Christmas in London is very charming, mostly because the city truly lights up and comes alive with holiday-inspired activities. From Christmas markets in London to Christmas themed high teas, hotels and shopping stores decking the halls in extravagant decorations and streets lighting up the long, dark days, Christmas in London will spoil you.
Keep reading to find out where to can participate in all of the winter activities like ice skating and find the best Christmas markets in London so you won’t miss a festive thing to do in London!
Best Time to Visit London for Christmas Festivities
You’re in for a treat, Christmas markets and Christmas lights in London start early and stay late! You’ll find most lights and markets are open by mid-November with one or two markets opening in late November. Most will stay open until the first week of January.
Christmas Markets in London
While Christmas markets around London are nothing like the Christmas markets in Germany or Austria, they are still pleasant to visit, get you into the Christmas mood and serve up delicious food and the ever-loved mulled wine.
Winterland Wonderland London
Winterland Wonderland is the largest Christmas market in London, decked out with sparkling lights, German-inspired huts, amusement park rides and an abundance of food.
This Christmas market is seriously massive so give yourself plenty of time to explore and expect line-ups for the rides.
The market is free to enter but bring your wallet as the food and rides aren’t cheap! Though you could totally walk around and get some pretty Insta shots without spending a dime.
Christmas shows and events, as well as a skating rink and a ferris wheel, make this market one to visit.
Location: Hyde Park
Dates: November 23, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Website: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Southbank Centre Winter Market
Foodies unite, this Christmas market in London is where you can feast on dishes from around the world served from chalet-style wooden huts decked with lights.
Artisan goods, as well as bars for mulled wine and cider, line the River Thames from around the base of the London Eye all the way to the Southbank Centre.
Christmas shows are also held here as a part of the Southbank Winter Festival. I recommend visiting at night as it’s the prettiest time with all of the lights. Entrance is also free!
Location: Along the south bank of River Thames from the London Eye to the Southbank Centre
Dates: November 9, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Christmas in Leicester Square
Right in the centre of London is Leicester Square that transforms into a Christmas market every year. It’s small but charming with wooden huts selling food, crafts, goodies and booze.
Shows are held throughout the season including some not so classic shows including an all boylesque show plus family friendly-shows and Santa’s Grotto.
The market is free to enter and is the perfect market to stop at between viewing the best Christmas lights in London.
Location: Leicester Square
Dates: November 9, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Website: Christmas in Leicester Square
For an alternative choice visit Winterville at Clapham Common for a Christmas market that is packed with hundreds of stalls with food and artisan goods.
Too basic? They’ve also got a Backyard Cinema, food trucks, a craft fair, ice rinks and even Mexican wrestling (yes, you read that right).
It’s free to enter, however, there are some shows which have a fee. There’s even a heated area too in case you get cold.
Location: Clapham Common
Dates: November 15 – December 23, 2018
Website: Winterville Clapham Common
Okay, not technically a Christmas market but still a market that you should visit. Borough Market is open year-round and is the place to be for foodies. Around Christmas they extend the hours and deck the halls with plenty of festive decorations.
It’s the perfect spot for a relaxed evening keeping warm with some mulled wine or hot chocolate.
Location: Borough Market
Dates: Extended hours from December 5, 2018 until Christmas Eve (10am-4pm)
Christmas By The River
Take in some of the most picturesque sights of London from this London Christmas market will a cup of mulled wine in hand. The shining Tower Bridge and Tower of London sparkle against the water of the River Thames while wooden huts decked out in lights line the river’s edge.
Your typical food and gifts are in the huts and free workshops are also available.
Location: London riverside between Tower Bridge and London Bridge on the southside
Dates: November 29, 2018 – January 2, 2019
Website: Christmas By The River
Kingston Christmas Market
The Kingston Christmas market is perfect for those who won’t be venturing into London’s city centre during the holidays. At the Ancient Market Place visitors can venture to a place where wooden cabins are selling unique, unusual and handmade goods.
Street food, mulled wine and live entertainment will be put on. A children’s area with rides and a Candy Cane Forest will also be back.
Location: Ancient Market Place, Kingston upon Thames
Dates: November 15 – December 31, 2018
Website: Kingston Christmas Market
London Christmas Lights
One of the best things about London at Christmas is the lights. The city really knows how to decorate. If you want to snap a few pics and take in this festive time of year then here is where you need to visit:
This shopping street transforms with 1,178 Christmas lights that are known for the famous coloured balls of lights that hang and signs that read ‘Christmas is Calling’.
Carnaby has the most colourful Christmas lights and the side streets have red lights that read ‘Ho Ho Ho’.
These were my favourite Christmas lights in London. Angels dancing across the street, sparkling with white lights that hang over Regent Street.
Last but certainly not least are the Christmas lights on Bond street which make this shopping street dazzle. The stores around get a touch of sparkle with lights too.
Over 100,000 lights decorate Covent Garden including a Christmas tree, a giant reindeer and mistletoe chandeliers.
Christmas at Kew
Get to see the Kew Gardens light up for festivities. Tickets are limited, visit Christmas at Kew for more info.
It’s even possible to do a Christmas lights tour!
Christmas Themed Teas in London
Enjoying tea in London is a top thing to do in London but savouring Christmas themed tea is even better! Get ready to splurge, these certainly don’t come cheap but just think about how pretty it will be!
Christmas teas are not just about the decorative food but the places you go will also be dressed for Christmas.
Here are some of the top places to book yourself a table:
- The Ritz
- The Langham
- InterContinental London Park Lane
- The Connaught
- The Sheraton Grand
- The Savoy
Other Christmas Activities in London
Christmas Shopping in London
Not really to actually go shopping but more so you can enjoy shopping while being surrounded by festive decorations that will make your heart happy. Store windows will be decked out and the lights will twinkle.
Here is where you should check out:
- Oxford and Regent Street
- Knightsbridge (to see the famous Harrod’s)
- Covent Garden
- Carnaby Street
- Mayfair and St. James’
Ice Skating in London
Bundle up and get active, dance around on the ice in London at these top, beautiful skating rinks.
- Natural History Musem
- Somerset House
- Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
- Canary Wharf
- Tower of London
- Hampton Court Palace
Christmas Party Pub Crawl
Get dressed up, get free shots and be lead around some of the best bars in central London.
Magical London Christmas Hotels That You Can Stay In
If you’re visiting London for Christmas then why not stay in one of the best Christmas decorated hotels to top off your holiday?
- Claridge’s | Check Prices
- Andaz Liverpool Street | Check Prices
- Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard | Check Prices
- Covent Garden Hotel | Check Prices
- The Dorchester | Check Prices
- The Ritz London | Check Prices
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