Top 10 Christmas Activities in London

Top 10 Christmas Activities in London

Wednesday, 20 September 2023
Christmas in London. Three words that mean so much, as we imagine floating jewelled lights above the streets and hot chocolate with all the trimmings! The festive season in the UK capital city is one of the best periods of the year. Choose to visit London in December and take in the sights, buy gifts for your loved ones, and enjoy all the magic in the air. It can be difficult to plan a Christmas trip to London, especially because there is so much  to do! Here are our top 10 Christmas activities for the best holiday in London; whether travelling solo, as a couple, as a family or with friends. There is festive fun for everyone.

1) Look up at the Winter Lights
Prepare to be dazzled by delightful displays in central London at Christmas.


Meander London’s central streets, wrapped up in a warm coat, and take in the glittering scenes of the city’s light installations. The best places to see London’s Christmas lights are on Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street, South Molton Street, Covent Garden and Old & New Bond Street. Especially on Carnaby Street, where the famous department Liberty London is close by, there is a real buzz in the area and each year the lights get more creative and impressive. So don’t forget to take photos; you will be dazzled! Old & New Bond Street lights are equally stunning, and you will need a good hour or two to fully take in the shop displays – you will feel like you’re in a movie - looking into the shop windows and walking under the decorations. 

Our guests also love the disco balls that glisten amongst the mistletoe in Covent Garden, which is only a 15-minute walk from our family of hotels or 5 minutes on the Piccadilly tube line. Peek in the shop windows, grab a bite to eat or see a wintery ballet – such as the Nutcracker – at the Royal Opera House. This is a perfect option for families who may have keen little ballet dancers in their households!

Covent Garden

2) Shop for Gifts and Goodies
Find the perfect gift for a loved one or treat yourself.

Tottenham Court Road

Many of the best areas for shopping in London are also where the light displays are. Covent Garden is a nearby neighbourhood where you can purchase bespoke necklaces, bracelets, watches, or earrings in some of the best boutique jewellery stores in London. There are also clothing shops and beauty stores which are ideal places to buy Christmas gifts for the fashion and beauty lovers in your life. 

Alternatively, browse the designer shops on New Bond Street, and find the designer handbag or shoes of your dreams. For more affordable shopping, just 10 – 15 minutes’ walk from our family of hotels, you can have access to flagship highstreet stores such as Primark, Next, Zara and more. Don’t forget to leave space in your suitcase so you can take your new purchases home!

3) Head to a Christmas market
Weave your way through enchanting Christmas markets, with candyfloss in hand.

In recent years, London has become well known for its high-quality Christmas markets which you can find just outside the National Gallery, in Leicester Square, at London Bridge, King’s Cross, Borough Market and more places dotted around the centre. There are so many to stumble upon...

What can you expect at a Christmas market in London? You can expect sweet goods such as freshly spun candyfloss, cinnamon buns, fudge, and mulled wine. Savoury hot dogs, burgers and soul-warming soups are also popular. The most famous Christmas market in England is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, which has thousands of visitors flock to it each and every year. There are even fairground rides, an apres-ski ice bar, Santa’s grotto, stalls selling trinkets and a kingdom of ice sculptures at Winter Wonderland. It is truly amazing and they open their gates in November if you are one to get into the festive spirit early on.

4) Try ice skating, a popular activity amongst locals!
A fun way to exercise at Christmas.

Ice Skating - the perfect activity to do with friends or family.

There are incredible ice rinks in London during this time of year where you can skate with friends, family or enjoy a romantic date night. Somerset House has an impressive ice rink near Waterloo Bridge, which is a short 10 minute journey on the bus from our family of hotels

Another popular place to skate is just outside Battersea Power Station, which has a magical atmosphere this time of year. Whether you want to skate fast or slow, the tunes and twinkling lights set the scene for everyone to have a good time. Then head on inside to the power station once you’re done, where you can browse the shops,  have a meal or take a lift up the power station with stunning views across the city. This is a new attraction in London and a great way to spend a wintery evening.

5) See a theatre show.
We are so close to London’s West End - seeing a pantomime or musical show is a must. 

A night at the theatre is a truly captivating experience especially if you are in London with family. Frozen is a big hit on the West End stage, and the snowy storyline compliments a December afternoon nicely. Or see a classic, such as Wicked or the Lion King. The choices are endless, and we have it all right on our doorstep.

6) Taste a range of cuisines.
Make memories over hearty meals this Christmas in London.

Chef Yogesh serves up soul food from India - perfect for those chilly December nights.

London is haven for foodies and there are cuisines from around the world all in one city. During your stay why not be tempted by authentic Indian street food at Poppadom Indian Kitchen? Or unwind in a cushiony armchair and catch up with a friend over festive Afternoon Tea in a secret Library Bar.

What's the most important meal of the year? Well, of course it's Christmas dinner on 25th December. Dine in style for your Christmas lunch at Royal National Hotel, where staff will look after you and serve up a four course buffet. Open to all, pre-booking is essential, click here to find out more.

7) Plan a Christmas party!
Dance floor get-togethers and brilliant buffets. Treat your team or friendship group this festive season.

Bespoke event planning at Imperial London Hotels.

At Royal National Hotel we have a wonderous Galleon Suite which is big enough for large celebrations and banquets. The Galleon Suite can also be adapted and sectioned into smaller rooms for more intimate gatherings and luncheons. Or perhaps you’d like a view of frosted leaves and trees? Then the Wendy House at Bedford Hotel is an ideal setting for an enchanting party or winter wedding. We can help you plan a party, completely bespoke, to suit your needs. See more about our Christmas events here or email meetings and events today: 

8) Stay the night (or two, or three!) this Christmas. 
Be in beautiful Bloomsbury, at Imperial London Hotels. for your December holiday.

We'll be your London base this Christmas.

Save yourself the trouble of a long journey home. Stay in the heart of London’s centre and have a comfy place to sleep, with the Imperial London Family of Hotels in the Bloomsbury Neighbourhood. We even have central London car parking available if you wish to bring your car. And we’re superbly connected to the Piccadilly Line if coming from Heathrow Airport, and we’re just 10 minutes away from the Eurostar at St. Pancras. There are so many ways to reach us, that’s the beauty of our central location. Browse our family of hotels and room types here.

9) Curl up with a coffee and cake
Get comfortable and take break from the chilly air – visit one of London’s numerous cafes. 


You could argue that London is a city made for winter. The cooler temperatures call for people to cosy up inside the many coffee shops available; to catch up with friends, begin a bestseller or try a new flavour of muffin. 

Whether you’re hoping for an energy boost before a theatre show or looking to wind down after an afternoon out shopping – then head to Blooms Café on Bedford Way, for a slice of red velvet sponge and creamy cappuccino. Or unwind at Woolf and Whistle, overlooking leafy Tavistock Square, for a coffee and snack. 

Why not try a tasty mince pie? This British Christmas classic can curb those hunger pangs until dinnertime.

10) Remain in London to welcome in the New Year.
See world-class fireworks you'll never forget. 


Greet the New Year with a cheer, surrounded by thousands of eager eyes ready to witness one of the world’s most famous firework displays on the back of the river Thames. Thousands of visitors book tickets to see the London fireworks; why not be one of them? The vivid patterns and lights are a sight to behold and worth being there to see in person. 
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