things to do in london in december

December in London is a magical time, with festive activities and events happening all around the city. From Christmas markets and ice skating to holiday shows and winter exhibitions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during the holiday season in London. Here are some of the top things to do in London in December according to various sources.

Christmas Markets in London

London is renowned for its enchanting Christmas markets, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the festive spirit, discover unique gifts, indulge in delicious food and drink, and enjoy the magical atmosphere. The city is home to a variety of holiday markets, each boasting its own charm and selection of stalls.

One of the most well-known Christmas markets in London is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. This annual event transforms the park into a winter wonderland, featuring an array of market stalls, an ice rink, fairground rides, and live entertainment. Visitors can meander through the stalls, browsing crafts, decorations, and seasonal treats while enjoying the festive ambiance.

“Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is truly a must-visit during the holiday season in London. The market offers a fantastic selection of gifts and mouth-watering treats, creating a magical experience for all visitors.”

– Sarah, London local

Another popular Christmas market is the Southbank Winter Festival. Located along the picturesque riverfront, this market offers a delightful blend of traditional and contemporary stalls, showcasing arts and crafts as well as delectable food and drink options. Visitors can stroll along the river, savoring the festive aromas and enjoying the live performances that add to the vibrant atmosphere.

The Christmas Market at Kew Gardens is another highlight for holiday shoppers. Set against the backdrop of the stunning botanical gardens, this market features a collection of stalls selling unique gifts, handcrafted decorations, and gourmet food and drinks. Visitors can explore the market while admiring the dazzling illuminations that transform Kew Gardens into a winter wonderland.

These Christmas markets in London provide a wonderful opportunity to discover festive treasures and soak up the joyous atmosphere. Whether you’re seeking the perfect gift or simply want to indulge in the delights of the holiday season, these markets are sure to captivate visitors of all ages.

Ice Skating in London

Ice skating in London is a beloved winter activity that attracts locals and tourists alike. The city is home to several outdoor ice rinks that open their doors in December, offering a magical experience for those who want to glide on ice surrounded by festive decorations and beautiful views.

One of the most iconic ice rinks in London is located at Somerset House. This stunning setting provides a picturesque backdrop for ice skating, with the historic neoclassical building creating an atmosphere of elegance and charm.

Another popular ice rink is situated at the Natural History Museum. Skaters can enjoy the thrill of gliding on ice in the shadow of the magnificent museum building, creating a memorable experience for both children and adults.

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is another must-visit destination for ice skating enthusiasts. With its sprawling ice rink surrounded by twinkling lights and festive stalls, it offers a truly enchanting setting for winter activities in London.

Key Highlights:

  • Outdoor ice rinks in London open in December for winter activities.
  • The Somerset House ice rink offers an elegant and breathtaking setting.
  • The Natural History Museum ice rink combines history and fun.
  • Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park provides a magical experience for ice skaters.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned skater, ice skating in London is a fantastic way to embrace the winter season and create lasting memories. So lace up your skates and glide across the ice for a truly unforgettable experience in the heart of the city.

Ice Skating in London

London Christmas Lights Tour

Exploring the Christmas lights in London is a must-do activity in December. The city is adorned with sparkling lights and decorations, creating a magical atmosphere. Taking a guided Christmas lights tour is a great way to see the best displays, such as the lights on Regent Street, Oxford Street, and Covent Garden. These tours often include commentary and fun facts about the lights and the history of Christmas in London.

London in December weather can be chilly, so be sure to bundle up and wear appropriate clothing to stay warm while enjoying the festive lights. The chilly temperatures add to the cozy and enchanting atmosphere, making it the perfect time to experience the magic of Christmas in the city.

Festive Things to Do in London

Aside from the London Christmas lights tour, there are many other festive things to do in London during December. Here are a few ideas:

  • Visit the traditional Christmas markets and indulge in delicious food and drinks.
  • Take a romantic stroll through the beautifully decorated streets and shop for unique gifts.
  • Attend a holiday show or performance to get into the festive spirit.
  • Explore the seasonal exhibitions in London’s art galleries and museums.
  • Participate in winter activities like ice skating in iconic locations throughout the city.

“London in December is like stepping into a Christmas wonderland. The city comes alive with festive cheer and the Christmas lights tour is the best way to immerse yourself in the magic. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, it’s an experience not to be missed!”

london christmas lights tour

Christmas Lights Display Description
Regent Street One of the most iconic Christmas light displays in London, featuring stunning decorations and a festive atmosphere.
Oxford Street The lights on Oxford Street are a sight to behold, with beautiful displays that illuminate the city’s premier shopping destination.
Covent Garden Covent Garden’s Christmas lights create a magical setting, with sparkling decorations and a buzzing festive atmosphere.

Embarking on a London Christmas lights tour is an enchanting experience that will leave you in awe of the city’s festive spirit. Don’t miss out on this magical opportunity to witness the dazzling lights and immerse yourself in the holiday cheer.

Holiday Shows in London

London’s theaters come alive with festive shows and performances during December. From classic Christmas plays and pantomimes to holiday-themed musicals and ballets, there’s a wide range of shows to choose from.

One of the most beloved holiday shows in London in December is “A Christmas Carol” at the Old Vic. This timeless tale of redemption and the true spirit of Christmas has been enchanting audiences for years.

For those who appreciate the beauty of ballet, “The Nutcracker” at the Royal Opera House is a must-see. This magical ballet brings to life the enchanting story of Clara and her adventures in the Land of Sweets.

If you’re looking for a fun and lively show, “Elf: The Musical” at the Dominion Theatre is the perfect choice. Based on the popular Christmas comedy film, this musical will have you laughing and tapping your feet to catchy tunes.

Quotes from Londoners:

“I make sure to see at least one holiday show every December. There’s something magical about the theater during this time of year.” – Sarah

“The performances in London are world-class. I always look forward to the holiday shows, they never disappoint.” – David

shows in london in december

Popular Holiday Shows in London in December:

Show Theater
A Christmas Carol Old Vic
The Nutcracker Royal Opera House
Elf: The Musical Dominion Theatre

London’s holiday shows are a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the festive spirit and experience the magic of the season. Whether you’re enchanted by classic stories, captivated by ballet, or in the mood for a lively musical, there’s a show in London in December that will leave you with cherished memories.

Free Things to Do in London in December

London offers plenty of free activities and attractions that are perfect for budget-conscious travelers or families visiting in December. Take advantage of these free things to do in London and make the most of your trip without breaking the bank.

Explore the City’s Parks and Gardens

London is home to many beautiful parks and gardens that are open to the public year-round. In December, these green spaces take on a magical quality, with frost-covered trees and twinkling lights adding to the charm. Enjoy a leisurely walk in Hyde Park, where you can marvel at the Winter Wonderland or go ice skating at the Serpentine Galleries. Hampstead Heath offers stunning views of the city skyline, while Regent’s Park boasts the famous Queen Mary’s Gardens.

Visit Museums and Galleries with Free Admission

London is renowned for its world-class museums and galleries, many of which offer free admission. Take advantage of this opportunity to explore the city’s rich cultural heritage. The British Museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts from around the world, including the iconic Rosetta Stone. The National Gallery showcases masterpieces by artists such as Van Gogh and Monet. The Tate Modern offers contemporary art exhibitions that are sure to inspire. These are just a few examples of the many free cultural institutions London has to offer.

Take a Stroll Along the South Bank

The South Bank of the River Thames is a vibrant and lively area in London that offers a range of free attractions. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the river promenade, where you can take in iconic sights such as the London Eye, the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and the Tower Bridge. The South Bank is also home to various street performers, artists, and food vendors, creating a lively and festive atmosphere. Don’t miss the chance to explore the South Bank Christmas Market, where you can browse for unique gifts and enjoy delicious seasonal treats.

Indulge in Romantic Winter Activities

London offers plenty of romantic activities for couples in December. Enjoy a romantic winter walk in Hyde Park, where you can admire the beautifully lit paths and maybe even catch a glimpse of wildlife in the park. For a unique experience, take a boat ride along the Thames River and enjoy stunning views of the city’s landmarks from the water. The peaceful atmosphere and enchanting surroundings make for a memorable date in the heart of London.

London in December offers a variety of free activities and attractions for all ages. Whether you’re exploring the city’s parks, visiting museums and galleries, or enjoying a romantic outing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy without spending a penny. Embrace the festive spirit and make the most of London’s December charm.

Free Things to Do in London in December Romantic Things to Do in London in December Things to Do in London in December with Kids
Explore the city’s parks and gardens Enjoy a romantic winter walk in Hyde Park Visit the Science Museum
Visit museums and galleries with free admission Take a boat ride along the Thames River Discover the Natural History Museum
Take a stroll along the South Bank Indulge in a cozy afternoon tea Explore the Diana Memorial Playground

Winter Exhibitions in London

London’s art galleries and museums host a variety of winter exhibitions in December, showcasing both contemporary and historical artwork. These exhibitions offer a chance to experience the vibrant art scene in London during the holiday season.

Turner Prize Exhibition at Tate Britain

The Turner Prize Exhibition at Tate Britain is a highly anticipated event in the art world. It celebrates the work of emerging contemporary artists and showcases their innovative and thought-provoking pieces. This exhibition highlights the diversity and creativity of the London art scene.

Winter Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

The Winter Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts is a longstanding tradition that brings together a wide range of artworks by both established and emerging artists. This exhibition offers a unique opportunity to discover new talent and explore different artistic styles.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum showcases breathtaking wildlife photographs from around the world. It is a celebration of the beauty and diversity of nature captured through the lens of talented photographers. This exhibition is a must-visit for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.

Whether you’re interested in contemporary art, classical masterpieces, or nature photography, these winter exhibitions in London provide a captivating cultural experience. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the art world and appreciate the talent and creativity on display.


London in December is a vibrant and enchanting destination, offering an array of activities and events to suit all interests. Whether you’re searching for festive markets, thrilling ice skating experiences, captivating holiday shows, or captivating winter exhibitions, the city has something special in store for everyone. Embrace the magic of the holiday season in London as you explore its hidden gems and immerse yourself in its rich art and culture.

With an abundance of things to do in December, London provides endless entertainment for visitors. Spend quality time with loved ones, create lasting memories with friends, or simply indulge in a night out on the town. From romantic strolls in Hyde Park to lively nightclubs, the city offers a diverse range of activities, ensuring that there is always something exciting happening.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience the wonder of London in December. Plan your trip, wrap up warm, and let the city’s festive spirit embrace you. Whether you’re drawn to its charming Christmas markets, thrilling ice rinks, or captivating shows and exhibitions, London promises a December full of magic and joy. So, pack your bags and get ready to embark on a memorable adventure in the heart of the United Kingdom.