Heading to London this Winter? We share the things to do in London for Christmas so you can enjoy these Xmas attractions & markets.
Why visit London at Christmas?
London is a busy city no matter what time of the year you visit and Christmas is no different. However, the city comes to life during the festive season; Christmas markets spring up all over the city, shops decorate to the max and you can find plenty of holiday treats too.
Visit during the week or during the earlier weekends of the month in order to avoid the crowds and make sure to wrap up warm; London can definitely be a chilly place to visit in December.
London Xmas Markets
Found in Hyde Park every year, Winter Wonderland is a free attraction full of stalls selling Christmas decorations, trinkets and gifts, pop-up pubs and food vendors, waffles galore, fairground rides and complete with a Bavarian Village.
You can also pay an additional cost to go Ice Skating, see the Ice Kingdom, visit the Ice Bar, watch a Circus or Ice Skating show and enjoy the giant wheel for views of the city.
Need to know:
This is by far the most popular Christmas market in London so it can get busy very quickly. Head here on a weekday to avoid the crowds and earlier in the day is generally quieter but doesn’t quite have that same magic. We find 2-5pm a good time to visit because you get that festive atmosphere before it is too crowded.
Entrance has previously been free but as of 2021, pre-booking is required to avoid overcrowding. Visiting in the off-peak periods is free and visiting in peak periods costs £5 (this seems to be the week running up to Christmas and weekends).
Tickets for special events or attractions can be purchased online as well, and ticket prices become free when you spend £20 or more on attractions.
The nearest underground station to Winter Wonderland is Hyde Park Corner but you may prefer to use Marble Arch, Green Park or Victoria to avoid the crowds and queues.
Wintertime Christmas Market Southbank
Head to the river and enjoy some time exploring the market at Southbank. The offers change each year but this is definitely a place to go if you are a foodie. Enjoy food like: truffle burgers, fish wraps, gourmet toasties, fondue, bratwurst, mince pies, dutch pancakes and eggnog.
There are plenty of pop-up bars to choose from and enjoy a mulled wine or hot chocolate.
Need to know:
- The festival runs throughout November and December but check online for exact dates.
- The nearest underground is Waterloo but Embarkment and Charing Cross are also nearby.
- The market is free to visit.
- From Sunday to Thursday the market is open from 11am to 10pm, and Friday and Saturday runs from 11am to 11pm.
Ideal home Show – Christmas
For anyone who loves shopping, the Ideal Home Show Christmas at Kensington Olympia is a perfect choice. You can buy lots of Christmas gifts here but also try new flavours, sweet treats and plenty of festive foods.
Need to know:
- Arrive early as can busy, fast!
- Cheaper tickets are available from websites like Groupon.
Selfridges Christmas Market
If you are looking for amazing street food, head to the Selfridges Christmas market. This runs from November to December outside the Selfridges store. You can find food from all over the world along with fairground rides, personalised wreaths that are made in front of you and plenty of Christmas decorations.
Need to know:
- This is located at the rear of Selfridges, meaning Bond Street being the nearest underground station.
- Make sure to take a trip inside Selfridges whilst visiting; there are gorgeous decorations inside along with plenty of shopping to be had.
Covent Garden Christmas Village
Covent Garden is magical at any time of the year but Christmas brings extra sparkle. The Covent Garden Christmas Village brings with it plenty of mulled cider, hot chocolate and tasty churros along with a Santa sleigh. You can walk through a forest of Christmas trees or enjoy a meal in a bauble themed dome.
Neet to know:
- The Christmas village begins mid November and runs through until the first week of January.
- The nearest train station is Covent Garden but you can also choose to take the underground to Leicester Square and walk from here. This will give you a chance to see the lights and stores on the way whilst avoid the crowds of Covent Garden station.
Leicester Square Christmas Market
Not far from Covent Garden is Leicester Square Christmas Market. There is a traditional market full of craft items, Christmas decorations and tasty treats. You can also enjoy a line up of performances too; from magic shows to cabarets and comedies.
Need to know:
- The nearest stop is Leicester Square Underground Station and the lights and stores of Oxford Street isn’t too far from the market as well.
- There are plenty of restaurants around Leicester Square but for better prices (and often better flavours), head to the restaurants a few streets away.
- The Christmas in Leicester Square market runs from Mid-November to the second week of January.
Greenwich Christmas Market
With over 150 stalls and shops, Greenwich Market is the place to go for some serious Christmas shopping. Pick up fashionable items or artwork from the many stores in the area or buy your stocking fillers from the many stalls.
Need to know:
- You can take the DLR line to Cutty Sark or the Thameslink train to Greenwich.
Christmas by the River at London Bridge City
Along the Thames River, you can find the Christmas By The River market. Full of wooden huts with unique presents, handmade crafts and plenty of amazing foods. Enjoy a cup of mulled wine whilst taking in the iconic views of the city.
Need to know:
- London Bridge train station and underground station are the nearest stops to this market but you could also choose to exit at Tower Hill and walk across the iconic Tower Bridge.
Christmas London events
Christmas at Hogwarts – Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Who doesn’t want to see the enchanted Hogwarts covered in snow? Or walk through the Great Hall; adorned with Christmas Trees and festive delights?! Yes, I am a Potter Geek and YES this was perhaps the best day of my life!
I promise I won’t talk for hours about WHY you should visit the Making of Harry Potter tour but if you are visiting then Christmas is the best time! Hogwarts is covered in snow and the Great Wall is decorated for Christmas.
The event runs from the second week of November through to the 2nd week of January.
Studio tickets cost £49.95 as of 2022 but remember to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House
Visit the illuminated gardens at Chiswick House, head to Santa’s Grotto and eat your way around the food stalls – a great choice for those with children!
This event begins in January and celebrates the new year; following the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Christmas shopping in London
Of course, a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a bit of shopping! Head to Oxford Street for the chain stores, explore Covent Garden for boutique stalls and shops or walk down Carnaby Street for everything fashion. After a long day of shopping, why not stop for afternoon tea at Sketch; not too far from Oxford Circus.
Christmas at Kew
Kew Gardens is one of my favourite gardens to visit from around the world and at Christmas, it comes alive with sparkling lights and enchanting decor – a must see!
- We LOVE this camera for our travel photography.
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- We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first).
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What to pack:
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