25 Christmas Things to Do in London (2024)

London at Christmas is a haven for magical experiences and festive activities and attracts many people to its beautifully decorated streets every year to enjoy its Christmas cheer. From ice skating around the iconic Somerset House courtyard to cozy Christmas markets, there is an abundance of Christmas things to do in London to suit everyone.

Whether you are a London local looking for something new to do, or you are visiting London for the Christmas season, we have rounded up the ultimate list of things to do in London at Christmas. So whether you are spending Christmas here with the family or on an adventure with friends, there is something to get everyone in the Christmas Spirit.

Best Things to Do in London this Christmas Season

  1. 01

    Christmas at Kew Gardens

    Park in Richmond
    Kew Garden Christmas, London
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    Kew Gardens is a stunning botanical garden located in southwest London and is known for its impressive Victorian conservatory, wonderfully manicured garden displays, and expansive grounds.

    At Christmas, Kew is transformed into a winter wonderland of gorgeous light tunnels with trees decorated with Christmas lights and Christmas market stalls selling street food, tasty treats, and hot chocolate. Visitors to Christmas at Kew can walk around the evening route enjoying the festive light displays and enjoy warm drinks under the twinkling lights, which is the perfect way of celebrating Christmas.

  2. 02

    See the London Christmas Lights

    Street in Regent Street
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    Seeing London at Christmas is a special time as the streets around the city dazzle with elaborate Christmas light displays that have in the past featured giant Christmas baubles, bows, and angels. Different parts of the city have their own special London Christmas lights and each is turned on with a countdown and a celebratory event. The biggest light display is on Oxford Street however there are many other great displays around the city to see this Christmas season which include:

    • Oxford Street and Regent Street – these Christmas lights are typically turned on in November
    • Carnaby Street – located behind Oxford Street, this quaint street has creative and quirky Christmas lights
    • Mayfair – this luxury shopping area has beautiful Christmas lights each year

    You can read all about Londons’ Christmas Lights in our detailed guide.

  3. 03

    Visit the giant Christmas tree in Covent Garden

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    Covent Garden Christmas Tree
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    Each year during Christmas in London an impressive 60-foot British-grown Christmas Tree is displayed in Covent Garden near the historic Piazza, and the entire area becomes a Christmas winter wonderland. From November until January Covent Garden is a great place to celebrate Christmas and admire all the Christmas activities, and twinkling lights while sipping a hot chocolate or a spiced mulled wine. Christmas attractions include:

    • A lifesize Santa Sleigh that is available for visitors to sit in, to take a festive photo. There is no fee to sit in the sleigh but there is usually a small queue.
    • The giant Christmas Tree cannot be missed, which also has a snow cannon firing fake snow over the Piazza every hour.
    • Try a Christmas sandwich as part of the Christmas Sandwich Festival taking place in Covent Garden.
    • Grab a hot cup of mulled wine in the Covent Garden market throughout November.
  4. 04

    Visit the Southbank Centre's Christmas Market

    Holiday Markets in Southbank Centre
    Southbank Centre Christmas Market, London
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    Along the banks of the River Thames, you can find the Southbank located between London Bridge and Waterloo. At Christmas, this bustling area is home to the Southbank Centre’s Winter Market which includes snugly wooden chalets serving festive hot mulled cider, and Christmas market stalls selling unique handcrafted Christmas gifts and street food. A visit to the Southbank is one of the best things to do at Christmas in London where you can wander, grab a bite to eat, and soak up some of the capital’s festive spirit.

  5. 05

    Ice Skating at Somerset House

    Cultural Center in Covent Garden
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    During Christmas in London, many ice rinks pop up around London, however, the most festive and picturesque has to be the ice rink at Somerset House, where a large ice rink is installed in the courtyard. Skaters can whizz around the spacious rink to a live DJ and then enjoy hot food and drinks from one of the Christmas Stalls. There are special Skate School sessions for anyone looking to learn how to skate and skating props are available for children on a first come first serve basis.

    Christmas 2023 at Somerset House is set to have a Swiss Alps theme, with skating sessions inspired by the Swiss regions of Bern, Lucerne, and Valais. During this festive period, skaters can dine at the Chalet Suisse by Jimmy Garcia, or enjoy a glass of Provence Rosé at the rinkside Lounge.

  6. 06

    Enjoy a Christmas River Cruise

    Boat tour in Westminster
    Christmas Dinner Cruise, London
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    Celebrate Christmas with a relaxing cruise along the River Thames where you can get into the festive spirit with a 3-course festive dinner and mulled wine. Cruises last around four hours and include drinks and live music. There are many excellent cruises to choose from which allow you to enjoy the festive season and impressive sights of London in style as you sip on champagne and dance the night away.

  7. 07

    Visit Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

    Holiday Markets in Knightsbridge
    Christimas Market in Hyde Park London
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    Every year Hyde Park is home to the ever-popular magical Winter Wonderland attraction, which includes fairground-style rides, an ice rink, Christmas markets selling hot food and mulled wine, and stalls selling unique Christmas gifts and souvenirs. The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is located in the West London area of the city and has a wonderful festive atmosphere, with the whole place lit up with Christmas lights.

    There is a charge for entry that can be redeemed against the rides. For small children, a trip to Santaland to visit Santa is a festive fun activity. Winter Wonderland is also very popular with adults and is open to 10 p.m. nightly. You can access Winter Wonderland from Marble Arch station or Hyde Park station.

  8. 08

    Catch a Christmas Show

    Musical in Lambeth
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    One of the best things to do over Christmas in London is to catch a show in the West End. During Christmas, there are a variety of excellent festive shows on, with something for everyone to enjoy. From magical Christmas shows for the kids to impressive plays for grown-ups, here are some of the best shows taking place in London’s West End this Christmas.

  9. 09

    Christmas Afternoon Tea at the Savoy

    Café in Covent Garden
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    London is home to some of the best Afternoon Tea experiences and what could be more Christmassy than a special selection of festive sandwiches and sweet treats? From delicious Christmas cakes to carol singing, here is one of the best Christmas Afternoon Tea options in London to get you in the festive spirit: Festive Afternoon Tea at the Savoy!

    Located just off the Strand, each year The Savoy is beautifully decorated with dramatic Christmas decorations. The Festive Afternoon Tea includes a selection of fine sandwiches and impressive sweet treats that have previously included a Santa’s Hat made with chestnut cream, yuzu, and spiced ginger sable.

  10. 10

    Take part in a London Santa Run

    Sports Event in Bethnal Green
    Santa Run London
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    If you are looking for a fun and energetic Christmas activity you can join a Santa Run through London. These fun runs take place in December with a few route options cutting across the city. Santa in the City is a 4.3 km run in which participants dressed as Santa run a route across London starting outside the Tate Modern. For a longer route, you can check out the London Santa Run which takes place around Victoria Park and encourages participants to raise money for cancer.

  11. 11

    Experience Christmas on the London Eye

    Ferris wheel in Westminster
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    Enjoy a different Christmas experience with a trip on the London Eye. Located on the Southbank near Waterloo, the London Eye has stunning views across the city and you can book a ride after sunset to admire all the beautiful Christmas lights from the sanctuary of the spacious pods. The London Eye changes its lights to make beautiful displays, such as a Christmas tree, and it is open every day except for Christmas Day.

  12. 12

    Natural History Museum London

    Museum in South Kensington
    Natural History Museum, London
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    The Natural History Museum is one of the best museums in London if you are interested in dinosaurs, and the natural world. It is a great place to explore and often has festive activities between November and January. The museum is an impressive London building and is a great place to visit for everyone. Children can enjoy looking at the exhibits around the museum whereas adults can book a Yoga at the Natural History Museum. The Museum store also sells Christmas dinosaur-themed decorations for a unique addition to your tree.

  13. 13

    Christmas at the Hampton Court Palace

    Historic Building in Richmond
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    The historic Hampton Court Palace is the ideal place to go to enjoy the festive atmosphere as the Palace transforms for Christmas. During the Christmas period, there is an ice rink, where people can skate with the Palace as the backdrop. Hampton Court Palace also has a wonderful Festive Fayre, which takes place in the impressive courtyard and includes Christmas market stalls that sell handmade gifts, and festive treats including Christmas street food. It is the ideal place to visit during the holiday season.

  14. 14

    Get cosy in a winter igloo at Coppa Club

    Restaurant in City of London
    Coppa Club tower Bridge, London
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    Enjoy gorgeous views along the River Thames as you snuggle up in a private winter igloo at Coppa Club. This wonderful restaurant serves Italian cuisine and has several private igloos that are decorated every Christmas with beautiful Christmas lights and cozy blankets. It is the perfect place to relax and unwind during the festive period while enjoying a delicious meal and a glass of wine.

  15. 15

    Check out a spectacular Christmas window display

    Department Store in Knightsbridge
    Harrods London
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    Looking at the spectacular window displays at Christmas is a great festive activity and London has some wonderful department stores that have great displays. If you are doing some Christmas shopping in the central London area there are some great department stores that have impressive festive displays

    • Selfridge’s – located between Marble Arch and Bond Street has modern, bright, and colorful displays
    • Liberty – located near Regent Street – usually has a creative display showcasing excellent handcrafted talent
    • Fortnum and Masons – Located near Piccadilly Circus – Fortnum and Masons have fun displays that often include moving elements
    • Harrods – located in Kensington – Harrods has stylish window displays to match the luxury goods found inside
  16. 16

    Christmas at Eltham Palace

    Historic Building in Eltham
    Eltham Palace London
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    Eltham Palace is a stunning English Heritage Castle located in the South East London borough of Bexley. At Christmas, Eltham Palace is lit up with beautiful Christmas light displays and impressive illuminations throughout the extensive grounds. There is also a Christmas market with local sellers selling festive street food and drink, handmade crafts, and cocktails to make the event more special and spread some festive cheer.

  17. 17

    Visit Liberty’s Christmas Shop

    Department Store
    Liberty London
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    For the ultimate free Christmas things to do in London head to the Liberty department store. Located just off Regent Street, this iconic store has the most beautiful Christmas shop which takes over an entire floor. The store is transformed for the festive season and it is the perfect place to pick up a unique Christmas decoration, especially a London-themed bauble, finish some Christmas shopping, or just marvel at all the beautiful Christmas delights.

  18. 18

    Christmas Concert by Candlelight

    Concert in City of London
    Candlelight Christmas Concert London
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    Witness a special Christmas concert performance by The Piccadilly Sinfonietta, to candlelight located in the centre of London. Hosted at the St Mary Le Strand Church, guests can enjoy a wonderful programme of Christmas carols sung and performed by some of the most talented musicians and singers in London. Listening to a Christmas carol is one of the top things to do in London at Christmas to get you in the festive mood. Performances last an hour and take place at various times throughout the early evening.

  19. 19

    Get your Christmas shopping done at the Ideal Home Show (22-26 November 2023)

    Exhibitions, Fairs and Congresses in Hammersmith
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    If you like to get your Christmas shopping done early or are looking for some Christmas holiday inspiration then head to the Ideal Home Show Christmas Festival. Taking place between the 22nd and 26th of November the show has amazing Christmas workshops, live talks, Christmas events, and plenty of retail stalls to help you get all the gifts you need. Tickets to the Ideal Home Christmas Festival also admit entry to the Eat & Drink festival and the co-located Cake & Bake Show, so you can enjoy a Christmas-filled day out with your family or friends.

  20. 20

    Make a festive wreath at Petersham Nurseries Richmond

    Café in Richmond
    Petersham Nurseries
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    Petersham Nurseries ist ein Café, Restaurant sowie ein Ort der Begegnung. Die Familie Boglione hat einen Ort geschaffen, der außergewöhnliches Wissen, Leidenschaft und Kreativität inspiriert, feiert und vor allem teilt. Hier treffen sich Menschen, die ihre Leidenschaft für Bio-Gartenbau, kulinarische Exzellenz, ethische und nachhaltige Beschaffung teilen und Schönheit in den einfachsten Dingen zelebrieren.

  21. 21

    Enjoy a festive tipple

    Bar & Pub in Kensington
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    As Christmas descends London becomes a wondrous place of Christmas cheer, with people celebrating throughout November and December. Many pubs and bars around London get in the festive spirit with twinkling fairy lights, Christmas trees, and decorations. Here are some of the most Christmassy places to grab a drink around London and soak up the holiday vibes.

    • Miracle at Henrietta – this Christmas pop-up bar goes all out at Christmas with kitsch Christmas decor, retro ornaments, Christmas lights, and drinks served in novelty Christmas-themed vessels. Come here with a friend to enjoy the brilliant Christmas cocktails in this wonderful grotto-like bar. Location: Covent Garden.
    • Dalloway Terrace at The Bloomsbury Hotel – If you are looking for a cozy place to enjoy a drink then head to the Dalloway Terrace. Every year the conservatory area is stylishly decorated for Christmas, and a special Christmas menu offers festive cocktails. Location: Great Russell Street.
    • The Churchill Arms – During Christmas, The Churchill Arms is a stunning holiday sight and the perfect place to head to for a Christmas drink. The exterior of the pub is lit up with thousands of Christmas fairy lights strung onto Christmas trees that cover the building. It even has its one Christmas lights turn-on event on the 1st of December. Location Notting Hill Gate
  22. 22

    Visit the Sky Garden

    Building in City of London
    Skygarden London
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    The Sky Garden is a viewing platform located on the 43rd floor of the Walkie-Talkie building and offers picturesque views of the London skyline. It is a great place to go at Christmas in London, for some unique seasonal cheer, as it is decorated with Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and festive floral displays. Booking is required to enter but it is free. There are also two wonderful restaurants and three bars located there that offer a special Christmas menu, and there are also DJ events hosted throughout the year.

  23. 23

    Christmas as Battersea Power Station

    Shopping Center in Battersea
    Battersea Porwer Station in Christmas, London
    View of Battersea Power station during Christmas time in London, UK
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    The Battersea Power Station has had a major remodel and is now a bustling hub that includes luxury flats, shops, restaurants, and bars. At Christmas, the area is decorated with a large Christmas tree, and festive lights, and there are many Christmas activities such as ice skating, giant Christmas installations for holiday photos, and Christmas markets selling festive food and drink. It’s a great place in London to head to to combine Christmas fun and shopping in one place.

  24. 24

    Catch a Festive Film

    Cinema & OpenAir Cinema in City of London
    Christmas Films London
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    What is your favourite Christmas film? There is no better way to get into the Christmas spirit than by watching some festive films. Many locations around London offer Christmas films that include past festive favourites and new films, coupled with a warm cup of mulled wine or a hot chocolate.

    • Backyard Cinema is a cozy option with comfy bean bags to sit on and screenings that often include a live orchestra to compliment the film.
    • Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square If you are looking for an epic Christmas movie marathon then head to the Prince Charles Cinema. Every year they play old Christmas movies back to back for the ultimate movie extravaganza. Movies in the marathon include The Muppet Christmas Carol, Home Alone and Die Hard.
    • One Aldwych Festive Film and Fizz Enjoy a more intimate Christmas screening to celebrate the festive season with a classic film and a glass of Chapel Down. With only 30 seats the One Aldwych cinema is a welcome retreat during the hectic holiday season.
  25. 25

    Join a Christmas Sing-a-long

    Religious Site in Westminster
    Westminster London
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    Who can resist a good ol’ Christmas sing-along to get you in the festive mood? Sing along to popular Christmas carols to celebrate Christmas at one of these amazing locations in London.

    • Barbican Christmas Carol Singalong is one of a few of Barbican’s wonderful Christmas concerts on offer over the festive period.
    • St Paul’s Cathedrall is an iconic location to enjoy a carol concert. There are a variety of Christmas concerts and carol-singing sessions throughout the festive season.
    • Westminster Abbey holds a special Christmas concert each year which includes music from young choristers and musicians for a memorable Christmas experience.

Frequently Asked Questions about What to Do in London at Christmas

Is London a good Christmas destination?

London is a great Christmas destination, with plenty of festive activities, beautiful Christmas lights, and plenty of Christmas cheer.

What is on for free in London for Christmas?

There are many free activities around London at Christmas. All department stores are free to enter and have beautiful Christmas displays and special festive pop-up shops.

Watching the Christmas lights being turned on in Oxford Street and Regent Street is free to attend, and there are many free festive things to do around Covent Garden such as taking a picture in Santa’s sleigh. The Southbank is also a beautiful place to walk during Christmas.

Are London attractions open on Christmas?

Most London attractions are open during the festive period however are shut on Christmas Day. Check the opening times at each attraction before visiting.

What is the most beautiful street in London during Christmas?

Regent Street is the most beautiful street in London to see Christmas lights with iconic red London buses driving beneath the impressive light displays above.

Is London cold during Christmas?

London has changeable weather and it is cold in December. In December the average high is 48°F (9°C) and the average low is 41°F (5°C).

Profilbild Laura Haig
About the author

Laura

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!

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