Where to have a wonderful Christmastime in London
London at Christmastime is a magical place to be. Full of lights twinkling on the busiest streets as well as Christmas markets serving up seasonal delicacies, there’s something festive around every corner that can be explored. If you’re struggling to work out where to start your London adventures, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to check out to make your Christmas festivities shine.
Christmas in London
See a show in the West End
A Christmas in London isn’t complete without a trip to the West End. If it’s a Christmas comedy you’re after, the whole family will love Nativity, a rip-roaringly hilarious festive show starring Danny Dyer and Jo Brand. For those who want to stick to British tradition, book your seats for the annual pantomime at London Palladium. This year, see Snow White beat the Evil Queen, featuring West End favourites Danielle Hope and Charlie Stemp as well as acting legends Dawn French and Julian Clary.
Nativity tickets are available now.
Snow White tickets are available now.
Walk around Leicester Square
Nestled in the heart of Theatreland, take a trip to Leicester Square’s Christmas market before a show. As you wander around the stalls, you’ll be able to find great gifts for your loved ones, as well as take advantage of the shops around the area. If you’re taking younger ones to Leicester Square, make unforgettable memories at Santa’s Grotto and meet the man dressed in red for a spot of yuletide fun.
Looking to see a Christmas show near Leicester Square? Enter the Dickensian world at A Christmas Carol with Simon Callow, a one-man adaptation of the Charles Dickens tale.
A Christmas Carol with Simon Callow tickets are on sale now.
Enjoy a day at Southbank Centre
Taking pride of place at the Southbank comes “Winter at Southbank Centre”, a pop-up Christmas market over the season that’s packed with shows, food stalls and plenty of mulled wine.
To make your Christmas celebrations on the Southbank even more special, why not change how you would usually spend time in the city with a trip to Circus 1903? Bringing the circus to the Southbank in the production’s European premiere, see death-defying stunts performed by acrobats, trapeze artists and contortionists in a circus show filled with the heart of the Golden Age.
For those who want to watch a traditional story brought to the modern day, Rumpelstiltskin packs larger-than-life characters and a colourful set into a surefire smash hit. Spinning straw into gold, witness the magical effects come to life as Rumpelstiltskin is adapted for a modern take.
Take part in a carol service at St Martin’s
Get involved in a traditional activity at Christmastime and join a congregation with some carol singing. With many carol services in the run-up to 25th December, there will be services commemorating the Advent as well as lighting candles and charity performances hosted by BBC Radio 4 and Shelter. With traditional music, readings and hymns, set your Christmas off on the right foot and join the cries of “Hallelujah” at a St Martin’s carol service.
Stroll around the light display at Kew Gardens
See Kew in a new light with the trail of Christmas lights, guaranteed to add some extra sparkle. Split into different sections, it’s the perfect place to bring a bit of festive cheer to a cold, dark evening. Enjoy a sumptuous hot chocolate or a spiced apple cider as you walk around the gardens, with lights bouncing around the trees. Going to Kew Gardens is a great way to spend a night under the stars, with lights, music and the scenery coming together to create a mix of Christmas colours.
Find as many light displays as you can
As the countdown to Christmas continues, a walk around London isn’t complete without seeing the lights. Many of the streets in Central London will be decked out with lights, including Regent Street, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street as well as the London Eye that will bring the feel-good magic to your London adventures.
Looking to get away from the beaten track? Combine a trip getting close up to animals and check out the Christmas lights at ZSL London Zoo, guaranteed to add to a joyful time in London.
Journey into a new world at Eltham Palace
Step into an enchanted Christmas into an illuminated world like no other at Eltham Palace. While taking a walk through the grounds, enjoy a maze of lights and music that lead you deeper into the palace. Let your inner child loose as you hop aboard the fairground rides while toasting marshmallows on the embers of a crackling fire. Nothing screams the festive season more than hot chocolate and marshmallows in a twinkling world full of Christmas frivolity.
Get sporty with a game of curling
Want to break a sweat this season? Coming to Stratford for the first time is Sliders, a Christmas extravaganza smashing curling and the movie Cool Runnings into an experience that will become an annual tradition. Against a Jamaican backdrop with the sounds of steel drums, play a game of curling with your friends and family and enjoy a cocktail. At Sliders, you’ll make your wintry nights out a summer smash.
Explore the fun of the season at Clapham Winterville
For those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the biggest crowds, Clapham Winterville is a great place to visit. Just a few miles south of the river is one of the city’s up and coming places to celebrate the season. As well as traditional wintery pastimes including ice skating, visitors can play a game of crazy golf, dart around the roller skating rink or buy some last minute presents at the craft fair. With theatres and a regularly updated live schedule of performers, it’s a great place for those who love to go somewhere quirky and different while enjoying the old Christmas classics.
Make sure you visit Winter Wonderland
If you’ve only got time to step into one Christmas location, then Winter Wonderland is the event for you. Attended by 2.5 million people in 2017, the festival stretches across Hyde Park and is free to enter, so it’s a great place to bring in the Yuletide revelry for any budget. Changing attractions annually, this year is set to be a grand affair, with an immersive cinema showing The Snowman, as well as ice sculpting workshops for those who enjoy the frosty temperatures. It’s also home to the world’s largest portable roller coaster, as well as an ice rink, a circus and a Bavarian village.
For those who can’t get enough of The Snowman, take a trip to the West End as the beloved children’s tale returns to the Peacock Theatre for its 22nd year. Watch the snowman come to life and fly through the air. Your heart will melt as you fall in love with the wintery world.
Rejoice your end of year celebrations and make your trip to London as easy as possible with us. If you’re looking for advice on where to stay in London, then we’ve got you covered. Getting around the city won’t be a challenge with us, as we’ve got a complete guide to the London Underground.