12 Ways to Celebrate Christmas in London

November 16, 2017
If you LOVE Christmas, you will never forget the sparkle and wonder of London in December. And if you DON’T love Christmas, this is the perfect place for you, too. You can imagine that you have hopped into the pages of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; watch for Ebenezer Scrooge coming around the corner with a scowl, or hunched over his coins. But wait! Scrooge was transformed and discovered the beauty and magic of the holiday season and all the people around him. This same London waits for you!

6 Ways to Celebrate in London During December

  • Nutcracker
  • Royal Palace
  • Ice Skating
  • Shopping
  • Living Nativity
  • Charles Dickens

1. The Royal Ballet presents The Nutcracker from 05 December to 10 January. This traditional production cannot be anything less than delightful. Afternoon and evening performances are available.

2.  Under the Christmas Tree at Kensington Palace is held in 2017 on December 03, 10, and 17. Meet Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and learn why Christmas was such a special time for their family. Make Victorian style tree decorations, play with Victorian toys, and explore the palace. Or, a visit to Windsor Castle would be a perfect day trip. With activities for children, they are are decked out for the holidays. Certainly a royal treat!

3. UK’s largest ice rink in Hyde Park has family tickets available, skate aids, and bob skates that fit over a child’s shoes. Live music from the Victorian bandstand. Their Winter Wonderland festivities are in full swing from 17 November to 1 January.

Somerset House is an amazing place to visit any time of year. But it is exquisite during the holidays. The courtyard transforms into a huge rink and has one hour ice skating sessions starting at just £7.50. You can buy your tickets at the box office or call ahead for a reservation. Ice guides are available for groups of 3 or more.

Winterville has the first ever ice rink on Clapham Common in South London. Check out the many other attractions while you are there including movies, food, children’s activities, roller disco, and a market. They also sponsor the Santa Dash on Dec 3. Doesn’t that sound like fun, to participate or just to watch? This is definitely worth the short tube ride to get there.

4. The Christmas lights switch on along Regent Street on 16 November. Enjoy some of the most elegant shopping you will find on the planet with fashions for men and women, toys, technology, and home decor. Oxford Street has all levels of shopping and beautiful lights. Knightsbridge has modest to high-end shopping. There is no better place than London to finish crossing off your Christmas gift list while enjoying the ambiance.

5. London Zoo is ready for Christmas beginning with the Living Nativity 29 November – 15 December this year. Meet Santa, his reindeer, and other characters throughout December. Tickets sell out well in advance, so plan months ahead for this event.

6. There are so many ways to learn about Charles Dickens, including the Dickens Walk with author Richard Jones. Visit the Charles Dickens Museum with their rotating exhibits of all aspects of Dickens life and characters. Go on your own walk around London by visiting some of the 7 famous places in London mentioned in “A Christmas Carol.”

6 Ways to Celebrate in London on Christmas Day

  • December 25 Tour
  • Church Services
  • Swimming Race
  • Christmas Lights
  • Decorated Windows
  • Fabulous Dinner

On Christmas Day, the city gets quiet. Most museums and stores are closed. Public transportation doesn’t run. There you are, all cozy in your London Connection Vacation Apartment. You have opened your gifts and had a nice breakfast from your lovely kitchen. And now you are ready to get out and see something, but what is there to do? Depending on which area of London you are staying, there will always be somewhere within walking distance that will be filled with holiday charm. Here are a few ideas to help you venture out of your comfortable flat.

7. Go on a Christmas Day Tour around the city, or  on a day trip nearby. There are many options including the Christmas Day Hop on Hop Off Bus with Golden Tours; look into the Gray Line Bus that has an evening tour. If you want a tour guide, try one of the Premium Tours scheduled for 25 December. London Walks also hosts two options for Christmas Day. Just meet by the big Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square. Samuel Pepys’ 1660 walk at 11:00 am, and the Charles Dickens walk at 2:00pm.

8. Most churches in and around London hold services on Christmas Day. What a wonderful way to feel the spirit of Christmas. Westminster Abbey is beautiful and tickets are often sold out well in advance. St. Paul’s Cathedral services are free, and as of 2017 will require a ticket that can be obtained online. There are music concerts in St. Martin in the Fields throughout the year, but hearing those carols really make Christmas come alive. St. Bartholomew the Great church has an entire brochure of activities throughout the month.

9. If you are close to Hyde Park, go watch the Peter Pan Cup. It is a swimming race held on 25 December each year since 1864 in Serpentine Park. Although participation is limited to swimming club members, spectators are welcome. The race begins at 9am. Wow, that looks cold!

10. There are also many streets and parks to see amazing displays of Christmas Lights. Regent Street, Oxford, Covent Garden, St. James’s Market, Sloane Square, and others you will find near your flat. If you want to visit them all earlier in the week, try the Christmas Light Bus Tour.  

11. And don’t forget to look at all those beautiful Christmas Windows. Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, and many others are talked about well before and after the holidays. Window shopping is great fun!

12. Of course, you want a nice Christmas Dinner. London is a tourist-friendly town and is accommodating to travelers. Many restaurants and pubs are open throughout the city on 25 December. The best bet is to watch throughout the week and notice the posted days and hours as you walk around the area near your flat. That way, you won’t need to worry about finding a taxi that might be very difficult. If you want to ensure a reservation in advance, try Opentable.co.uk.

Christmas is a vibrant and enchanting time to visit London. Check out our Anglophile blog for other upcoming events in December. No matter what you choose as an activity, the holiday season in the royal city is an unparalleled experience. It will be easy to remember the lessons learned from Scrooge and enjoy those you love as you give and serve with an open heart. Have a Merry Christmas in London!