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Things to do in London at Christmas

by Roberto
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Updated: December 9, 2019

Christmas is my FAVORITE time of year.  Yes, I’m that girl who starts decorating the house in October.  I’m the girl who blasts Christmas music in July.  AND I’m that girl who usually spends my November birthday, forcing my friends to go out and see ALL the Christmas lights.  To me, there is no such thing as waiting ’til December to start all the Christmas things, and if I had it my way, I would have my tree up all year! 

European cities are GREAT at creating events and things to do at Christmas time, but none do it better than London!  If you are visiting at Christmas time, you could literally spend AT LEAST a week doing all things Christmas. 

I went this year for a weekend and rounded up some of my favorite things to do in London at Christmas time!! 

Go Ice Skating

One of the most wintery things to do anywhere you are is ice skating!  London has done this very well and have outdoor rinks all over the city!  My two favorites are the rink at Somerset House and the one at the Natural History Museum.  

This year, we went to Somerset House which has late skate nights for adults.  There are three sessions (between 8:30 pm and 10:30 pm) that you can buy tickets for in advance, and we opted for the 9:30 session to give us time for a nice dinner beforehand.   The night skate was absolutely beautiful with the historical Somerset House in the background and the beautiful colored lights they have to light up the rink!  We had 45 minutes to skate and had an absolute BLAST!   Since it was a bit crowded, we did have to be very careful of other skaters taking tumbles in front of us. The 10:30 one seemed the least crowded, so if you are interested in having more room, I’d go for that one instead!

Afterwards, you can grab a Bailey’s hot coco at the rink side bar and watch the next skaters take a few tumbles!  

Find out more here:  https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/skate-somerset-house

During our trip we also stopped by the rink at the Natural History Museum.  The rink is set up right in the museum grounds with a carousel and is STUNNING against the background of the museum.  An absolutely #instagramable stop for sure!  This rink gave me all the Christmas feels!  They also seemed to have a very large training rink with little penguin supports for kids to use.  It seemed like a great rink for families if you find yourself in London with the kids! 

Natural History Museum, London

Visit Covent Garden

Covent Garden is one of those places you just have to visit when in London regardless of whether it is Christmas or not, but at Christmas, it’s EXTRA magical! 

During Christmas they deck the whole friggin’ place out!  There are decorations everywhere and plenty of buskers around singing ALL the Christmas carols.  I recommend trying to get a dinner reservation at one of the many delicious restaurants in the area and planning a little stroll through to look at all the decorations and get some gift shopping done beforehand. 

Covent Garden at Christmas

Winter Wonderland 

A MUST when in London during Christmas time is visiting the Winter Wonderland festival.  Every year, London sets up a big Christmas market and carnival inside of Hyde Park.  There are games and rides and really yummy food and drinks!  We had everything from churros to cheese fries to mulled wine to bratwurst and even make sure to visit BAR ICE (a bar made entirely of ice)!!  A very popular spot also seemed to be the multiple bars and beer halls, so I recommend getting in nice and early to get a table!

Winter Wonderland Beer Hall

Entry is free and you pay for what you want to do inside of the festival.  You don’t need a reservation or tickets in advance unless you want to do something inside like Bar Ice or Ice Skating.  We booked our tickets about 2 weeks in advance for Bar Ice. 

For Bar Ice, we went during our scheduled time and they gave us big, warm ponchos, gloves, and a token for a drink inside.  Once inside, we had our choice of cocktails that were mixed and put in ice glasses!  You could stay in as long as you want, ordering additional drinks to keep you warm. ?  

Find out more here:  https://hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/ 

Southbank Christmas Market 

One of the biggest Christmas markets in London is the one at Southbank.  It’s stocked with all the traditional German Christmas Market essentials like Mulled Wine and Bratwurst, but also has all sorts of great treats and trinkets to get as gifts or stocking stuffers!  You can get anything from candles and soaps to traditional wooden toys, or even something more modern like unique (non-mass-produced) London souvenirs. 

London is one of the most magical places to visit in Europe at Christmas time.  They really do have something for everyone!  Have you done any of these things?  How was it!?

What is your favorite city at Christmas? Comment Below!

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