Tinsel tales: What are the best things to do in London during Christmas?

As Christmas approaches, London undergoes a transformation, turning into a wonderland that beckons you to explore its festive delights. 

In this article, we’ll unveil some of the best things to do in London during Christmas. Whether you’re seeking a holiday shopping experience to remember or an exhilarating spin on the ice, we’ve got you covered!

Explore the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

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Location:  Louisa Duckworth Walk, London W1K 7AN, United Kingdom

Contact:[email protected] 

Opening hours: 

  • Friday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

Winter Wonderland offers an array of thrilling rides and attractions. Whether you’re soaring high on the observation wheel or braving roller coasters, you’re in for an exhilarating experience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to glide gracefully (or hilariously) on the famous Winter Wonderland ice rink. It’s an iconic London experience, and whether you’re a seasoned skater or a wobbly beginner, it’s a fun way to embrace the holiday spirit.

PS: Come with an empty stomach. From sizzling bratwurst to churros that melt in your mouth, there are a lot of goodies to sample here. 

Shop for gifts at Southbank Centre Christmas Market

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Location: The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 8XX, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 3879 9555

Pricing: General entry costs £5

Opening hours: 

  • Sunday to Thursday – 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM

Website

Southbank Centre Christmas Market is one of the best shopping areas in London due to its treasure trove of unique, handcrafted, and artisanal presents. 

From quirky trinkets to bespoke jewellery, there’s something for everyone on your list, making it the ideal spot for finding those one-of-a-kind Christmas presents.

One of the unique features of this market is its stunning location along the Thames River. As you stroll among the festively adorned stalls, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of iconic London landmarks like the London Eye and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Twirl on the ice at Somerset House Ice Skating Rink

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Location:  Strand, London WC2R 1LA, United Kingdom

Contact: 0343 208 1497

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Website

If the thought of gliding on ice to a DJ’s tunes tickles your fancy, you’re in for a treat. Somerset House hosts DJ nights, turning the rink into your very own winter discotheque. Fancy a festive moonwalk, anyone?

After you’ve given your best Tonya Harding impersonation, you’ll deserve a treat. Head over to Fortnum’s Lodge, a pop-up café that serves gourmet hot chocolate and other delectable delights to refuel your festive spirit.

Attend a classical Christmas concert at the Royal Albert Hall

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Location: Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7589 8212

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Website

Christmas and classical music go together like figgy pudding and custard. Attending a classical Christmas concert at the Royal Albert Hall is pretty much a given when celebrating the holiday in London.

Picture this: the resounding notes of Handel’s “Messiah”, the ethereal beauty of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker”, or the heartwarming melodies of carols. The concert repertoire is carefully curated to transport you straight into the heart of the Christmas spirit.

Meet Santa Claus at Harrods’ Christmas Grotto

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Location: 87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7730 1234

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Satuday – 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Sunday – 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM

Website

Santa’s Grotto at Harrods is renowned for its luxury and attention to detail. The experience is tailored for each child, creating a personal and unforgettable memory for your little ones.

After your audience with the man in red, you can explore the Christmas shop, indulge in delicious treats at the Harrods Food Halls, and even take a ride on their iconic Christmas-themed escalator. It’s a day out that the whole family can enjoy.

Shop for artisanal gifts at Covent Garden Christmas Market

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Location: 41 The Piazza, London WC2E 8RF, UK

Contact: +44 20 7420 5856

Opening hours: 

  • Monday & Wednesday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Thursday to Sunday & Tuesday – 10:00 AM to 7:30 PM

Website

What’s Christmas without indulging in some delectable treats? Covent Garden offers an array of food stalls and eateries where you can savour everything from gourmet chocolates to mouth-watering street food. 

Besides, the beautifully decorated stalls and the creative displays alone are worth adding to any Instagram feed. 

Indulge in festive high tea at The Ritz

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Location: 150 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London W1J 9BR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7493 8181

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 11:30 AM to 7:30 PM

Website

The Ritz London is synonymous with opulence and elegance, and this couldn’t be truer during the festive season. The hotel is transformed into a winter wonderland, with its stunning Christmas tree and lavish decorations creating a magical ambience that’s fit for royalty.

The highlight of your visit here is the culinary masterpiece that is The Ritz Christmas High Tea. Expect a feast for the senses with an array of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream, and an assortment of exquisite pastries that are almost too beautiful to eat.

As you enjoy your high tea, you’ll be serenaded by live music, often including a harpist or pianist. 

Go festive with the London Transport Museum

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Location: London WC2E 7BB, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 343 222 5000

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Website

Who said Christmas had to be all about chestnuts roasting on an open fire? At the London Transport Museum, they add a delightful twist to tradition. 

Step into a world where vintage buses, trains, and trams take centre stage, beautifully adorned with festive decorations. Guess who’s making a pit stop at the museum during Christmas? Santa Claus himself! He has a secret hideout here! 

Unleash your inner child at Hamleys 

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Location: 188-196 Regent St., London W1B 5BT, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 371 704 1977

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Thursday – 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Friday to Saturday – 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
  • Sunday – 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Website

What sets Hamleys apart is its interactive magic. You won’t just see toys – you’ll get to play with them! Toy demonstrations, magic shows, and interactive displays are all part of the Hamleys experience. It’s like a theme park for toy lovers.

Plus, during the holiday season, Hamleys hosts iconic toy parades that wind their way through the store. These parades feature beloved characters, Santa’s helpers, and plenty of festive cheer.

Visit the Christmas Tree at Trafalgar Square 

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Location: Trafalgar Sq, London WC2N 5DS, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7983 4750

Opening hours: Open 24 hours

Website

Every year, a traditional carol-singing event takes place around the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree. It’s a joyful gathering where Londoners and visitors come together to sing their favourite carols, spreading the joy of the season.

The tree is also a reminder of the spirit of giving. Each year, the lighting of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree marks the beginning of the holiday season charity drive. You can contribute to various charitable causes and share the warmth of Christmas with those in need.

Explore Dickens’ House

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Location: 48-49 Doughty St, London WC1N 2LX, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7405 2127

Opening hours: 

  • Wednesday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Website

If you’ve ever wished to experience the magic of “A Christmas Carol” firsthand, this is your golden ticket. Dickens’ House is the former home of the literary genius himself, and during Christmas, it transforms into a real-life embodiment of the classic tale.

Unlike some of the more crowded Christmas attractions in London, Dickens’ House offers an intimate and cosy experience. You can take your time exploring each room and savouring the festive ambience at your own pace.

They also host holiday workshops where you can try your hand at traditional Victorian crafts like wreath-making and Christmas card design. It’s a chance to get creative and take home a piece of Victorian Christmas magic.

Attend midnight mass at Westminster Abbey

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Location: Dean’s Yard, London SW1P 3PA, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 20 7222 5152

Opening hours: 

  • Wednesday to Friday – 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Saturday – 9:00 Am to 2:00 PM

Website

Midnight Mass at Westminster Abbey is a beautiful reenactment of the Nativity story. It’s a chance to revisit the heart of Christmas and reflect on the true meaning of the holiday amid the grandeur of the setting.

Celebrate at the Hogwarts in the Snow 

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Location: Studio Tour Dr, Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR, United Kingdom

Contact: +44 800 640 4550

Opening hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 8:30 AM to 10:00 PM

Website

For Potterheads, the holiday season isn’t complete without a visit to the place where it all began. Celebrating at Hogwarts in the Snow allows you to immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter like never before.

You’ll be captivated by the attention to detail. The Great Hall is adorned with real Christmas trees, and the Gryffindor common room is decked out in festive trimmings. It’s a visual feast that will have you saying, “Accio, camera!”

Oh, and did we mention you can get butterbeer?

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