Planning to spend the Christmas season in London? Keep reading to find out the top Christmas things to do in London for 2022.
London is quite easily one of the best cities in the world for Christmas charm and cheer. As the twinkliest time of year nears again, London becomes a center of Christmas songs, sparkling lights, and glittery decorations.
As the gloomy winter months descend, the festive season adds a little joy and color to city life. Pop-up stores and markets happen all over the city, festive bars become the hotspot for meet-ups, and street food stalls and markets all start gearing towards our ever-needing desire for more mince pies.
There’s no shortage of great things to do in London over Christmas. Keep reading to find out the best Christmas spots in London for 2022 and beyond for a fun London Christmas.
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Christmas Things to Do in London
There is no shortage of festive things to do in London during Christmas. Whether you’re a foodie ready to explore the food scene, wanting the best Christmas attractions in London, or just looking for the best Christmas shopping locations then look no further.
There’s always something for everyone in London at Xmas. Without further ado, here are the best places to go in London at Christmas.
Explore Covent Garden
Covent Garden is one of the best places to visit in central London as it is but at Christmas time it’s a real gem. Towards the end of November, the Christmas decorations come out and the Covent Garden Piazza is transformed into a festive playground.
Giant baubles and mistletoe hang from the glass ceiling of the market, the giant Covent Garden Christmas tree is in full view on the Piazza and decorated trees greet you as you enter.
For Christmas 2022, you’ll also find Santa’s Sleigh at Covent Garden- the perfect spot for a Christmas photo with your loved ones.
Also in Covent Garden this year, you’ll find lots of festive pop-ups, live lights every day from 11am-midnight, and festive stands selling many different varieties of mulled wine.
If you happen to be doing your Christmas shopping in the area, make sure to come by for a festive atmosphere and some pictures as it really is one of the best places to visit in London during Christmas.
Enjoy a Christmas Dinner Cruise on the Thames
There’s little that beats seeing the sights of London right before Christmas with all the dazzling lights and decorations. But why not do it in style while also enjoying a Christmas dinner and floating down the Thames?
City Cruises offer a number of different Christmas days out in London and one of the best is their London: Christmas Party Dinner Cruise.
You’ll celebrate Christmas in style with a festive three-course meal while seeing London’s iconic skyline. The 4-hour cruise also includes a welcome glass of bubbly and DJs playing all the best Christmas classics. Find out more and book your experience here.
Go to Leicester Square Christmas Market
London might not be Germany or France when it comes to Christmas markets, but there are a few dotted around the capital. If you’re looking for fun things to do near Leicester Square then Leicester Square Christmas Market is one of the best markets in Central London and while it is small it does have a very festive atmosphere indeed.
At Leicester Square market you’re free to walk around and grab a festive bite and some mulled wine while shopping for seasonal decorations, gifts, and more. There are also a few fairground games to keep young ones entertained.
The best thing about the London Christmas markets is the atmosphere and while there isn’t much else to do but eat, drink, walk around and shop, it’s really the festive atmosphere that makes them a must-visit during the holiday season.
Leicester Square market is free to visit and is open from 12th November to January 3rd.
Southbank Christmas Market
For those Christmas Market fans, there’s also the Southbank Christmas Market at the Southbank Center. Watch the festive lights bring life to the Thames bank where visitors can sip on mulled wine and grab some superb food while exploring the market.
The market is conveniently located next to some of London’s top attractions which include the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben. It’s also within walking distance from Covent Garden and Leicester Square Christmas market which means you can easily visit them all in one night.
There are over 100 stalls selling everything from sparkling Christmas decorations to mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. The Southbank Christmas Market is split up into different sections; a section devoted to food and drink, one for arts and crafts, and another for decorations.
The Southbank Christmas market runs from 4 November to 21 December 2022 and is free to enter. It’s open from 11 am-10 pm every day (11 pm on Saturdays).
Prefer to visit some of the best London Christmas food markets through a tour? Check out the Winter Markets Food Tour “Special Christmas” and explore all the best festive snacks and drinks in the capital.
Get your Christmas Cheer on at Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland is probably one of the biggest winter and Christmas extravaganzas in London at this festive time of year. Held in Hyde Park each year, Winter Wonderland is a fair-style Christmas attraction yet it’s much more than just a fair.
Split up into many different sections, it allows for easier navigation depending on your priorities. Head to Circus Town for the Zippos Christmas Circus- the largest circus tent in the UK. The Artic Circle section is the place for winter-themed workshops and the Bavarian Village is perfect for those looking for a cozy chalet for a drink or two.
There are also many Christmas markets inside where you can buy a range of interesting and handmade products from Christmas decorations to gifts and candy. To top off the day, Winter Wonderland also has its own ice rink so you can make the most of the winter fun without needing to go anywhere else.
There are many different entrances to Winter Wonderland depending on where you want to begin. You’ll need to pre-book entry tickets online before visiting and it’s also a good idea to pre-book entry to a number of different popular activities. Plan your visit here and have the best Christmas in London.
Watch a Christmas Carol at the Old Vic
Returning for its sixth consecutive Christmas at the Old Vic Theatre, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge as he is visited by the three ghosts of Christmas.
At the Old Vic this year you’ll be able to see Jack Thorne’s critically- acclaimed adaption of the classic Christmas story. Mike Bartlett and August Wilson are confirmed to star in 2022.
Previews of a Christmas Carol begin on 12 November, with the official opening scheduled for 23rd November. Performances will run until 18th January 2023 making it one of the best things to do after Christmas in London. Get your tickets here.
Go Ice Skating at Somerset House
In London at Christmas, an array of different ice rinks pop up around the city.
The award for the most beautiful ice rink in London in recent years went to the National History Museum’s ice rink, in my opinion, but sadly the National History Museum will no longer run in 2022 and beyond.
There are, however, many other gorgeous places to show off your ice skating skills. Our favorite this year has to be Skate at Somerset House, where you can pirouette inside the gorgeous 18th Century courtyard of Somerset House.
Admire the 40ft Christmas tree, have a good time with friends, and make the most of the Skate Lates which involve ice skating to live DJ sets later in the evening.
Tickets should be pre-booked via their website here where you can also check skating session times and opening hours.
Other ice skating rinks in London at Christmas include Canary Wharf Ice Rink, the brand new Glide at Battersea Power Station, Hampton Court Palace, and Winter Wonderland.
See the Christmas lights
One of the best free things to do in London at Christmas, the Christmas Lights bring a magical atmosphere to the streets of central London. There’s no shortage of Christmas lights around during the Christmas period and this year is no exception.
With beautiful displays happening on many main streets in London, one of the best things to do in London at Christmas is to just gawk at them.
Some of the most famous Christmas lights in London are located on the busy shopping thoroughfare. The lights in the most recent years have been based around the iconic angel. The star-studded switch-on event is also one of the best in London to mark the start of the festive season.
Intersecting Regent’s Street you’ll find Oxford Street with also has a lovely array of Christmas lights. This year you’ll find cascading stars falling all through the streets 1.2 miles.
While you’re at it, Oxford Street is also a fabulous place to do some Christmas shopping.
Another great street for Christmas lights and Christmas activities in London is Carnaby Street which has a wide range of lights around themes of love, positivity, and joy. They often collaborate with various charities at this time to bring a more positive message to the public.
At Carnaby, you’ll find suspended globes, pink neon lights, and box signs all bringing a little light into your Christmas period.
London’s luxury shopping street is transformed during the Christmas season with beautiful hanging lights up and down the street as well as individual, festive store displays.
This year there’s a new royal theme that features at Bond street- a definite tribute to the late Queen.
At each major Bond Street junction, you’ll see large crowns, largely inspired by the Imperial Crown. Other lights have been designed to resemble royal necklaces. Some 93,000 more sustainable LED lights have been used this year too.