There’s something truly magical about London at Christmas. From the twinkling lights and window displays to the bustle of the Christmas markets and ice rinks across the city, London comes to life when the cold nights draw in. Whether it’s shopping, seeing a show, or taking a stroll past many of London’s famous landmarks that get you in the Christmas spirit, London is certain to have something to offer to get you in the mood. Here is our rundown of the best things to do in London this Christmas.
1. Visit the V&A
The V&A’s music themed festive programme, ‘Sounds like Christmas’ includes a variety of events and activities to excite and entertain all ages over the Christmas period. Es Devlin’s installation, ‘The Singing Tree’ is brought to life with machine learning, as festive words collected by the public over the Christmas season are then transformed into an audio-visual carol. The V&A is also holding lunchtime lectures on Medieval Carols, drop-in festive design workshop weekends and Choirs by Candlelight, amongst a wealth of other seasonal activities and events throughout the Christmas period.
2. Take to the ice
Ice skating in London has been a welcome festive tradition since the world’s first artificial ice rink was introduced in Chelsea in 1876. Since then, an abundance of ice rinks have appeared over the capital. The ever popular 18th century courtyard of Somerset House creates a breath-taking setting for one of the most popular ice rinks in London, complete with a 40-foot Christmas tree. Once your ice skates are off, browse the Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade to tick any last Christmas gifts off the list. The Natural History Museum houses an impressive 1,000 square metre ice rink, lit by 80,000 twinkling lights outside the beautiful building. Skate around one of the most historical landmarks in London, the Tower of London, which creates the perfect backdrop to its ice rink, surrounded by pop-up stalls and a host of festive events.
3. Enjoy Wintertime at Southbank
Nothing embodies Christmas in London quite like Wintertime at Southbank. Throughout the festive season, you can find one of the most popular Christmas markets in the city, interactive exhibitions, a Finnish rooftop sauna and even the opportunity to eat fondue in a snow globe. Southbank Centre’s Thame-side Winter Festival offers everything you need to fully immerse yourself in Christmas spirit, whether you want to catch up with friends, stock up on festive food or see one of the many shows on offer.
4. Watch a film in a Snow Kingdom
This year, the Backyard Cinema is pulling out all the stops as it creates the Snow Kingdom. The Mercato Metropolitano is transformed into an enchanted castle, nestled in the snowy mountains of a faraway land. Enter the cinema through a secret entrance at the foot of the mountain, and take a magical journey through a frozen lake and ice cave to the grand ballroom, where you can nestle under a blanket and sip on drinks from a potion-themed cocktails menu while watching a film. Bliss!
5. Sing Carols at St Paul’s
Visible from The Brewery, and undoubtedly the spiritual home of London, few places offer a more magical setting for a traditional Christmas service that St Paul’s. Through December, St Pauls is playing host to a series of concerts, peaking with the spectacular Christmas Carol Service on the 23rd and 24th December. A truly awe-inspiring building, St Pauls boasts unrivalled views across London, and is sure to ignite your Christmas spirit as you take in the sights and sounds of Christmas in a beautiful setting.