Christmas in London- Magical Markets, Dazzling lights and Fairytale Ice Rink

Christmas in London- Magical Markets, Dazzling lights and Fairytale Ice Rink

Lockdown 2.0 in London and England, from Thursday 5 November 2020 for 4 weeks, ending on Wednesday 2 December 2020. Events are scheduled for post lockdown with social distancing measures in place. 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. Whatever you do, always have fun and enjoy Christmas in London.

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. [Opens 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.]

Winter Wonderland, Christmas 2019
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Winter Wonderland, London 2019
Winter Wonderland, Christmas 2019
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Winter Wonderland, London 2019

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: [Opens: 12.00 p.m – 10.00 p.m Mon – Fri
10.00 a.m – 10.00 p.m Sat-Sun

Handpainted ceramics at Leicester Square Christmas Market
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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. It is 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 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, London

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The 20m tree illuminates the cobbled piazza in Covent Garden, London | 2019 | Photo: Georgina_Daniel
Silver baubles and mistletoe at the Apple Market, Covent Garden, London
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Apple Market, Covent Garden, London | Photo: Georgina_Daniel

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 here when the Apple Market is decorated (don’t forget to look up) and the Market pulls out all stops when the Christmas decorations go up making Covent Garden a magical haven and an instagrammable hotspot! On 13th and 20th December, stores stay open till 9 p.m. and there will be carol singing. For more information on Covent Garden, check their official website here.

Other markets that you may also like

4 | Christmas in London – Christmas by the River at London Bridge City

Christmas by the River has a vintage ski theme and comes with chalet-style stalls. All selling gifts, drinks and food to mark the festive season.

For more information, check their official website, here

5 | Christmas in London at Greenwich Market

Greenwich Market is a World Heritage Site and is a great destination all year round. It is especially magical with Christmas lights and mulled wine. There are 120 stalls offering a range of handmade gifts, food and drink. For more information on activities at Greenwich Market, check their official website,

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

You know Christmas is here when you are in Oxford Street. You will be amazed at the seasonal window displays lining up the infamous shopping street in the world.

London's Christmas Lights
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Christmas lights, Oxford Street, London | 2020 | Photo: Georgina_Daniel
Christmas Lights Oxford Street, London
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Christmas lights, Oxford Street, London | 2019 | Photo: Georgina_Daniel

This year (2019) the lights are new and spectacular. The display features 27 LED light curtains, made up of 222,000 sparkling lights draped over the length of the shopping street. The Street is lit up until 5th January, be sure not to miss it.

Oxford Street Christmas lights gets better year on year and the lights for Christmas 2020 is an amazing experience as well. With a heart warming message and dedication to the City’s heroes, it is a destination in London not to be missed – when it is safe to travel. View London’s Christmas Lights | An Unmissable Christmas Cheer article.

2 | Carnaby Street Christmas Lights Display | Christmas in London

Carnaby Christmas lights displays a quirky underwater theme. This year (2019), Carnaby is highlighting an issue that is close to many hearts.

Carnaby Street and Project 0 London Christmas 2019
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Carnaby Project 0 | 2019 | Photo: Georgina_Daniel
Carnaby Street Christmas Lights 2019
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Carnaby Christmas display | 2019 | Photo: Georgina_Daniel

Carnaby teamed-up with ocean conservation charity Project 0 for this sustainable display. The display features bubble-blowing whale, glittering underwater creatures such as giant clusters of jellyfish and 200 illuminated vampire squid – all made using recycled and reusable materials.

2020 – Carnaby has teamed up with Choose Love to bring a message of Love & Unity, brightening up the fashionable street with uplifting messages in pink neon lights. View article on Christmas Lights in London

3 | Regent Street / Piccadilly Christmas Lights Display, London

The glorious and amazing golden angels over Regent Street

Christmas Lights Display at Regents Street
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Regent Street Angels, London | 2019 | Photo: Georgina_Daniel

…adding that glittering sparkle to our festive shopping.

4 | Bond Street Christmas Lights Display, London

The glow of Christmas lights at Bond Street.

Bond Street Lights at Christmas 2019
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Bond Street Lights | 2019 | Photo: Georgina_Daniel

5 | Christmas in London – Christmas at Kew Gardens

Christmas at Kew is a perfect festive winter event of magical light trail across its gardens.

These photos were taken in 2018, Christmas at Kew when I visited with a friend.

Christmas at Kew 2018
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Tunnel of Lights
Christmas at Kew 2018 Tree of Life
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Tree of Life
Christmas at Kew 2018
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The grand finale – light show played to a seasonal theme.

Their sparkling after dark trail holds new surprises this year for visitors young and old. The new route will guide visitors along a mile long of illuminations. The highlight of 2019 is “a waterfall of lights” cascading from their 18 metre high Treetop Walkway with “spiralling columns of light cascading from the canopy above” – I can only imagine it to be a truly mesmerising experience as I have not seen it yet.

For detailed events on Kew at Christmas, and entry prices, check Kew’s official website here

Christmas in London – Fabulous Ice Skating Rinks

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.

1 | Somerset House Ice Rink | Christmas in London

Somerset House Ice Rink.Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. [Open from 10:00 am-10:45 pm]. Adult tickets start from £11.00

This is the most iconic of London’s ice rink and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the ice rink at Somerset House.

The most beautiful ice rink in London is at Somerset House
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Somerset House Ice rink | 2019 | Photo: Georgina_Daniel

There is a 40ft tall Christmas tree and Fortnum & Mason runs the champagne and chocolate fondue at the Skate Lodge. It is open 24/7 on some days. Check their official website here for more details.

2020 Update:

Due to the current uncertainty and for safety reasons, the Somerset Ice Rink is not available. However, organisers are working towards

exciting new event to mark the festive season in a way that is both safe and celebratory, and that Skate will return in winter 2021. 

Somerset House

2 | Natural History Museum | Christmas in London

Natural History Museum, London. Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. [Open from 10:00 a.m – 9:00 p.m. until 12th January] Adult tickets start from £15.95 

The ice skating rink at Natural History Museum
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Christmas in London | Natural History Museum Ice Rink | Photo: Georgina_Daniel

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.

2020 Update

The Natural History Museum Ice Rink is not open this festive season but the Museum remains open, in line with UK government guidelines throughout the festive season, welcoming visitors. View further updates on their official website Natural History Museum

3 | Tower of London | Christmas in London

Tower of London, LondonSt Katharine’s & Wapping, EC3N 4AB. Nearest station: Tower Hill. [Open from 11:00 a.m – 9:00 p.m on weekdays, and from 10:00 a.m on weekends].

For the first time, Tower of London has opened its doors to ice skating . The moat is converted to an ice rink with a cafe in an adjoining marquee. Skate away in the grounds of a castle that has stood 1000 years of history.

Other Ice Rinks that you may also like

4 | Covent Garden Ice Skating Rink – Inspired by Tiffany & Co > it is FREE

Covent Garden Ice Rink 2019 inspired by Tiffany & Co
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Tiffany inspired ice skating rink at Covent Garden | 2019 | Photo: Georgina_Daniel

5 | Winter Wonderland Ice Skating, London

Click here for more details

6 | The Queen’s House, Greenwich Ice Rink, London

For the first time, a new ice rink opens its door in Greenwich, with the Queen’s House being the backdrop for an amazing experience.

Click here for more details

Visit Discover London with Georgina and MyCityMyTown Series for more articles on the City of London

My final say on Christmas in London

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 should you decide to visit us during the festive season.

My sincere wish is that this post is valuable to you in planning your visits to London during the Christmas festive season in any year. If so please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you. Scroll all the way down for more ideas and inspiring travel stories. Subscribe to join us at My Timeless Footsteps to receive all the latest news and events. As always, I am contactable at for any further info or to design your itinerary for you.

Enjoy the festive season, no matter what you get up to.

Happy holidays!

Georgina xx

February 2021, Update

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An easy guide to the best magical markets, dazzling lights and fairytale ice rinks. 

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A Resource for Mature Adventurers via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/
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By Georgina

Georgina is a Travel Blogger, Travel Writer, history buff, wine (red) enthusiast and a lover of all cultures. She gave up the corporate race to embrace a more meaningful lifestyle to travel more, to write and to share the very best of her adventures. Georgina has lived in three continents, and now, based at a stone's throw of London, which is her home. She has a special interest to bring the best of Britain to her audiences worldwide. Becoming newer from each travel, Georgina enjoys sharing her travel stories, drawing her readers into her world of boomer adventures while immersing them in the history, culture and food of a region. Together with her own informative, in-depth writing style, practical tips and suggestions on her blog, Timeless Travel Steps, Georgina make travel dreams a reality. She is happiest waking up to the chirpy sounds of the birds or sipping wine over sand in between her toes, while watching the rolling clouds melt into darkness.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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