Christmas in London- Magical Markets, Dazzling lights and Fairytale Ice Rink
Christmas in London is special, magical and for me, it is the most wonderful time of the year. It is the time of year where Christmas Markets pop up with the best and unique gift ideas for your loved ones, the aroma of spiced infused mulled wine beckons you to try even if you do not want to! The mince pies and roasted chestnuts have their special appeal too. Streets of London glow with more lights than usual that it almost seems like walking through a magical fairyland.
Added to this, the festive vibes that comes along with ice skating rinks accompanied by Christmas songs and hot chocolate with marshmallow topped. Without a doubt, you will also find some of the best decorated Christmas trees in London. There is no place more magical than London.
If you are looking for some festive fun and cheer this year at Christmas, come over to London and experience Christmas in London. London will not disappoint. Here is a list of places you can visit during this festive season.
Christmas in London | Magical Christmas Markets
Christmas in London means a visit to the Christmas Markets is a Must. The Christmas Markets in London are a total treat and it has so much to offer, not just mulled wine, mince pies, German sausages and fairground rides but also unique gift stalls of beautifully handcrafted gifts. There are several Christmas Markets in London but below, you will find my favourite top three.
1 | Christmas Markets at London’s Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London. November 19th 2021- January 3rd 2022 [Opens 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m. daily except Christmas Day]
One of the biggest Christmas Markets in London is Winter Wonderland although it is more like the biggest fun fair in London at Christmas!. It draws thousands of visitors, both near and far for an experience of the largest outdoor ice rink, festive food stalls and the many different rides, roller coasters and ferris wheel. There is an IceBar that serves unique festive cocktails,. The one attraction which I would highly recommend is the Santa Land, an enchanting experience for both young and old. Don’t forget to walk around the stalls for some beautiful handcrafted gifts.
Entry is FREE but attractions and activities are not. For some attractions, prior booking is recommended.
For more information on Winter Wonderland, check their official website here.
2 | Leicester Square Christmas Market
Leicester Square Christmas Market, London: November 12, 2021 to January 3, 2022 [Opens: 12.00 p.m – 10.00 p.m Mon – Fri
10.00 a.m – 10.00 p.m Sat-Sun
The Leicester Square Christmas Market is very much in the heart of London, in theatre land and just a stone’s throw from China Town. It is in the most vibrant part of the City of London. This market is rather small compared to Winter Wonderland but the festive vibes are very present. You will find plenty of food stalls, handcrafted bespoke gifts stalls, festive ornaments and variety shows. In fact, I feel more “at home” here because it has more of a traditional feel than any of the other Christmas Markets in London. The stalls are authentic Bavarian-style wooden huts and this, for me adds to the warmth of the Christmas cheer.
Entrance is FREE. Santa’s Grotto is £11.50 (2020) and the Cabaret Shows are ticketed. For more information on Leicester Square Christmas Market, check their official website here.
3 | Covent Garden Christmas Markets
Covent Garden Christmas Markets, London. November 9, 2021 to January 3, 2022.
Covent Garden is one of the most popular shopping destinations in London at anytime of the year. It is unique because it is one place where you will find highend fashion names alongside market traders, all offering a very special shopping experience. Over 200 stores and each offer their own speciality. There is a wide range of unique handmade crafts and goods, from jewellery and prints to watercolours, soaps and sweet treats – all presenting a perfect opportunity to shop under one roof for that special gift at Christmas for your friends and family.
Christmas is especially beautiful at the Apple Market (don’t forget to look up) when the Christmas decorations go up. With large silver baubles and mistletoe along with carol singing and aroma of food, Covent Garden exudes unbeatable festive vibes making it a magical haven and an instagrammable hotspot! For more information on Covent Garden, check their official website here.
Recommended tour: Christmas in London Walking Tour
Recommended read: Learn more about Greenwich Market and the beautiful town of Greenwich in Greenwich – 45 Experiences and more in 1 Day
Christmas in London – Dazzling Christmas Lights Display
Experience the magic of Christmas in London and be dazzled by some of the amazing Christmas Lights Display which will have you in awe. The lights display are a must-see event and the following should top any list.
1 | Oxford Street Christmas Lights Display, London
Christmas is definitely here in London when you are in Oxford Street. You will be amazed at the seasonal window displays lining up the infamous shopping street in the world.
The lights at Oxford Street are spectacular. The display features LED light curtains, made up of sparkling lights draped over the length of the shopping street. The Street is lit up until early January, be sure not to miss it.
Recommended read: London’s Christmas Lights | An Unmissable Festive Cheer
2 | Carnaby Street Christmas Lights Display | Christmas in London
Carnaby Street Christmas lights display is unique each year, displaying a message that is current and close to the hearts and minds of people.
In 2019, it was a quirky underwater theme. Carnaby teamed-up with ocean conservation charity Project 0 for this sustainable display. The display featured bubble-blowing whale, glittering underwater creatures such as giant clusters of jellyfish and 200 illuminated vampire squid – all made using recycled and reusable materials.
In 2020, Carnaby teamed up with Choose Love to bring a message of Love & Unity, brightening up the fashionable street with uplifting messages in pink neon lights.
Yet another display of neon lights comes to Carnaby in 2021. This time it is in the form of over 600 fluttering butterflies representing transformation, change and hope.
Christmas lights at Carnaby in 2021 is scheduled for November 4.
3 | Regent Street / Piccadilly Christmas Lights Display, London
The glorious and amazing golden angels over Regent Street
…adding that glittering sparkle to our festive shopping.
This is one street in London that must be visited to experience the magical Christmas that is often associated with London.
Pro tip: Best to visit later in the evening after shopping hours when it is less crowded. Between 9 p.m. and midnight is ideal.
Recommended tour: Christmas in London | Christmas Lights Bus Tour
Recommended read on Christmas Lights in London:
London’s Fabulous Ice Skating Rinks at Christmas
The festive season not only brings magical markets and dazzling lights into play but also some of London’s finest ice-skating rinks bounce into business. Ice skating is one of London’s winter traditions. Not everyone is Torville and Dean, and you don’t have to know how to slide and glide. You can get your skates on and inch your way on the handrail at one of these fabulous ice skating rinks in London that has the loveliest of backdrops I have seen. It all comes together with the music, the dazzling lights and round and round the Christmas tree. Here are two of the best Ice Rinks for an unmissable Christmas in London experience.
1 | Somerset House Ice Rink | Christmas in London
This is the most iconic of London’s ice rink and comes complete with a 40ft Christmas tree, specially curated decorations, delicious food and drink along with contemporary music. A spectacular experience for everyone when celebrating Christmas in London.
Somerset House Ice Rink. Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. [Open from November 17, 2021 to January 16, 2022]. Adult tickets start from £11.00
2 | London’s Natural History Museum at Christmas
The Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum is one of the most enchanting of ice rinks in London. There is a 30ft tree, beautifully decorated with dazzling twinkling lights right in the centre. Benugo’s Cafe serves up hot chocolate, cream teas, prosecco and cake. There is a viewing platform providing a glimpse of all the sparkling action below.
2021 is the FINAL year of the ice rink at Natural History Museum. If you haven’t experienced it, get your skates on!
Natural History Museum, London. Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. [Open from 11:00 a.m – 10:00 p.m. | October 22, 2021 to January 16, 2022 . Adult tickets start from £12.65; Children £8.80
3 | Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
Experience a spectacular Christmas at Hampton Court Palace amidst a stunning setting and scenery. The iconic grounds comes alive with amazing lighting for an extraordinary festive cheer.
Book your tickets at Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
More on Christmas
This easy guide, listing my top three on each of the Markets, Lights and Ice skating rinks is designed to give you a taster of Christmas in London. There is so much more to see and do in this beautiful City at Christmas – you will only take home timeless memories.
Have you visited London at Christmas? Share your experiences and you may inspire other readers. If you haven’t, was this post valuable to you in planning your visits to London during the Christmas festive season? If so, please let me know in comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Recommendations for timeless experiences
For incredible and timeless travel experiences in London, I would highly recommend joining a tour. You will be guided to experience the best highlights as well as some of the hidden gems accompanied by the many tales of Christmas. Here is a list of all the magical experiences to get into:
1 | London Christmas Lights bus tour
2 | London Christmas Walking Tour
3 | London by Night Sightseeing on the Open-Top bus tour
4 | Afternoon Tea Bus Tour in London
5 | Christmas Lights tour in a London’s Black Cab
6 | London Christmas Lights Bike Tour
More timeless experiences…
7 | London’s Festive Sights and Christmas Lights
8 | Personal Travel and Photographer in London
9 | River Thames City Highlights Cruise
10 | London Vintage Bus, Thames Cruise and Fish & Chips at a Traditional London Pub
No Christmas is complete without a visit to the extraordinary magical scene of Harry Potter, especially so for Harry Potter fans:
11 | Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour & Transfers
12 | Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour in London
Recommended read: 7 Key benefits of the London Pass
From a personal point, I recommend suppliers and brands that I personally use and am happy with. These recommendations are shared to enhance your experiences when travelling. If you find the articles valuable and recommendations helpful, use the links embedded to book your accommodations and activities. I earn a commission from qualified bookings at no cost to you at all. Your support helps to keep the blog going, and as always I appreciate your continued support.
Have an awesome time this Christmas
Please check with event organisers directly via links provided for opening times, prices and ways to book your time slot. This article was initially published in December 2019 and last updated on October 27, 2021. Whatever you do, always have fun and enjoy Christmas in London.
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Christmas in London — Magical Markets, Dazzling lights and Fairytale Ice Rink first published at timelesstravelsteps.com Last update October 20, 2021
You are absolutely correct! There’ll be no need to return to NYC for Christmas lights. London does it superbly! Hope you will make it next year for the lights. So glad you found my post useful. Thank you so much for sharing.
As a child we used to go to London, mainly Oxford St every couple of years for the lights. This blog has brought all those nice memories back. Living Inna town where the lights etc are poor at best this has been a joy to see and read. Sad to have missed out this year but perhaps we don’t need to go back to NYac after all for lights etc. Keeping the blog for Christmas next year. Fabulous details thank you so much.
I am sure you will one year, 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your lovely thoughts.
Wish I was there! Awesome.