London is a magical place to visit during the Christmas season, with its festive lights, charming Christmas markets, and special events. If there is a city to explore at Christmas, it is most undeniably London. I have strolled the streets of London finding things to do many a time at Christmas. In this guide, I will take you everywhere in London that you must not miss on your trip to London at Christmas time!
This is the Ultimate Guide to the Best things to do in London at Christmas
These are some of the best things you must not miss in London this Christmas:
Explore the Christmas Lights
London is famous for its Christmas lights, and it is always the number one thing to do at this time of year. Don’t miss the displays on Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Covent Garden. Make sure you seek out these top streets and destinations for the Christmas lights this year:
- Regents Street
- Oxford Street
- Carnaby Street
- Seven Dials Christmas lights
- Covent Garden Christmas lights
- New Bond street
- South Bank Christmas light
- Bond Street
- St Martins Lane
- Marylebone Village Christmas lights
Explore Londons Christmas Window Displays
Check out the festive window displays at famous department stores like Harrods, Selfridges, and Fortnum & Mason. This is one of my favourite things to do in London at Christmas! Every Year big London stores decorate their windows for Christmas. Here are the top London Stores with the best window displays:
- Selfridges Oxford Street
- Liberty of London in Great Marlborough Street
- Hamleys in Regent’s Street
- John Lewis’s in Oxford Street
- Harrods’ in Knightsbridge
- Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge
Explore all of the Great Christmas decorations and photo opportunities at Shops and restaurants
This year, Christmas has been decorated better than ever! Each year, shops and Restaurant’s up their game and decorate their entrances extremely grand! Perfect for photo opportunities and selfies. Here are the best places to see Christmas dressed to the nines:
Kyon Mayfair Is contemporary izakaya and features authentic Japanese cuisine with a modern influence. Every Year it decorates for Christmas in style with a Mini classic car and a huge display of Christmas presents with floral decor.
Where: 38 Grosvenor St
Annabel’s Glorious Front Door Decor
Annabel’s hot air balloon Christmas decoration in London’s Mayfair is a stunner! Every year Annabel’s, which is a private members club, changes up its decoration and this year, it definitely has the wow factor! So even if you are not part of the club you can be part of the atmosphere.
Where: 46 Berkeley Square
Cartier London’s New Bond Street Shop Front for Christmas
The Cartier Jewellery store on New Bond Street is always dressed for the festive period. In the past, it has seen giant presents with bows, but this year we have an Air Balloon with golden clouds.
Where: 175-177 New Bond Street
The Ivy Collection
Other shop fronts with great displays include the Ivy Collection of Restaurants. Almost all of their establishments have a beautiful Christmas instalment outside their abode. One of the most admirable installations is the Christmas design outside the Ivy Kings Road restaurant, but you will find Christmas trees made of baubles outside all of the other restaurants around town.
Visit Covent Garden this Christmas
Everybody loves a day out in London and Covent Garden at Christmas is one of the most magical places in London to be. Step into a magical world in London’s Covent Garden, where they host magical Christmas events throughout the season. You will find, Christmas lights, Pop-ups, Photo opportunities and Christmas stalls. What’s more, most of it is free in Covent Garden at Christmas time.
Where: Covent Garden Piazza
Visit Winter Wonderland
Hyde Park transforms into a Winter Wonderland with an ice skating rink every Christmas, and it is hot on the list of days out. Here, you will find a traditional German Christmas market, fairground rides, and festive food and drink stalls.
Where: London’s Hyde Park
Ice Skate in London
Skate at iconic venues like Somerset House this Christmas, such as, the Natural History Museum or Hampton Court. With so many places to skate with new ones cropping up, these are the best ones in central London to visit:
- Skate at Somerset House
- Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
- Canary Wharf Ice Rink
- The Queens House Greenwich Ice Rink
- Alexandra Palace Ice Rink
- Glide at Battersea Power station
- Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
- Skate West End at Bond Street
- Skylight Tobacco Dock
Explore the Christmas Markets in London
Explore London’s Christmas markets; they are spread all over London with very many to choose from. Head to the Southbank markets and visit the Southbank Centre Winter Market or Christmas by the River at London Bridge or go into the West End for Leicester Square Christmas Market or Trafalgar. You can find unique gifts and enjoy festive treats, so try these London Christmas markets:
- Leicester Square Christmas market
- Winter at the Urban Spoon Market
- Southbank Centre Winter Market
- Christmas by the River at London Bridge
- Christmas at Paternoster Square
- Kingston Upon Thames Christmas market
- Christmas at borough market
- Selfridge’s Christmas Market on the Mews
- Christmas at Greenwich market
- Covent Garden market Winter Warmer festival
- Kings Cross Christmas Market at the Crossing
- DIY Christmas Art Market Peckham
Go Christmas Shopping
London is home to some of the world’s most famous shopping districts and is perfect for Shoperholic’s! Head to Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street, or Covent Garden for some holiday shopping. Don’t forget to check out smaller streets like Carnaby Street and some of the shops around Seven Dials for interesting gift ideas.
See a Christmas Show
Watch a traditional Christmas pantomime, a festive ballet like The Nutcracker, or a Christmas-themed theatre production. You will spoilt for choice with amount of theatres in the West End! Hop over to the Leicester Square Ticket booth for some cheaper tickets all year round.
Watch a Christmas Movie in London
There are many interactive Pop-up cinemas with Christmas movies on show every year. Try these nostalgic Cinemas for a Christmas blast.
- The Luna Winter Cinema at Kensington Palace And Battersea Arts Centre
- Prince Charles Cinema for old winter classics.
- Curzon at One Aldwych
Drink Christmas cocktails
Christmas is a great time for celebrating, and what’s better than a Christmas Cocktail or two? You can find many of the old favourites celebrating with a lineup of festive cocktails; try these Cocktail establishments for a Christmas tipple:
- Miracle at Henrietta Street is a fully themed Christmas cocktail bar ( don’t worry if it is fully booked; they do walk-ins! )
- The Chocolate Cocktail club in Farringdon have their Christmas cocktails ready.
- Seek out “Humbug” a New immersive Christmas dive bar speak easy at Leake Street in Waterloo.
Listen to a Christmas Carol Concert
Attend a Christmas carol concert at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, or one of London’s many churches. They are dotted everywhere and make for a very festive Christmas Day or night out. Check the events at these London Churches for Carol’s and other offerings:
- St Martin in the Field’s in Trafalgar Square has a variety of Candlelight concerts and Carol singing.
- Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall is full of a festive itinerary
- Check out Christmas at St Paul’s Cathedral for Advent and Carol singing concerts.
- The Actor’s church St Paul’s in Covent Garden, has a variety of activities.
- Spend Christmas at the Barbican, which has Carol concerts, Christmas movies and lots more Christmas events this year.
Visit Christmas at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is illuminated with beautiful light displays during the festive season. Embark on a sparkling journey at Christmas at Kew, where captivating, immersive displays, illuminated trees, and a stunning Palm House finale await. Conclude this enchanting London Christmas experience with cosy mulled wine and delicious mince pies.
Where: Kew Gardens
When: Available from November 15th to January 7th 2023
Visit all of London’s Christmas Trees
Visit the famous Norwegian Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square and the glorious tree of books in St Pancras Station. London is full of beautiful large Christmas trees and these ones are definitely worth a visit:
- The Trafalgar Square tree, which is a gift from Norway to the people of London: Trafalgar Sq, London WC2N 5DS
- Leaden Hall Market Christmas tree – Leaden Hall Market, Gracechurch, St EC3V 1LT, UK
- Covent Garden Christmas tree where it snows every Hour – Covent Garden Piazza WC2E
- Somerset House Christmas Tree: Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
- Battersea Park Christmas Tree: Battersea’s Park London SW11 4NJ
Christmas Afternoon Tea
Enjoy a traditional Christmas-themed afternoon tea at one of London’s many hotels and tea rooms. Try one of these exquisite cream teas with a festive spirit:
- Claridge’s Christmas Afternoon Tea
- Be Our Guest afternoon tea at Waldorf Hilton London
- Festive Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych
- Nutcracker Afternoon Tea at The Petersham in Covent Garden
- Why not hop on a Paddington Bear Afternoon tea bus tour!
Visit Santa’s Grotto
Take the kids to meet Santa Claus at various locations throughout the city, such as Harrods or Hamleys. Here’s where to find Father Christmas in London:
- See Father Christmas at Hamleys
- See Father Christmas at the London Zoo
- Explore Santa’s Grotto at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
- Find Santa at the London Transport Museum
- Seek out Santa at Museum of London Docklands for a Victorian Christmas
- Fortnum and Mason’s Santas Grotto
- Visit Wishmas, a new Fantastical Christmas immersive experience.
Take a Christmas Day Swim
Join the brave souls who plunge in the icy waters of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park on Christmas Day. It’s for charity and quite a spectacle.
Remember to check the opening hours and availability of events and attractions in advance, as some may have limited availability during the holiday season. Some events get booked up quite in advance.
London comes alive with festive spirit during Christmas, making it a wonderful time to visit this vibrant city.