Your guide to festivities in London this Christmas
The festive season hits London each year in a wave of twinkling lights, bustling markets and dazzling window displays. From family fun in Winter Wonderland to cosy nights of carol singing, there’s something to suit every taste. We know London can be a bit of a minefield, however, which is why we’ve compiled the ultimate festive itinerary.
Whichever of our London hotels you’re staying in, from stylish Kensington to fashionable Chelsea, we’ve got it covered when it comes to having the perfect Christmas in the capital.
Markets & Fairs
London is famous for its Christmas markets and fairs. Pick one of these destinations to drink mulled wine and peruse hand made goods, and even go on a ride or two if you’re feeling daring.
Hyde Park, London, W2 4RU
Open until 2nd Jan 2017
Top features:- Fairground rides
- Ice skating rink
- Giant observation wheel for viewing London
As the name suggests, Winter Wonderland feels like another world entirely. Browse festive trinkets at its many market stalls, and enjoy a cold stein in the giant bierkeller. If you’re out with the kids there are plenty of rides to keep them entertained. And if you’re up for a more grown-up night out, the bierkeller gets lively in the evenings – complete with an all-singing-and-dancing German oom-pah band.
Christmas Market at Tate Modern
Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
Open until 24th Dec 2016
Top features:- Victorian Carousel
- Gluhwein and Bratwurst
- Hand-crafted gifts
- Excellent location, close to St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe and Borough Market
London’s Bankside has been transformed into a fairy tale for the third year running with a traditional Christmas market at Tate Modern. It’s a simple but utterly jubilant affair, with twinkling wooden chalets and a beautiful carousel for the kids – or big kids – to ride on. Enjoy traditional Christmas music and delectable foodie treats, and even a visit to Santa’s grotto.
Christmas in Leicester Square
Leicester Square, London, WC2H
Open until 8th January 2017
Top features:- Belgian Spiegeltent
- Festive shows
- Christmas stalls
- Santa’s grotto
A brand new Christmas market is opening up this year, and it’s taking over Leicester Square. A vintage Spiegeltent forms one of the main attractions – an impossibly Christmassy, velvet-covered venue bringing a range of great shows from the Underbelly team. Peruse traditional Christmas markets before catching the world famous La Soiree circus for a wintry outing with a difference.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to gliding gracefully across the ice in the capital. Here are our top recommendations for where to get your skates on.
Broadgate Ice Rink
Exchange Place, London, EC2M 2QT
An oldie but a classic, this central ice skating rink is just as popular as it was when it opened thirty years ago.
Canary Wharf Ice Rink
Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AH
Gaze up at the soaring towers of London’s business district while enjoying this year’s theme: ‘Luminosity’.
Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
East Molesy, Surrey, London, KT8 9AU
Swoosh around in style in front of Henry VIII’s imposing sixteenth century living quarters.
National History Museum Ice Rink
Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD
The National History Museum buildings form a stunning backdrop to one of London’s most magical ice skating rinks.
One of London’s best offerings at this time of year is its spectacular range of Christmas light displays. Don’t miss the top locations below.
1,778 glistening silver orbs hang over Oxford Street like frosted snowballs. A must on the London-lights hitlist.
Closest tube station: Oxford Circus
Carnaby Christmas Lights:
Inspired by the V&A’s new exhibition ‘You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970’, this colourful display is not to be missed.
Closest tube station: Oxford Circus
Christmas Lights on the Strand:
The city’s greenest Christmas display, these lights are powered by a biofuel based on cooking oils collected from London's restaurants.
Closest tube station: Charing Cross
Whatever your plans are for the festive season, be sure to head to the city of lights where it really is the most wonderful time of the year.