London is one of the greatest capitals in the world worth visiting anytime of the year. But during Christmas you’ll find the city looks even more magical, as festive cheer invades its bustling streets and shops. Get ready to put your Christmas spirit on with HotelREZ’s ultimate list of merry events and activities around the English capital.
Take up Ice Skating
During the festive season London is filled with fabulous open-air ice skating rinks, so you’re spoiled for choice. Here are some of our favourite spots.
The All-time Classic
The ice rink at the Natural History Museum is the place to go for a truly unique setting, with the museum’s majestic buildings as a backdrop, a row of trees dripping in fairy lights and a Christmas tree in the middle of the ice.
When: 27 Oct – 8 Jan
Admission: From £12.65/£8.80 for children
Somerset House is an eighteenth-century riverside palace and the home to London’s Fashion Week. During the holiday season however, the catwalk gives way to an impressive outdoor rink. Club nights usually take place on selected evenings, so you can skate the night away to the sound of London’s coolest DJs.
When: 17 Nov – 15 Jan
Admission: From £7.50. Check the Somerset House website for more information.
The Royal venue
One of King Henry VIII’s royal digs, Hampton Court Palace features a 900 square-metre outdoor rink complete with its very own Ice bar and café. If you’ve always dreamed of skating on a regal backyard, here is your chance.
When: 25 Nov – 8 Jan
Admission: From £11.50/£8 for children up to 16
Gaze at the (Christmas) Lights
If glitter and sparkle is more your thing, then you are in for a real treat. London’s Christmas lights and decorations are usually the cherry on top of the city’s winter festivities, and there are plenty of places to go and see them in all their glory. From Oxford Street’s glittering white lights to Harrods’ magical window displays or Carnaby Street’s ingenious decorations, make sure you take at least one evening to wonder about London’s major shopping hubs.
When: From 6 Nov – 6 Jan
Step into a Winter Wonderland
Each year London’s most famous Royal Park dresses up in full festive gear and welcomes thousands of visitors to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. This is a spectacular festive destination, filled with popular attractions such as a giant wheel, ice rink and ice bar. It is best practice to book ahead if you’re planning to enjoy any of the attractions, as tickets usually sell out, particularly during weekends and evenings.
When: From 18 Nov to 2 Jan
Admission: Free to enter. Visit the website for more information on the different attractions’ admission costs.
Go Christmas Shopping (Obvs!)
From mid November Christmas Markets and fairs start to pop up all over the city. At Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival you can expect to find original hand-crafted gifts and mouth-watering foodie items which you can always wash down with a bit of mulled wine. For something a little less traditional the Chelsea’s Physic Garden Annual Christmas Fair is a great place to pick up plants, garden gadgets and other quirky gifts.
When: From 15th Nov
Admission: Depending on the venue. Check the market website for more information.
Watch a Show
Christmas in London would not be the same without the theatre. From popular pantomimes to entertaining family shows, there is usually something for everyone. Some of the best venues include the West End theatres or the Royal Festival Hall at the South Bank Centre. For a full list of London’s venues click here.
Where to Stay
On a Budget
The Nadler Kensington is a boutique hotel offering affordable rates and stylish guest rooms. Each room includes free Wi-Fi internet access, air-conditioning, HDTV, and a fully equipped mini-kitchen. In between Earl’s Court and Gloucester Rd tube stations, a short walk east will bring you to the Natural History Museum, the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park. From £99.
Splurge a Little
Located on a quiet street in Notting Hill, only a short walk from the famous Portobello market, the Portobello Hotel is housed in two converted neo-classical mansions and offers 21 unique bedrooms. One of London’s most well-known boutique hotels, it was founded in 1971 and ever since has been THE hotel for those in the know from the world of music, show business and fashion. From £170.
For more London hotels head to our website.
This post has been updated for 2016 dates and events.
Feature image – Image by Filippo Diotalevi via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Somerset House Ice Rink – Image by Somerset House
Carnaby Street decorations – Image by HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts
Southbank centre Christmas Market – image by Ajay Jane via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Winter Wonderland – Image by Gary Knight via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Theatreland – Image by Stuart Chalmers via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)