Things to do in London at Christmas

In Christmas, Days Out, London, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, UK Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Stand aside Ebenezer, let the revelries begin! 

If you don’t mind wrapping up warm over Christmas, then I personally believe that there is no better place to be enchanted than London over the festive celebrations.

A Christmas tree in front of Tower Bridge, London at Christmas, UK

A Christmas tree in front of Tower Bridge

It has something for everyone and every age, and we’re not just talking about the believers, non-believers are welcome here too.

Trafalgar Square at Christmas, London, England, UK

Trafalgar Square at Christmas

The half-timbered buildings take you back to Dickensian times.

You can ice skate by the Tower of London, run amok in Hamleys toy store and indulge in the elegant shopping district around London’s West End.

Who knows who you’ll bump into.

Hamleys on Regent Street, Christmas, London, England, UK

Hamleys on Regent Street at Christmas

So where do you start?

To be perfectly honest it doesn’t matter, there are festivities around every corner. However, perhaps if you’re not laden down with Christmas shopping, then start at an ice rink.

The view from Seven Dials, Christmas, London, England, UK

The view from Seven Dials in London's West End

There are a few to choose from, Natural History Museum, Hampton Court Palace, although, two of our favourites are Tower of London and Somerset House.

The Tower and the City, London, England, UK

The Tower and the City of London

Now, when I say our favourites, that may imply that we are ice skaters, that’s a big NO.  I think I’m slightly better at skating than Gary, but that’s not setting the benchmark very high, as he was rescued by a skating rabbit.

Be prepared

Bring a brolly, a warm coat and comfy shoes – it is London after all.

Tower of London ice rink

The ice rink at the Tower of London is set within the dry moat of the Tower and makes such an incredible back-drop to the glistening ice rink.

Skating on ice in front of the Tower of London, London at Christmas, UK

Skating on ice in front of the Tower of London

Even if you are not joining in it is great fun to ‘people watch’, as you get a great view peering down onto the skaters below.

Somerset House ice rink

Somerset House is another beautiful London landmark, and at Christmas feels so romantic. It has been used many times as a filming location, you may remember it within the opening credits of “Love Actually”.

On the ice at Somerset House, Christmas, London, England, UK

On the ice at Somerset House at Christmas

Once again, the elegant store of Fortnum & Mason is sponsoring the event, their trees are so big they have Christmas hampers as decorations.

Don’t forget to book

Ensure you don’t miss out, reserve your slot at the Tower of London ice rink and Somerset House 

Let’s hit the streets

As I mentioned so many of London’s streets are festooned with decorations, however, there are always the key streets and lanes that you must head to. 

One of my favourite areas is Covent Garden, there’s always so much going on. Street entertainers, carols being sung and quirky gifts for sale on the market stalls.

The Christmas Tree in front of Covent Garden, Christmas, London, England, UK

The Christmas Tree in front of Covent Garden

Although saying that, last year we strolled around Seven Dials at Christmas and that was really charming.

A lot of the shops are boutiques or one-off stores, so the windows decorations are a little different.

Seven dials at Christmas, Christmas, London, England, UK

Seven dials at Christmas

The old favourites

Regent Street is always a great place to head, seeing the red buses travelling along, it looks so iconic. The shops really do make an effort to bring the festivities alive, Hamleys is a must to see for the young and old.

Regent Street Saint James's at Christmas, London, England, UK

Regent Street Saint James's at Christmas

Just a short stroll from Regent St. is Carnaby Street, there’s always a fantastic colourful spin to Christmas along here.

The view down Regent Street, Christmas, London, England, UK

The view down Regent Street

Image

Carnaby Street at Christmas from 2017

Another couple of our favourite streets are Haymarket, Regent Street St James’s and particularly New Bond Street’s display was incredible – no expense spared. 

Looking along New Bond Street, Christmas, London, England, UK

Looking along New Bond Street

Elegant New Bond Street, Christmas, London, England, UK

The elegant New Bond Street

Our Tip

Avoid always taking the tube, your favourite places maybe nearer to each other than you think. 

The Perfect gift

Every year the stores and shop fronts seem to get better and better, Cartier was wrapped up like a huge Christmas present and as usual Fortnum and Mason’s surpassed themselves.

The Cartier store on New Bond Store, Christmas, London, England, UK

The Cartier store on New Bond Store,

Fortnum & Mason's store at Christmas, London, England, UK

Fortnum & Mason's store at Christmas,

I know I keep saying you must see this, you must see that, but, there are so many parts of London that make this incredible city so enchanting. Take the stylish arcades of Burlington, Piccadilly and the Royal Arcade. These are wonderful all year round, however, at Crimbo time they take your breath away with their elegance. 

The Royal Arcade at Christmas, London, England, UK

The Royal Arcade at Christmas

Burlington Arcade, Christmas, London, England, UK

Burlington Arcade

Point to note

Even though London is spectacular during the day, it truly comes alive after dark.

Down by the river-side 

One of the much-loved areas of London is down by the River Thames.  At Christmas time dotted all along the South Bank from the London Eye to Tower Bridge little wooden cabins have popped up.

Strolling along the Queen's Walk at Christmas Market, London at Christmas, UK

Strolling along the Queen's Walk at Christmas Market

Here you can grab your favourite German delicacies of bratwurst, gluhwein and little chocolate kisses. The bustling atmosphere really gets you in the mood for the Christmas celebrations ahead.

The carousel at the Christmas Market at the Tate Modern, London at Christmas, UK

The carousel at the Christmas Market at the Tate Modern


Mulled cider, London at Christmas, UK

Mulled cider in London at Christmas

More we loved

A couple more places that caught our eye while we were soaking up the merry atmosphere was Leadenhall Market in the heart of the financial district. Leadenhall is an amazing piece of architecture, and Harry Potter performed some wizardry and turned it into Diagon Alley.

Inside Leadenhall Market, London at Christmas, UK

Inside Leadenhall Market at Christmas

Also, St. Paul’s Cathedral is such an icon to this magnificent city.

I worked by St. Paul’s for 24 years, so this place holds some lasting memories for me.

A Christmas tree in front of St Paul's Cathedral, London at Christmas, UK

A Christmas tree in front of St Paul's Cathedral

Why not?

Start creating your own adventure and discover the delights of London yourself, check out your  flight options through Skyscanner.

Afternoon Tea

If those feet are now becoming weary, give them a rest at the Ritz hotel and partake in afternoon tea in style.

 Or like my mum and me, jump on an old-style double-decker bus and enjoy an afternoon tea while touring the London streets?

The Ritz hotel at Christmas, London, England, UK

The Ritz hotel at Christmas, London, England, UK

A Routemaster bus in London, Christmas, London, England, UK

A Routemaster bus in London

How to get there

If you are not a London dweller, then one of the easiest ways to get to the capital is by train. Catch all the routes into London here and find your most convenient itinerary.

(These options are provided by GetYouGuide.Com. We will earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you if you book through our site)

Inspired to visit London at Christmas?

I just love staying in this incredible city, and nothing is better than seeing it come to life of an evening.

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About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight.Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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Things to do in London at Christmas was last modified: November 30th, 2018 by Janis