Christmas in London is a magical time of year, and if you’ve been forever dreaming of a white Christmas, England may just be the perfect choice for this holiday season.
Celebrating Christmas in London means carols by candlelight, sipping mulled wine while wandering through Christmas markets, and classics like Scrooge and the Nutcracker on the West End.
It means watching as the whole city sparkles from an endless string of festive lights, brisk strolls through snow covered streets, and taking a spin on outdoor ice rinks outside century old castles or on palace grounds.
While the major sites, museums and galleries all close down for the 3 day period over Christmas itself (24-26 December), you’ll find there are still plenty of ways to spend a memorable holiday around town.
Here are several things to do in London this Christmas, many of which are free.
London Puts On The Lights
London lights up over Christmas like you’ve never seen a city light up before. From Trafalgar Square to the West End, the whole city sparkles in a brilliant display of festive lights which will leave you in awe.
Soak up the sights of city lights by hitting Oxford Street and Regent Street; an evening walk of the city streets is a spectacle you won’t want to miss. A stay at the Montcalm London Marble Arch puts you within walking distance of the best lights.
You will find carolers from all around the country in Trafalgar Square singing and raising money for charity, and you may even catch a sprinkling of snow!
While transportation slows down over Christmas, photographers will appreciate empty pavements and bus-free streets which you’ll never find at any other time of the year.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Worried that attraction closures will leave you with nothing to do on Christmas day? Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! museum is open 365 days of the year!
Spend Christmas day marveling at mad exhibits which showcase some of the world’s most weird and wonderful items. Exhibits include a 13-foot-long Tower Bridge made out of matchsticks, a piece of the Berlin Wall, shrunken heads, a copy of ‘The Last Supper’ painted on a grain of rice and a Swarovski crystal-covered Mini Cooper.
Ice Skate in Front of International Landmarks
The Natural History Museum may close down, however the ice-skating rink on it’s grounds stays open through the beginning of January.
Why ice skate? Because there’s no better way to get into the festive spirit than wrapping up warm and strapping on your skates, spending the evening on the ice in front of one of Europes most magnificent buildings.
You’ll find outdoor ice skating rinks on the grounds of several major attractions, including Hampton Court Palace, Somerset House, the Tower of London and location across central London as well.
Make it to a Christmas Market
Christmas markets are perfect for last minute stocking fillers and decorations, and also a fantastic way to wine and dine on festive foods. Sip mulled wine and cider, snack on fine cheeses and chocolates, and stock up on England’s famous mince pies.
Window displays throughout London are also a fantastic way to spend a day; super malls and department stores like Harrods setup window displays that see people lining up on the streets to walk past.
Though there are also options for the hardcore shoppers; come boxing day (December 26), shopping becomes a national sport. Hit up Oxford street for the sales, though make sure you’re ready for the madness.
Regardless of whether you’re religious, midnight mass at Westminster Abbey is a truly moving experience.
Carols by Candlelight – Royal Albert Hall
There is no better way to spend Christmas than with a Christmas carol service, and nowhere is more impressive than the annual event at the Royal Albert Hall.
Seasonal classics performed by the Mozart Festival Orchestra in full 18th-century period costume is an amazing experience, and one of the most memorable events you’ll ever attend. Visit Royalalberthall.com to book tickets.