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There are plenty of 2023 Christmas events in London this year to enjoy – like the captivating Christmas lights on Oxford Street and Regent Street to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
Further family fun and Christmas events in London include the return of several high profile pantomimes with all star casts – plus Elf the Musical returns to the London stage in late 2023 into early 2024.
From festive favourites to classic Christmas markets, there are also lots of new Christmas events in London in 2023 including Ice at Kensington Palace, Kingdom of Winter in East London plus Wishmas at King’s Cross.
Here is our guide to all of London’s Christmas events, Christmas lights and Christmas Markets that will be taking place in 2023:
You might like:
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- Best Christmas Ice-Skating Rinks in London 2023 >
- Best Christmas Lights in London 2023 >
Table of Contents
Christmas events in London 2023
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
17th November 2023 – 1st January 2024
Likely London’s most popular annual Christmas event and easily the biggest Christmas market in London, the festive Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park n 2023 / 24 from mid November.
Fun Christmas events and things to do at Winter Wonderland London this year include ice-sculpting workshops, Ice Mountain, a real ice slide and the UK’s largest open-air ice rink.
New shows at Winter Wonderland for 2023 include Justin Fletcher’s Singalong Christmas, Zipp’s Christmas Circus and a stunt show from Cirque Berserk, Tornado. You’ll find us in Bar Ice, literally the coolest bar in London.
The main difference at Winter Wonderland this year compared to previous years is that the event is now ticketed and only a handful of early, off-peak sessions are free (weekday entry before 2pm is free).
Tickets for admission start from £5 for standard admission or £7 peak admission at weekends.
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Ice skating – Skate at Somerset House
Skate at Somerset House runs from 15th November 2023 – 14th January 2024
We hope we aren’t on thin ice by saying this, but in previous years, there have been waaaay too many Christmas ice skating venues in London, of varying quality, all charging top dollar.
However, Skate at Somerset House is always one of the best and most picturesque skating rinks. This year in 2023, the Christmas event theme at Somerset House is a Swiss Christmas in London!
Sponsored in 2023 / 2024 by Switzerland Tourism, the courtyard at Somerset House will be transformed into an awesome alpine setting, including specially curated skating sessions inspired by various Swiss regions.
The outer buildings in and around the main courtyard at Somerset House are transformed into one of the best Christmas markets in London. The 40 foot Christmas Tree at Somerset House is also stunning, rivalling the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in terms of its serene setting.
You’ll find yuletide hampers, traditional decorations and all manner of festive gifts available to buy. Plus new for 2023, a pop-up store, Shelter Boutique, will host a handpicked selection of second hand vintage, luxury, designer and high-street clothing and presents.
The West Wing restaurant at Somerset House this Christmas 2023 is set to be transformed into a festive Swiss chalet (‘Chalet Suisse’) by Jimmy Garcia, with an additional rink side terrace and ice-skating lounge.
Other Christmas ice-skating activities include Skate Lates evening skating sessions with DJs, plus Skate School.
Somerset House London Christmas events and skating run from 15th November 2023 to 14th January 2024.
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Covent Garden Christmas village, tree and lights 2023
Covent Garden Christmas village, tree and lights runs from 1st November 2023 to January 2024
Fact – Christmas in London isn’t Christmas without a visit to the Covent Garden Christmas tree, set in the middle of the pretty piazza.
Covent Garden Market decorations also boast huge mirror balls and massive mistletoes hanging from the ceiling, and are one of the best free things to do in London at Christmas.
The Covent Garden 2023 Christmas tree will likely be switched on in November 2023 (a truly magical site) and lights up nightly.
If you want a sneak preview of what Christmas in Covent Garden looks like, check out the Wham inspired Christmas movie, Last Christmas, starring Emilia Clarke and Emma Thompson (much of it was filmed in and around Covent Garden and Soho at Christmas).
For the best views of the Covent Garden Christmas tree, grab a pint of beer (or glass of mulled wine) from the Punch and Judy pub and take a seat (and blanket) on the outdoor balcony (wrap up warm). Many restaurants in Covent Garden are also taking part in a Christmas sandwich Festival this December – crumbs!
Returning in 2023 will be the small Covent Garden Christmas Village Market (in front of Sushi Samba) with festive themed pop-up food stalls and the magical Wonder Wood, a perfect seasonal selfie spot.
You can also visit the historic Covent Garden Christmas sleigh, that dates back to the 1880s, and pose for photos in the sleigh (although Santa will alas not be around).
Festive Thursdays return to Covent Garden throughout November and December for late night shopping, Christmas discounts, festive happy hours and live performances.
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Ice at Kensington Palace
Ice at Kensington Palace rink runs from 30th November 2023 – 7th January 2024
A new London Christmas event and skating rink for 2023 / 2024, the Ice at Kensington Palace rink promises to be a classy affair with a sustainable Christmas at its core.
Ice at Kensington Palace rink promises to be the UK’s largest covered ice skating rink with stunning views of both the palace and gardens in winter time.
Chrtistmas shopping is also available at this chic Kensington Palace Christmas event including goods and luxury hampers to buy from premier brands like Fortnum & Mason.
General admission to Ice at Kensington Palace 2023 starts from £4 per person – skating then starts from around £24 per adult.
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Oxford Street Christmas lights 2023
Oxford Street Christmas lights are on from 2nd November 2023 until approx the first week of January 2024
The grand-daddy of Christmas lights in London 2023 and possibly the best known anywhere in the world, Christmas continues on Oxford Street and the festive light displays are already up and in full force this year.
Running the full length of this top London shopping district, the 2023 Oxford Street Christmas lights are a return to form with a very classical Christmas display – white fairy lights and red stairs adorn London’s premier shopping street.
Last year, Oxford Street’s lights were switched on in unison with 20 other neighbouring streets making it the biggest Christmas light switch on in the world – nice!
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Regent Street Christmas lights 2023
Regent Street Christmas lights 2023 light up from 9th November 2023 until January 2024
Hark the herald angel sing! Regent Street’s Christmas lights in London this year again feature a gamut of glorious angels from upon high.
To get the best views of the 2023 Regent Street Christmas Lights, take your photos from the central reservation by the pedestrian crossings (try not to get hit by a taxi) – or jump on one of the numerous red London buses that run along Regent Street and try to bag a front row spot on the top deck.
Best combined with a spot of Christmas shopping in London, Regent Street at Christmas is a great way to combine retail therapy with a late night Christmas lights trip.
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- London Christmas Lights Tour by open top bus with Get Your Guide or Viator
- Christmas Lights Walking Tour in London
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- Christmas Party Tour – Silent Disco Walking Tours
- Magical Walking Tour of the Christmas Lights in London
Carnaby Street’s Christmas Lights 2023 – Carnaby Universe
Carnaby Street’s Christmas Lights 2023 from 2nd November 2023
Always the first major Christmas lights to be switched on in London, the Carnaby Street lights will take place on Thursday 2nd November 2023. With a new theme of Carnaby Universe, Carnaby Street’s colourful Christmas lights promise to be as big and bold as ever.
On 2nd November 2023 at Carnaby Street, over 100 shops, local business and bars will unite to offer a night of Christmas celebrations to launch the festival period, all counting down to the big Christmas light switch on – Carnaby Universe.
Carnaby Street Christmas Lights often raise money for good causes and this year, their Christmas lights are in collaboration with the Choose Love charity (donations are always appreciated).
For more information on Carnaby Street Christmas 2023; Carnaby Universe, visit their website.
Hogwarts in the Snow – Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour
Hogarts in the Snow runs from 11th November 2023 – 14th January 2024
Harry Potter is magical at the best of times but even more so at Christmas with Hogwarts in the Snow this winter in 2023 at Warner Brothers Studio Tour.
The wizarding world becomes a wintery snow scene (think the ultimate snow globe) with a self-guided tour that ‘yule’ love.
The Great Hall becomes the ultimate winter wonderland with Christmas trees covered in snow, ‘flaming’ Christmas puddings (we aren’t swearing – we mean they are on fire) and roaring log fires and a delightful Diagon Alley makeover.
Plus the gift shop will have an incredible array of Harry Potter gifts perfect for anyone’s Christmas stocking.
If you are a big Harry Potter and visiting London this Christmas, also make sure you visit the free Harry Potter platform 9 ¾ attraction at King’s Cross plus the Harry Potter gift shop – as featured in our things to in King’s Cross guide.
Liberty’s Christmas shop 2023
Central London’s best known luxury shopping destination has a beautiful, old black and white Tudor style exterior, which was founded in 1875. Liberty’s also has (in our humble opinion) the best Christmas shop in the whole of London.
The Libertys 2023 Christmas shop is already open (it opened at the end of the summer – very keen!). The range of Christmas tree decorations is legendary (some nice, some tacky) but if you want a Black London Cab or Buckingham Palace bauble hanging on your Christmas tree in 2023, you know where to go.
Libertys was founded in the 1870s but moved to its current timbered building in the 1920s (incredibly, the store timbers were taken from two old ships, HMS Hindustan and HMS Impregnable). It is now a listed building and one heck of a cute Christmas shop in London.
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Leicester Square Christmas Market 2023
Leicester Square Christmas Market 2023 runs from 8th November 2023 – 7th January 2024
Leicester Square as a London destination is often quite divisive (awful tourist trap vs the bustling heart of London’s theatreland) but we can all hopefully agree that the Leicester Square Christmas Market is a welcome addition (apart from the price of their mulled wine).
The Leicester Square Christmas Market in 2023 is open from 8th November 2023 until January 2024, expect live shows such as La Clique, gift stalls, German bratwurst, cider lodges and all manner of festivities.
You can also check out the Leicester Square Scenes from the Square film statues all year round including a Harry Potter statue and a cute Paddington Bear – an Indiana Jones statue was also unveiled in 2023.
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Trafalgar Square Christmas tree and Christmas market 2023
The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree will be switched on December 7th 2023
The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is always switched on during the first Thursday of December by Norwegian dignitaries and the Mayor of Westminster.
Every year since 1947, the good people of Norway have donated a tree-mendous festive fir tree to the people of London, as a thank you for our assistance in WWII.
Lighting up on 7th December 2023, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is free to visit and is adorned with hundreds of lit bulbs (plus the occasional pigeon). It is also a prime spot to see London’s Christmas lights sparkle in the nearby side streets.
No word yet on whether there will be a Trafalgar Square Christmas Market in 2023 but if so, it usually runs from 7th December until early January.
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South Bank Christmas Market
South Bank Christmas Market runs from 28th October 2023 – 7th January 2024
At Christmas, the area is bedecked with Christmas lights and Christmas wooden huts selling festive gifts and street food kiosks plus more hot alcoholic beverage stalls than is probably good for you – but hey, it is Christmas so wine not?
A Christmas caveat – the Southbank Winter Market can be a little hit and miss, some years only comprising a small number of stalls nestled below Hungerford bridge, selling quite similar fare, dimly lit by some meagre fairy lights – hopefully it is better in 2023!
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Christmas at Kenwood / Kenwood House Christmas lights
Christmas at Kenwood 2023 runs from 1st December 2023 to 1st January 2024
Christmas at Kenwood, one of London’s premier visitor attractions, perched high on the hill in north London runs for one month exactly from 1 December 2023 – the Christmas at Kenwood Light Trail is brand new for 2023 too!
The grounds of Kenwood House light up in an immersive, illuminated winter wonderland, with light and sound installations all around the historic house and gardens.
2023 sees 13 new installations on the edge of Hampstead Heath accompanied by a Christmas market and festive street food stalls.
Standard Christmas at Kenwood House tickets for 2023 start from £25.50 per adult and £19.25 per child for a standard off-peak ticket; peak prices for the Kenwood House Christmas trail start from £30 per adult in 2023.
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Kingdom of Winter ice rink at Excel Centre
Kingdom of Winter ice rink at Excel Centre runs from 8th December 2023 – 7th January 2024.
A brand new London Christmas event and ice-skating rink for 2023, Kingdom of Winter opens at Excel Centre on 8th December.
Billed as “London’s biggest indoor festive experience…”, this KIngdom of Winter is an all weather affair and has an indoor Christmas ice-skating rink.
Similar to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, there is an admission fee just to enter the Kingdom of Winter (from £5.50) plus Christmas activities cost extra.
Activities and attractions at Excel’s Kingdom of Winter include an immersive ice expedition trail, fairground rides, a Christmas circus (up to 4 shows a day), Christmas shopping and much more.
Christmas ice skating sessions at London’s Kingdom of Winter are every hour daily from 8th December and prices start from £7 for children with ice skating sessions lasting 45 minutes.
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Christmas / Winter By The River, London Bridge
Christmas By The River runs from 14th November 2023 to 1st January 2024
Returning to London Bridge for 2023, Winter By The River was one of our favourite Christmas markets last year, with a series of seasonal stalls and alfresco alpine style food and drink outlets running along the Thames river (near to Tower Bridge and city hall / The Scoop).
In 2023, Winter By The River will also likely feature free outdoor film screenings such as Home Alone, Elf (yes!) and The Muppet Christmas Carol plus Christmas choir pop-up performances.
They will even have themed karaoke rooms so you can release your inner Mariah Carey with a mulled wine (or three).
With stunning ice-cool views of the London skyline including the Shard and the historic Tower of London, this is one London Christmas Market you won’t want to miss.
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Elf the Musical at The Dominion Theatre
Elf the Musical runs from 15th November 2023 to 6th January 2024
Treat yourself this Christmas 2023 with tickets to see this special stage adaptation of Elf (in our opinion, one of the best 5 Christmas movies around).
Running from 15th November 2023 to 6th January 2024, join Buddy the Elf on his battle to save Christmas (and we only hope Narwhal the whale gets to join in the action).
Buddy the Elf is played by Emmerdale’s Matthew Wolfenden – we can’t wait to see how they recreate New York at Christmas and the Sleigh crash in Central Park.
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Christmas at Hampton Court Palace
Christmas at Hampton Court Palace runs from 17th November 2023 to 7th January 2024
A fun and festive Christmas experience at Hampton Court Palace!
By Royal Appointment, the Hampton Court Palace Ice Skating rink opens daily from 17th November 2023 to 7th January 2024 (except Christmas Day) at Henry VIII’s former home.
Set up right in front of the palace, this is an ice skating rink fit for a King with over 500 years of history all around, with incredible Tudor splendour the perfect setting for your skating.
Afterwards, you can grab the usual hot winter fare like mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine from the Hampton Court Palace cafe and bar – Henry VIII would have (probably) approved of all this sumptuous seasonal fare.
Also on the 1st-3rd Dec and 8th-10th December 2023, there will be Hampton Court Festival Fayre showcasing bespoke handmade gifts from local artists.
Please note there is no Hampton Court Palace light trail in 2023, unlike previous years.
Wishmas runs from the 14th November 2023 to 7th January 2024
From the brains behind Secret Cinema, there is a brand new 2023 Christmas event in King’s Cross – may all your Christmas wishes be granted at Wishmas.
This Christmas in London, Wishmas explores the age old question of ‘Where do all our Christmas wishes go?’
This immersive London Christmas storytelling experience located under the hidden depths of Waterloo Station take places at The Old Bauble Factory (cute!) and is set to be a great event for families, couples and anyone wanting some festive fun (it’ll even turn the most grumpy Grinch!).
Wishmas, a fantastic Christmas event in London new for 2023 runs in Kings Cross from 14th November 2023 to 7th January 2024.
It’s A Wonderful Ally Pally Christmas
It’s A Wonderful Ally Pally Christmas dates to be announced
Swapping the North pole for North London this festive season, Alexandra Palace (or Ally Pally as it is affectionately known) hosts a whole season of Christmas crackers for all the family this year.
Santa will be setting up home in his grotto at Alexandra Palace or if live entertainment is more your thing, you can see Bugsy Malone the musical in their splendid Victorian theatre or Rapunzel on Ice, at the Ally Pally skating rink. Club De Fromage will host Christmas Ice Discos too – we wish you a cheesy Christmas!
Harrods Christmas window display
Harrods Christmas window display 2023 dates to be announced
Stay classy, Kensington. No Christmas shopping trip to London is complete without a visit to Harrods department store, possibly the capital’s best known luxury shopping destination.
Each year, the opulent exterior of the Harrods building is bedecked with Christmas lights and the window displays are something to behold. They also have a dedicated Christmas department on the first floor which is always a joy to explore.
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Christmas at Kew Gardens
Christmas at Kew Gardens runs from 15th November 2023 to 7th January 2024
Kew Gardens Christmas lights and Christmas market return this year and they are thankfully not a casualty of Covid.
Running daily from 4.20pm until 10pm until from the 15th November 2023 to 7th January 2024, old favourite light displays will be joined by new installations (who doesn’t love a Christmas light tunnel?) plus the Temperate House will be festooned with winter colours.
2023 London Christmas at Kew Gardens prices start from non-member adults; Off peak £22.50/ Peak £29.00. Kew Members get a discount to Kew at Christmas – adult: Off peak £19.50/ Peak £24.00
Jimmy’s Lodge, South Bank
Jimmy’s Lodge is now open all year round on Southbank; Christmas theming from November 2023
Jimmy’s jovial snow globes, festive hot cocktails and street food pop-ups return for 2023, once again setting up shop along the banks of the River Thames on the South Bank.
The snow globes are available for private hire for groups of 6 to 10 and booking in advance is highly recommended.
2023 highlights at Jimmy’s snow globes include shareable hot stone steak sizzlers (make sure you don’t burn your crackers!) and cheesy Swiss fondue fit for a King (or Queen). Note the minimum spend is £650 per globe so maybe one to add to your Christmas list for Santa?
Also new for 2023 are their cosy fire pits which you can book for £35pp and includes unlimited raclette and toast-your-own s’mores!
Make a day of it and follow our ‘Walk along the South Bank‘ guide before joining Jimmy and his band of festive helpers.
Christmas Lights by Night Open-Top Bus Tour
18th December 2023 – 2nd January 2024
Catch the sparkling sight of Christmas in London with an open-top bus tour (although do wrap up warm).
See some of its most famous neighbourhoods and landmarks including Regent Street, Oxford Circus and Trafalgar Square, all lit up for the London Christmas holidays.
An open top bus tour in London gives you the best seat in the house and is a fine festive way to see all the London Christmas lights up close.
Christmas Lights by Night Open-Top Bus Tour start from November 18th and often sells out especially at weekend – book your tickets in advance here >
London Christmas Carol and Candlelight Concerts
There are several Christmas Carol concerts in London that you can book in advance for Christmas 2023 including:
Neverland’s Winterland 2023
Winterland is running from October 2023 to February 2024 on Saturdays and Sundays
A little bit of alpine awesomeness hidden away on the banks of the Thames between Fulham and Chelsea, London party stalwarts Neverland pack up their summer beach this Christmas and transform it into a snowy scene – with (jingle) bells on it.
Warm up in a riverside pod, feast on fondue cheese, indulge in mulled wine or prosecco and enjoy the apres ski lifestyle in an alpine setting – have festive fun and basically try not to fall into the Thames.
Winterland is running from October 2023 to February 2024.
Christmas Pantomime at the London Palladium
Saturday 9th December 2023 – Sunday 14th January 2024
Peter Pan at the Palladium will be taking place at this historic London theatre this Christmas, from Saturday 9th December 2023 to Sunday 14th January 2024.
The London Palladium’s star-studded cast for 2023 / 2024 includes Julian Clary, Jennifer Saunders, Paul Zerdin and Nigel Havers – you can expect festive fun and games for all the family.
London Christmas Party Dinner Cruise
November 18th 2023 to 2nd January 2024
Get into the Christmas spirit (or should that be spirits?) and celebrate Christmas in London on a boozy cruise along the River Thames.
Pull a cracker, enjoy London’s Christmas cityscape and dine one a 3 course Christmas dinner. At the end of the night, hit the dancefloor and enjoy a cheesy DJ set before heading back to land.
Christmas Pantomime at the Richmond Theatre, South West London
Saturday 9th December 2023 – Sunday 7th January 2024
Overlooking Richmond Green and entertaining Londoners with a Christmas pantomime for many a year, Richmond Theatre opened in 1899 and is one of the best preserved Victorian theatres in the whole of London (Grade II listed).
The Richmond Theatre pantomime for Christmas 2023 / 24 will be Dick Whittington starring TV funny-man and ‘Have I Got News For You’ legend Paul Merton.
Dick Whittington in Richmond runs from Saturday 9th December 2023 to Sunday 7th January 2024.
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Winter Garden at Flat Iron Square (TBC)
WINTER GARDEN AT FLAT IRON SQUARE 2023 DATES TO BE ANNOUNCED
This popular street food market in London Bridge is turning into a festive wonderland with a winter garden / aprés ski lodge set up that features pine trees, lights, ‘stable’ booths, a winter drinks menu and a series of Christmas eventsrunning from November to December 2023.
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Hamleys window display on Regent Street / Meet Father Christmas at Hamleys
Hamleys 2023 Christmas events run from 20th November 2023 – 24th December 2023.
Hamleys Christmas window display on Regent’s Street previously was based around several themes including one dedicated to Harry Potter, the wonderful wizard himself, plus another given over to Jurassic Park movie merchandise and games.
A brand new London Christmas event for 2023, you will also be able to meet Santa Christmas in Hamley’s Christmas Grotto from 20th November to Christmas Eve 24th December 2023 – a brand new grotto is even being built.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong
Peter Pan Goes Wrong runs from 23rd November 2023 – 14th January 2024
A fun London Christmas event play from the team behind the long-running ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, this is a funny festive farce suitable for all ages.
Laugh out loud with the Lost Boys and hopefully find your way to NeverLand without the set falling apart – Peter Pan Goes Wrong is on at the London Lyric theatre this Christmas until 14th January 2024.
Churchill Arms pub decorations, Kensington High Street
One of our favourite London pubs, the Churchill Arms, a Fuller’s pub near Notting Hill Gate and Kensington High Street goes the extra mile at Christmas and bedecks the outside of the pub with tens of Christmas trees (and they also serve beer inside – bonus!).
If you are planning to grab a Thai meal here (delicious), make sure you book in advance and try not to be one of those Instagrammers who almost gets knocked over by a bus as you stand in the centre of the road taking pictures of the pub…
London Christmas Beer Festival (cancelled for 2023)
Christmas beers and cheers? We’re in! A festive extension of the London Craft Beer festival, start your Christmas early at this two day event in Tobacco Dock in Wapping (check out our ‘Things to do in Wapping’ guide for inspiration).
Over 50 UK breweries big and small will be attending the London Christmas Beer Festival including Brixton Beer, Anspach and Hobday and Partizan from the Bermondsey Beer Mile and Signature Brew from the Blackhorse Beer Mile.
In addition, there will be live music, cider, wine and cocktails – maybe even Santa will pop-in for a pre-Christmas drink (apparently is quite tired of sherry).
Address: Tobacco Dock, Wapping, London E1W 2SF
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Crystal Palace Lightopia (permanently closed)
Lightopia London Christmas lights are cancelled for 2023 /2024 – Lightopia went into administration in early 2023
Brand new in 2021 after an attempt at Chiswick House was curtailed in 2020 due to Covid, South London’s newest illuminated Christmas festival, Lightopia at Crystal Palace is back for a second year in 2022.
We visited Lightopia in Crystal Palace on the opening night last year and were blown away by the immersive and illuminated installations – from giant musical walkways to enchanted forests with festive fish (really – our descriptions won’t do it justice), this is a magical and fun family night out.
Best of all, for fans of the historic Crystal Palace dinosaurs, the organisers have also lit up the park area with around the lakes, but also created an area full of animatronic dinosaurs, meaning you could easily confuse Crystal Palace park for Jurassic park.
Lightopia will feature the classic Clangers family Mother, Major, Tiny, Small and Granny Clanger, plus their friends the Soup Dragon and Iron Chicken on a neon-lit Clangers planet!
Families will be able to see the iconic, kind-hearted characters, and their infamous friends at the spectacular, reimagined neon-lit Clangers planet and arch.
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- The best Christmas lights in London 2023
- Best Christmas shopping in London 2023
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