Christmas is a special time of year, for many people, especially kids who still see the festive season as a magical time. Christmas in London is a beautiful way to spend the Christmas period with many amazing Yuletide events taking place across the city.
Christmas in London is an amazing time to visit the city with the London Christmas lights decorating the streets, Christmas markets popping up, and a literal Winter Wonderland, the city is filled with festive cheer. There are some amazing festive activities for kids to enjoy throughout London, from visits to Santa’s Grotto, Christmas shows, ice skating rinks, and Christmas markets the list of things to see and do with children is as long as Santa’s to-do list.
Here are our top picks of the best festive activities and Christmas London attractions for children to see and do in London this winter.
Best 14 Things to Do in London with kids at Christmas
Winter Wonderland Hyde ParkHoliday Markets in KnightsbridgeAdd to myTravel added
Every year Hyde Park is transformed into a Winter Wonderland to celebrate the festive season. Located in West London, this popular Christmas attraction includes exciting fairground rides, a Christmas Market selling souvenirs and gifts, and food stalls selling hot snacks, hot chocolate, and mulled wine for the adults.
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is the perfect place to spend a winter day as there is so much to do including an ice skating rink, a real ice slide, a Christmas circus, and a magical ice kingdom.
Children can also meet Father Christmas at the exciting Santa Land attraction, where younger children can enjoy rides such as the Penguin Bumper Cars.
There is also a Santa Parade every few days throughout the Christmas period, where kids can wave Santa off on his journey back to the North Pole. Winter Wonderland is the perfect Christmas in London day out for kids in the centre of London where kids and grown-ups can enjoy some festive treats, and will without a doubt put everyone in a festive mood.
Visit Father Christmas in his GrottoShop & BoutiqueAdd to myTravel added
It isn’t Christmas in London with kids without a trip to Santa’s grotto, to visit Santa and get everyone in the Christmas spirit. During Christmas, there are some amazing Santa experiences throughout London where young children can meet Father Christmas in his enchanting Christmas grottos or winter wonderlands. Here are our favourite places where you can meet Santa in the city:
- Hamleys Santa Grotto. Combine a magical shopping trip to the famous Hamleys toy store, located on Regent Street, where during Christmas children can visit Santa’s Grotto and the Elf’s workshop. Children are invited to get involved in a range of festive Christmas activities and will be able to meet Santa and take home a Hampleys gift bag. Booking is essential and tickets cost around £50 depending on the number of children attending. Hamleys Santa’s Grotto is open from late November.
- Breakfast with Santa at Selfridges. Every year the luxury designer department store invites guests to have breakfast with Santa at the store. Located near Marble Arch station in the busy Oxford Street shopping district making it a great Santa stop if you are doing some Christmas Shopping. Tickets are yet to be released and are around £60 per child and include a personalised gift from Santa himself.
- Westfield Santa’s Grotto. There are two Westfield shopping malls located in London and both offer exciting Santa experiences and Christmas festivities. Kids can book a one-to-one Santa meeting which takes place in a magical winter wonderland. There are also some great kids’ activities to help spread some festive cheer.
- Santa’s Grotto at Winter Wonderland. If you are heading to the Hyde Park winter wonderland, don’t forget to take your little ones to meet Santa at Santaland. Little ones are welcomed through a red entrance gate where they can enjoy festive rides and receive a gift from Santa himself. Tickets to meet Santa are free with your Winter Wonderland tickets.
Christmas at Kew GardenPark in RichmondAdd to myTravel added
If you are looking for an otherworldly experience during Christmas in London, then head to Kew Gardens, located in South West London. Every year this stunning UNESCO World Heritage botanical garden is transformed into a wondrous Christmas Light trail.
It is one of the best Christmas things to do in London with kids, with extraordinary light tunnels to explore, impressive illumination displays, and trees decorated with thousands of sparkling Christmas lights. Children will also get the chance to glimpse Father Christmas around the trail. There are also Christmas market stalls selling hot food and delicious mulled wine to keep everyone feeling merry.
Glide around London's Ice RinksCultural Center in Covent GardenAdd to myTravel added
As the Christmas season inches closer a variety of amazing ice skating rinks start to pop up around the city. It is a popular festive activity in London and children around the age of 5 are welcome to enjoy some ice skating. Most ice skating rinks have special times for children, usually in the morning, although they are also welcome to join the open sessions. Some ice rinks also provide skating aids for children and ice skating lessons. Here are some of the best ice rinks that arrive in London during Christmas:
- Somerset House. Ice skaters can skate around the courtyard of this iconic London landmark which is decorated with a huge Christmas tree. Somerset House ice rink also has a DJ and a bar to enjoy hot chocolate or a mulled wine afterward.
- Hampton Court Palace has a beautiful ice skating rink in the courtyard of the Hampton Court Palace. Children aged 3 years and above are welcome and there are family tickets available to help save some money on entry.
- Greenwich – The Queen’s House. Each year an ice rink is set up outside the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is The Queen’s House in Greenwich, which provides a stunning backdrop for skating. Special sessions are available for children aged 3 – 6 allowing a more peaceful experience for kids.
- Glide at Battersea Power Station. Skate with the iconic Battersea Power Station in the background at this recently opened shopping area. Children ages 4 and above are welcome to come for a skate and enjoy a hot chocolate afterward in the Glasshouse cafe.
Visit the Kingdom of WinterTheme Park in Isle of DogsAdd to myTravel added
Opening in 2023, the Kingdom of Winter is set to rival Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, as a spectacular Christmas experience, with festive activities and experiences. Located on the Eastern side of London at the ExCelLondon, this exciting festive wonderland will open from the 8th of December until the 7th of January 2024 and will be jam-packed with festive activities to explore.
This new Christmas event will include an ice skating rink, fairground rides, and an immersive ice expedition trail. A Christmas-themed circus show is also set to be on hand to wow visitors, with shows throughout the day. It is set to be a great Christmas activity and it is all under cover so you won’t have to worry about the weather.
There will also be an alpine-themed village, which will include a shopping area to pick up some Christmas gifts, and a food and drink chalet, serving hot mulled wine and festive food to add to the festive fun.
Harry Potter Studios at ChristmasMovie Location in WatfordAdd to myTravel added
For any Harry Potter fans in the family, a trip to the Harry Potter Studios during Christmas is a magical experience. Between November to January, you can experience Hogwarts in the Snow, where you can see the sets decked out with Christmas trees, and see places such as the Forbidden Forest, and Diagon Alley covered with (faux) snow.
The Great Hall also gets a grand Christmas makeover with gold decorations and a tantalising banquet set out on the tables, just as fans saw in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. A trip to the enchanting Harry Potter Studios is a great Christmas day out for older children, especially those who are familiar with the films or the books.
Frozen - The Musical in LondonMusical in Covent GardenAdd to myTravel added
If you’re in London with kids grab your tickets to the spectacular musical Frozen on the West End. Frozen the Musical takes place at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Covent Garden, and is a fun show for any Disney enthusiasts. Your favourite FROZEN songs, such as “Do You Want To Build a Snowman” and “Let It Go” will be brought to life in this jaw-dropping production.
The NutcrackerPerformances in WestminsterAdd to myTravel added
If you are looking for a traditional Christmas show, the classic Nutcracker ballet is shown at the London Coliseum. The Nutcracker is a classical ballet with two acts that has captivated millions of people throughout its history.
Even without any knowledge of ballet, the Nutcracker has an absolute cult status and will enchant you with its elegance and classicism. The British National Ballet version is unrivaled and offers a magical experience for the whole family.
The SnowmanMusical in LondonAdd to myTravel added
The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre is already a Christmas classic in London! One of the most beloved stories returns to the West End for Christmas for the 21st consecutive year. This perfect show for families tells the story of a child and his magical snowman and his winter adventures. This is London’s longest running Christmas show.
Peter Pan PlayMusical in Kingston upon ThamesAdd to myTravel added
For some festive Christmas laughs there is a brilliant variety of pantomime shows too,Peter Pan at The London Palladium is the best-known in London.
For a short time only (from December 1 to January 7, 2024), the magical musical awaits you at the Rose Theatre Kingston.The story of the naughty boy who doesn’t want to grow up yet reaches not only the very young among us. It’s a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a family-friendly musical in London.
Christmas Lights in LondonTheme bus in WestminsterAdd to myTravel added
If you are looking for exciting Christmas light displays to show the kids, then London will not disappoint. From late November the city is glittering with thousands of sparkling lights with impressive light displays and exciting switch-on events taking place across London.
The best Christmas lights in London are the Oxford Street lights which stretch 3 miles along Oxford Circus or the beautiful ‘Spirit of Christmas’ Angels which soar above Regent Street.
Covent Garden is also a wonderful place to visit with the kids at Christmas, as it has a wonderful Christmas light display, a Christmas market, a famous Christmas tree, and plenty of Christmas festivities to entertain children such as Santa’s sleigh and the festive Wonder Wood display to take a photo with.
During the Christmas period, there is a light display in nearly every corner of the city, with some very beautiful Christmas lights to see. There are so many amazing Christmas lights to see in London during Christmas we have a guide all about the best Christmas Lights in London.
*Tip: As there is a lot to see and children get tired quickly, a bus tour of London’s Christmas lights might be a good option for families.
Explore London's SouthbankHoliday Markets in Southbank CentreAdd to myTravel added
During Christmas, London’s Southbank area is filled with Christmas spirit and is a great place to take the kids. A traditional Christmas market springs up along the riverside with attractive German-style wood chalets decorated with Christmas lights selling handmade gifts and souvenirs, and cosy Christmas igloos are dotted around, perfect for enjoying some delicious food and a glass of mulled wine.
The Royal Festival Hall is located on the Southbank and has an excellent selection of Christmas theatre and music shows on offer for children and adults. The London Eye is also located nearby and is a great activity for the kids in London. During Christmas, the London Eye is lit up with a festive Christmas light display with the lights making the shape of Santa Claus and a festive Christmas tree.
The Southbank area is a wonderful place to visit during Christmas, and the kids will love the freedom to wander by the famous River Thames, and enjoy a traditional carousel ride, festive treats, and marvel at all the festive Christmas lights.
ZSL London ZooZoo & Aquarium in The Regent's ParkAdd to myTravel added
For an unusual Christmas event in London with the kids, The London Zoo has some great Christmas activities. There is plenty of Christmas cheer at the ZSL London Zoo with festive activities taking place throughout December.
There is a special Santa Meet for children to enjoy, where they get hands-on experience working as Santa’s little helpers at the Elf School, before meeting Santa himself for a special trip through his magical grotto. Tickets go on sale during Autumn and there are various experiences to choose from including a storytelling session with Mrs Claus and a VIP Breakfast with Santa experience that includes a special tour of the zoo before it opens to the public.
Take a trip to LaplandTheme Park in AscotAdd to myTravel added
For a very special Christmas experience with your children, you can take a trip to Lapland UK, which is based in Ascot, a short journey just outside of London. Here you can enter an immersive world of magic and mystery as you are transported to a special winter wonderland, with real reindeer and live performances from elves and everyone who lives in the North Pole. Lapland UK is a brilliant Christmas experience in the UK that brings the magic of Christmas to life with actors playing out Christmas scenes to get everyone in the festive spirit.
Children will be amazed by the beautiful Christmas wonderland of Whitmoor Forest, where they make a toy at the Elves’ workshop, and decorate gingerbread cookies with Mrs. Claus. The experience lasts around four hours and is a spectacular way to spend Christmas with the kids.
Great attention to detail has been taken to make Lapland UK a unique and special place and every child attending will receive a personalized invitation from Father Christmas, a special Lapland newsletter, and an Elf passport to grant your Small Folk entry into Lapland. Every child will also receive a beautiful husky soft toy after their visit with Father Christmas, a souvenir photo, and a toy they helped to make from the toy factory to deliver for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve.
Early booking is advised and you can arrive at Lapland UK via car or by catching a train from London Paddington station to Ascot and then take a short taxi ride to Lapland UK.
The Best Christmas Plays in London
Take the kids on a fantastical Christmas adventure by hitting London’s West End to catch an amazing Christmas theatre show. The theatre hub of London, located around Leicester Square and Covent Garden, has some brilliant Christmas shows on for kids during the festive period. Here is a selection of the best shows offering festive family fun:
*It’s a good idea to check the age recommendations and the length of each performance before booking to make sure they are suitable for younger children as some shows have a minimum age restriction.
I love traveling in Europe and I am passionate about writing about my travels. The cultural peculiarities of each region always fascinate me. I enjoy exploring and discovering the best-kept secrets of each town or village. I love road trips as much as city breaks; I love visiting an art gallery and also the magic of musicals or discovering new delicacies in a street market. In this blog, I write about all my travel adventures and my best tips and tricks! Auf Loving Travel schreibe ich über alle meine Reiseerlebnisse und gebe euch meine besten Tipps und Tricks!