Looking to spend Christmas in London? You’re in for a magical time. Whether you’re visiting London for a Christmas getaway or a local looking to get into the London Christmas spirit, read on to discover the best Christmas things to do in London.
1. Christmas Markets
Let’s start with a few of the obvious. The Christmas markets in London are iconic. Spread out across the city you can visit and enjoy the ones at Southbank, London Bridge City, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and more. The London Christmas markets are teaming with delicious food options and Christmas treats.
2. Winter/Christmas Lights
London really does light up at Christmas time. Head into the West End in December (or really from almost anytime mid November) and be dazzled by the array of winter lights. For the best spots don’t miss Regent Street, Oxford Street (and the nearby lanes) and Carnaby Street.
3. Borealis London
A part of the Mayor of London’s Let’s Do London campaign, the northern lights have been brought into the City of London. In December enjoy the free event Borealis by Dan Archer at Guildhall Yard, where using a combination of smoke and lights, the spectacular display dances across the night sky.
4. Christmas Shop Decorations
If there’s one thing London does well, it’s Christmas shop decorations. In fact, you could spend a whole day and night just wandering around the streets taking in the magnificent decorations. From Annabel’s Mayfair to Bond Street and pretty much everywhere in between, admiring the Christmas shop decorations is one of the best ways to explore London in December.
5. Christmas Carols
Christmas and carols go hand in hand, so there’s no surprise you’ll find more than your fair share of festive song across London. Discover the best carols in London here.
Whether you’re an expert or just proud to stand up straight, ice-skating is one of the best Christmas things to do in London. You can find ice-skating rinks across the city from Greenwich Queen’s House, Natural History Museum (finishing 2021), Somerset House, Hampton Court Palace and more.
7. Mulled Wine
How to drastically improve red wine? Heat it up, of course! Mulled wine is a Christmas staple for those who experience Christmas in a colder climate. Throughout December most places from pubs, to Christmas markets and theatres will be serving mulled wine so get into the festive spirit (and warm up) with one.
8. Ever After Garden
Visit the Ever After Garden in Mayfair and give tribute to loved ones no longer here with us this Christmas. You can donate any amount to have a rose dedicated to your loved one with funds raised for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. It is free to visit and admire the array of lights.
9. Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree
To thank the Brits for their support in World War Two, every year since 1947 Oslo in Norway donates a Christmas tree to London. This gigantic tree stands proudly in Trafalgar Square and is a must do tick off the list for everyone experiencing Christmas in London.
10. Winter Wonderland
Take the Royal Show and give it a Christmas theme and you’ve got Winter Wonderland. Combined with theme park rides, bars, markets, games and oh-so-much food, spend a day and evening wandering through the magnificent Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
11. Christmas Tree Shopping
If you’re living in London, one of the big Christmas traditions here is choosing your own tree. From November Christmas tree stalls pop up all across London offering real Christmas trees of different shapes and sizes.
12. Christmas at Kew
Kew Gardens is a botanic experience in Richmond in London. Each year at Christmas, these incredible gardens come alive as the grounds are lit up with festive lights. Considered one of the must do Christmas activities in London, you can learn more about it here.
13. The Making of Harry Potter Christmas Edition
While Warner Bro’s Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter is a well-known London must do (Read more: Harry Potter locations in London you must visit), did you know that there is a dedicated Christmas version you can enjoy in between certain dates in November and January? Known as Hogwarts in the Snow, explore the magical studio tour with a festive twist.
14. Bus through the Christmas Lights
Eager to see all the Christmas lights but not keen on the walking? London buses are the answer. If you hop on bus 139, 22, 453, or 94 you can explore the magical festive lights from the comfort of your seat. Looking for something slightly more festive? Join TootBus on their dedicated London Christmas lights bus tour.
15. Backyard Cinema
There’s nothing better than a Christmas movie in December? Except when it’s at Backyard Cinema, of course. Uncover the ultimate Christmas cinema experience here.
16. London Eye Christmas Experience
Take your classic London Eye experience to the next (Christmas) level with a Christmas Pub Pod. Available on selected dates in the festive season, your experience includes a certain amount of drinks and incredible views. Learn more about the experience here.
17. Covent Garden
Don’t forget to stop by Covent Garden at Christmastime. Each year a gigantic Christmas tree returns, you can shop, enjoy the markets and soak in the festive feeling. Learn more about Christmas in Covent Garden here.
18. London Christmas Shopping
We’ve all got to do it. Make your Christmas shopping a more enjoyable experience and ditch the online shops for the in real life experience. Engage in the Christmas atmosphere as you peruse some of London’s most famous shopping locations. Discover some of the best shopping locations here.
19. The Theatre
London is teaming with some of the best talent in the world. Take advantage of the plethora of shows available in the West End when exploring London at Christmas time.
20. The Pub!
And, I couldn’t round out a Christmas things to do in London list without mentioning a trip to the pub. Christmas is about celebrating friends, family and loved ones and there’s no better way to do that in London than enjoying a delicious meal (and maybe a pint!) in a warm, cosy pub.
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