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40 things to do on Christmas Eve in London

Whether you're looking for last-minute shopping ideas or festive carol concerts, find things to do in London on Christmas Eve with our guide.
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Christmas shows in London

The cast and characters of Stick Man on stage under the spotlight
The cast of Stick Man © Mark Senior PR. Image courtesy of Mark Senior PR.

See a top musical in London or find special festive shows or pantomimes from London's theatres the day before Christmas.

  1. Book a spot for classic musicals, such as The Lion King and Wicked.
  2. Treat the kids to fun-filled shows for the little ones, including Roald Dahl's Matilda and Disney's Frozen.
  3. Laugh at the escapades of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society in The Play That Goes Wrong.
  4. Follow Clara and her magical Nutcracker doll as they head out on a Christmas Eve adventure to battle the Rat King in The Nutcracker
  5. Hear the heart-warming story of Buddy, Santa's biggest helper, in Elf The Musical
  6. A feel-good family adventure, join Stick Man as he makes the journey back home to his tree for Christmas. 
  7. Enjoy a madcap roundup of pantomime favourites such as Aladdin and Dick Whittington at Potted Panto
  8. Experience a classic Christmas tale with a twist at Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol.

Find more Christmas shows

Christmas Eve tours of London

View on Regent Street and the christmas lights, including the famous angel made of fairy lights.
Christmas lights on Regent Street, Photo by Jamie Davies on Unsplash

Experience all the festive feels during a Christmas Eve tour of London:

  1. Explore the capital while it's dressed in its finest during a London Christmas lights tour on an open-top bus.
  2. Or, for an extra festive experience, combine a London Christmas lights tour with dinner and Midnight Mass at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
  3. Experience some of the capital's top attractions with the Total London Experience on Christmas Eve, including the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye and a river cruise.
  4. See famous landmarks sparkle as night falls across the city with the Illuminations of London on Christmas Eve tour.
  5. Enjoy a day trip from London to visit the likes of Windsor Castle and Stonehenge this Christmas Eve.
  6. See historic sights on a coach tour to Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Cotswolds and Warwick Castle.
  7. Or view iconic Stonehenge on a number of tours; whether a morning tour of the monument, in combination with Windsor Castle and Oxford or alongside a visit to the Roman Baths in Bath.

Christmas eve activities in London

A group of people sing along to live music in the Bavarian bar at Winter Wonderland in London.
Enjoy live music at Winter Wonderland. Image courtesy of Eric Ayden Barberini/Winter Wonderland.

Soak up the seasonal atmosphere before the big day, from twinkling lights and dazzling trees to Christmas markets in London: 

  1. Head to Hogwarts in the Snow to follow in the footsteps of your favourite wizard this Christmas Eve at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
  2. From thrilling roller coasters, and exciting circus acts to live music, celebrate Christmas Eve at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
  3. Enter the enchanting illuminations of Christmas at Kew Gardens, where the botanical wonder is transformed into a Christmas spectacular. 
  4. Tick off some of the top London attractions from your Christmas wish list – make sure to check individual opening times and book tickets in advance.
  5. Stroll around the city in search of the best London Christmas lights, while waiting for Father Christmas to visit.
  6. Or head to one of London's scenic parks such as Richmond Park and Regent's Park for a beautiful wintry walk.  
  7. Fill your Instagram with some of the coolest Christmas trees in the capital.
  8. Pick up warming treats, London Christmas ornaments and last-minute presents at Christmas markets across the city. 
 

London Christmas carols and concerts

Make the most of your London Christmas break with a carol concert or a traditional service:

  1. Catch a Christmas Eve carol service at St Paul’s Cathedral or Westminster Abbey.
  2. Sing along to carols at the Royal Albert Hall.

Check back nearer the time for confirmation on more Christmas Eve concerts and services.

Last-minute London Christmas shopping

Don't panic! Head to some of the best places for Christmas shopping in London to pick up any last-minute gifts: 

  1. Admire seasonal window displays and hunt for presents at London department stores.
  2. Shop 'til you drop in the ultimate Christmas shopping hotspots, including Oxford StreetRegent Street, Carnaby and Bond Street.
  3. Find handmade gifts, foodie treats and one-of-a-kind items at one of the London Christmas markets.

Christmas ice skating in London

A young girl skating with a penguin on the ice rink at night time in front of Hampton Court Palace lit up in red, yellow and blue lights
Hampton Court Palace ice rink © Leftfield Images.com / Arena PR Group. Image courtesy of Leftfield Images.com / Arena PR Group.

Go for a twirl on one of London’s top ice skating rinks this Christmas Eve: 

  1. Get in the festive spirit and soak up views of a Tudor palace while twirling around the beautiful Hampton Court Palace ice rink*. 17 Nov-8 Jan
  2. Show off your skills on the Winter Wonderland ice rink - book ahead to secure your spot at this popular seasonal festival. 18 Nov-2 Jan
  3. Skate in the shadow of skyscrapers at the iconic ice rink in Canary Wharf. 26 Oct-25 Feb
  4. Or hang out on ice at the Queen's House rink. 17 Nov-8 Jan
  5. Whizz underneath twinkling lights and take in quayside views on the rink at Skylight Tobacco Dock. Dates TBC

London Christmas Eve dinner and drinks 

Toast to the festive season in a lively bar or enjoy a pre-Christmas dinner out in London:

  1. Dine out in style and see the sights on a London dinner cruise on Christmas Eve.
  2. Get Christmas off to a cracking start with a Christmas Eve meal at one of London's top restaurants.
  3. Treat yourself to sumptuous food from a Michelin-starred restaurant, a feast created by a celebrity chef or a dinner at one of London's most romantic restaurants.
  4. Celebrate the holidays with some bubbly at swanky champagne bars.
  5. Continue the festivities with a drink and stunning view at one of London's rooftop bars, many of which have heated terraces and themed winter pop-ups.
  6. Snuggle up in front of an open fire in one of the capital's cosiest pubs.
  7. Or seek out creative and quirky concoctions at cocktail bars across the city.

Travelling around London on Christmas Eve

There are usually changes to some public transport services on Christmas Eve, so make sure to check your route before travelling. 

On the Tube, some services are reduced during the afternoon and evening; while on buses, there is usually no night service.

Travel on the London Overground, DLR, Thames Clippers, National Rail, Gatwick Express, trams and coaches is also affected during Christmas in London. 

Find more information about transport over the festive season or visit the Transport for London website.

For more things to do over the festive period in London, take a look at our guide to Christmas in London, or check out our roundup of things to do in London on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Plus, find more essential Christmas and New Year’s Eve information with our guide to transport and opening times.

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