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Christmas in London 2019: An Architectour Guide

The most magical season of London has just begun and there are plenty of delightful activities going on from November till January.

With so much taking place, where to start? Worry not as we’ve put together the most comprehensive Christmas Guide of all. We’ve curated the best events, shows and venues and organised them based on topic and date. At the end of each section, we’ve created a calendar, so you can have a complete overview and prioritise what and when to visit during the holiday season.

Christmas in London 2019

List of contents

  1. Christmas Markets
  2. Christmas Ice Rinks
  3. Christmas Carols
  4. Christmas Shopping
  5. Christmas Shows
  6. Christmas Tours
  7. Top Christmas Lights
  8. Best Christmas Trees
  9. Themed Afternoon Tea
  10. Key Dates
    1. Christmas Eve (24 December 2019)
    2. Christmas Day (25 December 2019)
    3. Boxing Day (26 December 2019)
    4. New Year’s Eve (31 December 2019)
    5. New Year’s Day (1 January 2020)

Whether you live here or are visiting the capital over the holiday period, you’ll be able to enjoy all things festive with this guide. 

You can also download it as a PDF by subscribing to our newsletter.

Found this useful? Forward this free guide to a friend. Sharing is caring, especially during the Christmas season 😊🎄


 

1. Christmas Markets

Christmas Market - Leicester Square

Whether you are looking for festive food such as mince pies, classic decorations, mulled wine (we aren’t, thank you) or that last-minute gift, you can find all you need for Christmas at these superb markets in London. Have a look at these wonderful Christmas Markets: 

1.1 Winter Market at Southbank Centre

Traders from around the world offer an array of handmade gifts and delicious street food. Each trader brings their own spin to the feast, with stalls offering Asian, Indian and Greek cuisines, traditional winter favourites like raclette and bratwurst, and sweet treats.

When: 8 November 2019 to 5 January 2020
Where: Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX (Google) 

1.2 Christmas in Leicester Square

Christmas in Leicester Square includes traditional Christmas markets with hand-crafted goods and delicious food and drinks, a Santa's Grotto where children can meet the man himself, plus a whole host of fantastic shows inside the 1920s spiegeltent.

When: 8 November 2019 to 5 January 2020
Where: Leicester Square, WC2H 7LU (Google) 

1.3 Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park's annual tribute to festive fun include over 200 Bavarian style chalets for unique gifts, treats and decorations, an observation wheel (the tallest in the world) and an ice rink. Admission to Winter Wonderland is free but for access to the other festive activities, attractions and themed bars you’ll need to book tickets.

When: 21 November 2019 to 5 January 2020
Where: London W2 2AR (Google) 

1.4 Christmas by the River at London Bridge City

Explore more than 70 twinkling wooden cabins, savour seasonal fare or enjoy a hot toddy at the ski-themed bar at The Scoop. You can also get hands on with free craft workshops at the pier’s pop-up station, make a wreath or do some Christmas jumper decorating.

When: 26 November 2019 to 5 January 2020
Where: The Scoop at More, SE1 2AA (Google)

1.5 Christmas under The Canopy at King’s Cross

Expect carol singers, live jazz, special events, seasonal master-classes, workshops and tastings, plus all the festive food and unique gifts you can dream of. From unique craft gift ideas to a winter craft beer festival.

When: 29 November 2019 to 22 December 2019
Where: 1 Wharf Rd, N1C 4BZ (Google) 

1.6 London's Annual Zero Waste Christmas Market

Find ethical alternatives at London’s Zero Waste Christmas Market where you can shop and browse sustainable, ethical and high-quality brands. Over 50 unique zero waste brands, zero plastic packaging and wrapping and profits from the event being used to reforest our beautiful countryside – make sure you check out this one!

When: 7 December 2019
Where: The Boiler House, 152 Brick Ln, E1 6RU  (Google)

Christmas Markets London

 

2. Christmas Ice Rinks

Ice Rink Natural History Museum

Temporary ice rinks pop up in iconic settings throughout the city and are among the top attractions over Christmas and New Year. From stunning historic locations to modern surroundings, check out London's best outdoor ice-skating rinks. 

2.1 Natural History Museum

Nestled in front of the iconic South Kensington museum, the spectacular rink is surrounded by thousands of fairy lights and features a glittering Christmas tree. Café Bar serves up hot chocolate, cream teas, prosecco and cake, with a viewing platform providing a glimpse of all the sparkling action below.

When: 19 October 2019 to 12 January 2020
Where: London WC2R 1LA (Google)
Price: From £12.65

2.2 Skylight Rooftop

Skylight London, the rooftop bar known for its summer croquet, is hosting an ice rink with views, which makes it extra special. Heated après skate bars illumined with glimmering lights, will be serving up a delicious array of warming wintery cocktails, beers and ciders.

When: 31 October 2019 to 25 January 2020
Where: Tobacco Dock, Pennington St entrance, E1W 2SF (Google)
Price: From £12

2.3 Somerset House

Somerset House's winter ice rink turns 20 this year — and it's celebrating by staying open all night. Skate at Somerset House will be open to keen skaters for 24 hours, tying in with the venue's major winter exhibition 24/7. Skate Lates also return on selected evenings, with live DJs spinning the decks until late into the evening.

When: 13 November 2019 to 12 January 2020
Where: London WC2R 1LA (Google)
Price: From £11

2.4 Tower of London Ice Rink

Take in the dramatic surroundings as you glide in the dry moat of the 1,000-year-old Tower of London. In the evenings the Tower walls are bathed in light, adding to the drama. For history with a modern twist, there's no better location.

When: 16 November 2019 to 5 January 2020
Where: Tower Hill, St Katharine's & Wapping, EC3N 4AB (Google)
Price: From £15

2.5 Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink

This open-air ice rink offers you the chance to glide across the ice under a star-covered sky while surrounded by spectacular views of the historic Tudor palace. With sessions for beginners and experts, as well as food and drink pop-ups, this wintery attraction is ideal for skaters of all ages and skills.

When: 22 November 2019 to 5 January 2020
Where: Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU (Google)
Price: From £15

 London Christmas Ice Rinks

3. Christmas Carols

Royal Albert Hall Christmas Carols

Sing along to popular Christmas carols in London, enjoy classical music recitals with a seasonal twist, or be entertained by star performers at festive concerts this winter.

3.1 Royal Albert Hall

London's fanciest concert hall really comes into its own at Christmas. Some of the highlighted events include: Christmas Carols with Bloodwise (3 December), Christmas with the Salvation Army (4 December), Christmas with The Royal Choral Society (10 December), London Community Gospel Choir (14 December) and Carols at the Royal Albert Hall (21-24 December).

When: Several dates
Where: Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP (Google)
Price: From £20

3.2 St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral has a full programme of Advent and Christmas events. It begins with the Advent Carol Service on 30 November and 1 December, with performances by the Cathedral Choir and a candlelit procession marking the start of Advent. 

When: 30 November 2019 to 24 December 2019
Where: St. Paul's Churchyard, EC4M 8AD (Google)
Price: Free admission but booking is required.

3.3 Trafalgar Square

From Monday 9 to Tuesday 24 December 2019 (except 14 and 22 December), over 40 carol singing groups will gather beneath the famous Christmas tree to entertain visitors to Trafalgar Square. Why not come along? Performances take place from 4-9pm on weekdays, and from 2-7pm at weekends.

When: 9-24 December 2019
Where: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN (Google)
Price: Free

3.4 St Martin-in-the-Fields

The church towering over Trafalgar Square always has a packed Christmas programme, open to all. Some of the highlighted events include: Handel Messiah by Candlelight (28 November), A Christmas Celebration (4 December), Missing People carol service (9 December), The Joys of Christmas (23 December) and New Year’s Day Extravaganza by Candlelight (1 January).

When: 28 November 2019 to 1 January 2020.
Where: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JJ (Google)
Price: Several prices

3.5 Barbican Christmas Carol Singalong

For something a little less traditional, head to the Barbican for a Christmas Carol Singalong, just three days before Christmas. Conductor Jonathan Cohen leads the audience in renditions of Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, Away in a Manger, Good King Wenceslas and The Twelve Days of Christmas.

When: 22 December
Where: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS (Google)
Price: From £18.50

Christmas Carols London

4. Christmas Shopping

Whether you like to get your Christmas shopping done early or you leave it till the last minute, in London, you are sure to find what you are looking for to make Christmas a dream this year. These are the high-end stores that make a huge effort to make Christmas shopping a special experience:

4.1 Fortnum & Mason

Look out for gourmet Christmas treats such as puddings, mince pies, chocolates and Christmas hampers fit for royalty. Cats take centre stage in Fortnum & Mason's Christmas windows this year. 

Where: 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER (Google)

4.2 Harrods

Harrods' famous Brompton Road windows are now home to a menagerie of animal models; from brown bears, to sleek snow leopards. Each animal was chosen by a different luxury brand in reflection of their heritage and product aesthetic.

Where: 87-135 Brompton Rd, SW1X 7XL (Google)

4.3 Selfridges

Selfridges A Christmas for Modern Times

With the theme ‘A Christmas for Modern Times’, Selfridges’ displays retell classic fairy tales through a contemporary lens. There are 13 individual window displays for you to discover, all showcasing Selfridges wares. The Oxford Street store's interior features a 13 metre Christmas tree plonked in the atrium and over 85,000 baubles hung throughout.

Where: 400 Oxford St, W1A 1AB (Google)

4.4 Liberty

Liberty London

Liberty London has built an incredible floating velvet bonsai inside the store for Christmas. Known as The Tree of Liberty, it’s made from blue velvet branches and real reindeer moss. Baubles, gifts and exotic animals are perched across the elaborate tree, which was inspired by a poem by Gabrielle Djanogly, telling the story of an All-Seeing Owl and the vision he had for a magical tree.

Where: Regent St, Soho, W1B 5AH (Google)

4.5 Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street 

From the more normal shops at Oxford Street to the high-end luxury goods shops of Bond and Regents Streets, venues across them try hard to display beautiful and intricate window designs that celebrate the Christmas spirit. Even if you don’t want to empty your pockets, the shop displays are worth a visit.

Where: Oxford Street, Bond Street and Regent Street (Google)

Note: Winter sales begin on Boxing Day (26 December)

 

5. Christmas Shows

Nutcracker - London Coliseum

London’s West End is always buzzing with activity. However, around the holiday period, it’s when some of the most magical shows take place. From Christmas pantomimes and festive ballet, to spectacular Christmas theatre productions and the latest West End shows, there's plenty to see this winter in London. 

5.1 Nutcracker 

Featuring more than 100 mesmerizing dancers and world-class musicians from the English National Ballet, as well as stunning sets and Tchaikovsky’s famous score, this dazzling ballet has delighted audiences at Christmas since 1950. Join Clara and her Nutcracker doll on a magical Christmas Eve adventure, as they encounter the Mouse King and travel by hot air balloon across London to the frosty Land of Snow.

When: 11 December 2019 to 5 January 2020
Where: The London Coliseum, St Martin's Ln, WC2N 4ES (Google)
Price: From £17.22 to £98.40

5.2 White Christmas

Based on the 1954 film starring Bing Crosby, this lovely show tells the story of two war veterans who share a love of music and dance. When the pair realise that their former commander’s business is in trouble they put on a show at his Vermont inn hoping to save the day. A Christmas miracle sees them saving the inn.

When: 16 November 2019 to 4 January 2020
Where: Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Rd, W1T 7AQ (Google)
Price: From £30.75 to £227.55

5.3 Mary Poppins 

This enchanting stage musical is adapted from the PL Travers stories and Walt Disney film, featuring classic songs such as Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and A Spoonful of Sugar. The Broadway version of the show was nominated for seven Tony awards, including Best Musical. 

When: Until June 2020
Where: Prince Edward Theatre, Old Compton St, W1D 4HS (Google)
Price: From £87.50 to £177.50

5.4 The Lion King 

Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and the evocative rhythms of Africa, Disney’s multi-award winning musical The Lion King will amaze you even more during Christmas where you’ll be surrounded by the wow’s and ah’s of children around you. Really, is there anything as magical as this? 

When: Until may 2020
Where: Lyceum Theatre, 21 Wellington St, WC2E 7RQ (Google)
Price: From £20 

Christmas Shows

 

6. Christmas Tours

Explore London's most famous sights and iconic landmarks unraveling the sights, stories and magic of the British capital at this most wonderful time of year. Make extra-special memories this festive season with some adventurous fun. 

Looking for gift ideas? These tours might make someone veeery happy. 

6.1 Harry Potter Tour

Harry Potter Tour

The Harry Potter books and movies are one of the best literary works of our times. Luckily for us, many important moments of the saga take place in London and you can remember them by visiting these iconic locations, which look even better during the holiday season.

Price: From £30 to £100, book here.

6.2 Christmas Instagram Tour

Instagram Tour Christmas

Featuring more than 10 of London’s most Christmassy locations, you’ll explore London's prettiest streets and landmarks with one goal in mind: have fun while taking great photographs. 

Price: From £30 to £140, book here.

6.3 Brutalist Tour

Walk London's most iconic Brutalist locations, from residential, to office and anything in between. Meet the city's concrete beauties in person and feel, see and touch the roughness that has earned them their reputation while learning the most relevant facts and fun stories of each place.

Price: From £30 to £140, book here

 

7. Top Christmas Lights

London undergoes a festive facelift in the build-up to Christmas as the city gets some of the most elaborate Christmas lights in the world. Nothing signifies the approach of Christmas more than the glow of seasonal street lights. 

7.1 Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street

The Christmas lights of Carnaby Street take on an ocean theme this 2019. The sea-life illuminations and decor (including a 5m whale which blows bubbles) are in aid of ocean conservation charity Project 0. Sustainability is at the heart of the light installation, with every element using recycled, repurposed or reusable materials including water-based, eco-friendly, vegan paint. 

When: 7 November 2019 until 5 January 2020
Where: Carnaby St (Google)

7.2 Covent Garden

Covent Garden London

Over 115,000 lights will illuminate England’s busiest garden this year. Covent Garden’s Christmas Display will also boast London’s biggest hand-picked Christmas tree, festooned with 30,000 lights (seemingly in the hope they will be seen from space). 

When: 12 November, 5.30pm
Where: The Market Bldg, WC2E 8RF(Google)

7.3 Regent Street

Regent Street started off this whole Christmas lights tradition back in 1954, and the famous angels are flying back down to Regent Street for this year’s awe-inspiring ‘The Spirit of Christmas’. It was inspired by the traditional display angels playing trumpets in the very first occasion.

When: 14 November, 5pm
Where: Regent Street (Google)

7.4 Seven Dials

Seven Dials

Seven Dials are partnering with homelessness charity Shelter, giving Londoners the chance to switch on the new interactive ‘Starry Night’ Christmas light installation simply by making a donation to the charity (to highlight the fact that sleeping under the stars is a harsh reality for thousands of people sleeping on the streets).

When: 14 November, 6.30pm
Where: Seven Dials (Google)

7.5 Leadenhall Market

Thousands of lights and a central Christmas tree are switched on in Leadenhall Market by the Lord Mayor of London. The festivities on the 15th kick start the Market’s festive campaign, which will see an online ’12 Days of Christmas’ promotion running in December, a Christmas Music Festival and a special Harry Potter festive day on Saturday 21st December. It will even ‘snow’ in the Market this year to make it feel especially festive!

When: 15 November at 6pm
Where: Gracechurch St, EC3V 1LT (Google)

7.6 Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park

Enchanted Woodland

A longstanding west London rival to Kew’s display, the woodlands of Syon Park will light up for the winter with an array of colourful lighting displays. The event is put together by a team of lighting designers and Syon staff so you can even ask them about the trees! 

When: 15 November to 1 December
Where: Brent Lea, TW8 8JF (Google)
Price: From £10

7.7 Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

This winter, Kew are promising more twinkling than ever before. Considering last year saw one million lights… that’s quite a lot. Framed by glittering spiral trees, dynamic laser projections will illuminate the iconic Temperate House. A dazzling arch leads to a cascade of glowing silvery shards at the Treetop Walkway. Walk amongst immersive vines as they surprise with changing ribbons of light, and wander beneath the branches where mysterious fairy-fire known as Will-o’the Wisp softly glows. 

When: 20 November 2019 to 5 January 2020
Where: Richmond TW9 3AB (Google)
Price: From £18

7.8 Oxford Street

Oxford Street

This year Oxford Street is displaying a series of 27 LED curtains, made up of 220,000 lights in total. Stretching down the length of Oxford Street, the artist’s impression makes it looks as if they’re aiming for a Northern Lights-style effect, but the lights are expected to shimmer in a variety of different patterns.

When: 21 November 
Where: Oxford Street (Google)

 

8. Best Christmas Trees

From the traditional Norwegian spruce in Trafalgar Square to Claridge's dazzling designer display, fill your Instagram feed with some of the best Christmas trees in London over the festive season.

8.1 Covent Garden

Covent Garden’s Christmas Display will also boast London’s biggest hand-picked Christmas tree, an iconic 55-foot British grown handpicked Christmas tree, decorated with over 30,000 lights. It will transform the neighbourhood into a winter wonderland glittering with 115,000 lights across the historic piazza and its adjoining streets. 

When: 12 November, 5.30pm
Where: The Market Bldg, WC2E 8RF(Google)

8.2 Somerset House

London’s most beautiful ice rink returns, transforming the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court into a winter oasis, and ushering in the festive season with a 40ft Christmas tree.

When: 13 November 2019 to 12 January 2020
Where: London WC2R 1LA (Google)

8.3 Claridge’s Christmas Tree

Each year Claridge's asks one of its fashionable friends to design the epic Christmas display. The annual collaboration began in 2009 with John Galliano for Dior, and since then everyone from Christopher Bailey for Burberry and Alber Elbaz for Lanvin has been let loose on the iconic lobby. Visit the luxurious Mayfair hotel to see the iconic Claridge’s London Christmas tree installation – this year's tree is set to be created by world-famous designer Christian Louboutin. 

When: 21 November
Where: Brook St, W1K 4HR (Google)

8.4 Windsor Castle

Nestled in the magnificent St George's Hall, the magnificent 20-foot-high Nordmann Fir tree – taken from Windsor Great Park – is dressed with hundreds of iridescent glass and mirrored ornaments. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 2019, the Octagon Dining Room will feature a special display of gifts exchanged between the royal couple during the many Christmases they spent together at Windsor Castle. 

When: 30 November 2019 to 5 January 2020
Where: Windsor, SL4 1NJ (Google)

8.5 Trafalgar Square

The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree felled in November during a ceremony in which the Lord Mayor of Westminster, the British ambassador to Norway and the Mayor of Oslo participate. It is brought to the UK by sea, then completes its journey by lorry. Don’t miss the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree, which takes place in Trafalgar Square on 5 December 2019 at 6pm. The 25-metre high tree is a gift from the people of Norway to London, in thanks for Britain’s support during World War II.

When: From 5 December 2019, at 6pm to 5 January 2020
Where: Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN (Google)

 

9. Themed Afternoon Tea

Whether you’re looking for a festive afternoon tea with all the trimmings or a seasonal treat with a sprinkle of quirkiness, take a look at our selection of the best Christmas afternoon tea London has to offer over the holiday season. 

9.1 Claridge's

Step through the stunning frosted doorway at Claridge’s in Mayfair and marvel at its magnificent Christmas tree. Start with finger sandwiches, then try an éclair with clementine crémeux, winter spiced pear, and Claridge’s famous Christmas pudding. Its opulent afternoon tea is full of seasonal treats and comes with Laurent-Perrier champagne and specially selected teas.

When: 12 November to 1 January 2020
Where: Brook St, W1K 4HR (Google)
Price: From £90 per person

9.2 sketch

Step into Sketch’s Nutcracker-inspired winter wonderland as you explore its snowy cottage, steal a kiss under the mistletoe – then hear music from carollers while enjoying a Christmas afternoon tea in its pretty pink Gallery. Delve into the likes of foie gras tartelette, blackcurrant marshmallows and spiced orange cake. 

When: 12 November to 5 January 2020
Where: 9 Conduit St, W1S 2XG (Google)
Price: From £85 per person

9.3 The Connaught

Spoil yourself with Festive Afternoon Tea in London at Jean-Georges at The Connaught, and enjoy a whimsical selection of delicious bites such as chestnut pastry with pear compote, and spiced chocolate fondue with gingerbread. They’re almost too sweet to eat!

When: 19 November to 1 January 2020
Where: Carlos Pl, W1K 2AL (Google)
Price: From £75 per person

9.4 The Ritz

During the Christmas season, traditional Afternoon Tea in The Palm Court at The Ritz will be given a festive twist. As well as delicious finger sandwiches, seasonal pastries and 21 varieties of fine tea, you’ll be treated to classic carols for a quintessential British afternoon tea experience at Christmas in London.

When: 23 November to 30 December 2019
Where: 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR (Google)
Price: From £80 per person

9.5 One Aldwych

Relive your childhood with the Festive Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych, a Christmas-themed twist on its popular Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tea. Tuck into treats such as gingerbread cake pops, mulled-wine jelly and cinnamon-glazed brioche buns, then toast the festive season with a glass of Lallier Grand Cru champagne or a Cherry Delight cocktail.

When: 27 November to 5 January 2020
Where: 1 Aldwych, WC2B 4BZ (Google)
Price: From £68 per person

9.6 The Savoy

The Savoy hosts its Festive Afternoon Tea in elegant surroundings, as the world-famous hotel is decked out with lavish decorations and a spectacular Christmas tree. Served in the Thames Foyer, this London afternoon tea features traditional flavours of Christmas, from turkey tart, to festive fruit cake and mince pies.

When: November to December 2019
Where: 2 Savoy Ct, Strand, WC2R 0EZ (Google)
Price: From £78 per person

9.7 The Landmark London

The Landmark London offers a delightful Festive Afternoon Tea in the luxurious atmosphere of The Winter Garden. Decked in beautiful Christmas decorations, the London hotel’s seasonal spread includes gingerbread mousse, pistachio and cranberry opera cake, served alongside a glass of champagne.

When: 2 December to 5 January 2020
Where: 222 Marylebone Rd, NW1 6JQ (Google)
Price: From £58 per person

10. Key Days

From Christmas markets to museums and ice skating to festive afternoon tea, London is the perfect place to spend your holiday vacation. Below, a few festive ideas to add to your itinerary on the key days of the holiday – in chronological order.

Christmas Eve (24 December 2019)

  • Skate at the Natural History Museum: Guests can put on their skates on dates including Christmas Eve and Boxing Day as well as New Year's Eve and into the New Year when it closes on January 12. From 10am-5pm, £12.65
  • Christmas Carols at the Royal Albert Hall: Sing-along to beloved classics in the spectacular surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall. 11am & 4pm, From £20
  • Watch a screening of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life: The legendary Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square usually screens the festive classic on December 24. 12.30 & 6pm, £9 per person.
  • Last minute shopping at Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty: (Check point 5 of this list Christmas Shopping). Until 5.30pm

Christmas Day (25 December 2019)

Important note: On Christmas Day, the following services will not be running: the Tube, buses, TfL Rail, London Overground, DLR, Trams, Rivers, Emirates Air Line, and National Rail. 

Peter Pan Cup

  • Peter Pan Cup: Watch one of the more unusual London events in December, as brave outdoor swimmers compete in the icy waters of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park at the annual Christmas Day race. 9am, Free
  • Christmas Day Church Service at St Paul’s: The principal service of the day with carols for Choir and people. This service is very popular and seating is limited. Early arrival is recommended. 11am, Free

Boxing Day (26 December 2019)

Important note: On Boxing Day, the following services will be running a reduced service: the Tube, DLR, buses, and Trams, Emirates Air Line. There's no service on the London Overground, TfL Rail or Thames Clipper services.

  • Sales Begin: Winter sales begin on Boxing Day (26 December). Check point 5 of this list Christmas Shopping.

 

New Year’s Eve (31 December 2019)

Important note: There’s free travel on all TfL networks from 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve until 4.30am on New Year’s Day (although some stations will become exit-only; so check your route on the night).

  • Winter Wonderland: It's the last week of this year's Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Get stuck into the markets, food and drink stalls, giant ferris wheel, ice rink, ice kingdom, circus shows and more. 10am-10pm (although it may close early today).
  • The Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall: Created specially for the Royal Albert Hall, with gorgeous period costumes, stunning lighting, and dazzling projections by Tony Award-winning 59 Productions, this Christmas classic is brought to life by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s world-class dancers and its orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. 12 & 4pm, From £31
  • Christmas at Kew Gardens: The gardens are illuminated with an impressive light display, including laser beams and a tunnel of lights, not to mention the impressive fire garden. There's a traditional funfair to keep the kids happy, and food and drink stalls dotted around. 5pm-7.40pm, From £18
  • London New Year’s Eve fireworks: The London New Year's Eve fireworks light up central London every New Year's Eve with a dazzling spectacle of pyrotechnics. If you want to be part of the celebrations on the night, you must have secured a ticket to be able to attend. 8pm-12.45am, £10 per ticket
  • Southbank Centre's New Year's Eve Spectacular: Party through the decades in one unforgettable night at Southbank Centre, with a front-row seat to London’s iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks. 7pm, From £115
  • Viennese New Year's Eve Gala at Barbican: Start your New Year’s Eve celebrations in traditional style with a complimentary drink and an evening of music from the Strauss family and friends. 7.30pm, From £19.50
  • New Year's Eve at the Natural History Museum: Creatures of the Night: Ring in 2020 under the blue whale at the Natural History Museum with the Creatures of the Night party, featuring musical bingo, mask making and lot of UV paint. 8pm-1am, From £99

New Year’s Day (1 January 2020)

  • New Year’s Day Parade: More than 10,000 dancers, acrobats, musicians and performers fill the parade route and hundreds of thousands of spectators line the streets to witness the event. You can watch the parade for free along the streets, or book grandstand tickets to guarantee a good view. 12 noon
  • Winter Wonderland: Hyde Park's annual tribute to festive fun include over 200 Bavarian style chalets for unique gifts, treats and decorations, an observation wheel (the tallest in the world) and an ice rink. Free, 10am-10pm
  • V&A Museum: Visiting museums is the last thing on most people's minds on new year's day. In fact, most people probably assume that they are closed that day. The V&A, being more of an adult museum, is very unlikely to be busy. Note that the Science Museum is also open on 1 January, so it would be a good day to cover all the South Kensington museums. Free, 10am-5.45pm
  • Skate at Somerset House: Skate at Somerset House will be open to keen skaters for 24 hours, tying in with the venue's major winter exhibition 24/7. 9am-10pm,  from £11
  • New Year’s Day Prom at Barbican: Begin the new year with the London Concert Orchestra and some of classical music's most popular works including Puccini's 'Nessun Dorma', alongside traditional British anthems. 2.30pm, from £19.50
  • New Year’s Day Extravaganza by Candlelight: Enjoy an evening of Baroque music with the New Year’s Day Extravaganza at St Martin in the Fields church as it’s beautifully lit by candlelight.

More public transport information here.


Other Christmas events in chronological order

  • 17 November: Strawberry Hill House, hosts a Christmas Festival, incorporating 40 stalls selling gifts, crafts and local produce. Wander through the historic rooms of the house, and St Mary's University next door. 10am-4pm, £5
  • 17 November: Chelsea Enchanted Wedding Show, is a buzzing holiday event that will transform the Chelsea Old Town Hall into a mini shopping wonderland filled with variety of retail suppliers showcasing their best holiday gift selection. £4
  • 21-24 November: Taste of London, celebrates all things foodie with their festive edition, Opening times vary, from £17
  • 22-23 November: Scandimarket, offers a Nordic Christmas experience experience taking place on Albion street between the Finnish and Norwegian Churches in Rotherhithe. Opening times vary, free.
  • 23-24 November: Crafty Fox Market, will be held in the beautiful 'Downstairs at the Department Store' in Brixton. You can meet a hand-picked selection of talented traders with a different line-up each day, enjoy a drink from the bar, tunes from the Crafty Fox DJs and take part in a drop-in workshop too. 11am-5pm, free.
  • 1 December: Belgravia Christmas Sunday, features over 60 boutique market stalls, Christmas carols, festive food and mulled wine. Elizabeth Street and Eccleston Yards – 11-5pm, free.
  • 1 December: London's Sustainable Christmas Market, at Core Clapton, with brands selling ethically produced cosmetics and skincare, jewellery, fashion and more. Minimal waste workshops including wreath-making and jumper upcycling. 10am-5pm, free.
  • 1 December: Christmas Makers Market, hosted by co-working space Benk+Bo, consists of carefully curated selection of stalls, bespoke hamper service, free yoga, candle-making and pickling workshops, with the likes of ceramicist Louise Madzia, card makers Mean Mail and indie publishing house The Hoxton Press exhibiting. 10am-4pm, £3.
  • 7 December: Zero Waste Christmas Market, shop and browse sustainable, ethical and high-quality brands. Over 50 unique zero waste brands, zero plastic packaging and wrapping. 10.30am-8.30pm, from £7.59.
  • 8 December: Christmas in the Village, features Santa on horseback, face-painting, balloon modelling and storytime to entertain the little ones, and mulled wine and carols, Prosecco and a Christmas Market to tempt the grown-ups. 10am-5pm, free.
  • 14-15 December: Renegade Craft Fair, features leading craftspeople and designers within the Truman Brewery. 11am-5pm, free.

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