to do for families over the festive season, including special festive tours, fun seasonal shows and even the chance to meet Santa himself! Plan magical days out with 44 top tips below.
Unmissable Christmas things to do in London for families
- Step inside a winter wonderland as Hogwarts in the Snow arrives at the wizarding world of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. 13 Nov-16 Jan
- Follow a glittering trail made up of more than one million lights through the famous botanical gardens with Christmas at Kew. 17 Nov-9 Jan
- Book onto a special Christmas lights bus tour to see some of the capital's best festive displays and iconic attractions. 15 Nov-3 Jan
- Or hop on open-top bus tour to see the capital sparkle after dark with Christmas lights and decorations.
- Take in the magic of Christmas Eve on the Illuminations of London tour, where you can see iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge lit up as night falls. 24 Dec
- Mark Christmas Day in style with a lunch cruise along the river Thames, complete with music and carols. 25 Dec
- Let the kids experience something they'll remember for a lifetime, as Borealis brings the Northern Lights to London's Guildhall Yard in a special lights show. 11-22 Dec
Discover more fun activities this Christmas in London.
Top London attractions to see this Christmas
- See Windsor Castle dressed for Christmas, including a 6-metre-high (20 ft) tree (25 Nov-3 Jan). And while there, spot the pantomime costumes worn by The Queen and Princess Margaret in a special exhibition (25 Nov-31 Jan).
- See illuminated animals and festive displays as the Tower of London is given a seasonal makeover. 1 Dec-3 Jan
- Book your spot for free family activities during the school holidays at Tower Bridge, and build up courage to stand on its famous glass floor! Dates TBC
- See behind-the-scenes images from the Harry Potter films at the Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition, or follow in the footsteps of your favourite characters at Harry Potter film locations across the city.
- Pick up a money-saving sightseeing pass to use during the Christmas school holidays. Access more than 80 attractions with The London Pass, discover top attractions such as the London Eye, SEA LIFE London Aquarium and Madame Tussauds with the Merlin London Attractions Pass; or see the sights with the 30-day London Explorer Pass.
- Or let the kids learn something new during the holidays at KidZania, a dedicated children's city where they can try out an exciting range of careers.
- Visit exciting exhibits at some of the best London museums for kids, or explore on a budget with these free museums and galleries.
- Get hands-on with real wartime artefacts as part of Story Seekers activities during your visit to the Imperial War Museum London. 18-30 Dec
- Explore The Gingerbread City, an exhibition of a whole city made of gingerbread. And take part in gingerbread house-making workshops. 4 Dec-9 Jan
London theatre and cinema
- Treat the family to a night at the theatre with a festive show, classic ballet or hilarious pantomime.
- Be amazed by acrobatics, circus acts and stunts as Circus 1903 brings big-top performances to the Southbank Centre. 16 Dec-2 Jan
- Watch on as Julia Donaldson's loveable character Stick Man goes on an adventure full of music and puppetry. 23 Oct-3 Jan
- Or follow Peppa Pig on her Best Day Ever, when she comes across dragons, dinosaurs and lots of muddy puddles. 2 Dec-2 Jan
- Be treated to seven pantomimes in 70 minutes as Potted Panto unfolds at the Garrick Theatre. 11 Dec-9 Jan
- Laugh along as the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society's murder mystery spirals out of control in The Play That Goes Wrong.
- Or follow a group of hapless magicians in hilarious show Magic Goes Wrong.
- Be dazzled by a magical retelling of the classic ballet with The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum. 16 Dec-8 Jan
- Or see The Nutcracker on Ice, as the much-loved storyline plays out on Alexandra Palace's ice rink with a family-friendly twist. 10-12 Dec
- Grab some popcorn and get comfy for festive family favourites at Cinema in the Snow in Brockwell Park. 1-19 Dec
- Travel to The Snow Kingdom or step inside the Winter Night Garden to catch a film in wintry surroundings with Backyard Cinema. 15 Nov-3 Jan
- Enjoy wintry activities at Discover Children's Story Centre, including magical storytelling shows, and the immersive Fairy Tales exhibition where you can discover giants, gingerbread houses and caves full of treasure. Various dates
Find more kids shows in London.
Places to meet Santa
- Enjoy a bus-load of festive fun at the London Transport Museum, from meeting Santa and his elf, a roundel trail and seasonal stories, to hands-on activities such as fixing the all-important sleigh. 4 Dec-2 Jan
- Meet Santa and see Shrek in a festive outfit as part of your ticket to Shrek’s Adventure! London on select days this December. 4-24 Dec
- Book well ahead for a chance to meet the man himself at the popular Santa's Grotto at Hamleys, in Regent Street. 20 Nov-24 Dec
- Meet Father Christmas, explore a festive trail and stock up at the sweet shop as The Magic of Christmas arrives at ZSL London Zoo. 27 Nov-3 Jan
- North London seems like the North Pole, as Santa arrives to greet the little ones at Alexandra Palace's Santa's Grotto. 3-23 Dec
Family-friendly places to shop in London
- Let the kids explore seven floors of incredible toys and games in Hamleys.
- Little ones and not-so-little ones will love exploring the choctastic M&M's World.
- Have some brick-filled fun at The LEGO Store London Leicester Square. It's the largest LEGO store in the world!
- Browse the shelves for cute childrenswear, books and toys at Trotters in King's Road, Chelsea.
- Explore the toy-filled wonderland of Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop in Covent Garden.
- Hunt for gifts on world-famous shopping streets, including Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street.
- Or pick up presents from some of the top shopping destinations in London, from Covent Garden and Carnaby to Camden.
- Get in the festive spirit with a visit to the Christmas shops at Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and Liberty London.
- Finish off your Christmas shopping in one place at Westfield London or Westfield Stratford City.
Find more places to go Christmas shopping in London.
Outdoor adventures for families
- See the capital sparkle with dazzling displays of Christmas lights and decorations across the city, including Oxford Street, Carnaby, Regent Street, Bond Street and Covent Garden.
- Pose for family selfies in front of these Insta-worthy Christmas trees across London.
- Get your skates on and go for a twirl on one of London’s best ice-skating rinks.
- Step into a wonderful world inspired by Frozen at Covent Garden this Christmas. Wander the Frozen Forest and experience snow flurries from midday. 9 Nov-3 Jan
- Venture to the London Wetland Centre after dark, as ILLUMINATURE turns the wildlife haven into an illuminated trail featuring interactive lily pads, light tunnels and magical installations. 22 Oct-9 Jan
- Add extra sparkle to the little ones' Christmas, as Winterfest: Reunited in Light brings a free light trail and tree featuring 100,000 lights tree to Wembley Park. 25 Nov-4 Jan
- South London is also put in the spotlight, as Lightopia brings a light walk and interactive installations to Crystal Palace Park. 19 Nov-2 Jan
- Scour Nine Elms as the riverside area is turned into a Giant Advent Calendar – find art installations across 24 venues. 1 Dec-5 Jan
Check out more things to do outdoors in London.