Nothing says Christmas in the capital like Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. With market stalls, children’s rides, an open-air ice rink, festive karaoke bar, circus arena and plenty of hot chocolate and mulled wine, there’s nothing else quite like it. Entry to the park is free, but charges apply for attractions such as ice skating, big top shows, the observation wheel and more.
Hyde Park, W2 2UH; until 5th January
South Bank Winter Christmas Market
Welcome the festive season with open arms at this annual event by the Thames. Complete with twinkling Christmas lights, festive decorations, traditional German-style wooden chalets and a huge tree, there’s lots to get even the biggest humbug in a jovial mood. Enjoy browsing an array of wares from an eclectic mix of traders, then indulge in some delicious street food and warming drinks.
The Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1 8XX; until 5th January
This iconic spot has been transformed into a bustling winter wonderland for the Christmas period, complete with Santa Claus himself. Make your way here for delicious food and drink, lots of brilliant market stalls, a delightful grotto and an impressive array of shows. Entry is free, but charges apply for extra attractions.
Leicester Square, WC2H 7LU; until 5th January
Christmas By The River
Eat, drink and be merry at this picture-perfect event at London Bridge City. With gorgeous cabins showcasing a collection of fantastic gift ideas, creative festive workshops and a cosy fireside lodge, there’s plenty to see and do.
London Bridge, SE1 2DB; until 5th January
Tiffany & Co Winter Wonderland & Ice Rink
Pull on your skating boots and head for the ice in Covent Garden. While there are plenty of rinks popping up across the capital at Christmas time, not many are free – so this is sure to be a big hit this year. Enter through a Tiffany & Co bridge inspired by New York City’s Central Park and immerse yourself in a sparkling snow scene, complete with wrapped presents and twinkling lights.
East Piazza, Covent Garden, WC2E 8RF; until Boxing Day
Carols at Trafalgar Square
Wrap up warm and get your singing voices ready for this wonderfully classic Christmas event. More than 50 different carol groups will head to Trafalgar Square over the festive period and you’ll be able to watch them perform beneath the square’s magnificent Christmas tree, which is an annual gift from Norway.
Trafalgar Square, West End, WC2N 5DN; until Christmas Eve
This impressive lights trail offers a multi-sensory experience. Featuring light and sound artworks curated by artists from across the world, it’s a great way to spend a wintery morning or afternoon. Don’t miss the Sonic Runway – an installation that immerses you in rippling music and patterned lights – and the Illumaphonium Halo, which allows you to make your own reactive sounds and music.
Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0RJ; until 3rd January
Kingston Christmas Market
In search of some last-minute Christmas gifts? You’re bound to find something here. Cosy cabins will be packed with a range of handmade arts and crafts, festive decorations and stocking-filler ideas. There’s a live entertainment stage and vintage carousel for little ones, and a craft marquee just off the Market Place. Once you’ve finished shopping, sip warming mugs of mulled wine and toast marshmallows on a fire pit.
Market Place, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 1JS; until Christmas Eve
Walking With The Snowman Trail
Need something to occupy the kids? Little ones are sure to love this sculpture trail, which features 12 giant snowmen from the iconic book and film. Each one has been reimagined with stunning designs relating to the 12 days of Christmas and can be found around London Bridge City’s festive market.
London Bridge, SE1 2DB; until 5th January
The whole of the capital seems to sparkle with lights at Christmas time. Checking out the most spectacular set-ups has to be part of your festive routine. We love the iconic lights at Oxford Street, which feature more than 200,000 shimmering bulbs; the world-famous display at Carnaby Street; and the mistletoe chandeliers taking centre stage at Covent Garden this year. Coal Drops Yard has a Northern Lights-themed installation this year, complete with colourful trees, while the illuminations on the South Bank, with the London Eye in the background, are simply gorgeous.
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