Things to do at Christmas in London in 2023

Tiempo de lectura: 8 minutos
Tower Birdge, Christmas, London

As the chill of winter descends upon the city, London transforms into a captivating wonderland of festive cheer. The streets twinkle with dazzling lights, the aroma of roasted chestnuts fills the air, and the spirit of Christmas comes alive in every corner of this bustling metropolis. Whether you’re seeking traditional celebrations or unique experiences, London offers a boundless array of activities to make your Christmas season truly unforgettable.

Here, we’ve put together the guide to Christmassy things to do in London to give your holidays that festive feel. From Christmas markets to exciting events, it’s all here.

Christmas Markets

Here are some of the best and most unmissable Christmas markets in London.

Southbank Centre Winter Market

Baubles on stall at Winter Market, South Bank, London

One of our favourite London spots is the South Bank. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, there’s always something interesting going on. We especially love it when winter draws in and you can start to hear the distant echo of Rudolf’s hooves in the night sky.

That’s also when the South Bank stages its annual Winter Market. This large and popular market is located on the South Bank of the River Thames and features over 100 stalls selling delicious food, warming drinks, and tempting gifts.

  • It’s open from November 2nd to December 26th, 2023.

Winter Wonderland Christmas Market, Hyde Park

Winter Wonderland Christmas market, London

Winter Wonderland: This festive extravaganza in Hyde Park combines yuletide wonder with theme park fun. There’s an ice rink, Zippos Christmas Circus, a Santa’s grotto, an ice slide, fairground attractions and rides that range from kiddie carousels to scarifying rollercoasters.

In the middle of it all, there’s a Christmas market, where you’ll be able to buy all the Christmas goodies your heart desires.

  • It’s open until New Year’s Day.

Christmas in Leicester Square


You can’t get more central than Leicester Square, so if you’re in the West End shopping, then make sure you head to this charming Christmas market, which takes place in both Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square. There’s an excellent selection stalls selling all the traditional Christmas gifts, food, and drink. It’s so Christmas-in-Londony that it’s positively Dickensian! We wouldn’t be too surprised if we saw the Artful Dodger there selling roasted chestnuts!

  • It’s open from November 8th, 2023, to January 7th, 2024.

Winter by the River at London Bridge City


Looking for stocking fillers and something tasty to eat? Then this market is just the ticket. With its fantastic location right by Tower Bridge, it’s another brilliant London Christmas market.

Winter by the River is located on the South Bank of the River Thames between London Bridge and Festival Pier and there’s a brilliant variety of stalls selling traditional Christmas gifts, filling winter food, and delicious drinks.

  • It is open from November 14th, 2023 to January 1st, 2024.

Greenwich Christmas Market

Greenwich is a little further afield, but it’s definitely worth a visit. We’ll sure you’ll have a Greenwich good time in the home of Greenwich Mean Time.

There’s not a Christmas market here as such but Greenwich Market definitely takes on a Christmassy vibe as the time to hang up your stockings approaches. The whole area is dusted with some Christmas magic. There’s even an ice rink in the majestic Greenwich Park.

Old Spitalfields Christmas Market, London

Set in the heart of London’s hip and historic East End, this delightful Christmas market is host to a horde of stalls selling traditional and not-so-traditional Christmas gifts, food, and drink. It’s somewhere you’re sure to find something a little different. It’s also one of our favourite places to eat in London, with delicious street food from around the world.

Christmas Events in London

Looking for something special to do in London this Christmas? Here are our top three Christmas events in the city.

Skate West End

Did you know that Londoners used to skate on the Thames in winter when it froze over? It’s been a long time since that happened but that doesn’t mean that you can’t skate in the city today.

Skate West End is an elliptical ice rink just a few minutes’ walk from Oxford Street. It’s guaranteed fun for all the family. Best of all, a share of the proceeds goes to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

  • Skate West End is open from November 4th, 2023 to January 1st, 2024.

Christmas at Kew

Kew Gardens at night at ChristmasThey might be a tube ride from central London, but Kew Gardens at Christmas are definitely worth the trip. This magical after-dark event involves walking a trail of twinkling lights and through the amazing botanical gardens. The whole trail takes about 75 minutes. Remember to book in advance as it’s very popular and sells out fast.

  • Until January 7th, 2024.

Hogwarts in the Snow

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is rightfully one of London’s most popular attractions. It’s a coach-ride from the city itself but there’s no better day out if you love Harry Potter and his world of wizardry. This year, for Christmas, the exhibition is being given a Yuletide makeover. Gryffindor Common Room and the Boys’ Dormitory are hung with festive decoration while the Hogwarts Castle Model and Diagon Alley are suitably wintry with a sprinkling of snow.

  • Until 14th January 2024

Skate at Somerset House

Skating at Christmas, Somerset House, LondonAnother London Christmas tradition is the skating at Somerset House. This magnificent building is a short walk from Trafalgar Square and every year its spectacular courtyard is home to London’s most loved ice rink. This year the event has a Swiss theme, so you’ll be able to feel like you’re in the Alps while only a mince pie’s throw from the Thames!

Christmas Lights in London

Is there anything more Chrsitmassy than the winter streets strewn with sparkly lights shining like stars in the night sky? The annual switch-on of the city’s various Christmas lights has become a London Christmas tradition.

Christmas Lights Tour

The very best lights in the city are in the West End, the heart of London when it comes to shopping. And there’s no better way to see them than on our special Christmas Lights bus tour. Once night falls, our buses start their tour of the lights in Oxford Street and Regent
Street. You won’t get a better view of the magical light displays than from the top deck of our open-top bus.

The Christmas Lights Tour runs until December 30th, 2023.

Carnaby Street Lights

Tucked just off Regent Street is Carnaby Street, the home of the Swinging Sixties. It’s still a buzzing area and its Christmas lights are always a treat. This year’s theme is Carnaby Universe and a ‘moving vortex’ of light waves and neon colours is promised!

  • The Carnaby Lights are on until January 7th, 2024.

Covent Garden Lights

Covent Garden’s Christmas lights are loved by Londoners. This year the theme is Christmas bells. It’s a fantastic indoor spectacular. Another great reason to head down to Covent Garden is that they have an hourly snow shower, which is brilliant fun for kids both big and small. They happen every hour from 12 till 9 until December 31st.

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping on Oxford Street, LondonWithout doubt the most popular Christmas activity in London is shopping! There’s nowhere quite like Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon in December. It’s an experience in itself! If you’ve never done it, we recommend you give it a try, but maybe be prepared to dodge those shoppers as they race

Christmas Food and Drink

Mince Pies at a Christmas marketChristmas is the season of excess! Lots of food and lots to drink! London doesn’t really have a typical Christmas food but you can’t go wrong with a mince pie! People have been eating mince pies at Christmas since the Middle Ages. This delicious fruity pastry package is an essential part of any London (or non-London) Christmas.

When it comes to drink, it’s good to get something warm inside you on a cold winter’s night. Mulled wine is therefore the perfect Christmas drink. This delicious mix of warmed red wine and spices is sure to warm the cockles of your heart.

Have a very merry Christmas!

That’s all our Christmas tips. Whatever you end up doing, we hope you have an amazing time and maybe we’ll see you on the bus!

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Frequently Asked Questions

You can find unique and traditional gifts for Christmas shopping at the following places:

  1. Seasonal Christmas Markets: During the festive season, many cities host traditional Christmas markets with unique local crafts, handmade items, and food. In London, some popular Christmas markets include Winter Wonderland, Southbank Centre Winter Market, and Greenwich Market.
  2. Boutique Stores: Many independent and boutique stores offer a curated collection of unique and traditional gifts. Look for these shops in your local area, or search online for specialist stores.
  3. Museums and Cultural Shops: Museums, galleries, and cultural centres often have unique gifts related to their themes. You can find gifts based on art, history, or culture at these stores and support these organizations.
  4. Online Retailers: Looking for unique gifts can be as easy as shopping online. Consider websites like Etsy, Uncommon Goods, or Not On The High Street for a curated selection of products.

The best Christmas markets in London for mulled wine include:

  1. Covent Garden Christmas Cart[: Located in the Market Building, the annual Christmas cart offers warming mulled wine, mince pies, and sweet treats.
  2. Southbank Centre Winter Market: This festive market by the riverside features global cuisine and an artisan Christmas market, making it an ideal place for a cup of mulled wine.
  3. Borough Market: Renowned for its vast range of food and drink items, this popular market also serves delightful mulled wine during the Christmas season.

Please be aware that market dates and offerings may change seasonally. It is always a good idea to check for current information before making plans.

You can find some of the best mince pies in the following locations in London:

  1. St. John Bakery: Known for their unique twist on traditional mince pies by using a puff pastry top.
  2. Gail’s Bakery: They offer deliciously moist, deep-filled mince pies.
  3. Konditor: This bakery specializes in classic mince pies with a generous filling and flaky pastry.
  4. Fortnum & Mason: A luxury department store offering a selection of premium mince pies with a rich, fruity filling.
  1. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park: This annual event hosts a variety of international and local food stalls with festive treats, drinks, and seasonal dishes.
  2. Flat Iron Square: A vibrant food market that offers an eclectic mix of street food vendors with a festive twist during Christmas.
  3. Maltby Street Market: A popular street food market in Bermondsey that often features unique holiday-inspired dishes.
  4. KERB at King’s Cross: This street food market transforms into a festive version during the holiday season, showcasing a variety of Christmas-themed dishes from local vendors.
  5. Camden Market: Relish in a wide selection of street food and enjoy the festive atmosphere of the market during Christmas.

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