Christmas in London, England, 2016: 6 fun things to do

As most of you reading this will know, I’d been away from the UK and my friends and family for a whopping 20 months, spending 8 months voyaging South-East Asia and a year working and living in Sydney, Australia. Well, I’ve been home for about 4 months now and what a jam-packed 4 months it’s been! From catching up with loved ones to visiting some of my favourite cities in Europe and then easing back into working here in London again, it’s sure been a very busy and eventful time in my life.

Although I do miss Australia a lot and often catch myself reminiscing fondly over the endless hot beach days, there’s definitely one thing I’m excited about being back in the UK and that is: CHRISTMAS!

Christmas in Australia felt very strange, very alien to me. It’s not really a huge deal over there and I missed the festivities, the Christmas trees, the crazy lights and the cheer. I’ll tell you a secret; I even missed the cold. Now that’s saying something!

So, feeling extra, extra festive this year (I’m not sure my friends and family can really believe it) I’ve been making the most of the festivities offered across London. And there’s definitely a lot to do! So, here are some of the best Christmas-related events and things to do across England’s lovely capital this year. You’re welcome.

1. Christmas at Kew

The world-famous Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew go all out during the festive season, with an incredible show-stopping ‘seasonal illuminations trail’. This year was my first time, and as a sucker for bright and pretty lights, I was keen to check it out. I went with my lovely mum, and it was a very festive affair indeed. The trail snakes through the gardens, with various festive-themed light instalments and stops along the way, with a beautiful finale light show in front of the Palm house. We were even able to grab a mulled cider and roast a marshmallow en route. Yu.Christmas-at-Kew-1




The grand finale!

2. Take a ‘Christmas lights walking tour’

London offers some stunning Christmas light displays across the capital, and I’d recommend walking around the centre to see some of the best. You can even attempt some of your Christmas shopping on the way (good luck). I’m never too amazed by the Oxford Street Christmas lights, but they’re worth a visit and the nearby Carnaby Street Christmas lights are often a lot cuter and quirkier.

From there, Covent Garden is a 20-minute walk away, which is always dolled up and decorated beautifully. The atmosphere there is generally very festive; think mulled wine stalls, buskers playing popular Christmas songs and what not.

Christmas in Covent Garden

London’s famous Trafalgar square is then only a brisk 10-minute stroll away, which accommodates a huge towering Christmas tree. This tree is gifted every year from Oslo as a thank you for the British support to Norway during the Second World War; a story I always love to tell people who’ll listen.

Christmas at Trafalgar square

There are plenty more beautiful Christmas lights and trees to check out scattered across London. Check out timeout’s article ‘Christmas lights in London’ to see more.

3. Southbank Centre Winter Festival/Market

I love Christmas markets, and the South Bank’s has always been one of my favourites. Lined with unique little gift stalls, delicious eateries and plenty of watering holes to grab a festive beverage, I always return home happy, full and let’s be honest, pretty drunk. Always a sign of a good evening!

Southbank Christmas market

Food at Southbank Christmas festival
There’s always lots of grub served up at the Southbank Christmas Market!

4. Watch a Christmas show

Home to some of the best theatres in the world, London always plays host to some incredible shows which are especially impressive and exciting to watch around Christmas time. I’ve previously seen the Snowman at The Peacock Theatre (which is aimed at kids, but obviously I loved it) which is still showing this year, and I’ve heard that Aladdin the Musical showing at Prince Edward Theatre is absolutely dazzling.

To see what else is on, check out timeout’s article ‘Christmas shows in London’.

5. Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park

I was unsure whether to add Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park onto this list, because although I’ve been many years and have loved it, nowadays it is a bit of an overcrowded tourist trap. However, it is really, really Christmassy and there is certainly a lot to do. From ice skating to watching Zippo’s Christmas circus, to ice bars and fun fair rides, you’re bound to have a lot of fun. Just try to avoid weekday evenings and weekends!

Winter Wonderland Hyde Park

Winter Wonderland Hyde Park
Lots of funfair rides at Winter Wonderland!


6. Go ice skating

There are so many stunning and scenic areas of London to grab your skates and glide effortlessly (or fall flat on your face) across some ice. Some of my favourite areas are: by the Tower of London, by The Natural History Museum, by the London Eye, and Somerset house. I’m heading to Somerset house this year; the tickets are quite pricey but I hope it will be worth it!

Ice skating at Somerset house
Ice skating at Somerset house
Ice skating at The Natural History Museum
Ice skating at The Natural History Museum
Ice skating at The London Eye
Ice skating outside the London Eye a few years back

To see where else in London you can ice skate, check out timeout’s article ‘Ice skating in London’.

Do you have any recommendations on how to celebrate Christmas in London? Let me know!

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