As with most capital cities in Europe, London comes alive at Christmastime. The streets are illuminated by glittering lights, laughter and delicious scents waft from warm restaurants, and markets selling traditional festive favourites are plentiful.
A weekend break or day visit to the city centre is sure to be a magical part of your run-up to Christmas. You can book cheap train tickets to London for a quick and comfortable journey that doesn’t break the bank, a convenient and eco-friendly alternative to driving.
Whether you are planning an intimate trip or family-orientated adventure, don’t miss out on these four festive highlights of Christmas in London.
Did you know that the tradition of Christmas markets stretches back centuries, to Middle Ages Vienna? Now found all over the continent, these open-air fairs are the perfect place to pick up some unique presents and sample seasonal cuisine.
For an authentic atmosphere, head to the Southbank Centre Winter Market on the banks of the Thames. Wander the collection of wooden cabins and eat, drink, and be merry!
One of London’s most well-known Christmas attractions is the Winter Wonderland. This event takes over Hyde Park from mid-November to early January, attracting children and adults alike.
Expect a host of fun-filled fair rides and games, dazzling performances, and plenty of food and drink to suit everyone. Younger children will love Santaland that is just overflowing with Christmas spirit: you can even meet Father Christmas himself!
Pre-booking is essential for Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. You have to confirm your arrival time slot, but you can stay for as long as you like.
Outdoor ice skating
Is there anything more uplifting than gliding across smooth ice in an outdoor skating rink? This is a winter activity in London that is sure to set your spirit soaring – if you can stay upright that is!
Several outdoor ice rinks pop up in London for the festive season, each with its own enchanting location.
A popular option for teens is the enormous 900sqm-rink at Somerset House where DJs create the soundtrack for the legendary Skate Lates. For a quieter and more romantic experience, go skating under the stars in the shadow of Hampton Court Palace.
Christmas light displays
Feeling spoiled for choice? Simply walk the city centre streets and marvel at the Christmas light displays. The shopping centres such as Oxford Street and Covent Garden have particularly elaborate displays including falling stars and rainbow trees.
If you have an evening to spare, spend it at Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. From 23rd November until the end of 2023, a special event called Glow Wild will be running on selected evenings. During this coveted event, the magnificent gardens are transformed by a series of mesmerising light displays.