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

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.

Carnaby Street Christmas Lights in London

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.

Christmas Lights in London

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.

Syon Park Enchanted Woodland

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 Tree at Winter Wonderland in London

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.

Christmas Afternoon Tea

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 Tree at Somerset House in London

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.

Seven Dials in London at Christmas

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.

Snowman in London

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.

Santa in London

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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Christmas Events in London

44 Comments on Lady’s Guide to Christmas Events in London

  1. Gorgeous photos as always. I believe there’s nowhere quite like London all through the year, but at Christmas, I couldn’t be anywhere else. So much to do and it just looks so magical and wonderful!

  2. I’m heading to London this afternoon and this post is exactly what I needed!!! I’m not sure if I’ll make it to Hamsptead on Sunday, because my flight back home leaves early on Sunday afternoon, but I’ll try to see what I can do!!! I’m super curious about The Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park 🙂
    Thank you so much for the tips!

  3. Thank you for writing this post! I am getting really excited for Christmas, and this will be the first time I’ve spent the run-up to Christmas in London, so now I have lots of ideas! x

  4. Have enjoyed the Wellbeing Christmas Fair whenever in London during the holidays. It feels like a hidden gem, tucked upstairs in Draper’s Hall.

  5. thank you, it was really helpful! I hope to be in London for x-mas, so will try some skating rinks and really hope to listen to the carols )))

  6. I love London at Christmas, especially the Christmas lights. Convent Garden is a particular favourite of mine at this time of year and I loved Hyde Parks’ Winter Wonderland when I went a couple of years ago.

  7. I’m the same, except where I’m from it’s actually summertime at Christmas, so 3pm darkness is very strange. The only way to get through it is to throw yourself into the Christmas spirit with wild abandon. The Covent Garden reindeer are brilliant for cheering me up x

  8. I’m all in for Handel’s Messiah at St Martin in the Fields at Trafalgar Square where the composer himself purportedly performed this treasure. If Handel isn’t your thing, there is a veritable smorgasbord of diverse Christmas music concerts to consider.

  9. Good on you for putting up with cold winters…I’ve lived in warm places for so long now that I’m dreading the day when I finally make my way back to someplace where it actually gets cold. Looks like London would be a nice place to endure a winter though!

  10. I’ve been lucky enough to ice skate at Somerset House a week or two ago, and the atmosphere there is absolutely magical with the big christmas tree and F&M accessories!

    My other fave thing I’m looking forward to around Christmas in London is the upcoming Etsy pop-up house near Covent Garden 🙂

  11. Christmas is so magical in London. I work close to Oxford Street so my festive spirit can die pretty quickly in the crowds, but I can’t help but love it anyway!

  12. Hello; I’ve been enjoying your blog, as a former ex-pat. I lived in Hampstead from 1984-1985, and the news of a Christmas festival there boggles my mind. When I lived there, I remember a few strings of Christmas lights in Flask Walk, and that was about it. There was very little going on in the way of lights and decorations. Sounds like Hampstead has gone commercial.

  13. Thank you for this lovely post. I moved from Germany to London this summer and was fairly put back when I realized how early the sun disappears during winter times. Plus, now that I’ve been here for more than three months, I’ve seen all the usual attractions one must visit. During the winter times it’s always hard to find something new to explore but now that I’ve got your list of things to do, we should have plenty of fun this winter.

  14. Great round up Julie! I always wish I could ice skate so I could enjoy the beautiful Christmasy ice rinks here in London. Another great Christmas afternoon tea ihe one at the Conrad St James Hotel – they have the most adoable snowmen shaped meringues! The fact that the city is so magical definitely makes the cold weather easier to deal with 🙂

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