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London Winter Wonderland

Unwrap the magic: 10 must-do Christmas activities in London

London is a city that knows how to do Christmas right.

As the holiday season approaches, the British capital transforms into a winter wonderland, with twinkling lights, festive markets, and a plethora of yuletide activities.

Shot of a Ferriss wheel at Winter Wonderland, illuminated against the clear night sky.


If you are considering a trip to London this Christmas, here are 10 must-do activities to get you into the holiday spirit:

  • Hyde Park Winter Wonderland: Immerse yourself in a festive fairyland with ice skating, a Christmas market, a magical ice kingdom, and thrilling rides.
  • Christmas markets: Explore charming Christmas markets, such as Southbank Centre Winter Market and Christmas by the River, where you can shop for unique gifts and indulge in seasonal treats.
  • Skate at iconic locations: Glide across the ice at iconic venues such as Somerset House (15 November 2023 to 14 January 2024), or Hampton Court Palace (17 November 2023 to 7 January 2024). These ice rinks offer spectacular backdrops for a memorable skate. Note: a planned ice rink at Kensington Palace has been postponed, and the Brent Cross and the Tower of London ice rinks are not opening this year.
  • Christmas at Kew Gardens: Witness the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew illuminated with enchanting light displays, creating a magical atmosphere.
  • West End shows: Enjoy a festive-themed theatre performance in London's famous West End. Shows such as the "The Nutcracker" and "A Christmas Carol" are sure to delight.
  • Carnaby Street Christmas lights: Experience the trendy Carnaby Street adorned with unique and artistic Christmas lights.
  • Visit Santa: Take your kids to meet Father Christmas at famous locations such as Harrods, Hamleys, Selfridges, or storytelling with Father Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall. Please do be aware you may need to book tickets to some of these events, as they are always in high demand.
  • Christmas afternoon tea: Savour traditional afternoon tea with a Christmas twist at luxurious venues like The Ritz and Claridge's.
  • Christmas Day swim: Brave the chilly waters of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park or the Thames during the annual Christmas Day swim for a memorable, invigorating experience.
  • New Year's Eve fireworks: If you are planning to stay until New Year's, do not miss the spectacular fireworks display over the river Thames, welcoming in the new year in style.
Photo of people ice skating at Hampton Court Palace, with the Palace lit with blue lighting in the background.


London truly sparkles during the Christmas season, and these activities offer a taste of the festive joy that permeates the city. Make the most of your visit by immersing yourself in these enchanting experiences, creating lasting memories that will warm your heart during the holiday season.