Christmas in London

Christmas 2020: only -1250 days to go!

Our favourite time of the year to explore this enchanting city is during the festive period. To give you some ideas, here is our ultimate guide to spending an unforgettable Christmas in London.

Visit the enchanting Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Grab your tickets for the Hogwarts in the Snow tour
Take a stroll in the gardens of Chiswick House and enjoy the Magical Lantern Festival
Watch the glittering light show at Kew Gardens
Get into the spirit of Christmas with a visit to Windsor Castle
Admire the most iconic Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square
Get in a festive mood with the Christmas Carol Concert in aid of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
Explore the haunted Hampton Court Palace
Visit one of London’s most impressive buildings, the Natural History Museum
Enjoy the panoramic views of London from Skylight - Rooftop Bar
Practice your skating moves at JW3 Ice Rink
Shop and Skate all night at the Somerset House Christmas Arcade
Celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at St Paul’s Cathedral’s Christmas Carol Service
Celebrate Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall
Watch a festive film at the London Luna Cinema
Immerse yourself at the multi-sensory indoor Backyard Cinema
Join the outdoor Christmas Floating Film Festival at St. Katharine Docks
Watch a movie under the stars at one of the many Pop Up Screens throughout London
Have yourself a very merry Christmas at The Berkeley Hotel
Enjoy an Alpine winter in the heart of London at The Chalet at Madison
Experience The Emerald City at the Queen of Hoxton
Enjoy Christmas dinner in an igloo at Coppa Club
Christmas at the V&A
All Aboard The Murdér Express
Start the festive season with the Great Christmas Pudding Race
Have a 'Dickens' of a time with A Christmas Carol on Bikes Chelsea
The Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour
Spot the top Christmas trees in London
Winter Festival at Southbank Centre
Visit the Christmas Market in Leicester Square
Get festive at Christmas by the River, London Bridge
Shop at Borough Market at Christmas
Get Christmassy at Kingston-Upon-Thames Christmas Market
Find unusual gifts at Greenwich Market at Christmas
Sophisticated shoppers will love Chelsea Physic Garden Christmas Fair
Pick up something special at Crafty Fox Markets
Let your kids meet Santa at Westfields Snowflake Grotto
Meet Santa in his grotto at the authentic Museum of London
Treat your family to an unforgettable Santa’s Sleepover in Legoland Windsor
Go to a Pantomime in the West End
Get your tickets for the Nutcracker at London Coliseum
Warm up your hearts with the most colourful Christmas lights in London
Feel the spirit of Christmas in Oxford Street
Dive into the Ocean at Carnaby Street
Go on a late-night shopping spree at Covent Garden
Watch the Christmas lights come to life on a walking tour of Seven Dials
Head to the glamorous Bond Street to watch the Christmas lights
Don’t miss the ultimate Christmas lights and decorations in Regent Street
Treat yourself to a Christmas shopping weekend in Duke of York Square
Watch the feel-good family musical White Christmas at a West End Theatre
Catch Mary Poppins on stage at The Prince Edward Theatre
Experience the thrills of Circus 1903 at the Southbank Centre
Celebrate 100 years of magic with Disney on ice
Delight your little ones with Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever at Duke of York Theatre
Be moved by the heartwarming tale of The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre
Spend a festive family day out at the London Zoo
Share an after-dark adventure with your family at the Enchanted Eltham Palace
Immerse Yourself in the Enchanted Woodland
Step Back in Time for a Fortnum and Mason Christmas
Be Astonished by Selfridges
Shop for Special Gifts on the King's Road
Make a Tour of London's Top Department Stores
Hamleys for Santa's Little Helpers
Be Stunned by Harrods
Stick Up for Independence at Old Spitalfields Christmas Market
Go for a Taste of the Orient in London's Chinatown
Head for Chiltern Firehouse for a Christmas Day Treat
Follow in the Steps of The Grazing Goat
Eat a Yuletide Meal at Hubbard & Bell
Gilbert Scott - Marcus Wareing Serves Up a Christmas Day Feast
Spoil Yourself at the Dean Street Townhouse
Enjoy the Views From the Duck & Waffle
Eat Your Fill at Ham Yard Hotel Restaurant
Tackle Five Courses at Nicholson's Pubs
Go Crazy at the Sanderson Hotel Mad Hatter's Festive Tea
A glamorous afternoon tea at the Savoy
Elegant afternoon tea at The Dorchester
Dine in the heart of Westminster with Roux at Parliament Square
Christmas on the Thames with City Cruises
A Christmas dip at Hampton Pool
A Christmas Race on the Serpentine
Lose Yourself to Nature in London’s Royal Parks
See the sights with a hop on hop off tour
Greener sightseeing with a Santander cycle
The Curiosity shop that is Body Worlds
Take a stroll on London’s streets
Feel rewarded, volunteer your time
A wander in the great outdoors
Walk the sights of London
Attend a Christmas Day service in one of London’s beautiful churches
Hotels full of Festive Cheer in London
Attend a traditional carol service
Explore a royal Christmas at Kensington Palace
An imposing Christmas at the Tower of London

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there transport on Christmas Day in London?

Transport over the Christmas period in general is reduced and usually much busier than the rest of the year. We recommend planning any journeys you expect to take before travelling. You can check the Transport for London website for details about your travels.

Christmas Eve (24 December) – Public transport is still available on Christmas Eve but services will be reduced from the evening. There are no night bus services available.

Christmas Day (25 December) – There is no public transport available on Christmas Day. There may be some taxi services available, but expect to be charged more than the normal rate.

Boxing Day (26 December) – There is a reduced service that runs on Boxing Day with some stations closed. Check the Transport for London website before you travel for updates.

Where can I buy a Christmas Tree in London?

If you’re looking to buy a Christmas tree for the big day, you can’t go wrong with these options: The Christmas Forest, Capital Gardens, Creekside Christmas, Bloom & Wild, Pines and Needles and Camden Garden Centre.

What to do on Christmas Day in London?

There are a number of hotel restaurants and pubs that offer Christmas Day afternoon teas and lunches. You can enjoy a walk in one of London’s Royal Parks. Or enjoy the rare quietness of London’s streets.

Where can you volunteer in London over Christmas?

If you want to offer a helping hand to those less fortunate over the festive period, here are some places where you can volunteer: Crisis at Christmas, Team London, Salvation Army, Whitechapel Mission, Community Christmas. There are also a number of homeless shelters that need volunteers and local charities that hold collections during the run-up to Christmas. Contact your local council and search for things going on in your area to find out how you can help.

When do the Christmas lights go on in London?

There are many places that you can go to in London to see spectacular Christmas lights. All the biggest shopping destinations (Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street etc.) will have their own display as well as the big name department stores.The exact dates for all displays will vary and are TBC but you can expect to see lights turned on as early as the first week of November.

What is open on Christmas day in London?

Most London attractions will be closed on Christmas Day and others may have reduced opening times over the Christmas period. To avoid disappointment, make sure you check the schedules of any attractions you are interested in visiting. Read our Christmas Day selection for our full list of things to do.

When was the last white Christmas in london?

According to the Met Office, a white Christmas is defined as ‘one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25th December somewhere in the UK.’ Although this has happened on various occasions in a number of locations across the UK, London has not experienced a white Christmas since 1999.
London has not experienced widespread snow on Christmas day since 1895, where there was snow covering the ground on Christmas Morning.

Which London sweetmaker created the first Christmas cracker in 1847?

The Christmas cracker was invented by London sweetmaker Thomas J Smith in 1847. Thomas drew inspiration from fortune cookies to include a short message enclosed within the sweet wrapper. Legend has it that the crackle from his fireplace was what gave him the idea of adding a bang when opening the wrapper to his bon-bon sweets. To incorporate this, larger packaging was needed and thus the cracker was born.