Today I want to bring you A Lady in London’s guide to Christmas events in London. There’s a lot going on in the UK capital in winter, and events are great ways to get into the seasonal spirit in the city.
Christmas Events in London
Winter is not my favorite time of year. As a Californian, I grew up with “winter lite”, a season where scarves were fashion statements and boots were worn with bare legs and miniskirts.
But now that I face the annual reality of cold, dark London winters, I have to find ways to cope. As such, I’ve put together a little survival guide featuring Christmas events in the UK capital.
Christmas Light Events in London
There’s nothing like bright lights to trick us into forgetting London gets dark at 3pm in the winter. Every year there are Christmas events in London to celebrate the switching on of the lights.
The famous Christmas lights on Oxford Street, Regent Street, Bond Street, and Carnaby Street all go on with fanfare as celebrities switch them on in front of big crowds.
There are also smaller local events in London neighborhoods like Hampstead. There’s a ceremony each winter on Hampstead High Street and a Christmas festival with a surprise celebrity turning on the neighborhood’s annual lights.
I’ve also been to Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland on a complimentary basis. This family-friendly light and sound event takes over the grounds around Syon House and its conservatory. There’s street food at the end of the circuit, too.
Christmas Markets in London
London’s Christmas markets get bigger and better every year, particularly those in Hyde Park, on the South Bank, and around Trafalgar Square. They make the city one of the best places to visit in the UK at Christmas.
Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland offers visitors everything from food and gift stalls to carnival rides and ice skating. There are Christmas events like circus performances, too.
The South Bank’s Winter Market comes alive with Christmas market chalets, festive mulled wine, and lots of concerts and exhibitions to enjoy. I always love the cozy winter bars and cider lounge, too.
Christmas Afternoon Teas in London
No guide on the A Lady in London blog would be complete without a mention of afternoon tea, and there are some great Christmas afternoon teas in London each festive season.
The Christmas afternoon tea at The Dorchester features festive decor and choirs singing for guests.
Claridge’s Christmas afternoon tea offers seasonal sandwiches, Christmas sweets, and the annual Claridge’s Christmas tree, which is created by a different fashion designer every year.
Additionally, the Christmas afternoon tea at The Corinthia includes traditional Yuletide foods as well as live carol performances.
Ice Skating in London
When I first moved to London, I was surprised to learn how many ice skating rinks there were in the city during the winter.
The famous one at Somerset House is always a favorite, and the ice skating rink at Battersea Power Station is another great one. It’s set against the stunning backdrop of the Art Deco building and the Thames.
There are many other ice skating rinks in London, but these two are my top picks.
Christmas Theater and Film Events in London
There are certain things that no Christmas season is complete without, and in Britain Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of them.
It’s always on in the West End throughout December, and seeing it is one of the best things to do in London at Christmas.
For those that want something else, there are children’s plays and musicals on stage throughout the festive season and traditional British pantos as well.
If you’re like me and you grew up with a more dance-oriented Christmas season, you’ll be tempted by the English National Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker.
And if you prefer film, The Berkeley’s Outdoor Winter Cinema is one of the most luxurious ways to get into the winter spirit.
Carol Concerts in London
No Christmas season would be complete without traditional carols, and London has an abundance of places to hear them (and sing along, if that’s your thing!).
From the sumptuous interior of Royal Albert Hall to the hallowed chambers of St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, many of London’s iconic venues host carol concerts in the run-up to Christmas.
And don’t forget Trafalgar Square, where carol concerts take place in front of the annual Norwegian Christmas tree. They’re some of the best Christmas events in London.
Christmas Events at London Bars, Cafes, and Pubs
Many of London’s famous watering holes deck their roof decks with Christmas cheer, too.
The Queen of Hoxton has seasonal cocktails and cozy fires, and in Bloomsbury, The Montague on the Gardens’ Ski Lodge always has Christmas drinks, nibbles, and snow.
Santa and Reindeer
If you’re a Santa fan or animal lover, there are plenty of Christmas events in London for you. There are lots of places to meet Father Christmas and his trusty reindeer in the UK capital each year.
Chelsea’s Duke of York Square has a Santa’s Grotto where children of all ages can meet Santa and hand over their Christmas lists, and Covent Garden’s Christmas offerings include big seasonal decorations on display.
London Christmas Events
With so much to keep us busy from now until Christmas, there’s no excuse for the winter blues this year. If you know of any other Christmas events in London, feel free to share them in a comment below. Happy Christmas!
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