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10 best things to do with kids in London this Christmas

From ice skating to Christmas markets, we have compiled a list of go-to spots for keeping kids entertained in London this Christmas

Parents show their child the christmas lights on christmas tree in city centre© Betsie Van der Meer
Katie Daly
Lifestyle Writer
October 31, 2023
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Keeping kids busy during the Christmas holidays is a task parents have to conquer every year. Whilst it is this treasured time with the little ones that so many parents look forward to, finding something that will keep them busy and is something you can enjoy doing with them isn't always easy. 

Luckily, London is the city of opportunity and inspiration when it comes to keeping kids busy through the festive period. Find here a list of fun activities – all with varied costs attached – that you can do with your brood in London this Christmas that will be fun for all the family. 

Finding things to do during the Christmas holidays in London needn't be a chore. With so many festive opportunities in the big smoke, there is plenty to keep the little ones, and the big ones, entertained.

10 best things to do with kids in London this Christmas - at a glance

How we chose the best things to do for kids in London during the Christmas holidays 

  • Tried & tested: A lot of the HELLO! staff are parents of little ones, and a lot of them live in London. We consulted the mums and dads on the team to ask for suggestions before compiling this list. 
  • Iconic destinations: There are some on this list that are just iconic - Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is a must-visit if you're in the big city over the festive period. 
  • Different budgets: Going on a day trip to London with kids can be very expensive, so we tried to be mindful with different price points. The cheapest thing on this list would be a trip to the Christmas markets and enjoy the buzz all around you. 

Visit Hobbledown Heath

Colorful kids outdoor playground equipment with slides© Getty
The colder weather doesn't have to mean staying indoors

A day at Hobbledown Heath, London's largest adventure playground, is the perfect solution when you are looking for a day out that keeps the kids active. Not only do you have the chance to have breakfast with Santa, you can also step into his grotto and they offer a special Santa session for children with special educational needs.

Christmas at Kew Gardens

A family walk through the woods together in winter© Getty
Kew Gardens at Christmas is quite the spectacle

If you are looking for an evening activity for children with a festival twist, consider a trip to Kew Gardens. You can enjoy an hour-and-a-half-long evening trail through the woods with over a million lights, lasers, and seasonal sounds. A true spectacle.

Ride an open-top London bus

View of a colourful festive Christmas Tree with holiday lights and Tower Bridge in the background at night, London© Getty
An open-top bus tour allows you to see all the sights lit up

Talking of lights, you can ride an open-top London bus for a magical tour of the Christmas lights around London. Many will pass famous landmarks like the illuminated London Eye, Big Ben, and over Tower Bridge.

Go ice skating

Ice skating at Somerset House© Getty
Ice skating at Somerset House is truly magical

For families who often opt for a sportier activity, why not go ice skating? Embrace the wonder that is London at Christmas and buy tickets to Skate at Somerset House or in front of Hampton Court Palace for a true sense of a white Christmas.

See a pantomime

A Christmas panto is fun for all the family© Getty
A Christmas panto is fun for all the family

Nothing says English Christmas like a panto and as you'd expect, London is the centre of theatre gold. Options range from Peter Pan at London's Palladium starring Jennifer Saunders and Julian Clary or head over to The Theatre Royal Stratford East for a journey up Jack's Beanstalk.

Visit a Christmas market

A Christmas market © Getty
A Christmas market is an opportunity to try some delicious festive food

A London Christmas market is a real treat for the senses, especially for a child. Pop over to the Southbank Centre where you can enjoy a market and winter festival offering delicious food stalls, an old-school carousel, and illuminations on The Queen's Walk. There are Christmas markets all around London with Covent Garden and Leicester Square also being popular spots to feel merry.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

London's Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park with fairground rides and market© Getty
Winter Wonderland is the epitome of Christmas

The epitome of Christmas when it comes to a day in London has to be Hyde Park Winter Wonderland held in Hyde Park from 17 November to 1 January. Though not the cheapest day out, you can ensure lots of fun at the fair which offers a Bavarian food hall, rides, a traditional Christmas market, and ice slides.

ZSL London Zoo

Gorilla wearing a santa hat© Getty
Animal lovers will have a great time at London Zoo this Christmas

London Zoo is the place to be at Christmas for all the animal lovers. Not only will you get to see all the wonderful animals, you get the added Christmas sparkle in the form of a sleigh ride, the opportunity for your child's Christmas list to be posted to the North Pole by an elf, and an opportunity to meet the main man himself. The Magic of Christmas is on from 25 November to 7 January.

Visit the Gingerbread Exhibition

cake stand of homemade, tiered Christmas cake, cake covered with fondant icing and gingerbread house biscuits decorated with white royal icing, illuminated fairy lights, Santa Claus, gingerbread men, Christmas tree cupcakes© Getty
Make your own gingerbread house inspired by the Gingerbread Exhibition

Every year the Museum of Architecture puts on a phenomenal display – an entire city made from gingerbread. Whilst 2023 dates are TBC, it is something to add to your Christmas bucket list as it is a true spectacle for all the family to enjoy. There are also family workshops that you can book where you and your children can use all the inspiration soaked up from the exhibition and decorate your own gingerbread houses. It doesn't get much more festive than that!

Attend Wishmas at Waterloo

Holiday toy train- soft defocused© Getty
Ride into Christmas at Wishmas

Wishmas is described as London's ultimate festive adventure and rightly so. Enjoy a journey through the magical portal into an immersive Christmas walk-through experience where you'll encounter Christmas characters and a truly theatrical experience.

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