Revel in the city’s seasonal atmosphere and discover some of the top things to do in London at Christmas with our magical day-out itinerary.
Go Christmas shopping, explore traditional markets, enjoy some ice skating or see a London Christmas show during a festive trip.
Morning: Christmas shopping in London
Head out early and beat the crowds for a spot of Christmas shopping in London's fabulously festive West End. Marvel at the seasonal shop-window displays and Christmas decorations on and around Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, while picking up Christmas gifts.
If you’re looking for something extra-special, the independent boutiques in Connaught Village are the perfect place to search for eclectic luxury items.
Top department stores Selfridges and Liberty London both house dedicated Christmas shops: Selfridges is the go-to store for Union Jack baubles and quirky ornaments, while Liberty is known for its glass-blown decorations and gorgeous crackers.
Hamleys on Regent Street sells an amazing variety of toys, while Topshop’s flagship store on Oxford Street offers bold-but-affordable fashion pieces – not to mention plenty of festive glitter and sequins! Note that large shops in London have reduced opening times on Sundays.
Lunch: eat, drink and be merry
Ready for lunch? Refuel at St Christopher's Place, a hidden dining gem just off Oxford Street, which boasts more than 20 restaurants and cafes. Alternatively, head to vibrant Kingly Court in Carnaby to eat delicious food from around the world.
If you prefer something on the go, cross the river to grab hot and tasty dishes from one of the many tempting street-food stalls at Borough Market.
Afternoon: London Christmas markets
After a bite to eat, it’s time for a picturesque walk along the river Thames, where you can tuck into roasted chestnuts and enjoy the festive decorations along the South Bank.
Drop by the Winter festival at Southbank Centre to look for gifts among the traditional wooden chalets at the Christmas market, while enjoying a seasonal cocktail.
Alternatively, check out more buzzing London markets over Christmas.
You can also admire iconic landmarks from the river Thames aboard a festive cruise with City Cruises, where you’ll have Santa Claus for company on your voyage.
Evening: a Christmas show or ice skating
As darkness falls, hop on the Tube to picture-pretty Covent Garden, an area transformed into a winter haven during the festive season.
See the giant Christmas tree in the famous piazza and watch the Covent Garden Christmas lights sparkle before grabbing a bite to eat. There are plenty of places to try for dinner: The Opera Quarter and St Martin's Courtyard are packed with a diverse mix of restaurants.
After dinner, sit back and enjoy a Christmas show or pantomime. Alternatively, stroll over to buzzing Trafalgar Square, where you can enjoy Christmas carols around the world-famous Christmas tree, an annual gift from Norway since 1947.
If you’re looking for something more active, wrap up warm and get your skates on at one of London's gorgeous open-air ice-skating rinks.
For a full-on festive experience, take a spin on the ice rink at Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland before trying some bratwurst in the Bavarian Village and having a wander through the Christmas market.
Afterwards, defrost with a pint in one of London's cosy pubs or treat yourself to a tipple at a luxury cocktail bar or champagne bar. Or, admire the city’s sparkling lights from above at a London rooftop bar.
For more seasonal events and festive things to do in London, take a look at our guide to Christmas in London.