If you’re looking to celebrate Christmas in London, the Swinging City doesn’t skimp on its festivities or decorations during the holiday season. Whether you’re traveling for a couples getaway or visiting with your entire family for the holidays, you’ll find plenty of merry things to see and do during your December London vacation. You can expect winter temperatures to hover around 35° and 45°F, so pack a warm coat, mittens and plenty of layers. Don’t forget an umbrella for the occasional quick rain. Trust us, the festive twinkling lights will make the cloudy skies feel anything but gloomy.
Our top Christmas things to do in London list includes the best holiday shopping, entertainment, and restaurants near our upscale accommodations so you can fill your holiday itinerary with fun.
Christmas shopping in London is an event all its own with shops of every kind including worldwide retailers, specialty boutiques unique to London, and fleeting pop-up markets. Picturesque displays make window shopping a real treat, and everywhere you look you’ll find decorations in a kaleidoscope of Christmas colors and themes.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city, and explore the shops at Seven Dials. This area of London is lined with independent boutiques, traditional brands, and vintage shops, plus many eateries to make a day of it. Look for family-friendly Christmas activities, discover regional sweets, and ask a local about the history of the Seven Dials name.
This is a store and a sightseeing stop in one. Each year the lower level of Harrods is transformed into Christmas World. This is the perfect place to find a treasured keepsake ornament for your tree or a luxury gift for a loved one. Be sure to browse the additional six floors for exciting finds fit for everyone on your list.
Find handmade gifts and one-of-a-kind items at these London Christmas markets. Some of these shops are open year-round, but transform into holiday havens during the month of December. Discover stocking stuffers or indulge in seasonal treats, and if you’re shopping at the last minute, you’ll have no trouble finding inspired gifts for anyone. There are nearly a dozen Christmas markets around London and half the fun is discovering them all.
From a lunchtime concert series, to jazzy guitars, to a full orchestra performance, this bustling royal city offers plentiful opportunities to hear live Christmas music. The entire month of December features events at St. John’s Smith Square, but if your arrival brings you closer to Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, you’ll still find many enchanting musical experiences.
Book early for one of the best singalong carol concerts in London: Carols at the Royal Albert Hall. This family-friendly event features many classic Christmas songs presented by Greg Beardsell and featuring composer David Arnold, with soloist Vanessa Haynes and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Choral Society, and British Imperial Military Band. Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall also includes Home Alone in concert, The Nutcracker, and a kids’ storytime with Santa.
Raymond Gubbay Ltd. produces the Christmas Festival at the Barbican Centre, one of Europe’s largest multi-arts venues. The Christmas series offers a variety of shows and cinematic features to delight visitors and locals alike. Highlights include King’s College Choir, Carols by Candlelight, and Jingle Bell Christmas.
Whether you’re walking through neighborhood streets or along storefronts, London in December sparkles with festive Christmas lights and decorations. A stroll under a festoon of bright lights on Regent Street, Oxford Street, and through Marylebone Village promises to put everyone in the holiday spirit. London is also home to some of the best light and lantern experiences that are sure to be merry—and bright.
From the skyline to famous landmarks, London is a twinkling sensation during the Christmas season. The London by Night with Christmas Lights Tour is one way to see it all while taking an easy ride through the city. You’ll be treated to views of Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, The London Eye, and Big Ben, with a knowledgeable London guide sharing facts and history along the way. This tour has evening departures daily and is suitable for all ages.
Promising to be bigger than ever, the Palace of Light experience at the Hampton Court Palace is a Christmas activity for all ages. Watch as the light show transforms the historic home of Henry VIII with each captivating, luminous display. The trail winds through gardens and courtyards and is filled with glittering unicorns, polka-dot panthers, and other galloping creatures. All ages will enjoy this 45- to 60-minute walk. Check the website for event information, dates, and times, and to purchase your tickets online.
A gift from Norway, the tree at Trafalgar Square is a sight to see each year. One of the most famous Christmas spectacles in the world, the tree stands more than 60 feet high and is doused with dazzling lights, strung vertically in true Norwegian fashion. The tree lighting ceremony takes place at the beginning of December, but carolers will be singing there throughout the month.
Ice skating is a classic Christmas tradition for many, and if you’re in London for the holidays, you’ll find many optimal locations for it. Each rink offers skate rentals, and several even provide lessons if you need a refresher. Visitors can count on skating areas being decked in holiday lights (and cheer), with live performers or DJs providing a soundtrack for your session. Make your reservations early to secure your time on the ice and get ready for a fun family experience.
The ice rink at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is a destination for families looking for Christmas activities in London. This is the largest open-air ice rink in the UK and features charming music from a Victrorian bandstand at its center. The canopy of bright lights gets everyone in the Christmas spirit and makes an excellent backdrop for souvenir photos. Arrive early for your 50-minute session so you’re laced up and ready to skate. While you’re at Winter Wonderland, check out the ice sculptures and Christmas circus, or teleport to the North Pole and treat kids to Santaland rides and a visit with Santa himself.
Canary Wharf Rink at Canada Square Park offers a captivating experience for the London visitor at Christmastime. Skate rain or shine: The glass roof keeps the ice in great condition and provides excellent skyline views. Book your skate time at Canary Wharf Rink in advance for each 50-minute session. The rink-side bar is a great spot for spectators or anyone looking for a drink and appetizer after time on the ice.
Visiting this ice skating rink in London is one of the best things to do during the holidays. The open-air rink offers relaxed sessions for anyone who needs a calmer experience, tot sessions for young children who may need an extra hand, and open-skate times. The Queen’s House provides a beautiful backdrop for nighttime photos, and if you skate early, there’s plenty to do in the area to make a day of your adventure.
Christmas brunch or dinner in London is available in casual, kid-friendly and upscale venues. Whether you prefer a traditional turkey feast, buffet, or worldly cuisine, you’ll find an abundance of options peppered around the city. Book your London holiday meal early, as many restaurants close on Christmas—but don’t worry—there are plenty of inspired holiday menus in the days before to satisfy any appetite.
A visit to Westminster Abbey is likely on your London itinerary for your holiday visit. Make it extra-special and join them for Christmas lunch or afternoon tea. The restaurant is offering a two- or three-course lunch for the holidays until December 23rd. The menu features a selection of starters, mains, and desserts, with vegan options available. Afternoon tea will also be offered during the Christmas season beginning November 28 through December 23.
This neighborhood restaurant on King’s Road is the perfect spot for a holiday feast—on Christmas. The gorgeous decorations and modern European menu will appeal to any guest. Bluebird is offering a Christmas Day menu until 4:00 p.m. with a selection of starters, mains, and desserts. Whether you’re looking for a traditional feast or something unique, this menu has something for everyone.
GAUCHO restaurant at Club Quarters Hotel in London City offers a luxurious Christmas menu, or if you’re out and about, you’ll find other GAUCHO locations convenient to holiday activities in London. Select from a lunch menu, group feast, or a festive three-course Christmas dinner. Each prix fixe meal is topped with a dessert of traditional Christmas or Sticky Toffee Pudding. Visit GAUCHO online to secure your Christmas lunch or dinner reservations.
Whether you’re staying at one of our Club Quarters Hotels in London or you’re attending St. Paul’s Cathedral for holiday services, have your Christmas dinner at Côte Brasserie, St. Paul. This restaurant offers a variety of modern French fare in an upscale atmosphere. The Christmas menu is available until December 24th and features a three-course meal finished with your choice of dessert, including crême brulée and bread pudding.
Club Quarters offers four hotels in London, each situated near year-round and holiday attractions to make your stay convenient – and the superb accommodations and amenities will make your trip comfortable, too. Find the CQ location that suits you best, and book your stay today.
Amenities at our CQ London locations include:
Enjoy the close proximity of many cultural experiences, including Sir John Soane’s Museum, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and the Theatre District. The Covent Garden CQ location is excellent for catching holiday shows and being in the center of London Christmas festivities. The property faces London’s largest public square for people watching, winter walks, and more. Then, warm yourself by the fire in the relaxing Club Living Room.
This hotel is centrally located near the London Bridge and other popular destinations for vacationers taking in the city during Christmas. Its convenient location near London’s financial service areas is ideal for business travelers taking advantage of our Work. Play. Stay. offer. Among the standard amenities, this property also includes an on-site restaurant and bar with room service to make your stay as convenient and comfortable as possible.
Staying at our hotel next door to St. Paul’s Cathedral and nearby the Museum of London and the Millennium Bridge means you’ll be steps from a variety of holiday events. This property is located in the courtyard of the Stationer’s Hall, which provides an elegant, historic backdrop to its modern accommodations. The neighborhood boasts many bars, restaurants, and shops for Christmas entertainment.
Situated in London’s west end, the Trafalgar Square CQ Hotel features modern accommodations mixed with 19th-century Victorian architecture. This hotel is a 10-minute walk from Big Ben and is also close to Nelson’s Column, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the National Gallery. The tube and bus routes are easy to get to from this location for Christmas vacationers venturing farther out. The on-site restaurant offers modern British fare with options for small plates—0r, have it delivered to your room for a relaxing night in.
Browse our hotel travel deals and book your London Christmas getaway today. Whether you’re joining us as a couple or with kids in tow, you’ll find our accommodations spacious and comfortable, and our locations convenient for any holiday activity. When it’s time for your next vacation, visit us again to enjoy spring attractions in London—and earn CQ Rewards for every stay.
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