How to spend Christmas in London

HOW TO SPEND CHRISTMAS IN LONDON

It is already Christmas time and the city of London knows it well! Christmas lights are started to get lit, shops dressed with festive ornaments, and even you can start to smell a hint of mulled wine in the air. You know nothing bad can happen when pairing your favourite season of the year with your favourite city of the world. Believe me. London gets super festive and fun whilst the festive season, so I created a list of activities and incredible events for you to have the jolliest holiday in London! Merry Xmas, ho ho ho!🎅

CHRISTMAS MARKETS

     WINTER WONDERLAND IN HYDE PARK

The big daddy of Christmas markets! Winter Wonderland is something of an institution, with locals and tourists flocking there year after year to get into the festive spirit. Entry is free, but you have to pay for each attraction you want to ride, so bring some cash cause card aren’t widely accepted. This issue aside, this gigantic Christmas Market is part amusement park, part food festival and part Christmas market, surrounded by ice sculptures, circus shows and even an ice skating rink. And I thoroughly recommend heading over there if you want to buy nothing and do nothing, but want to feel Christmassy!

DSC_0134

    SOUTHBANK CENTRE WINTER MARKET

Clustered along the riverbank, wooden chalets filled with festive food, drinks, gifts and treats, and with an incredible view over the Thames to the London Eye, Big Ben and beyond make The Southbank Winter Market a classic Christmas treat in the heart of London.

    OTHERS

Although the two markets commented above are the most famous in the city, does not mean that are the only ones. You also can get into the festive spirit and have fun wandering over Belgravia Christmas Sunday Market, the one located just outside the Tate Modern and the one in Leicester Square. Covent Garden and Borough Market are open the year round, but in Christmas become more special.

Somerset House Ice Rink

ICE SKATING RINKS

Every November, many outdoor ice skating rinks pop up throughout the city. The selection varies from the classic ones established at London’s most iconic landmarks to the ones bordered by skyscrapers. Most of them open to mid-January and til late in the evening and offer special events all over the time!

In my opinion, the best places to get your skates on and do some laps imagining yourself to be dainty and professional (while actually your bum is more on the ground than are your skates, and apparently you look like a drunk duck, but it’s still funny because it’s Christmas ☺) include Eyeskate in front of the London Eye, Canary Wharf Ice Rink, Hampton Court Palace, Tower of London, Natural History Museum and Somerset House, my favourite one!

trafalgarsquare_christmastree3

source – Carols at Trafalgar Square

 CHRISTMAS CAROLS

    TRAFALGAR SQUARE

Every first Thursday of December the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree sent straight from Norway get lit. And since then until the 23rd, carols are sung beneath the Christmas Tree by more than 50 carol groups to raise funds for charitable organisations.

Performances use to take place between 4pm and 8pm on weekdays and between 2pm to 6pm on weekends.

With warming refreshments to be found nearby, all the ingredients are in place for the perfect countdown to Christmas.

carols by candlelight royal albert hall

    CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT AT THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

Enjoy a feast of classical music performed by the Mozart Festival Orchestra and Chorus, staged in full 18th-century costumes, in the grandeur of the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets can be pretty expensive, however, there are also some cheaper seats, hurry up for these cause tend to be sold out fast! A truly experience you’ll never forget!

source - Kew Gardens at Christmas

source – Kew Gardens in Christmas

SPECIAL EVENTS

    CHRISTMAS AT KEW GARDENS

A visit to the Kew Gardens is well worth all year round, so with more than 40,000plants claims to be the richest botanical garden in the world. But it is during the festive period that turns truly magical, with a mile-long illuminated path through a beautiful winter landscape, an incredible display of Christmas lights, sculptures and even a Christmas Village with Victorian-style fairground rides, festive food and drinks to enjoy a night out that families will remember for years to come.

    VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS AT THE DICKENS MUSEUM

Take a step back in time with a visit to the enchanting Charles Dickens Museum. As the real house of Charles Dickens, the author of an all time festive favourite, A Christmas Carol. The Museum will be filled with festive greenery, authentic victorian fayre and the scent of citrus and spice. Let yourself be transported to a bygone era as you are entertained by innovative theatre, flickering candlelight, and lively readings of Dickens’s Christmas stories at the time you enjoy steaming mulled cider and traditional mince pies.

    CHRISTMAS PUDDING RACE

The Covent Garden Christmas Pudding Race is an annual event which runs to raise money for cancer research. Participants dress up in fun and colourful costumes and run around a course littered with foam cannons, flour-filled balloons and other obstacles, carrying a tray with a Christmas pudding. It is fun to see how many people have their pudding left when they arrive at the finish line, as well as see how they often fail spectacularly. A fun day for all with a great cause behind it.

Christmas Lights London

BE DAZZLED BY THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

I remember going in the car of my dad in search of Christmas lights in and around my town every single December until I get older… and used to be one of my favourites things during the festive period. And last year, when I saw the London’s ones I was pretty amazed, they are in a completely different league. It can be fun searching for the best ones, usually in the most transited streets, and take advantage of this and go a little on Christmas shopping! My favourites are the ones in Regent StreetOxford Street, Carnaby Street, Bond Street, Sloane Square and Seven Dials.

Oxford Street Christmas

What else would you recommend to make sure you have a magical Christmas in London?

42 Comments
  • Jill Wiley
    Posted at 01:27h, 14 November Reply

    WOW! So many amazing things to do! I would LOVE to walk through that illuminated walkway! It is beautiful! And the Christmas Pudding Race… so funny!

  • neha
    Posted at 10:36h, 14 November Reply

    very informative indeed. its like the whole of London and beyond soaks in the spirits of holidays when christmas arrives, isn’t it? I love those twinkling lights adoring the whole city

  • Delaine Dcosta
    Posted at 12:36h, 14 November Reply

    London looks incredible during Christmas. I was there 3 years ago and couldn’t get over those street lights. My favourite market was Winter Wonderland too. The hubby and I were there most of the time sipping on mulled wine & eating bratwurst. That was the first market that we’d ever been to in our lives, and it inspired us to visit a new country in Europe every Christmas. Beautiful pictures.

  • Noemi of Pinay Flying High
    Posted at 19:37h, 14 November Reply

    Amazing list! I have a list of all the things that I’m going to do here in London for Christmas and this blog post just made the list longer. Lol. I can’t wait for everything to start, some of the Christmas lights aren’t on yet. 🙁

  • Katie
    Posted at 19:58h, 14 November Reply

    I LOVE CHRISTMAS IN LONDON! I am heading to Winter Wonderland in a few weeks and love visiting Oxford Street and Convent Garden! I am heading to the Ideal home Show Christmas too, that is always a nice weekend! 🙂 I didn’t realise there was a Victoria Christmas at the Dickens Museum! Will check that out this year!

  • Gemma
    Posted at 22:49h, 14 November Reply

    London at Christmas time is my absolute fav. Is there anything better than ice skating at the Natural History museum. The carolling sounds so festive too!

  • Kristine
    Posted at 23:00h, 14 November Reply

    Christmas in London looks magical! I’ll be in London from the 6th to the 9th of December. Can’t wait to check out the Christmas markets while I’m there. Your photos make me feel impatient about it 🙂

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 11:18h, 15 November Reply

      You will love it! have fun there! xx

  • melbtravel
    Posted at 23:39h, 14 November Reply

    One of my favourite things about living in London is the Christmas markets. Your pictures are just stunning and I did not know about the mile-long illuminated path at Kew gardens, it sounds so pretty. I also love the sound of the Covent Garden Christmas Pudding Race 🙂 I might try and pop into town to see this

  • Naomi
    Posted at 00:00h, 15 November Reply

    Arch!! Will you stop please!?! It looks so darn beautiful and magical! How lovely. I’d love to go to London to get in the Christmas spirit but never gotten around to it. Maybe next year.

  • Lydia@LifeUntraveled
    Posted at 01:36h, 15 November Reply

    I had no idea London went all-out at Christmas! Those street decorations are so nice – it makes the whole city look so magical! I’m also really surprised at how many outdoor skating rinks there are. Thanks for sharing!

  • Janine Good
    Posted at 04:31h, 15 November Reply

    I love this! I lived in England for 2 years and am so sad I missed the crazy pudding race! AND Kew Gardens, omg, those lights are spotless. I hope to go back and see London again. It really was amazing at Christmas.

  • kathy (from walkaboutwanderer.com)
    Posted at 11:04h, 15 November Reply

    I am British and I did not have a clue that they had an ice skating rink that opened in London in November. I have not yet spent Christmas in London but it looks amazing. I always go into mainland Europe for the Christmas markets but actually it might be nice to do this at home at some point.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 11:14h, 15 November Reply

      Most of the ice skating rinks open mid-November to mid-January! Yes, sometimes we desire more to visit further places and miss the magic of our own country. xx

  • Marina
    Posted at 12:09h, 15 November Reply

    Just spectacular… I thought best xmas feeling and markets were taking place in Germany, but I can see London is turning to an awesome place to visit during this period as well (despite the weather).

    Oh, by the way, I would just love to take part on that crazy pudding race that you have just pictured.. this big-fat-Santa is driving me crazy, couldn’t stop laughing!

  • Diana - MVMT Blog
    Posted at 15:39h, 15 November Reply

    Wow, I had no idea there are so many events going on around Christmas. I thought it would just be the market you mentioned at first, but all the caroling and other events will put you even more in the Christmas spirit. We have lots of ice skating rinks like that in Chicago as well, and a couple of Christmases ago, my sister came to visit me here and we went ice skating on Christmas Day! It’s festive because there’s a Christmas tree up and everyone’s in the holiday spirit. Would love to visit London for Christmas sometime.

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 18:41h, 19 November Reply

      Wow! Chicago sounds like a nice place to spend Christmas as well!! Might I have to put in on my Christmas must do’s list ! 😉

  • Jimmy and Tina
    Posted at 16:20h, 15 November Reply

    The Christmas pudding race looks like so much fun! Since moving to the UK, northerner now 🙂 I have found a great love for the Christmas markets and London looks like it would be an amazing one!

  • Alouise
    Posted at 17:23h, 15 November Reply

    Christmas in London looks lovely. I’m living in Dublin right now and it’s very tempting to fly to London to see some of the Christmas markets and events happening.

  • Meg TenEyck-Cale
    Posted at 19:09h, 15 November Reply

    I’ve heard so many great things about the holiday season in London. I’d love to make it out there sometime during the holidays. It just seems so romantic strolling under the lights with a cup of tea in hand.

  • Christie
    Posted at 22:00h, 15 November Reply

    Ummmmm is Kew Gardens real life…?!?! That is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen! I wish I had seen this post earlier – I spent Christmas in London two years ago and it was kind of miserable because I did no research before and everything I attempted to do was closed for Christmas eve/Christmas/boxing day/some tube and train strikes/etc. Great info! Pinning it for later.

  • Natalie
    Posted at 03:48h, 16 November Reply

    So many wonderful lights! Just magical. We have never spent Christmas day traveling though I think we will one day. The kids are out of school and that makes it a great time to consider. London looks like a fantastic place to be!

  • Kristine
    Posted at 09:46h, 16 November Reply

    The Christmas pudding race looks funny. When is it? I can’t wait to check out the Christmas market in Hyde Park while I’m in London next month. It will be amazing!

  • Leah
    Posted at 16:00h, 16 November Reply

    Christmas in London looks freaking stunning! I love the tunnel with all the lights in particular 🙂 I’ll have to try to get to London sometime around the season!

  • Maja | Mexatia
    Posted at 17:58h, 16 November Reply

    I’m talking a lot how Zagreb is beautiful at Christmas time, but I must admit you just left me speechless. Kew Gardens are just magical! I think in know when is the right time to pay another visit to London… 🙂

  • Ticking the Bucketlist
    Posted at 06:19h, 17 November Reply

    I want to visit the Christmas markets for sure. My Dad was in London for Christmas and said that everything was closed…he didnt know what to do! What a waste of a vacation…I am glad to see that there is enough to keep one happy in the winter snow!

  • LJ Legend
    Posted at 06:56h, 17 November Reply

    lOVED THIS POST! As a Londoner I don’t think I have really appreciate how Christmasy London can be, you have given me some great ideas for christmas and confirmed it my tree is going up this weekend lol 🙂

  • Sarah
    Posted at 18:39h, 18 November Reply

    I never knew London starts the Christmas vibes quite “early” in Western standards and that there are also lots of things to do! We don’t have any Christmas decorations here in Germany yet (only the ones for sale haha). Christmas trees will only start appearing in public spaces at the end of the month. 🙂 Good info! I can almost feel the Christmas spirit now!

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 17:34h, 22 November Reply

      Really? I thought that in Germany the Christmas spirit starts earlier than does in London! haha anyways I’m pretty sure that are the most amazing xmas markets in the world 🙂

  • Sally from Passport & Plates
    Posted at 09:35h, 19 November Reply

    Wow wow wow! So many amazing things to do and see in London during Christmas. I’m from Southern California, where it’s warm and not so festive, so it would be amazing to visit during the holiday season – especially one of the Christmas markets!

  • Hendrik
    Posted at 15:43h, 19 November Reply

    Lovely photos and great tips Nuria! Haven’t spent Xmas in London yet, even though I was there a couple of times. But London is a place for every time in the year, thanks for sharing your experiences and tips, well done 🙂

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 17:29h, 22 November Reply

      Totally agree with you, Hendrik! Does not matter when you visit London, there’s always something to squeeze on!

  • Neni
    Posted at 20:02h, 19 November Reply

    I love this time of the year. London is so pretty in December. I came the day after christmas and saw everything, but it was alreader cheaper. So that was handy. 🙂

  • Caroline @ The Travelling Sloth
    Posted at 20:25h, 19 November Reply

    Aww man, I adore London and would have loved to spend Christmas there… Looks amazing and there’s so many things to do!
    Will you be spending christmas in London? 🙂

  • Tamara - @ Girlswanderlust
    Posted at 21:03h, 19 November Reply

    I just LOVE Christmas ánd London, so that makes a good combination! I’ve already been twice to London around Christmas time, but still you inform me about new things to do in the city. A good reason to go again, haha! Thanks for sharing these great tips 🙂

  • Karla | Karlaroundtheworld
    Posted at 09:55h, 20 November Reply

    I have never spent Christmas elesewhere. I would love to try this.

  • Sanne - Spend Life Traveling
    Posted at 14:28h, 20 November Reply

    This is a great post! Going to London around Christmas time is still really high on my list, it looks lovely!

  • John
    Posted at 00:27h, 21 November Reply

    I have always wanted to travel to London. After reading this it sounds like Christmas is the time to go for sure! The lights look amazing, and it sounds like there is so much to do!

  • Emma
    Posted at 12:27h, 21 November Reply

    Great ideas here! I’ve done the carols by candlelight and it was the most Christmassy event I’ve ever been to! Definitely worth it. I’m off to the winter wonderland next week too! Can’t wait

    • Nuria Vidal
      Posted at 12:17h, 22 November Reply

      WOW! How cool:) I haven’t got the opportunity to experience it by myself yet.. hope in the next Christmasses! There are so many things to do… 😖 Have so much fun in Winter Wonderland 🎄

  • Lia @ Practical Wanderlust
    Posted at 12:12h, 22 November Reply

    This looks so festive! I’m visiting London in February, so I think I’ll just miss the holiday festivities 🙁 Maybe next time!

  • Vibeke Johannessen
    Posted at 15:55h, 05 December Reply

    Always wanted to go to London during Christmas , looks awesome! The Christmas lights looks magical! The pudding race looks hilarious! 😀

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