Make the most of the capital's jolly festivities and add some sparkle to your trip with 101 of the best things to do in London during Christmas.
You'll usually find unique, iconic and unusual Christmas activities at venues across the capital. From atmospheric outdoor markets filled with chalets, to memorable pantos and carol singing concerts.
Take a look at all the fun and epic events you could enjoy last year and check back later in the year for confirmed activities happening at Christmas 2021.
Experience magical Christmas attractions
- See the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London decked out for Christmas with Hogwarts in the Snow.
- Spend a whole day frolicking around Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, where all the magical Christmas activities come together.
- Marvel at the magnificent Christmas decorations as Windsor Castle is given a festive makeover fit for a queen.
- Take an enchanting journey into a glittering wonderland with Christmas at Kew at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
- A trip to the capital at Christmas wouldn't be complete without seeing the top 10 attractions in London.
Best Christmas tours
- Discover the best festive decorations on a magical open-top bus tour on Christmas Eve.
- Or enjoy a similar Christmas Day tour or Boxing Day tour with your camera in hand.
- Head out after dark and climb aboard a London by Night bus tour to see the lights.
- Hop on board a bus tour specially aimed at kids to help them discover stories of London at Christmas.
- Sip delicious winter warmers while enjoying stunning views of London on the Winter Bar Bus.
- Go at your own pace and see the sights with your own expert guide on a London Sightseeing Tour.
- Enjoy a self-guided tour of the City of London's key sights and festively decorated streets on the City Visitor Trail.
Find more London tours over the festive period.
See a London Christmas show
- Celebrate musical theatre and the festive season with the limited run of West End Musical Christmas – Live At The Palace.
- Watch Love Actually in Concert with a live orchestra at Eventim Apollo.
- Enjoy an enchanting ballet performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum.
- ...Or see a reworked version of the same Christmas classic streamed to cinemas, with the Royal Opera House's version of The Nutcracker.
- Enjoy Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved Stick Man live at Rose Theatre Kingston.
- The London Palladium was going panto crazy again last year, as Julian Clary lead a star cast in laugh-a-minute Pantoland at The Palladium.
- Enjoy a side-splitting tour through seven pantomime classics in just 70 minutes with Potted Panto.
- Experience the magic of the festive season with shows spanning Handel's Messiah, big bands and carols during Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall.
- Join a pantomime based on the former Lord Mayor of London, as Dick Whittington comes to the Olivier Theatre at National Theatre.
Christmas shopping in London
- Visit the West End's famous shopping streets, including flagship-lined Oxford Street, upscale Bond Street and elegant Regent Street.
- Look out for gourmet Christmas treats and hampers at Fortnum & Mason in St James's.
- Check out the spectacular window displays at Selfridges, go inside to explore its dedicated Christmas shop and tick off the majority of your shopping list!
- Head to Covent Garden for a diverse mix of designer labels, vintage stores and high-street brands – and enjoy the daily snowfall on the Piazza throughout December.
- Check out Carnaby’s independent shops and cool fashion boutiques.
- Be dazzled by baubles in one of London’s famous department stores’ dedicated Christmas shops, including Harrods and Liberty.
- Treat kids to a visit to one of London's best toyshops.
- Explore the eclectic range of boutiques and designer labels on King's Road in Chelsea.
- Get all your Christmas shopping done after dark at these late-night shopping spots.
- Find last-minute Christmas presents at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.
- Bag bargains galore in the January sales that begin on Boxing Day.
- If you're not able to make it to London to pick up gifts this year, buy your loved ones London gift vouchers and luxury London gifts and experiences to use in the future.
Discover more Christmas shopping hotspots in London.
Go ice skating in London
- Enjoy magnificent views of Henry VIII's residence at the Hampton Court Palace ice rink, or the 18th-century courtyard of Somerset House.
- Take in the panoramic views of London as you glide atop Skylight's rooftop rink.
- Or groove around a fortress by the riverside at the Tower of London Ice Rink.
- Create unforgettable memories at the annual Natural History Museum Ice Rink, nestled in South Kensington.
- Show off your skills within the special surrounds of Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, at the Queen's House Ice Rink.
- Learn to skate and take to the ice at the indoor Alexandra Palace ice rink.
Find more top winter ice rinks in London.
Watch Christmas films at a winter cinema
- Venture though a beautiful ball pit river on your way to a festive screening in Backyard Cinema's two festive spaces or decorate your car for a Christmas hit at The Drive In.
- Watch Christmas films in sumptuous surroundings at the Rivoli Ballroom's pop-up cinema.
- Enjoy a stunning cinematic Christmas experience set in a magical snow-filled wonderland at Pop-Up Peckham.
Discover more unique and unusual cinemas in London.
Get cosy in a Christmas winter pop-up
- Enter an adults’ playground at Winterland, with cocktails, fondue, DJ vibes and private forest cabins.
- Seek out seasonal treats at Skylight in Tobacco Dock, where the sunny terraces have been transformed into a wintry haven of warm igloos.
- Get cosy in Coppa Club's heated igloos decorated with twinkling lights.
- Celebrate Christmas at Queen of Hoxton! Drop by for a warming drink and a hang out session at the heated tent.
- Unwind with a drink in hand among a cosy winter forest of 200 trees, alpine lodges and log fires at Pergola Paddington.
Discover more winter pop-ups and rooftop bars in London.
Explore London Christmas markets
- Find unusual crafts and tuck into seasonal treats with Pexmas Market at Copeland Gallery.
- Browse cosy stalls, munch on bratwurst and see a festive show at Christmas in Leicester Square.
- Explore antiques and jewellery under pretty lights at Greenwich Market.
- Winter at Southbank brings a market, firepits, rides and bags of Christmas spirit to the riverside!
- Or sleigh over to Christmas By The River at London Bridge City.
- Amble around Kingston's Christmas market, overflowing with foodie treats, lovely decorations and handmade crafts.
Look for stocking fillers at more Christmas markets in London.
Find Christmas activities for the family in London
- Take in the Christmas cheer during the Christmas Fair Weekend at Fulham Palace House and Garden.
- Meet Santa, grab a perfect shot in the life-sized version of a wintry poster and bask in festive family activities during Winter at London Transport Museum.
- Pop in to the Museum of London Docklands or Museum of London and travel back in time to Victorian London for festive Family Missions.
- Enjoy Christmas at ZSL London Zoo with a festive trail, Santa-spotting and animal-themed fun.
- Round up the troops and embark on a day trip to Windsor Castle.
- Attend an advent, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day church service at venues across London, including St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
- Get a glimpse of how Christmas was celebrated in Victorian times at the Charles Dickens Museum.
- Roll up your sleeves for a virtual wreath making workshop with Botanical Boys or Gingerbread House Decorating at Wizard Exploratorium.
Treat the kids to more family fun in London.
Be dazzled by Christmas lights in London
- Marvel at more than 300,000 Christmas lights above Regent Street, alongside glowing spirits.
- See the beautiful Oxford Street Christmas lights shimmer above the world-famous shopping district.
- Check out the lights twinkling across Carnaby Street, which is filled with inspiring and Insta-worthy illuminations every year.
- Admire the gorgeous mistletoe chandeliers at Covent Garden and explore the magical Christmas lights in nearby Seven Dials.
- See the luxurious area of Bond Street sparkle with magnificent Christmas lights.
- Grab a selfie under the arches along South Molton Street, some of London's most unique Christmas lights.
- Head over to Chelsea to see Duke of York Square gloriously dressed in festive lights.
- Stroll along the South Bank and be dazzled by the seasonal twinkle.
- Look out for London’s magnificent Christmas trees decked in lights, including the world-famous tree in Trafalgar Square.
Discover more Christmas lights in London from mid-November until January.
Feast on festive food and drink
- Stuff your face with indulgent treats aboard an evening tour of London with a selection of desserts and wine.
- Watch Christmas cooking demonstrations, pick up festive treats and more at Hampton Court Palace's Festive Fayre.
- Dine on a spectacular four-course dinner and then take to the dance floor at the Festive Live event at The Ritz London.
- Enjoy a festive cocktail at one of London's best bars or snuggle up in front of a crackling fire in a cosy pub.
- Treat yourself to a jolly Christmas-themed afternoon tea.
- Check out the food stalls full of bratwurst, hot toddies and more seasonal fare at London's top Christmas markets.
- Share a fondue with friends at a one of London's top cheese spots.
- Soak up the seasonal cheer at one of London's pop-up winter rooftop bars.
- Find seasonal produce such as gingerbread and hot mulled cider at Borough Market.
- Make a Christmas toast at one of London's champagne bars.
Best Christmas trees in London
Head to Windsor Castle, the location of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's wedding, to see its traditional Nordmann Fir tree as the royal residence is transformed for Christmas.
See one of the largest Christmas trees in London shine beautifully above the cobbled streets of the 19th-century Covent Garden piazza.
Fill your Instagram with snaps of one of the quirkiest Christmas trees London has to offer, at St Pancras International station.
Discover Liberty London's annual tree installation floating above the central atrium or visit the luxurious Mayfair hotel Claridge’s London Christmas tree, which is created by a different designer each year.
Outdoor Christmas things to do in London
- Watch swimmers brave the icy waters of Hyde Park’s Serpentine to compete in the Peter Pan Cup.
- See London from the water on the Jingle Bell Blast boat tour with Thames Rockets.
- Walk off those festive treats with an amble around one of London’s beautiful parks.
- Pick up foodie gifts and snap away at the iconic lanterns and gates in vibrant Chinatown, which has many restaurants open on Christmas Day.
- Work off those mince pies with adrenaline-fuelled activities, such as the Up at The O2 climb or Tottenham Hotspur Stadium's Dare Skywalk.
Virtual Christmas things to do
Last year, there were many Christmas activities to be enjoyed from home! You could...
Experience the build-up to Christmas in London from your sofa with our pick of things to do from home.
- Join the London Philharmonic Orchestra's free-to-view In the Stream of Life concerts, filmed live from its Southbank Centre home.
- Enjoy more than 40 online events as part of Southbank Centre's Inside Out series, mixing top names in comedy, literature and music. Many events are free, with others available for as little as £5.
- Find a hive of online Christmas activity from the Victoria and Albert Museum. Complete a festive trail or pull up your sleeves and DIY some crackers.
- Join a cook-along with chefs as part of Borough Market's Festive Kitchen series.
- Relive classic London films from your collection, whether it's the Christmas stalwart Love Actually or family favourites Paddington and Mary Poppins.
Culture at Christmas
- Explore what living in an artificial intelligence-driven world could look like with Driverless: Who is in control? at the Science Museum.
- Visit the National Gallery for a groundbreaking exhibition of Titian’s works at the Titian: Love, Desire, Death exhibition.
- Say your “oohs and aahs” at Tate Britain's Chila Kumari Singh Burman winter commission, before seeing the works of one of Britain’s greatest artists with Turner's Modern World.
- Start planning your New Year's Eve in London celebrations!
For more festive ideas, check out our guide to Christmas in London, including the best London Christmas lights and top Christmas shows. Find even more seasonal suggestions with our pick of 101 winter activities.