What to do in London this Christmas

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

london christmas activities

It’s already coming up to that time of year again, the nights are turning cold again and we can almost smell a hint of spiced glühwein in the air. The lights are already up on Oxford Street and it won't be long before there's Christmas trees, window displays and that incomparable festive buzz… Christmas just makes London come alive and this year it's set to be more magical than ever with an array of festivals, ice rinks and traditional markets returning to get you in the festive spirit.

We’ll start by getting our fix at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland which returns again this year for more festive fun, and with an ice-rink, a UV powered golf course, cinema screenings and an epic street feast.

There’ll be an array of exhibitions and pantomimes going on, as well as Christmassy teas to indulge in and street food stalls to browse and a lot of carol singing.

In fact, there’s so much happening in London this Christmas you’ll be hard-pressed to choose what to do. To help whittle it down we’ve compiled a list of our favourites – each of which will have you walking in a winter wonderland and forgetting you’re in a city at all.

1 of 12
image
Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
Ice skating at Somerset House

It’s an annual classic and for good reason. Glide along the illuminated ice beside the glorious Somerset House and admire the enormous sparkling Christmas tree. Classical music and heartwarming Christmas songs will transport you away, and when you’ve done enough skating there’s an array of after-hours entertainment to enjoy, like the Christmas Arcade for late-night shopping and Fortnum’s Lodge or the Skate Lounge for a cocktail and some warm hearty food. There's even a Polar Cub Club for little ones.

Where? Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

When? 14 Nov 2018 – 13 Jan 2019

How much? £11

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
2 of 12
image
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
Hogwarts in the Snow

Can you think of anything more magical than Christmas at Hogwarts? No, neither can we. Experience Christmas in the Wizarding World as you wander through The Great Hall and discover how film-makers created fire, ice and snow that never melts as the Studio Tour undergoes a magical makeover for Hogwarts in the Snow.

Where? Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR

When? From 17 November 2018 to 27 January 2019

How much? From £33

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
3 of 12
image
Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema, Newington

Backyard Cinema and Penguin Ventures (part of Penguin Random House) have teamed up to create this spectacular cinematic spectacle. Now you can feel like you’re flying with The Snowman at this immersive cinematic adventure. See the classic story in a whole new way as you not only watch the film but journey through it, bringing your favourite scenes to life as if you had stepped into the movie itself.

Where? Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park

When? From 22nd November 2018 - 6th January 2019 (excluding Christmas Day)

How much? Tickets from £6.95

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
4 of 12
image
Winterville
Winterville, Clapham Common

South London’s answer to Winter Wonderland, Winterville promises an intimate, engaging and creative atmosphere as it returns to a new location for its third year. Popping up will be Clapham's very first ice-rink, Backyard Cinema's winter garden and an epic street feast. There'll also be plenty of ticketed shows on offer including Cirque du Cabaret, Mexican Wrestling and an all-singing, all-dancing All-Abba Disco.

Where? Clapham Common

When? 15th November to 23rd December

How much? Free entry, tickets for attractions available in advance or on the door

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
5 of 12
image
Museum of London
Museum of London, Barbican

If you're looking for somewhere different to take the kids to meet Santa this year, try the . They've really got into the Christmas spirit and have set up an atmospheric Victorian Christmas grotto. There'll be a Victorian walk festooned with decorations, Christmas carols and of course, Santa himself, who will be giving out special Christmas gifts to the little ones.

Where? 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN

When? From 1st to 23rd December 2018

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
6 of 12
image
Kew Gardens
Christmas at Kew, Kew Gardens

is one of the prettiest places in London anyway, but at Christmas it's even more glorious as, when night falls, the grounds are illuminated with over a million twinkling lights. The glittering trees will be lit with lanterns, snowflakes and stars and there'll be enchanting light and sound shows. Don't miss the sledge tree (it's been constructed from 360 Santa sledges), the fire garden and Kew's annual Victorian festive fairground.

Where? Kew Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AE

When? 22 November 2018 – 5 January 2019, 5pm – 10pm (timed entry every 30 minutes)

How much? From £16.50 for an adult, £10 for a child (off peak)

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
7 of 12
image
The Snowman
The Snowman, The Peacock Theatre

It's not Christmas until you've watched - but this stage adaptation courtesy of is even more magical. The perfect theatre experience for small children who will love the dancing snowmen, the jiving fruit (a pineapple, banana and impressively swishy coconut) and of course the little boy who takes to the air with his Snowman pal. With a set that's reminiscent of a snowglobe, a beautiful score (including a new version of Walking In The Air from Aled Jones) and a finale which ends with snow falling onto the delighted audience below, this is a festive must-see.

Where? The Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, Holborn, WC2A 2HT

When? From 22 Nov 2018 - 6 Jan 2019

How much? From £15 a ticket.

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
8 of 12
image
Getty Images
Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch

Ever thought about why we do things like sending cards, hanging stockings on the fireplace and plonking a massive tree in our lounge to ? We hadn’t really either, but at the Geffrye Museum you can get stuck in creating Christmas terrariums, rainbow wreaths and winter wellness survival kits while also learning all about Christmas traditions past. The museum has a range of activities on it's festive programme and is the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.

Where? Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch, London

When? 1st December to 15th December

How much? Various events are free while others can be booked from £30

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
9 of 12
image
Getty Images
Winter Market Southbank Centre, Bankside

It’s our annual go-to for spiced mulled wine, cinnamon treats and other delicious fare sold from cute fairy-lit huts, and this year promises even more. Alongside the usual Christmassy gifts there’ll be a variety of activities to get you in the festive spirit, including BBC Orchestra sessions, carol singing and a whole host of theatre and art performances and events.

Where? Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

When? 9th November - 27th December 2018

How much? The Christmas market is free, but all other events are ticketed at various prices

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
10 of 12
image
Getty Images
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park

Winter Wonderland takes over Hyde Park once again this year with rows of market stalls selling everything from handmade crafts to mulled wine and bratwurst, alongside fairground rides, an ice rink, a circus and a rotating carousel bar among other attractions. We’re especially in love with the Magical Ice Kingdom, a miniature world sculpted from ice complete with a castle and an ice throne - never fails to enchant. Nor does the giant German beer tent.

Where? Hyde Park

When? 22nd November 2018 to 6th January 2019

How much? Free, tickets for Magical Ice Kingdom and other attractions available on the door

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
11 of 12
image
Getty Images
Canary Wharf Ice Rink

Bringing a bit of magic to the heart of the city this Christmas, Canary Wharf’s rink features an array of quirky things to enjoy, like Skating beneath a row of stunning fairy-lit trees surrounded by glittering skyscrapers on a separate little path. More of a spectator? Hop over to the heated area outside where you can take in the Christmas magic without ever having to step foot on the ice.

Where? Canary Wharf, E14 5AB

When? 2nd November 2018 – 16th February 2019

How much? From £9.95

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
12 of 12
image
Claridge's
Christmas Afternoon Tea at Claridges

If you’re looking for a luxury festive afternoon tea, Claridge’s should be top on your list with its beautiful setting and exceptional choice of food and teas. Think festive finger sandwiches, Christmassy pastries, raisin and apple scones with clotted cream and Christmas pudding, all served with a glass of champagne. You can choose from almost 40 loose leaf teas from around the world, and at the weekend carol-singers in the foyer greet you with a tuneful welcome. It’s also an ideal opportunity to admire Claridge’s Christmas tree, which every year turns out to be one of London’s most spectacular. Make sure you book early; this one is popular.

Where? Claridges, Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR

When? 12 November-1 January 2019

How much? £85 per person Monday to Friday and £90 per person Saturday and Sunday

Want to know more? Visit

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Inspiration