Get more out of your vacation with our handy destination guide to all the events and activities happening in the UK’s capital city in the lead up to Christmas. From the switching on of the Christmas lights in Hyde Park to Dining in the Great Hall at Warner Bros Studio Tour’s Hogwarts in the Snow, we’ve got all the best ways to celebrate the festive season in London Town.
Ice Skating at Natural History Museum - 26th of October to 7th of January
Home to London most picturesque ice rink, the Natural History Museum provides the perfect backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse's buildings, rows of trees sprinkled with fairy lights and a breathtaking Christmas tree in the middle of the ice. This year, the rink will provide the usual festive fun and the popular Hotel Chocolat will be there, serving their famous hot chocolate, if it’s too cold there’s an indoor Café Bar and viewing balcony, open to all and overlooking the ice. This is a hugely popular event, so booking is encouraged.
EFG London Jazz Festival - 10th to the 19th of November
This year marks the 25th-anniversary EFG London Jazz festival, the festival brings together a mix of both new and world-renowned talent from the world of jazz, over ten days the festival plays host to a mix of performances across a series of impressive venues including the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, Kings Place and more.
Remembrance Day - 11th of November
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of conflict. All over the World, people observe a two-minute silence at 11 am, on November 11th to remember those who lost their lives during the World War I as well as in more recent conflicts.
Remembrance Sunday is the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to 11th November (12 November in 2017). Various concerts, church services, and commemorative events take place across the city. Festival of Remembrance 2017 takes place in Royal Albert Hall on November 11th in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen, and members of the Royal Family, Emeli Sande and much more perform alongside The Queen’s Colour Squadron and The Band of HM Royal Marines.
Christmas Tree Spotting - 14th of November
It wouldn’t be Christmas without going to see the largest Christmas tree in the City. Witness it shine beautifully above the cobbled streets of the world famous Covent Garden. As well as the Christmas tree, the area is decked out with plenty of Christmas lights and decorations which include Mistletoe Chandeliers and 80,000 glittering pea lights.
Winter Wonderland – Hyde Park 17th of November 2017 to 1st of January 2018
From November 17th Hyde Park comes to life with a free-to-enter family event that hosts an array of festive activities, including Winter Wonderland ice skating, Big Top shows and a giant observation wheel. Although entry is free booking tickets is required for certain attractions so make sure to book before you arrive.
Warner Bros Studio Tour - Hogwarts in the Snow 18th of November to 28th of December
This Christmas visit the most iconic sets from the Harry Potter film series’ decorated especially for the festive scenes. Marvel at the Great Hall as it is transformed to recreate iconic Yule Ball and to make it even more special you can stay for dinner between the 11th and 13th of December.The Gryffindor common room will be dressed for the season, and a blanket of filmmaking snow will be carefully applied to the majestic Hogwarts Castle model. To experience this magical event prebooked tickets are a must!
Cinderella November - 18th of November to 31st of December
Another long-standing English tradition is going to see a pantomime with your friends and family. Most cities and towns throughout the UK have there own form of Pantomime at this time of year. With great audience participation and shouts of "He's behind you!" it promises to be a fun time for the whole family. Hackney Empire's festive show is pretty much the best of the best when it comes to Pantos; this year's show is the classic Cinderella.
Christmas at Windsor Castle - 24th of November to 5th of January
The main highlight this festive season will be the magnificent 20-foot-high Nordmann Fir Christmas Tree in St George's Hall, taken from Windsor Great Park and beautifully decorated with gold ornaments. While in the State Dining Room, the table will be dressed with silver-gilt pieces from the spectacular Grand Service, commissioned by George IV and still used today by The Queen and her guests at State Banquets.
This year’s celebration is particularly special because this is the first-time performances will be staged in the State Apartments during the festive period. Nine evening performances of Charles Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol' will be presented in the Castle's two largest rooms, St George's Hall and the Waterloo Chamber. Windsor is just a quick trip away by car or travel like a real Londoner and take the tube!
Christmas Concert at Westminster - 5th and 14th of December
A popular British tradition is rounding up all the family, dressing up in your best outfits and heading to a Christmas concert. This year on December 5th ‘The Christmas Story’ by Schütz and Praetorius performed by the Choir of Westminster Abbey and St James’ Baroque in Westminster Abbey promises to be an epic night out. This event is a ticketed and can be purchased here.
On December 14th The Abbey Choir presents its annual Christmas concert featuring a wide selection of festive choral works together with seasonal readings and traditional carols giving everyone the chance to join in. The concert is a ticketed event; tickets can be purchased here