- The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes. Marcel Proust
Visit London During Christmas Time
December is the most magical month to visit London, with lots of festive things to do and enjoy as Londoners celebrate Christmas.
London's shopping streets are decorated with sparkling Christmas lights, and the stores are full of gift hunters finishing off their Christmas shopping. Christmas markets make an appearance all over the capital, offering charming crafts, seasonal food and warming mulled wine in a festive atmosphere.
A focal point of Christmas in London is Trafalgar Square, where the capital’s biggest Christmas tree – donated each year as a gift from the city of Oslo – glistens. Carol services are held around the tree throughout the month.
Another winter highlight is the outdoor ice skating rinks that pop up across the capital, many of which are situated in striking locations such as Somerset House and the Natural History Museum.
Things To Do In London during Christmas time
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
The biggest festive festival in the capital is high on most people’s winter hitlists. You can skate, browse Christmas markets, see a circus performance and drink mulled wine, all in the same place.
It does get busy (especially the ice rink) so if there’s something you really want to do, book tickets in advance.
Drop into the Geffrye Museum
This free Shoreditch museum is a great place to discover how Christmas was celebrated in the past. Go and have a peak into authentically decorated living rooms, stretching back 400 years.
Walk around London’s parks
Wrap up warm and visit one of London’s parks this winter. You might not be able to picnic, but you’ll definitely be able to pick up a hot chocolate on the walk round.
Southbank Centre Winter Festival with Nat West
Few places in London are as magical as the Southbank, even on a cold, grey day. And if a Christmas Tree-shaped-cafe and maze gets your winter pulse racing, then this free festival is the place to be.
With chalets selling crafts and winter goodies, along with live entertainment featuring community and school choirs every day, get wrapped up and head to the river.
Go ice skating at Somerset House
For something a little different to previous years, try the new late club nights. Put on in partnership with Fortnum and Mason, the Ministry of Sound are among those taking to the decks as you try and stay upright.
Browse crafts and gifts at Greenwich Market
Royal Greenwich has beautiful buildings, romantic riverside pubs and a fantastic market selling unique arts and crafts. Visit the market at the weekend in December and you can even find Father Christmas putting in a shift.
Christmas in Covent Garden
Pride of place in Covent Garden is a giant 22-foot silver reindeer, but you can also pet a live one (every weekend until Christmas) in the square. The market is good for crafts and gifts, plus you’ve got all the top stores in the vicinity. To help you make the most of your time there, we’ve put together a digital guide to the best places to eat, drink and be merry in Covent Garden.
Spitalfields Music Winter Festival
Musical performances in eye-catching venues in Spitalfields and the City of London are a must-do if you like your sounds a little less mainstream. Market Live will see jazz and folk musicians and singers entertaining the Christmas shoppers at Spitalfields Market. You can see baroque masterpieces and the beginnings of a new opera at other unique events. For potential carol singers, there is a Sing Out workshop (£10) so children aged seven plus can learn how to carry a tune.