Christmas in London – a Complete Guide

christmas in London hero

Are you looking to spend Christmas in London? Thousands of tourists every year book a city trip to London for Christmas shopping and to visit the many cute Christmas markets. In this blog post I will provide you with a special overview of the best things to do in London at Christmas. I lived in London for two years and Christmas was always my favourite time of the year. Let me show you why! 

Christmas in London

Christmas in London is a one of a kind, magical experience. The Christmas lights, the Christmas markets, the streets, people and atmosphere, all brimming with Christmas cheer. If you are visiting London during Christmas time, there are some activities and sights that must not be missed. While you may not be able to cover every item on the list, this list will give you an idea of the things you should look out for.

Ice skating at Somerset House

Just the location of the Somerset House is dreamy as it is, overlooking the River Thames, on the south side of the Strand in central London, just east of Waterloo Bridge. At Christmas time, this entire space gets decorated, and starts brimming with Christmas lights. The famous quadrangle, where the fountains are usually located, turns into an ice skating rink, lit up and magical. You will be skating while enjoying the mighty views of the Somerset House all dressed up in little twinkling lights. If skating is not your thing, you could still find entertainments such as the Christmas Arcade for late-night shopping, a lodge full of goodies created by one of London’s most famous shops, Fortnum and Mason, or the Skate Lounge for a cocktail and some hearty food. For the little ones, there is even a Polar Cub Club. Your entire family can find something to do.

London Christmas lights

Christmas in London christmas lights

The London Christmas lights may be some of the most famous in the world. Just like anything in London, they are glorious. Technically speaking, the entire city is actually filled with Christmas lights, from the dressed-up shopping malls to decorated houses, so it seems strange that this is suggested as a separate item. What we are suggesting, though, is specific London Christmas lights. The kind which has an entire event planned for, where famous artists perform, and food and beverages are consumed. Some of these brilliant London Christmas lights are at:
Oxford Street: the time when they are officially lit is hidden, so people gather around the street awaiting this grand illumination. Artists perform, shops and cafes remain open till later than usual. It is literally a winter street party all in honour of these lights.
Seven Dials: a great junction of seven interconnecting streets. It’s almost mythical. Filled with shops and cafes, this spot also boasts some great London Christmas lights. With an event revolving around it as well.
Some other places include the infamous Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden, both comprising events full of entertainment, live music and warm food and drinks.

Experience Christmas in London at Winter wonderland

142 hectares of land turned into a Winter Wonderland, a magical land which springs up in Hyde Park every year. It is a hybrid between a theme park and a Christmas market, full of stalls where you can find everything from handmade eco-friendly items to traditional food stalls. Amidst these, lay great, fun rides. The doors open up in November to January, and it’s a place with entertainment for the whole family. Entrance is free, so anyone going in to soak up some holiday cheer is welcome to do so. You can hunt for the perfect gifts for your loved ones and try some traditional foods and drinks such as mulled wine, mince pies or just enjoy a good old beer. Having over 100 rides, fortunately, they’re also very well organized, providing pre-booking for rides and fast-track entrances. The rides are also open in the morning, while at night, the whole atmosphere transforms. It should be mentioned that they boast the UK’s largest outdoor Ice Rink. From Paddington on Ice for the little ones to icy cocktails at their bar, ice sculpting workshops and restaurants for adults, Winter Wonderland is sure to entertained anyone.

Add culture to your Christmas in London

Christmas in London christmas

Museums strangely have a range of festive celebrations lined up. The ice rink at the Natural History Museum, for example, leads to festivities like sleepovers for children and adults being able to welcome the new year under the skeleton of the famous blue whale. The British Museum also organizes somewhat of a sleepover, for kids and their parents, where they get to experience Christmas through the passing ages. The National Gallery hosts a Christmas party where one can enjoy iconic paintings alongside carols. From parties to sleepovers, museums have gone an extra mile to make the vacation fun.

Christmas Markets

Christmas markets are a huge affair in London, and there’re varieties for anyone’s tastes and likes. From traditional Christmas markets to more modern events, these are a collection of stalls providing guests with hours to linger around, while maybe sipping on some hot chocolate and savouring roasted chestnuts. The more traditional ones start in November and go on till January, while there’re the more short-lived ones which cater well-curated stalls of a specific kind. Some of the main big ones are Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, Leicester Square, the Kingston Christmas Market and Southbank Winter Festivals. In contrast, some of the shorter, more unusual ones would be The Crafty Fox Market, The Bohemia Place market, The London Artisan’s Winter Edition and The Maltby Street Night Market. You can also stroll along the riverside at London Bridge and check out the Greenwich Market. All Christmas markets also host several other entertainment areas, amongst which you’ll find film screenings, workshops, live performances and of course, a myriad of piping hot dishes to try along the way.

Victorian Christmas Carols for a typical christmas in London

Christmas in London christmas carols

Christmas carols in world-famous iconic buildings may be an experience that keeps giving you shudders. These are some of the most mesmerizing Christmas carols in London.

The Royal Albert Hall: one of the most famous music and concert venues in the world. You’ll not only be surrounded by world-class acoustics but royal interiors and of course, star performances.

London’s iconic St Paul’s Cathedral: the cathedral hosts annual series of carols, services and recitals. You can enjoy more modern Carols or a traditional carol concert. Either way, you’ll be in one of the most iconic buildings in London with incredible acoustics of Sir Christopher Wren.

At Trafalgar Square: you’ll be taken back in time and let to enjoy star-studded performances in candlelight at St Martin-in-the-Fields, or you can catch some carols by the Christmas tree. Either experience will be unforgettable.

Westminster Abbey: The harmonies will be haunting and notes from the organ majestic.

Eltham Palace and Gardens: apart from beautiful carols, there is a magnificent light show to catch at these gardens.

Go Ice Skating

skating in London. Some places like the Winter Wonderland boasting the largest outdoor ice skating rink in the UK. Some of the other iconic ice rinks are the one at the Natural History Museum, The Somerset House ice skating rink, Hampton Court Palace, The Tower of London and Canary Wharf. If you want something on the fancier side, Christmas in London even offers a Tiffany & Co Scented Ice Rink in Covent Garden. For a rooftop experience head to East London’s rooftop ice rink, the Skylight at Tobacco Dock ice rink, you’re sure to see London like never before.

Concerts and Christmas plays

When in London, you must catch a show if your budget allows it, even though a bit of a pricey outing, it will be worth every penny. London offers a selection of theatrical and pantomime shows. “The Nutcracker” at London Coliseum will have over 100 dancers and musicians of the English National Ballet will taking this traditional Christmas story to new heights with their performance. Other famous Christmas shows are “A Christmas Carol” at The Old Vic, “Snow White” at the London Palladium, and the multi-award-winning “Swan Lake” at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, one of a kind with its all-male cast. For the little ones, offering dancing snowmen, “The Snowman” at The Peacock Theatre.

Christmas Giving

Everyone knows Christmas is the season of giving. If you have the opportunity to help the less fortunate, there’re plenty of options during Christmas in London. The Royal Holloway University organizers quite a few events such as carol singing to raise money for charity. The national homeless charity “Crisis” offers volunteering opportunities helping to run their activities, simply providing your company to those in need, or you can reserve a place at the Crisis centre for a homeless person. The website also posts volunteering opportunities.

Try traditional foods and drinks

There are many traditions around London during Christmas. Food and drink may be some of the most enjoyable. From Mulled wine to Christmas Roasts, there are many options to try out. Mulled wine and cider, mince pies and all other varieties of pies are a definite must-try. You can find these, along with other traditional Christmas foods at Christmas Markets. Many will also have pop up stores at big malls or department stores. Make sure to take a peek at Fortnum and Mason for some serious Christmas goodness.

Best London Christmas Markets

Christmas in London christmas market

The Christmas markets in London vary in type, size, duration, location, entertainment provided, and so on. Each different from one to another, with their own charm, flair and traditions, they show off London during Christmas under different lights entirely.

Leicester Square Christmas Market in London

It is held annually from the 8th of November till the 5th of January, at Leicester Square. You’ll just have to get yourself to Piccadilly Circus, and you’ll be at the heart of London’s tourist area, and at one of the most famous squares, which will be filled by this festive market. It doesn’t just host a myriad of stalls, from piping hot foods to warm drinks, it is also hosting some great entertainment acts, this market is not just for the shopping.

Southbank Winter Festival

Christmas in London Southbank Winter Market

This one is also held between the 8th of November to the 5th of January, by the riverside at Southbank. Apart from basking in the London Christmas lights, you’ll also be close enough to enjoy the view of the London eye. The usual street vendors would have added a festive twist to their usuals, with additional vendors also hoisting up their huts. You’re sure to find some Christmas gifts here, and you’ll also be able to catch family shows and other events.

Christmas At Flat Iron Square

Bringing the ski slopes to London, this Christmas market hosts Apres Ski drinks from around the world along with many other warming goodies. It is held from the 11th of November till the 6th of January. You’ll not only find a variety of street food vendors, leaving delicious smells in the air, you’ll also find festive films screened weekly and festive workshops to take part in. On the 30th of November, they host a market dedicated to conscious Christmas shoppers, where sellers exhibit their eco-friendly, sustainable goods.

Kingston Christmas Market in London

Held from the 14th of November to the 31st of December at Kingston. This is one of the traditional markets which is sure to drill some Christmas spirit into you, from the mulled wines to mince pies, you can stroll around wooden cabins filled with Christmas decorations and glistening London Christmas lights. If you’re looking for some casual stocking fillers, or maybe the sweet kind, this is it.

Winter Wonderland

Located at Hyde Park from the 21st of November to the 5th of January. This Christmas market, as the name suggests, has turned into more of a “Winter Wonderland”. It hosts UK’s largest outdoor ice rink, an ice bar and huts filled with food, beer and other goodies. They even hire out karaoke tents, you won’t have to show up to your office party out of practice! You’ll have to pay for the attractions, but at least you’ll get to stroll around for free amidst the village inspired by an après ski land.

Christmas by the River in London

Christmas in London christmas market by the river

Just beside the London skyline and the backdrop of the Tower Bridge, the Bankside riverside is host, from the 26th of November to the 5th of January, to Christmas by the River. To keep things interesting, this Christmas market has a different theme every year. It has been elected the best UK Christmas market. With this reputation to uphold, you’re sure to not be disappointed.

Alexandra Palace

From the 13th of Decemberthe 13th of December to the 23rd, you will find the Christmas market at the East court at Ally Pally. This spot will offer unique views of London from an iconic location. It hosts carol performances and workshops including potting and making a Christmas tree.

Christmas at Greenwich Market

This market is active all year round, but on the 4th, 11th and 18th of December, all 120 stalls located within this world heritage site switch to its Christmas version. Every Wednesday it hosts the likes of mulled wine and late opening seasonal festivities to be enjoyed as a post-work outing.

Christmas at Camden Market

The Christmas edition of the Camden market takes place from the 15th of November to the 9th of January, and will be host to the longest outdoor ice rink in London and some of the most beautiful stalls. The north yard turns into a festive north pole under the London Christmas lights.

Christmas Under The Canopy

The canopy market caters to your Christmas needs at King’s Cross from the 29th of November to the 22nd of December. You’ll find everything from carols to workshops along with a mulled wine bar and live music. Under the London Christmas lights, it’ll literally be Christmas within a canopy.

Other Christmas markets in London

In terms of markets that are more short-lived, there’re several options, just as entertaining and resourceful. They create a nice change of scenery and are often located in more peculiar places.

The Crafty Fox Market, for example, will be located in three venues on different days. On the 23rd and 24th of November at Brixton, 7th and 8th December at Elephant & Castle and from the 13th to the 15th of December at Kings Cross.

The Bohemia Place Christmas Market aka Hackney Christmas Market will be running from the 30th of November to the 1st of December, 7th – 8th then 14th-15th December. It will be within Bohemia Place, right opposite Hackney Central station, in one of London’s coolest venues, Night Tales and with food and drink supplied by ABQ London. Good food and great entertainment alongside a selection of unique vendors is guaranteed.

The London Artisan’s Winter Edition, held at Brixton on the 1st of December, then at Brick Lane on the 20th and 21st December, will be boasting handmade, sustainable and organic items. From jewellery to beauty products, you’re assured of finding an excellent Christmas gift.

The Renegade Craft Fair at Brick Lane on the 14th and 15th December at The Truman Brewery’s spacious G4 Space, hosts handpicked selection of designers, and you can enjoy a cocktail as you shop.
The Maltby Street Night Market on the 14th and 21st of December puts on its Christmas cloak. If you’re into experiencing some culinary treats and partake in late night shopping this one is for you.

Typical British Christmas foods to try in London

Christmas in London borough market

When we think of Christmas we obviously think of amazing food and drinks, and eating sooooo much that we feel like we are going to BURST. In London you will be able to try loads of amazing Christmas foods that are typically British (or that are typically included in a British Christmas). 

PS: If you are in Mayfair and looking for a good restaurant, check out this article on the best restaurants in Mayfair!

Mulled wine

This hot and spicy wine is simply hot wine, with an addition of spices and raisins. The original recipe comes from Romans, who used it to keep themselves warm. It will definitely come in handy while you’re exploring London during Christmas. Considering the warmth, you will need to continue enjoying the London Christmas lights (as bright and cheerful as they may be, they won’t do much in terms of increasing your body temperature). Mulled wine is alcoholic, but you can now also try a nonalcoholic version. Many restaurants will boast varieties, adding their own twist to the original recipe and catering it to their Christmas menu. You will also be able to find this at many Christmas markets, made available for people to stay warm and cosy.

Famous London Christmas drink Mulled Cider

christmas in London mulled cider

This version caters to anyone preferring cider over wine. It is made in the same way as the previous one, with aromatic spices and citrus fruits heated together until their flavours harmonize with each other. The warm steamy beverage is sure to warm you with Christmas spirits and add spice to your night, pun intended. Restaurants will boast their own varieties and serve them up hot. Head over to a beautiful rooftop bar to enjoy the cosy drink while admiring the glistening London Christmas lights from afar.

Baked Camembert

Warm and oozy. Cheese can make anything better as it is, but when it’s warm and oozy, even better. If you’re tired from shopping, can’t find the perfect gift, or simply need an excellent pairing to the boozy drinks enjoyed during your Christmas in London, the baked camembert will do wonders to your taste buds. It comes in varieties, like all things in London, everyone eagerly putting their own twist to classics to give them extra oomph. Some will serve it alongside cranberries and nuts, some in classic garlic and rosemary dressing, some to accompanied by honey, figs and grapes. If this doesn’t bring tears of joy to your eyes, I don’t know what will. Created to be enjoyed warm, of course, as an appetizer or a main if you’re not inclined to share, you can find this in many restaurants in London. From being side by side to champagne or beer, there is nothing that can be badly paired with this prince of cheese.

A Christmas roast typical British Christmas food

A traditional Christmas roast consists of a roast turkey or lamb, some people also use chicken, accompanied with stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and roast vegetables. No one makes an excellent roast like the Brits, so it’s a must-have if you’re wondering what to do in London at Christmas. While everyone was used to Christmas meals being a must-do at home, modern lifestyles and globalization, in general, has to lead to people seeking to have their Christmas meals in restaurants, which in turn means most restaurants are becoming experts in offering typical Christmas dishes to their customers. You may be offered this as a special main during Christmas day, with other traditional dishes, or you might find it as just another main on the daily menu. However it might be, if you visit London during Christmas, make sure to have a slice of a juicy, tender, cooked to perfection roast alongside its accompaniments.

Christmas Pudding

It doesn’t get more British and Christmassy than Christmas pudding. It’s a traditional pudding served as part of Christmas dinner, and there is no way you should try to escape this. Its almost the pudding version of mulled wine, minus the wine. It consists of mainly apple and citrus, lots of nutmeg, ginger, some brandy or cognac and the usual sugar, butter, flour. Together, they make a fragrant and upbeat pudding. If you’re tasting this at a restaurant, don’t be scared if you’re pudding is on fire by the time comes to the table. The recipe calls for a final dowsing of brandy and being set alight just before digging in, almost like giving it life from being kept on a down low for a while (this pudding is actually made well ahead of time, and kept to rest to really soak in all the goodness). A fun tradition that goes along with this pudding is that it should have thirteen ingredients, representing Jesus and the 12 apostles and that all members of the family, starting with the oldest, should give the pudding mixture a stir from East to West.

Pastries and Pies London Christmas food

christmas in London pies and pastries

There is literally a structural difference between the two, but what they have in common is that they are both delicious, come in a myriad of varieties, both sweet and savoury and trying the seasonal specialities is a must-do in the “what to do in London at Christmas” list. Pasties are originally from Cornwall, but there’re some places in London, dating all the way back to the 80s’, that serve up pasties as good as those in Cornwall. London has also known pies since the middle ages, which is a sure-shot way of making one an expert. Hence, hand in hand they go, two of London’s favourites, bringing out the limited editions during Christmas. The Christmas markets fill up with varieties that include turkey, stuffing, cranberries, custard and much more.

Mince Pies

A mince pie is in actuality, a sweet pie filled with a mixture of dried fruit and spices, which is in turn called “mincemeat”, and is a regular on Christmas tables. They as well have mythical stories tied to them, as the original recipe consists of 13 ingredients to represent Christ and the 12 apostles, and that it is, in fact, illegal to eat them during Christmas. Fortunately, the latter is far from the truth, so dig in everywhere you go because this is one thing that is loved, and abundantly found during Christmas. You will find carts at Christmas markets, stalls in department stores, readymade pies to take home and several recipes if you’d like to attempt making them yourself at home. The varieties will be endless, and as with everything, each store creating their own types. To fit into modern times, vegan options have also been introduced.

London Christmas Desert Trifle

If you’re a FRIENDS fan, you’ll remember that trifle does NOT contain minced meat. It is just a luscious cold dessert made of layers of sponge, cream, fruits and a dash of liquor. Maybe due to its elaborate looks, delicious to the palate and the eyes, or abundance of varieties, it is often used during Christmas. It is the quintessential English dessert, and if you’re in London during Christmas, it is a must-try. You are likely to find this at any restaurant during Christmas time, especially Boxing day, and like anything, with everyone adding their own twist to the old recipe. You will find trifles with almond cakes, chocolate sponge, doused in whiskey as opposed to wine or even more modern “undone” trifles. You can find one with no fruits at all, or trifles where the sponge has been replaced by cookies. Either way, even though trifles shouldn’t be trifled with, exploring your own version according to your preferences is always allowed and welcomed.

Christmas Ham

A ham makes any occasion feel special, but during Christmas, the presence of ham is almost obligatory. It might be something about the fancy plating, being studded with cloves or the glazed exterior. Still, there is nothing quite like a Christmas ham at the centre of the table. This, for many families, is also the culinary gift that keeps producing sandwiches throughout the week to follow. Some might prefer a crispier outside, while others a slower cooked smoked version, there is really something for everyone. Many stores have been making readymade hams available to the public, to avoid the hassle of 18 hours or so of cooking. They come, sounding like dishes from culinary art school, comprising everything from ginger glaze, to treacle and ale hams, honey cured with plum glaze to a simple ham with cloves.


christmas in London gingerbread

Originally, gingerbread was regarded as sacred and only allowed to be made by the general public during Christmas. Times have changed. Now, gingerbread is so popular in London that there is an annual event where designers, architects and engineers get together to create an entire city made of gingerbread. Each year different themes are handled with the exhibitors having to use their expertise to solve a problem and create an edible version of this for the public. This then, to everyone’s awe, is lit up during Christmas, bringing people together, creating a unique atmosphere. It might be the immensity of opportunities for creating with gingerbread, or the spicy, heating taste, perfect for the cold weather, or the simple gingerbread man who’s become a favourite around the globe, but gingerbread represents Christmas through and through. Many families use this activity as part of bonding with family, and many Christmas markets use this sweet, crunchy bite to keep visitors happy and warm while they explore.

Christmas shopping in London

christmas in London oxford street

Every year thousands of tourists head to London to do some Christmas shopping. London is known for its amazing shops, department stores and high end shopping streets. The London shopping streets light up during the Christmas period making London one of the best cities in Europe to do some Christmas shopping. 

Oxford Street

Located in the west end of London, Oxford Street is notorious for being Europe’s busiest shopping street, with over 300 shops all located from one end of the road to the other. Christmas time is just a chance to see it at its busiest, spreading Christmas cheer in the presence of the world-famous Christmas lights. Imagine shopping under a curtain of over 200,000 shimmering miniature stars, sipping on hot cocoa and maybe having a knock off with passersby. The lighting of these famous Christmas lights is an actual event when Christmas time in London is officially inaugurated. Shoppers can spend an evening shopping and bask in Christmas glory well into the night, with shops and cafes staying open till much later than usual. Unfortunately, the time is never unveiled, but being in the vicinity before dark is a right call. You’ll even be able to catch some artists performing so don’t get late.

Christmas Shopping at Harrods

About a 10min drive from Oxford Street, you’ll find Harrods. It is a cosy home of about 90,000 sq.m, spread over 7 floors, containing around 330 departments. It houses over 5000 brands, from clothes to perfumes and jewellery to home furniture items, all nestled under this mighty roof for one purpose, creating a luxury shopper’s paradise. Now imagine this massive building, right at the corner of a junction, all decked in streams of lights, and an inside decorated like Santa’s house (mansion). Christmas at Harrods starts in July when all the Christmas lights and decorations come out, but if you’re visiting London during Christmas, make sure to stop over at the Christmas Grotto here. You’re sure to witness a marvel and see Father Christmas awaiting to grand the wishes of all children visiting. Don’t forget to pick up your Christmas Harrods bear while you’re at it.

Fortnum and Mason

An edifice standing the time in the world of shopping. This department store was established all the way in 1707, so it’s safe to say they would know what they’re doing. They specialize in all things that satisfy taste, smells and sight, but mainly the taste sensors. From teas to spirits, fresh food items to confectionery items, they seem to be able to satisfy anyone’s desires. If you’re trying to find something for everyone under one roof, step into Fortnum and Mason. They seem to specialize in gift-giving, with hampers and gifting tips available to match anyone and every occasion, at a range of prices too. They even house a few restaurants, to rest and rewind those tired shopping spirits. The Christmas cheer spreads from the outside to the inside, with massive lighted decorations and stalls of decorations set up for the grand season. All this will be a sight in itself, if not for the delicious smells and views all around.

Seven Dials Christmas shopping in London

christmas in London seven dials

Seven Dials in quite literally a junction where 7 streets converge, and London being London, turned this into a shopping market. The seven streets interconnect to house over 90 beauty, fashion and lifestyle shops and over 50 cafes and restaurants. During Christmas, Seven Dials dresses up as one of the Christmas Markets and hosts a Christmas event which entails lighting of the Christmas Lights, followed by celebrations with live music by famous artists and where shops stay open till late. The whole family can partake in indoor and outdoor activities, ranging from wreath-making, special shopping Christmas tombola, and personalization of gifts. Some shops even await this happy season to unveil their brand, or product, while others, being in the theme of giving, offer visitors discounts and deals, alongside drinks and snacks. For those with a theatrical flair, this shopping area also hosts several theatres, which are sure to showcase some special works at Christmas time.

Hamley’s for toys

As beautiful as Christmas still is well into one’s adult life, no one enjoys it more than children, and parents are of course always in quest of the world’s best toys. Hamley’s, the oldest toy store in the world, will not let anyone down. You will find toys for all ages, tastes, and all in the best interest of your child. Like all stores, they too deck the entire edifice with Christmas lights, and but unlike the other stores that put up their famous London Christmas lights, Hamley’s unveils a “window” each year. This is a display showcasing how characters from a different toy world celebrate Christmas in their own way. They also have their Christmas mascots, and Father Christmas definitely pays a visit to this too. The unveiling of this display is as much of a big deal as the London Christmas lights are, with famous artists performing and gifts being handed out.

Piccadilly Circus Christmas Shopping

Another road junction famous around the globe. It is also known to be a smaller version of Time’s Square. What happens in both these places during Christmas? Lights, lights, and more lights. It almost seems like if you asked anyone what to do in London at Christmas, they should just ask you to enjoy the Christmas lights. We don’t get tired of them, they come so rarely, and sparkling the whole night away, bring oh so much joy and somehow bountiful peacefulness to the air. What you should do around this area apart from bathing in the lights is to check out the Christmas markets. One of the most iconic places in London turns into a carnival of Christmas food and drink, with the chilly weather, there is nothing more beautiful than enjoying a stroll through the stalls, sipping or munching on something warm. The stalls, which show up only ones a year, are sure to hold some hidden treasures.

Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road, with over 1000 dealers of antiques and collectables, is the world’s largest antique market. Apart from this, it is also one of London’s most iconic, loved places. If you want to spend a bit of a radical Christmas time in London, head over here for Christmas made of creative small business owners getting together to set up a Christmas like no other. Like all things in London, one thing is not just about that alone, it comes hand in hand with companions who add to the entertainment. So at Portobello Road, you will find one of the most unique Christmas markets around the world, filled with ornaments from all over the world, and stalls of street food, fruit and veggies. The homie atmosphere will definitely spark that Christmas cheer within you.

Brick Lane

christmas in London portobello market

This other famous lane is located in the East End of London. No two streets here are the same, vastly differing in activities. You can enjoy this area no matter what your taste is, from sports to art galleries, all are on display on the East End. Being home to many upcoming designers and being a notorious exhibition space, the Christmas markets on this side of London will be catering and hosted with a modern twist. Contemporary designers get together to serve up handmade, cruelty-free, sustainable crafts, from jewellery to glassware, ceramics to beauty products and homeware, you can not only buy but also chit chat with the designers at this Christmas market. These Christmas markets along with hosting unique products such a seasonal cocktail stalls will be catering to a market appreciative of Zero Waste and plastic-free products and packaging, very much in line with keeping Christmas in London sustainable.

Camden Market Christmas Shopping

Being already famous for a market is a sure way to make it to the list of any “Must see Christmas Markets in London”. It had all started with a little group of craftsman getting together with their shops by the Regent’s Canal and has grown up to be the core of London’s artisan creativity centres. Camden Market steps into its festive boots by inviting a Christmas grotto, London’s longest ice skating rink and other special events to the party, including, actual parties, most likely held in the alternative clubs and old school pubs in Camden. With a variety such as an Elves Workshop, to trying to make the ugliest sweater, the events at this Christmas market will keep anyone entertained throughout. Special foods will also be present from savouries to sweets, all Christmas specials will line up to cater to anyone visiting one of the loveliest Christmas markets in London.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is home to much of London’s West End entertainment and shopping, from the Royal Opera House to stalls at the Apple Market. It is basically a big collection of places to eat, play, shop and visit. Times may have changed from when Covent Garden was just home to the world-famous vegetable and fruit market, and even though the markets have just evolved, they still remain very much part of its being. It does boast a more modern tradition, the big switch-on of the famous Christmas lights, but that is not all that this historic piazza has to offer. It is now also one of London’s hottest luxury shopping zones. So amongst social media-worthy decorations and traditional foods such as mulled wine and mince pies, this is one of those Christmas markets also able to satisfy your love for high-end brands.

Where to stay in London at Christmas

christmas in London the ritz

When heading to London to celebrate Christmas or to do some Christmas Shopping you will need to find a great hotel to spend the night. That way you can easily stay out late, drinking mulled wine with your friends and strolling through beautifully lit Christmas decorated streets. 

I have made a small list of the best hotels to stay at depending on your budget. 

On a budget...

christmas in London ravna gora

Best Western Buckingham Palace:

You will be at the heart of London, conveniently located just 5mins away from the London Victoria Rail and Underground Station and just 15mins away from the palace and it’s gardens. You will be close to all modes of transportation taking you from shopping to hotel easily. Each room is equipped with hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and TV. You can also indulge in breakfast at an additional cost.

The Best Western Victoria Palace:

Situated within a typical London house, just 500m from the Victoria Rail Station, this location will do great as a starting place for sightseeing, shopping and exploring London overall. The Westminster Cathedral, the Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and other major sights, as well as important art galleries and eateries a short walk away and the Underground is easily accessible to take you to the other parts of London. All rooms are airy and comfortable, with plenty of light and modern fittings. They all comprise ensuite bathrooms, equally modernly equipped with all necessary amenities. Tea/coffee making facilities and included within the room.

Ravna Gora

Step into your holiday by experiencing life in a typical London period townhouse. This bed and breakfast in situated within a building to take you back a few centuries and make you feel like a Londoner through and through. The traditional interiors blend with modern day living, giving you a choice between a contemporary bedroom or a more classical stay, comfortable, homie and inviting. You can choose between an ensuite deluxe room or a more basic one with shared a toilet. The location easily connects you to all locations along the Central Underground Line, taking you to Oxford Circus or Liverpool Street Railway Station. You’re also located less than a minute from Holland Park Underground Station and Notting Hill Gate.

On a mid range budget...

Oliver Plaza Hotel

Newly furbished in 2018, is located in Earl’s Court, a multicultural location of London, close to Kensington and Knightsbridge. You can find a range of restaurants and variety of shopping within a few meters of the hotel. The hotel is also located very close to the Underground stop and the Earl’s Court Road is well connected to many bus lines.

The entice edifice is decorated in a fresh and contemporary style, simple but comprising all necessities. From the lounge to the rooms, you’ll be surrounded by a chic casual style. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms, also equipped with modern fittings and amenities.  You can indulge in a good breakfast at a small additional cost before stepping into your touring.

Z Hotel Covent Garden

You’ll be staying in London’s infamous West End, directly behind St. Paul’s Church and Convent garden’s famous piazza, just minutes away from Covent Garden’s bars, restaurants, museum, galleries and shops. You will not have to go far for your shopping or London walking but with the Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Charing Cross tube stations within 500 m from the hotel, you’ll be a short distance from the rest of London’s hottest hangout spots and exploration that catches your fancy. All rooms have ensuite bathrooms and the upper floors are accessible with an elevator, which makes this edifice welcoming to anyone. The hotel also boasts a hearty café on the ground floor.

Z Hotel Shoreditch

This Z Hotel is located a short walk away from the Shoreditch High Street and Hoxton Square, one of the oldest in London. The location of the hotel makes all of London accessible, with the Old Street station 100m away and The City’s Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations also easily accessible. The rooms are modern and compactly furnished, comfortable, facing the old streets of London. The ensuite bathrooms are well equipped and are inclusive of toiletries and new fittings. The upper floors being reachable via elevator, some rooms have disability access. The hotel also offers a good breakfast at their café on the ground floor and other snacks available during the day.

Luxury stays...

christmas in London The Lanesborough

The Milestone Hotel and Residences

A luxurious hotel boasting an old world charm, with intricately designed furnishings and elegant rooms. It is suitably located opposite Kensington Palace and Gardens, and close to the Royal Albert Hal, one of London’s most treasured and distinctive buildings. The rooms are all different from one to another, from interior design to layout, boldly romantic classic to modern classic in their decorations. You can enjoy a cozy, road facing royal room, to a more spacious, contemporary chic arrangement inclusive of lounging spaces. The hotel also offers a gym, a pool, accommodates the need for babysitting and it’s own lounge where you can be spoilt with a primly served cocktail. 

Hotel 41

Located near Buckingham Palace, its famous gardens and the Westend theatre, this magnificent old fashioned hotel is also home to some high end, unique styled rooms, one of them even with a glass roof, sure to give its visitors a Londoner’s pampering like no other. You’ll be surrounded by sought after restaurants and well connected to many sights in London, such as the Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral, both icons in London. You’ll be able to walk amongst other grand buildings, and just a minute from the Royal Mews.

The Lanesborough, Oetker Collection

Here, you can indulge your senses in a stay suitable to be a 18th century royal holiday home. The simple elegance transcends from the entrance, to all the rooms. You will be spoilt for choice with a number of suits, each exclusive in style, and a choice of simpler rooms, also different from one to another to choose from. This exuberantly old fashioned hotel is also located in London’s City Centre neighborhood, with a tube station very close by to get you to the rest of London, and also close enough to Hyde Park and Green Park to immerse yourself in the Londoner’s natural greens and London’s major sites such as Apsley House and Buckingham Palace.

christmas in London

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