Christmas in London

There's nothing quite so magical as Christmas in London, and the Christmas attractions in London are world class.

2019 June 12

There's something special about Christmas in one of the world's best-loved cities, a super-cool place where there's ancient history at every turn, blended with super-modern buildings, awesome art galleries, astonishing museums, superb international, big brand and independent shopping, shows and concerts, musicals and markets. If you're after a jolly good dose of the festive spirit, walk this way!

There's Xmas panto thanks to the annual London Palladium Pantomime. You'll discover special family Christmas shows, plays and musicals in the glittering West End, specially created for the season. The English National Ballet and the Royal Ballet usually present festive shows, and Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall is legendary thanks to a spectacular line-up over the season, including the iconic performance of Handel’s Messiah, seasonal ballet recitals, traditional carol concerts and big-band Christmas smash hits. To see the entire, beautiful, astonishing city lit up, take a tour on the London Eye and see the views reaching out over the city and way beyond. And stroll the banks of the mighty Thames as the happy Xmas shoppers stream by. It's a genuinely amazing place to spend time at this point in the year.

There's nothing quite so magical as Christmas in London, and the Christmas attractions in London are world class. If you'd like to stay in the capital while you have the time of your life, before or during the festive season, we have some lovely cheap hotels for you scattered throughout the city. Take a look at our London easyHotels page and see what takes your fancy.

 

List of Christmas activities to do in London

For Christmas activities, London is one of the finest city destinations, known far and wide for its seasonal delights. Here are just a few of the very best.

 

Christmas Lights

Christmas activities in London for families include the wonderful lights, and there are so many to choose from. Regent Street is lit up in a stunningly lovely way and the Oxford Street Christmas lights are famed the world over. Carnaby Street creates a fantastic display and Covent Garden's Christmas lights are simply stunning. Marylebone Village has its own Xmas lights to enjoy, as does Northbank. You'll also find lights to wonder at in The Brunswick Centre, Seven Dials, Kingston and Connaught Village. Plus Sloane Square in Chelsea, The Royal Exchange, St Katharine's Docks, The Shard and Trafalgar Square, where you'll find the splendid traditional Christmas tree every year.

 

Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park is the biggest of four Royal Parks forming a long, peaceful green chain between the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, past Hyde Park Corner and Green Park then past the entrance to Buckingham Palace. It is also home to the annual Winter Wonderland London event, a whopper of a Christmas festival including brilliant shopping, ice skating, family shows, fairground rides, circus shows and a big wheel for viewing the spectacle from high above. It's free to get in and so big you could easily spend the day there.

 

Christmas at Kew

At Christmas, after dark, the gorgeous gardens at Kew light up in a stunning festive trail of lights. It's so popular that tickets go on sale in June. There's usually a light show at the Palm House and the gardens are lit by more than a million glowing bulbs. A fantastic mile-long trail through the famous botanic gardens awaits you, studded with magical performances, displays and installations.

 

Hogwarts in the Snow

The Warner Brothers' Studio Tour’s amazing festive feature, Hogwarts in the Snow, is on again this year, a fab festive makeover of the Great Hall which turns it into a place fit for the Yule Ball. The Gryffindor common room is dressed up too, and a blanket of pretend-snow smothers the massive Hogwarts castle model in the most charming way. Glittering Christmas trees line the Hall, a huge feast is laid out, and there are icicles everywhere. Your kids will adore the spectacle, and they'll wonder at the orchestra of magical instruments.

 

Christmas Markets

The London Christmas market scene is a particularly lively one, offering a host of opportunities to sample the capital's wares. There's Camden Christmas market, London Bridge Christmas Market and Southbank Christmas Market for a start, all packed with delicious, exciting and unusual Xmas treats. Camden Market changes into a dazzling Christmas wonderland through November and December with Santa's Grotto, flurries of snow, seasonal live music and lots of tasty street food, all very cool and funky.

London Bridge Xmas market is a traditional event taking place along the Queen's Walk from London Bridge City Pier to the Scoop at More London, with a suite of famous city buildings along the way including Tower Bridge and the Tower of London itself. The Southbank Centre's Winter Festival runs from early November until the first week in January and offers a feast of glorious festive fun including markets, music, entertainment, food and great shopping. You can also enjoy festive Christmas markets at Novikov Mayfair and Leicester Square, and seasonal craft events at Crafty Fox and Winterville's Solo Craft Fair.

 

Christmas Shopping

Covent Garden, Oxford Street, the massive Westfield shopping centre and Carnaby Street are all great for Xmas shopping. Covent Garden is excellent for quirky, independent and luxury shopping. Oxford Street is home to really big branches of your favourite high street brands, including a massive M&S, all sorts of tourist shops and independent outlets. Carnaby Street is great fun, packed with unusual clothing stores and vintage treasures. And the Westfield Shopping Centre is open until 10pm, a place that bills itself as a fashion centre stacked with fabulous outlets. You'll find Kath Kidston, Coach & Disney, SS19 Homeware, Jack Wills, Heals, Urban Decay and a whole lot more. What a retail thrill.

 

Ice Rinks

There's nothing more romantic than sailing gracefully around a sparkling ice rink accompanies by Christmas music. If you're a beginner that's fine too – it's a really cool way to spend time, and you can do it at the Natural History Museum, Hampton Court, and at Somerset House ice rink. You can also skate at Ally Pally ice rink, AKA Alexander Palace, and Winterville ice rink in Clapham, Skylight's rooftop rink and even at John Lewis, courtesy of Skyline Skating and Sipsmith London.

 

Trafalgar Square Tree

Nothing says Christmas quite like the famous Trafalgar Square Tree. Usually a towering 60-year-old Norway spruce more than 20m high, it is given to the capital by the city of Oslo in thanks to the people of London for their help and support during the war, a tradition dating back to 1947. When it's lit up it is so beautiful it brings tears to your eyes... in a good way!

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