Top things to do in London this Christmas

things to do in london christmas 2016

 As it’s such a big city London is perfect for finding something fun to do this Christmas. Whether it’s buying cute handmade gifts at Winter Wonderland or making a figure of eight on the ice you won’t be short of places to go in the capital this year.

London Wetland Centre – Saturday 3rd December – Sunday 4th December 2016
Get festive with London’s Wetland centre wonderful winter weekend. Perfect for kids they’re offering husky sleigh rides, a visit to santa in his grotto and a ride on a donkey. Kids can even help elves get ready for Christmas in the Elves workshop making festive decorations or small gifts to take home and throw wellies in the Stonz Wellie throwing competition.
See London Wetland Centre for a full list of prices

The Advent Sleepout Challenge 2016
Christmas is of course about giving, so why not help raise money for charity in the Advent Sleepout Challenge. In 2015 they raised £93,450 to give hope to the homeless and marginalised. This year they hope to raise £200,000.
Get involved here

Southbank Centre Winter Festival – Friday 11 November  2016 – Wednesday 25 January 2017
This year the Southbank Centre are pulling out all the stops to be the best festive attraction around. Supported by Natwest they’re offering lots of festive things to do including a fabulous christmas market with lots of sweet, gifts and seasonal treats and seasonal christmas shows. Highlights include Rekorderlig Winter Lodge and NoFit State Circus: Bianco. The festival is generally open for 10am-10pm daily,  although it will have a few variations over the Christmas period, these include:

  • Open from 10am-6pm Christmas eve   
  • Closed on Christmas day 
  • Open from noon-10pm boxing day
  • Outdoor attractions will be closed on New Years Eve
  • Open on New Years day from 1pm

Get more information on the festival and prices here 

Winter Wonderland – open from Friday 18 November 2016-Sunday 2 January 2017
When you think of London at Christmas you probably think of Winter Wonderland. The annual festive event at Hyde Park which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year has a whole host of treats for you and your family to enjoy. Entry to the show is free although you will have to pay for additional stalls and attractions inside. Highlights include ice skating, the Magical Ice Kingdom, Zippos Circus, The Giant Wheel, Bar Ice, Cirque Berserk and the Sooty Christmas show.

Get more information on attractions and prices here 

Christmas Carol services
I don’t know about you but when I hear Christmas carols I can’t help but feel a bit emotional. London has lots of carol events for you to enjoy this year to make sure you get into the festival spirit.  Events include:

  • Shelter Carol Service at St Martins in the fields Trafalgar Square on Wednesday 30 November 2016
  • Eltham Palace Carol Concert on Eltham Palace on Wednesday 7 December 2016.
  • Alternative Christmas Carols at Granary Square, Kings Cross on Tuesday 13th December 2016.
  • ChildLine’s Merry Little Christmas Carol Concert at St Paul’s Cathedral on Tuesday 13 December 2016.
  • Kings College Choir Carols at Royal Albert Hall, Knightsbridge on Friday 16 December 2016
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Classic Carols at Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday 20 December 2016
  • The Bach Choir: Carols at Cadogan at Cadogan Hall, Brompton on Friday 16 December 2016. 

ice skating in london

Ice skating
There are so many beautiful backdrops for ice skating this Winter including Hampton Court and Natural History Museum. Whether you’re as graceful as Torvill and Dean or hold onto the edge like your life depends on it, ice skating can be great fun. Here’s a full list of rinks you can enjoy:

  • Broadgate Ice Rink , Broadgate circle, Exchange Square.
  • Canary Wharf open until Saturday 25th February 2017
  • Eyeskate (in front of the London Eye)
  • Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink at Hampton Court Palace from Friday 25 November 2016-Sunday 8th January 2017
  • Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Ice Rink from Friday 18th November 2016-Monday 2 January 2017. 
  • JW3 On Ice at West Hampstead’s Jewish Arts cultural centre in Frognal. Runs from Saturday 3rd December 2016-Sunday 8th January 2017. 
  • Natural History Museum Ice Rink  in Brompton runs until Sunday 8th January 2017.
  • Somerset House Ice Rink in Temple runs from Thursday 17 November 2016-Monday 16 January 2017. 
  • Tower of London Ice Rink, Tower Hill from Wednesday 16th November 2016-Tuesday 3rd January 2017. 
  • Westfield London Ice Rink, Shepherds Bush runs from Wednesday 23 November 2016-Sunday 8 January 2017.

Christmas in Leicester Square open from Friday 11th November 2016-Sunday 8th January 2017
A new addition to the annual festivities is Christmas in Leicester Square. The latest destination for Christmas 2016 includes a grotto, traditional Christmas market and a vintage Spiegeltent (a wooden venue home to a whole range of Christmas shows). Highlights include shows from The English Gents, Hamish McCann’s pole act and the world famous La Soiree circus. Even better once  you’ve visited the market you’re a stone throw’s away from London’s theatres and shops. Entry to the event is free although you will of course have to pay for events like Santa’s grotto and the La Soiree.
Find out more on prices here


Christmas markets
Christmas isn’t Christmas without the annual visit to the fairy light adorned magical world of Christmas markets. With everything from sweets to quaint homemade gifts you’re bound to find something unique for your family to enjoy. Here’s a breakdown of the markets you should put top of your list.

  • Christmas in Leicester Square market, Leicester Square until Sunday 8th January 2017
  • Southbank Centre Christmas Market, Southbank until Sunday 8th January 2017.
  • The Swedish Church Christmas Fair, Marylebone from Thursday 17 November 2016-Sunday 20th November 2016.
  • Christmas Market at Tate Modern
  • Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park from Friday 18th November 2016-Monday 2nd January 2017
  • Selvedge Advent Festival, various venues from Saturday 26th November 2016 to Saturday 3rd December 2016.

Christmas Lights
Do you like seeing how the capital is lit up at Christmas? Whilst you may have missed the turn on you’ll certainly have plenty of opportunity to visit London at night and drink in the fabulous festive light displays.

  • Oxford Street has 1778 snowball decorations until Friday 6th January 2017
  • The Brunswick Lights Up for Christmas at the Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury. Available until Friday 6th January 2017 there are a whole stream of festive lights.
  • Carnaby Christmas Lights ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels theme is very distinctive and will remain on display until Friday 6th January 2017.
  • Christmas Lights on the Strand, Charing Cross is proud to have some of the greenest lights in London. Powered by biofuel collected from cookings oils the display will remain until Friday 6th January 2017.
  • Duke of York Square, Chelsea has lots of Christmassy fun. The lights were switched on at 4pm on Saturday 12th November 2016.
  • St Katharine Dock’s Christmas Lights, Towel Hill has 14,000 lights and a floating 45ft Christmas tree. The display runs from Thursday 24 November 2016 to Tuesday 3rd January 2017.
  • Covent Garden Christmas lights has a beautiful mistletoe theme this year with a magnificent silver reindeer centrepiece standing on a pile of gifts. Available from Tuesday 15th November 2016-Friday 6th January 2017.
  • Shepherd Market Christmas lights, Mayfair will be switched on by Liz Hurley this year. On display from Thursday 8th December 2016-Friday 6th January 2017.
  • Regent Street Christmas Lights, Soho has a garland of lights running all the way from Oxford Circus to Waterloo Place. On display from Thursday 17th November 2016-Friday 6th January 2017.
  • Seven Dials Christmas Lights, Covent Garden has a beautiful woodland creature theme this year. On display from Thursday 17th November 2016-Friday 6th January 2017.

santas grotto in london

Christmas at Kew Gardens – open from Wednesday 23rd November 2016- Monday 2nd January 2017
Delve into a magical glittering wonderland at Kew Garden’s Christmas at Kew. The event runs after dark and has a mile long trail through the famous botanic gardens which is lit up with more than 60,000 lights. As you and your family follow the illuminated path you’ll hear the choir of Christmas tree sing and the scented gardens of blazing fires. Enjoy the giant crystal, colour changing reed and crystal flowers art installations whilst singing along to classic Christmas tunes. Your journey will end with a spectacular light, music and water display in front of Palm House. You can even catch Santa in his grotto or take a ride on the Victorian Carousel and helter skelter.
Find prices and specific opening times here


Hogwarts  In The Snow, Warner Bros Studio Tour  – open from Saturday 19 November 2016 to Sunday 29 January 2017  
Experience the famous studio tour with a festive tinge this year at Hogwarts In The Snow. The tour has been transformed with a christmas feast on the long tables, special effect fires and lots of Christmas treats in the Gryffindor common room.
Find out more on prices and how to book here

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