CK Travels

Christmas in London 2020: Top things to do

It may be cold and dark, but London is a fantastic city to visit in the run up to Christmas. There are so many festive events and activities popping up all over the capital in November/December that you are so spoilt for choice for things to do.

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I’ve compiled a Christmas in London list of some of the city’s highlights to get your festive cheer on! 

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Returning for its 12th year, this extremely popular and epic open-air Christmas market features everything for the family. You’ll find ice skating, fairground rides, street food stalls, loads of themed festive bars and live music. Take in views across London on the the Giant Observation Wheel, and enjoy traditional German sausage and glühwein in the Bavarian Village. Expect long queues to enter the grounds at the weekends. 

Check out more of our photos on our Winter Wonderland photo blog

Address: Hyde Park, W2 2UH (nearest tube stations are Green Park, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner)
Opening hours: November – January (dates to be confirmed)
Entry: Free, but you need to purchase tickets in advance for the ice skating, the big wheel and the live shows.

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | winter wonderland

Outdoor ice skating

Ice skating in London at Christmas is so magical, and during the festive season, several skating rinks pop up all over the capital. Popular spots to throw some shapes on the ice rink include Somerset House, Tower of London, Natural History Museum, Canary Wharf and Hampton Court. 

Click here to book ice skating tickets for Natural History, Somerset House and Tower of London.

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | ice skating

Southbank Centre Christmas Market

South Bank’s riverside is transformed into a wintry wonderland in the run up to Christmas, with several traditional Nordic-inspired wooden chalets popping up underneath strings of twinkling Christmas lights. Shop for handmade craft gifts and enjoy delicious street food including raclette and traditional bratwurst.

Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX (nearest tube stations are Waterloo or Embankment)
Opening hours: Sun – Thurs 11am – 10pm; Fri – Sat 11am – 11pm
Entry: Free

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do

Rekorderlig Cider Lodge

Located on the Southbank, the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge is a two-storey Scandinavian style house and mini festive village complete with traditional fire pits, authentic Swedish food and hot winter drinks. It’s situated right by the Southbank market so you can combine the two together – and it’s free entry!

Address: Entrance off Southbank Centre’s Queen’s Walk, London SE1 8XX (nearest tube stations are Waterloo or Embankment)
Opening hours: November – January (dates to be confirmed)

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Rekorderlig cider lodge

West End London Christmas Lights

If you feel brave enough to face the incredibly busy West End shopping streets, you’ll enjoy views of the world-famous London Christmas lights. Check out Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street, Bond Street and Covent Garden for the most epic displays.

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Carnaby street

Jimmys Lodge

Jimmy’s lodge is a huge pop up situated right by the river on the Southbank. You can dine from a set menu in your very own private snowglobe igloo for the entire evening (available for up to 10 people – minimum spend £600). Alternatively enjoy hot cocktails, fondue and street food (raclette, hot dogs) in the heated and covered riverside ‘Alpine bar’ or in ‘the Refuge’ – a pop up wooden lodge.

Address: 78 Waterloo Bridge, SE1 9PX (nearest tube stations are Waterloo or Embankment)
Opening Hours: TBC
Website: jimmyspopup.com

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Jimmys

Selfridges ​window display

Every year this huge and iconic department store dresses their windows with elaborate and festive displays for passers by to admire. The ‘John Lewis’ department store a bit further down the road also have great windows too.

Address: Selfridges & Co, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB (nearest tube stations are Bond Street or Marble Arch)

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Selfridges

Covent Garden

Head to Covent Garden’s piazza to soak up it’s fantastic Christmas atmosphere, with sparkly lights, mistletoe chandeliers, a festive market and an enormous Christmas tree and reindeer statue.

Address: Nearest tube station is Covent Garden.

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Covent Garden

Liberty’s Christmas shop

Located on the top floor of this old and beautiful department store, Liberty’s Christmas shop offers all sorts of delights such as glass baubles, kitsch decorations, wooden advent calendars and other lovely gifts. It will be hard to resist leaving here without purchasing something!

Address: Liberty, Regent Street, W1B 5AH (nearest tube station is Oxford Street)
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun noon-6pm 

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Libertys

Christmas in Leicester Square, London

This mini Christmas village is a perfect place to stop for a break during your Christmas shopping in the West End. You’ll find hand-crafted goods, food and drink stalls and a Santa’s Grotto. Entry is free.

Address: Leicester Square, London, WC2 (nearest tube station is Leicester Square)
Opening hours: November – January (dates to be confirmed)

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Leicester square market

Fortnum and Mason

This 18th century department store is famously known for its gourmet groceries, and is perfect for purchasing luxury christmas gifts (think posh tea and preserves). Or you can just pop in to admire the expensive food hampers and pretty festive decor.

Address: 181 Piccadilly, London, W1A 1ER (nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus)
Opening hours: 10am–9pm (Sun 12–6pm)

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Fortnum and Masons

Christmas at Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens comes alive after dark with this very popular Christmas event. Follow an illuminated trail around the grounds for about an hour and view some very sparkly displays (there are over one million twinkling lights). Book your tickets in advance online (they are a little bit expensive in my opinion).

Address: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AE (nearest tube station is Kew Gardens)
Opening hours: November – January (dates to be confirmed)
Entry: Adult tickets from £18 (advance booking only)

Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Kew Gardens

Christmas in London accommodation

If you are planning to spend Christmas in London then make sure you book your accommodation well is advance. That also applies for booking London hotels for New Years Eve too!

Check out Hostelworld for cheap and cheerful budget options, or booking.com for hotels.


Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which support the running of my site, but do not affect the price you pay at all.

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Festive ways to celebrate Christmas in London | Things to do | Travel blog

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