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22 Christmas things to do in London: Ice skating, carol concerts & more

We're all in need of some festive fun!

christmas london
Leanne Bayley
Leanne BayleyDirector of Lifestyle & Commerce
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There's no better place to get in the festive spirit than London.

From seeing Kew Gardens light up with Christmas decorations to hiding out in a rooftop igloo and caroling with pooches, here's our guide to some of the best things to do in London this Christmas...

GET SHOPPING: Your Christmas gift guide for 2022

Christmas things to do in london

1. Go ice skating 

christmas skate somerset 22

Skate at Somerset House is definitely the most popular ice rink in London. It's the ultimate winter destination, complete with a glorious 40ft Christmas tree, with specially curated decorations from Moët & Chandon, providing perfect picture moments. 

BOOK SKATE TICKETS

2. Christmas at Kew

christmas kew 22

Get out of the cold and see Kew Gardens in a whole new light as the UNESCO World Heritage landscape glitters with millions of festive lights.

Marking ten years since the original festive trail at Kew Gardens in London, this year’s display features a host of seasonal favourites alongside mesmerizing new light installations.

It's on until 8 January 2023, 4.20pm until 10pm. The last entry is 8pm. Take pictures of the twinkling lights illuminating the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, from the Rose Garden to a glittering tunnel of bells. 

BOOK CHRISTMAS AT KEW TICKETS

3. Go to the ballet

Erina Takahashi and Skyler Martin in Nutcracker

Want to feel super festive? Get all dressed up to go and watch the English National Ballet perform in the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker.

BOOK THE NUTCRACKER

4. Book a festive afternoon tea

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The Guardsman - based in Westminster - offers a Yuletide twist on the afternoon tea with a festive version - but don't worry, you can still enjoy freshly baked scones served with clotted cream and preserves.

You've got until 8 January to book and it's available Wednesday to Sunday from 12 noon until 5pm. It's priced at £65 per person, and that's inclusive of a glass of Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Champagne or a Christmas cocktail.

BOOK THE GUARDSMAN

5. Go to a Christmas market

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There are plenty of Christmas markets in London to choose from. Tourists are drawn to the city every year to explore the magic of Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, with thrilling rides and treats on every corner. There's also the Southbank Christmas market alongside the River Thames, Selfridges Christmas market provides fairground rides and goodies and Covent Garden Christmas market where you can walk through a forest of Christmas trees! Don't forget to check out Leicester Square's, Borough Markets, London Bridge's, Greenwich's, Kingston's and Kings Cross' Christmas markets as well. 

BOOK WINTER WONDERLAND

6. Go bowling with Santa's elves 

santa bowling 22

Tick off your Christmas shopping and get in the festive spirit at Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, where you can go bowling with Santa's Elves or go ice skating at Winter Village.

FIND OUT MORE DETAILS

7. The Royal Albert Hall

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Listen to your favourite carols at one of London's best-known landmarks, the Royal Albert Hall, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Choral Society and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain.

BOOK THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL

8. Tour the London Christmas lights

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Marvel at the iconic Christmas lights on Oxford Street as you grab some gifts for family and friends. Virgin Experience Days has a London Christmas Lights Photography Tour. Across the 2 hour 30 minute evening photography tour, you’ll elevate your photography skills and snap some of the most picturesque Christmas lights locations in London. Guided by a professional photographer, kick-start with a quick talk on recommended camera settings and how to capture the best evening landscapes.

BOOK PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

SEE: Royals photographed in front of stunning landmarks around the world

9. Have a festive tour of Windsor Castle

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Get a taste of royal life with a tour of Windsor Castle, complete with a glimpse of the magnificent 20-foot-high Norway spruce tree in St George's Hall.

SEE WHAT'S ON 

10. Try out all the various Christmas coffee menus

Cinnamon Swirl Latte 22

All of the major coffee chains release their highly anticipated Chriistmas menus, and this year Caffè Nero has launched eight brand-new festive food and drink additions. The new indulgent and scrumptious festive food & drink menu, features showstoppers such as the Turkey Feast Focaccia, Chocolate Hazelnut Chouxnut, Cinnamon Swirl Latte and Vegan Festive Feast. Yum.

SEE FESTIVE MENU

11. Visit  The Fabulous World of Dior 

dior xmas

As the holiday season approaches, Dior has created The Fabulous World of Dior, a spectacular presentation illuminating the hallowed halls of the legendary Harrods department store. 

Until 3 January the façade of the Brompton Road store will be adorned with a monumental light installation showcasing the compass rose, lucky stars and scintillating flowers - all of which were reinterpreted by artist Pietro Ruffo for the Dior cruise 2023 collection.

Inside you'll find two dreamlike pop-ups, along with a Café specially conceived for the occasion, dedicated Dior Beauty spaces and makeup and perfume collections and even a truly immersive exhibition that plays with proportions to enchant the senses. As a final surprise, the House has created a remarkable collection of irresistible gingerbread biscuits for Café Dior.

PLAN YOUR VISIT

12. Catch a festive show 

elf 22

Get in the festive spirit with a trip to the Dominion Theatre to see Elf the Musical, based on the beloved film.

BOOK ELF THE MUSICAL

13. Visit the London Zoo

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Animal-lovers should head to ZSL London Zoo where you can send off your trail card to Santa and help to make sure all the animals get the perfect present this Christmas!

BOOK THE LONDON ZOO

14. Carols by Candlelight 

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Join the MS Society’s Carols by Candlelight event, which features Christmas carols and readings. In the past Kit Harrington, Emilia Fox, Robert Powell, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Rose Leslie have all performed.

BOOK CAROLS BY CANDLELIGHT

RELATED: 17 cosy holiday cottages and hotels with roaring fireplaces for the perfect staycation

15. Harry Christmas! Visit Hogwarts in the Snow

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Feast your eyes on Hogwarts' winter makeover at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, featuring a tree-lined Great Hall and a magical Yule Ball.

BOOK HOGWARTS IN THE SNOW

16. A trip to Harrods to get crafty 

harrods christmas

Who wouldn't want to get a little crafty in one of the biggest department stores in London at Christmas time? Paper florist Laura Reed has teamed up with LaMer and Harrods to offer an amazing wreath making workshop on 3 December. Spaces are very limited but great news, the booking fee is redeemable against La Mer products. Your wreath will be made out of Notpla seaweed paper to bring your home much joy during this festive period and beyond.

BOOK TICKETS

17. Sing for your furry friends this Christmas

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Show your support for all the furry friends of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home at the annual Christmas carol concert. Sing carols in the company of Battersea dogs and in the beautiful surroundings of St Luke's & Christ Church, Chelsea.

BOOK MORE DETAILS

18. See the Covent Garden Christmas tree

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From 8 November, Covent Garden's world famous Christmas lights will officially turn on from that morning, bringing the festive spirit to all visitors. With over 115,000 lights, mirror balls, giant mistletoe sprigs and giant baubles, as well as the iconic 60ft British-grown Christmas tree decorating the estate, you'll be in for a treat.  Covent Garden’s festive lights will sparkle daily from 11am - midnight from 8 November until 3 January 2023, bringing you the ultimate Christmas destination to enjoy this winter.

MORE DETAILS

19. Hop over to Chelsea for Christmas 

Cadogan Xmas 2020

Step into Chelsea at Christmas, a winter wonderland where you can see a 36-foot Norway Spruce tree, enjoy a festive food market and see live entertainment and music.

FIND OUT MORE

20. Book an igloo 

christmas igloo 22

Sip on a festive cocktail as you huddle up with friends in a igloo this Christmas. At Vinegar Yard the terrace will be transformed into an Aprés-Ski haven, with four heated igloos throughout the festive season. Snuggle on a cosy sofa with a round of street food and warming winter drinks, and gaze out to one of the best views in London! 

BOOK NOW 

21. Christmas wreath making

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Tap into your creative side with this Luxury Christmas Wreath Masterclass at Judith Blacklock Flower School. In this floristry workshop, you’ll create a luxurious festive wreath from an exciting mix of seasonal foliage. With a wide range of ribbons and accessories, your wreath can be exclusively yours.

Soak up the wonderfully festive atmosphere of Kinnerton Place South in its idyllic location in the heart of London. To help with the creativity, you’ll be served a glass of something nice.

BOOK WREATH MAKING

22. Book a chocolate masterclass

christmas choc masterclass 22

An exclusive experience based at Somerset House in London you'll have a behind the scenes insight into the luxury Hotel Chocolat brand. Over the course of an hour, you will be immersed in the world of Hotel Chocolat, meet the creators of chocolates and hear their stories, working your way through an eclectic collection of decadent goodies, whilst sipping a glass of fizz.

Every Thursday from 15 December – 12 January 19.30 – 20.30. 

BOOK TICKETS

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