At Christmas London becomes a truly magical place, from the lights that decorate every street to Christmas trees peeping through windows, the city takes on a whole new life and there is a feeling of excitement, anticipation and festivities in the air.
Last year Christmas across the globe wasn’t quite the same and so London is making sure it comes back with a bang this year. We’ve listed the top 5 things to do in London this Christmas and the best places to do them!
1) Ice Skating
Skate under a twinkling canopy of lights or around a giant Christmas tree, whatever your preference London has all the options.
Open for an 18 week period this year the Canary Wharf ice rink in Canada Square Park is alpine themed and covered; meaning no matter the weather you’ll always be able to skate under hundreds of twinkling lights and the canopy of some of Canary Wharf’s most impressive skyscrapers.
If a 40ft Christmas tree decorated with specially curated Moët & Chandon decorations is what you want then look no further than Skate at Somerset House. From contemporary music to gift selection options to really make an occasion out of it, this ice rink promises to leave you feeling truly festive.
The Natural History Museum
After 16 years, this year will be the last that you can put on your skates and whizz around a tree whilst in the shadow of a 148-year-old building. The Natural History Museum from January 2022 will be turning the outdoor site into a “biologically diverse green space” and so, this is the last chance to take to the famous ice rink.
2) Light Displays
To say London is lit up at Christmas is an understatement, with shop fronts, squares and neighbourhoods having a quiet competition to create the most breathtaking display, you’re not short of glittery lights to go and marvel at.
Crystal Palace Park this year will be lit up from mid-November until the start of January with the Lightopia Festival. With lanterns and lights paving the trail throughout the park when the sun sets the lights go up transforming it into a truly magical experience. From interactive floors, a rainbow road, mythical creatures and of course a Christmas Tree, this is guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit.
Seven streets worth of festive lights to warm the soul, the theme this year at Seven Dials is Festive Woodland and they sure have created something very special. Wonder through the dainty back streets of Covent Garden taking in the festive wreaths and silver winter birch hanging above you. And the best part is whilst you’re there you can get some of your Christmas shopping done as well!
We had to include London’s largest Christmas light display, no list is complete without including the famous Regents Street lights. Conveniently named “the Spirit of Christmas” the canopy of lights that span from Langham Place to Waterloo Place, promises to do exactly that.
3) Christmas Markets
Shop, drink and be merry at one of the many Christmas markets in London. From parks and rides to boutique stalls in one of London’s most iconic shops. Shopping is for the many and Christmas markets there are plenty!
Head to the heart of London’s Hyde Park and immerse yourself in a range of attractions, activities and adventures at Winter Wonderland. The festive extravaganza grows each year and has just about everything you could want from a Christmas market including a circus, fairground rides, food stands, an ice rink and of course shopping stalls. This year, Winter Wonderland has introduced ticketing so be sure to head to their website to book before you go!
Christmas at Greenwich Market
Greenwich Market is already a staple in the area, but add some lights, festive cheer and mulled wine and each year it transforms into the perfect spot for a Christmas shop. If it’s baked goods, arts & crafts or jewellery then Greenwich Market has it all, the list goes on but you might be better off going to see for yourself all that the covered market has to offer.
Selfridges Christmas Market
A Helter Skelter and sustainably sourced Christmas trees are just two of the attractions making the Selfridges Christmas market stand out. Back for a second year and promising to be bigger and better than the last, visit the Mews and enjoy a luxurious shopping experience with a festive twist.
4) Covent Garden
There is plenty to do in the nearly 300-year-old square and so it only seemed right that we broke it down so if you’re pushed for time you can pick the best bits to see.
If you have young children in tow or maybe you're just young at heart, then the Covent Garden piazza is the place to be. From a Frozen takeover that includes snow falling every hour to an interactive LEGO installation, entertainment there is plenty and festive cheer there will be many.
Food & Drink
There is something for everyone in Covent Garden, dine at Sushi Samba or grab a quick sweet snack from Santa Nata. From breakfast to dinner, from burgers to pasta if you fancy a cuisine, chances are you will find it here and it is a great place to pop to for that pre or post-theatre bite to eat.
The area is probably most famous for its street performers who have been showing off their talents since the 1660s. After passing an audition, the performers put on shows on either the West Piazza, North Hall or South Wells and the best part is it’s free!
Whether you’re getting in your Christmas shopping or treating yourself, London is far from short of top spots to shop. With iconic department stores and world-famous streets, enjoy all the exuberant shops in London.
Not only does it have quaint streets and 3D reflective neon giant butterflies overhead but Carnaby Street also has great shopping. Lose yourself amongst the shops that can often be slightly less busy than its neighbours Oxford Street and Regent Street. Be sure to head to Liberty London, the stunning 146-year-old high-end department store, not just to browse their festive window display but also to have a look around at the stunning collections inside.
Fortnum & Mason
Selling everything from world-famous hampers to jewellery, it’s no surprise that even the Queen herself has said this is one of her favourite shops. If you’re looking for something that is quintessentially British then look no further than Fortum and Mason!
Running next to the Spirit of Christmas light display on Regent Street, Oxford Street is home to just about all your classic high street brands. From Urban Outfitters to John Lewis whether you’re looking for a gift big or small, Oxford Street shopping is probably going to have it. And as this is all about festivity, of course, they cover the mile-long road in glistening Christmas lights.