Feeling festive: 7 fun things to do this Christmas in London

If you’ve been outside recently, it’s easy to tell that Christmas is well on its way. The days are shorter and the weather is colder.

Christmas in London is magical, so grab your coat and head out to experience seven of the best things to do in London in December.

1. Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park

Now in its tenth year, Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park has become London’s go to Christmas event.

Christmas in London | Winter Wonderland

Here, you can wander around Christmas markets, go crazy on the funfair rides or be amazed by spectacular circuses. You can even see the traditional Nutcracker on Ice show.

Christmas in London | Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Entry is free, though some of the activities may charge and you may need to be booked in advance. However, even if you’re low on funds, there’s plenty to do and see, and it’s wonderful way to soak up the magic of the season.

2. Ice Skating

Ice skating rinks are all over London at Christmas. Most of them are outside famous landmarks, such as the Tower of London and Westfield shopping centre.

Christmas in London | Ice skating

Just make sure you grab a hot chocolate afterwards to warm up. Our favourite places to go ice skating in London are :

  • Alexandra Palace
  • Broad gate Circus
  • Canary Wharf
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland
  • Natural History Museum
  • Somerset House
  • Tower of London
  • Wembley Park
  • Westfield London

With most rinks you’ll need to book a slot in advance – be sure to go online and check first.

3. Christmas Card Day

A group of painters showcase their spectacular talents in a live, pop-up studio in Spitalfields Market, East London, to celebrate the first Christmas card that was ever sent in 1843.

Christmas in London | painting Christmas cards

The event takes place early December, where artists will be painting live, using either their mouths or feet, to create a collection of Christmas cards, wrapping paper and calendars.

4. Christmas at Kew Gardens

Each year, Kew Gardens hosts a magical Christmas light walk in December.

You will be able to wander through their gardens at night, following a mile-long path sparkling with lights.

Christmas in London | Kew Gardens

Kew are also hosting their very own traditional Christmas market and vintage fair too.

Make sure you book tickets to watch the seasonal illuminations lighting at Kew. The botanical gardens is turned into a wonderland, with brightly coloured laser beams dancing over water, a Tunnel of Lights, scented Fire Garden and fairy-tale avenues of flora.

5. Pantomime

A real British Christmas tradition, pantomime is a type of interactive theatre, loved by children and adults alike.

There are a number of pantos taking place in theatres around London during the festive season, classics can include: Cinderella, Aladdin and Dick Whittington.

Christmas in London | Pantomime

Warning: you will be expected to participate, but we guarantee you’ll have great fun.

6. Festive Lights Display

Head to London’s shopping districts of Oxford Street, Bond Street and Carnaby Street to see the festive light displays while browsing your favourite stores.

Covent Garden is also famous for its festive displays, tasty food and entertainment; and not forgetting its array of unique and bespoke shops to browse in.

Christmas in London | Oxford Street

Take a stroll and soak-up the festive atmosphere. The Christmas lights are beautifully displayed across the streets and shop windows, and ready to be admired by all.

7. Christmas Dinner

Finally, the festive period wouldn’t be complete without a traditional Christmas Dinner. Roast potatoes, stuffing and Brussels sprouts – Christmas is the perfect excuse to eat as much as possible.

There are hundreds of places to get a good Christmas Dinner in London – from your local pub to The Shard, where you can enjoy your food with a view.

Christmas in London | Dinner with friends

The Culpeper in Shoreditch is always a winner. Much of their food is home-grown on the rooftop of the building and at around £35 for a three course traditional Christmas Dinner it’s great value. Groups of 10 – 12 can even book out their greenhouse at the rooftop garden to dine with views of the City.

You may also like to read our essential tips for international students spending Christmas abroad or discover our recommendations for the seven best Christmas movies to watch in December.

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