Christmas in London 2021 – Guide to top 72 Fun & Magical Christmas Highlights in London
72 Fun & Magical Christmas highlights in London 2021?
Like every other year, you are sure to find something unique, iconic and awe-inspiring activities in our metropolis this year. London comes alive almost as soon as the clocks go back and the onset of bonfire night fireworks in early November but nothing signifies the beginning of Christmas like the switching-on of Christmas Lights on London’s streets. As well, from winter pop-ups, atmospheric Christmas markets, and ice-skating to memorable theatre shows, pantos and carol singing, the jolly festivities in London are the best to experience. Make the most of the events at Christmas with these top 72 Christmas highlights in London selected by Timeless Travel Steps for you.
Experience London like never before with these Magical Christmas highlights in London
1 | The best dazzling London Christmas Lights 2021
1 | Immerse in the kaleidoscope of shimmering neon fluttering butterflies exemplifying transformation, change and hope at Carnaby Street.
2 | Don’t forget to look up when at Regent Street! You will be totally enchanted with the 300,000 lights as the angels glow across the street!
3 | Marvel at one of London’s premier shopping area at Oxford Street as it glows amidst the famous brands.
4 | When shopping in London, venture to the revered Bond Street. Experience the spectacular display of lights by some of the renowned brands. Tiffany’s, Cartier, and Mulberry are just a few of the unmissable displays that must be experienced.
5 | The magical Christmas highlights in London’s South Molton Street is also a must-see. Those blue arches of bright lights are completely captivating against the darkness of the skies.
1.1 | More glorious Christmas lights …
6 | More glorious Christmas lights awaits those who make their way to Chelsea. The Duke of York Square is wonderfully dressed in festive lights.
7 | Be dazzled by the twinkling Christmas highlights at the quaint streets of Seven Dials. Enjoy the array of shops, restaurants and bars.
8 | Christmas highlights in London is never complete without a visit to the infamous Covent Garden. Its spectacular 16.7m/55 feet Christmas tree in the centre of the piazza, all dazzled up offer a perfect photo backdrop.
9 | All throughout London, you will see Christmas trees decked in lights but there is One that you should not miss! Head to Trafalgar Square to see the magnificent Norwegian spruce in the centre of the Square. This 25m/82ft is decorated in Norwegian splendour of vertical strings of lights.
10 | For an absolute magical Christmas highlights in London of twinkling lights, stroll along the Thames River, the South Bank in London. The splendid London Eye and the festive vibes are unmissable experiences in this area, for sure.
11 | Head a little out of town to Wembley Park, home to the iconic Wembley Stadium. The annual Winterfest at Wembley Park showcases light and art installations across the area.
2 | Experience Christmas highlights in London at London’s popular attractions
In addition to the stunning Christmas lights around the City of London, there are also venues and activities across the metropolis and nearby that are iconic, and magical at this festive time. The following are highly recommended and are totally unmissable events, activities and Christmas highlights in London to get into.
12 | The best views of London’s cityscape are afforded by The Shard, the tallest building in London. A stunning 360 degree view of London from western Europe’s highest viewing platform is an unmissable experience!
13 | Looking for something unforgettable to do in London? Get kitted out and climb over the O2!
14 | Explore one of London’s newest thrill-seeking adventure at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Step-out onto a glass walkway at 46.8m above a football pitch for breathtaking views over the City. This is one of the highly recommended Christmas highlights in London.
22 | Experience the international influence on British food culture in London. Coffee, croissants, dim sum, tapas, and gelato are among the food you get to experience in this unique Eat like a Londoner tour.
4 |Highly recommended activities for fun family Christmas in London
27 | Visit a castle that is fit for a queen! Windsor Castle has all the magnificent festive decorations for an unmissable visit. Enjoy a train ride through the countryside from London for timeless memories.
28 | Enjoy a remarkable visit to Hogwarts in the Snow. The Warner Bros Studio Tour – The making of Harry Potter is located a short distance from London and is a seamless journey with return transportation included in this activity (Nov 12 2021 to Jan 16 2022)
29 | A perfect winter treat awaits visitors to the Tower of London during this special season. Festive decorations and illuminated animals across the mighty fortress makes this a magical experience for all the family.
30 | Head to a Christmas Concert at the Painted Hall. Enjoy fun evening with all the family at the Old Royal Naval College and experience Charles Dicken’s“A Christmas Carol” come to life. Featuring original songs and music amidst the iconic backdrop of the Painted Hall. Dec 3, 2021 to Dec 23, 2021
31 |London parks are some of the prettiest in the world. Stroll through London’s Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, St James Park and experience moments away from the hustle and bustle of the city during Christmas.
32 | Take the kids for a fully festive fun at the London Transport Museum. A 3D sleigh, Santa’s hideaway garden, a festive trail and so much more on offer for all the family. From Dec 4, 2021 to Dec 23, 2021
33 | Kids will absolutely love a day at UK’s exclusive Peppa Pig World. The remarkable Peppa Pig World is located in an outstanding 140 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland and home to fun rides, attractions and the Only designated Peppa Pig World shop in the world! Located at Poulton’s Park, a short drive from London. With return transportation, a trip here with the family is a bliss.
34 | Wander around at London’s biggest and most popular Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Immerse in the festive food, drinks and the extraordinary Christmas vibes here. Entry is free but the fun rides, ice-skating and other activities may incur a charge. From November 19, 2021 through to January 3, 2022 | Generally 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM | Must pre-book.
35 | Pop in at Leicester Square Christmas market to pay Santa a visit and to tuck into food or drink. There is a good selection of crafts that makes ideal gifts for friends and family. November 12, 2021 to January 9, 2022
36 | Experience one of the most magical attractions in London – Covent Garden at Christmas. Home to legendary Apple Market with huge silver baubles and mistletoe, magnificent Christmas tree, mulled wine and Christmas stalls. There are many ‘spot’s for photo ops that is ideal for social media. There is no where else in London that is quite like Covent Garden. It is a popular destination all year round! Christmas events are scheduled to take place from November 9, 2021 to January 3, 2022.
37 | You are sure to find the Selfridges Christmas Market on the Mews fascinating! Tucked around towards the back of the world famous department store, this Christmas market is the destination for perfect festive gifts, decorations or a great selection of street food. From hot dogs, sweet waffles to seafood and curries. From Nov 5, 2021 to Dec 23, 2021. Weekdays: 4:00 – 9:00 pm. Weekends: 12:00 – 9:00 pm. Dec 24, 2021 – 12:00 to 4:00 pm.
Southbank, London Bridge and Borough Market also gets festive …
38 | With stunning views of the exemplary Tower Bridge, Tower of London and London’s skyline, Christmas by the River returns this year at Southbank and London Bridge. Along with extended hours at Borough Market, you shall find stalls decorated with twinkly lights and tinsels, offering their daily selections as well as the festive additions. From Nov 16, 2021 to Jan 2, 2022. Sunday to Wednesday, 11:00 am – 9:00 pm | Thursday to Saturday, 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
41 | Sing-a-long to carols and festive songs under the magnificent Christmas tree at Trafalgar Square. More than 40 groups perform each year for an hour each in the run-up to Christmas. This takes place in December but exact dates are not published yet.
42 | Be part of a unique experience at Trafalgar Square! Celebrate the lighting of the Norwegian Christmas Tree along with candlelight, carol singing and Christmas readings. Dec 2, 2021 at 7:30 pm. Note: This is a ticketed event.
43 | Experience the grandiose of the Royal Albert Hall and join in the carols during this festive season. Home of Christmas in London for 150 years, the Royal Albert Hall offer heartwarming traditional events of concerts, jazz and classic ballet. From Dec 2, 2021 to Dec 31, 2021. Find tickets for Christmas events.
6.1 | You might like this instead?
If you wish to experience the Royal Albert Hall but not the Christmas events, you may wish to join a small group guided tour which is great value for money.
44 | For that special warm and fuzzy Christmassy feeling, head to Battersea Carols. The Battersea Christmas Carols Concert is very special as you will be welcomed by a special guard of honour formed by the Battersea Dogs. Money raised goes towards work carried out by Battersea for dogs and cats. You could enjoy mince pies, mulled wine and purchase gifts. Takes place at St Luke’s & Christ Church, Chelsea at 7 p.m. on Dec 2, and Dec 3 2021.Ticketed event.
6.2 | More unmissable carol events …
45 | One of the best and most popular carol sing-a-along in the heart of the city is at the Barbican. Singing the most loved carols and Christmas hits during this one-day event is both fun and exhilarating. Led by Jonathan Cohen, performances last approximately 2 hours 15 minutes with 20-minute interval. December 18, 2021Book your place in this sell out event.
46 | One of my favourite places to experience Advent is at Christopher Wren’s architectural masterpiece, St Paul’s Cathedral. This London landmark hosts free carol concerts throughout Advent. A great experience for everyone but you do need to get there early! From Dec 1, 2021 to Dec 31, 2021
7 | Explore some of the magnificent Christmas shopping highlights in London
47 | Be dazzled with some of London’s splendid departmental stores. Head to Selfridges,Liberty, Fortnum & Mason and Harrods where you can go crazy in their dedicated Christmas shop, or shop for gourmet Christmas treats and hampers.
48 | Visit London’s most famous shopping destination at West End. You will find most flagship stores on Oxford Street, Bond Street for opulence and sophistication at Regent Street.
49 | If you are looking for cool boutiques and independent designers, then head to Coal Drops Yard at Kings Cross, Carnaby and Covent Garden/Seven Dials.
50 | Shop for all your Christmas gifts under one roof! From flagship stores to best high-street names together with late night shopping up to 9 pm are there for you at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City.
51 | Take your kids to the best and biggest toy shop in London. Hamleys, renowned as one of the finest toy shop in the world is located at Regent Street. From jigsaw puzzles to the latest gadgets over four floors, you are sure to spend time and money here.
52 | When exploring all the above mentioned shops, spend some time as well to admire and click-away the spectacular window displays. Some of these displays takes imagination to a whole new level!
8 | Watch a festive film or visit filming locations this Christmas in London
53 | Join Backyard Cinema on one of their winter specials. Venture through their Winter Garden or The Snow Kingdom.
54 | Sing along to popular musicals at The Prince Charles Cinema. One of Londoner’s favourite independent cinema, The Prince Charles is tucked away behind Leicester Square and offer tickets at reasonable prices.
There is something very special about ice-skating and creating unforgettable memories amidst beautiful surroundings.
63 | The Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink offer a Christmassy experience like none other amidst the magnificent backdrop of the King Henry VIII’s castle. While here, you may wish to visit the Hampton Court Castle and its immaculate gardens as well.
64 | Show off your skills and glide across the 18th century courtyard at Somerset House and immerse in truly festive vibes.
68 | Visit Kew Gardens at Christmas and fall in love with their stunning winter lights trail. From starry lanterns, multicoloured neon lights, Christmas Cathedral, Waterfall of Lights and so much more with a heartstopping finale at the Palm House. Afterwards, dine in style and enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner at Kew’s Botanical restaurant. Prior booking is essential. November 17, 2021 through to January 9, 2022. 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm
70 | For the ultimate in seasonal luxury dining, head to La Dame de Pic in the City, for the finest Michelin starred French food and fine wines. Headed by Anne-Sophie Pic, this restaurant offers exquisite dining experience with a view of The Tower of London
13 | Stay in London and experience the buzz of the City
London is enormous! Finding a place to stay could be a task as London’s best attractions are dotted throughout the city. In addition, it could be expensive as well during the festive season. Nevertheless, it all depends on one’s budget and what you wish to experience. Here are just a few suggestions for you to consider:
71 | For fabulous Christmas highlights in London, stay at the Copthorne Tara Hotel Kensington for a remarkable stay. Located in the heart of Kensington, this accommodation is within a few minutes walk of Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, and Royal Albert Hall. It has easy connections to London Underground to get you to places or hail a bus for that quintessential London experience. Alternatively, the London taxis are at your disposal, just ask the Concierge to get you one.
For more choices on accommodations in London, take a look here, my go to place for securing a booking with last minute cancellation rights, if plans change.
My thoughts …
London is a great city to experience at any time of the year but it is especially fun, magical and festive at Christmas. While there are so many things to do in London as one could imagine, the city is alive with Christmas lights, festive markets, iconic attractions, and ice skating. The music, wonders of the museums, cinemas, theatres and the fabulous array of shopping arcades are special at this time of year also. The mouth-watering international food scene is undeniably an unmissable experience in London.
My sincere wish is for this article on the top 72 Christmas highlights in London to be a valuable guide in your plans to experience London at Christmas and at any time of the year.
What do you think …
It’s your turn 🙂 What do you think? Are the suggestions on this article valuable to you in planning and experiencing a magical, fun and festive Christmas in London? Have I missed any that you would like included here? Do let me know and I shall gladly include then as Reader Recommendation.
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Coal Drops Yard at Christmas in Kings Cross London
In the heart of Kings Cross, there is a beautiful area that brings a totally different atmosphere to the hustle and bustle of London City life. This hidden gem of traffic-free Victorian cobbled streets and red-brick arches adds a unique flavour to the shopping and dining culture in London. It is even more spectacular during the festive season. Located within a 5-minute walk of Kings Cross Station, the Coal Drops Yard at Christmas is a destination not to be missed. The magical, merry and bright lights at the upscale Coal Drops Yard shopping and dining area is atmospheric, presented in an unusually Christmassy tree entwined with a ‘green spirit’.
Coal Drops Yard at Christmas and its very special untraditional Christmas tree
The unusual Christmas installations at Coal Drops Yard is a huge 8.5 metre (28 ft) high Terrarium Tree. It is a creation by the Botanical Boys. This magnificent creation feature 70 terrariums with each containing a unique, individual mini garden. The terrariums are surrounded by 168 mirrored baubles in differing sizes, bringing the unconventional Christmas tree to life with its glowing reflections. Added to this is the illumination from below, casting a beautiful warm glow across the courtyard.
In keeping with their green spirit, the terrariums will grow in their baubles throughout this festive season. When the festivities are over, the terrariums will be re-homed in 2021. As well, the main structure of the tree is reusable and will be transformed into new tree designs.
Coal Drops Yard at Christmas – A place to Shop, Eat, Drink & Explore
Along with the magical and festive spirit, the shops at Coal Drops Yard are adding to the merry cheer of Christmas shopping. With Christmas being a little different this year with much of Christmas shopping done online, the many brands home to Coal Drops Yard are offering exclusive in-store discounts.
From new names to well-known brands such as &- Other Stories, one-stop styling destinations, to Wolf & Badger, an independent homeware and beauty brand, Coal Drops Yard is the place for unique and extraordinary gifts.
Wider Kings Cross area is a foodie hotspot that has something for everyone and for every budget. The restaurants, bars and cafes at Coal Drops Yard offer cosy terraces and covered spaces to welcome diners for authentic dining experiences.
Many of the eateries at Coal Drops Yard have beautiful terraces with al fresco dining along with outdoor heating and blankets to ward-off the winter chill.
For fun and authentic Mexican corn tortillas, tacos and tostadas with refreshing tequila, head over to Plaza Pastor. It is a permanent outdoor venue, totally covered and heated.
The Drop is an elegant wine bar nestled under the old Victorian arches and has seating outdoors with good heating. The wine list is said to be one of the best around and they serve responsibly sourced oysters, meat and cheeses.
Explore the surrounds of Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross London
Explore the surrounding areas such as the Granary Square which is home to some fantastic places to eat and drink. There are a good selection of terraces where you could enjoy a coffee or a cocktail and watch the goings-on. The most popular place, without a doubt is the Granary Building, home to Caravan and Granary Square Brasserie. Also, either watch or experience the Fountains at Granary Square – the aqua-choreography of 1080 jets!
As well, you could grab yourself a drink or immerse yourself in a book on the steps by Regent’s Canal. Regent’s Canal runs through the heart of Kings Cross and has been transformed to be an important part of this neighbourhood at Coal Drops Yard and Granary Square. As you walk along the canal from Granary Square towards Gasholder Park, you will see Camley Street Nature Park.
A nature reserve, Camley Street Nature Park was created from a two-acre coal yard in 1984. The beautiful woodland, the grassland and wetland habitats provide a haven for birds, butterflies and plant life. A little further along the towpath, you will reach Gasholder Park and St Pancras Cruising Club. St Pancras Cruising Club is a lovely spot to enjoy a slower pace of life.
A little background to Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross London
Opened in October 2018, Coal Drops Yard is part of the wider redevelopment of Kings Cross area in Central London offering high-end shopping and dining experiences. Home to a wonderful mix of independent shops and signature brands from both home and abroad, visiting Coal Drops Yard is an experience in itself. Seeing how beautiful it is today, you would never know that this area was once used as warehouses for storing coal, colonised by a nightclub and formed part of derelict London branded by prostitution and drug-dealing.
Built in 1850, the two long Victorian warehouses has attached train viaducts. The two-storey brick and cast-iron sheds were used to receive and store coal for London from South Yorkshire, North of England. About 8 million tonnes were transported each year, trans-shipped via the Regent’s Canal and horse-drawn carts to heat homes and businesses in the City of London. As coal usage declined, the warehouses were adapted for light industry and storage. There was a nightclub here as well, Bagley’s which was closed in 2007. Eventually, the area fell into disuse by the late 1990s.
The redevelopment was designed by Thomas Heatherwick to a clean, prosperous, managed area and opening the area up to the public, linking the long viaducts and the space between them for people to enjoy. While adapting the space to modern use, the historic significance of the Victorian viaducts and cobbled streets are respected.
Practical Information for Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, London
Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4DQ
Coal Drops Yard is open to visitors between 10am-11pm. Please check individual retailer pages for opening hours and information.
How to get to Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross London
As it is in the heart of the City of London, the most convenient way to reach Coal Drops Yard is by public transport to Kings Cross Station or St Pancras Station. At Kings Cross Station, access via King’s Boulevard or King’s Cross Square – follow signs for Regent’s Canal, cross the bridge over the canal, and Coal Drops Yard is on the left, just off Granary Square.
Plan ahead > Places to Stay near Kings Cross
As Kings Cross is in the heart of London, there are many possibilities for accommodation. From budget, mid-range apartments to luxurious 5-star accommodation near Kings Cross London. If you are considering a stay at a beautiful affordable reputable hotel, I would recommend staying at the Copthorne Tara Hotel, Kensington. or the Millennium Gloucester Hotel Kensington
Firstly, Copthorne Tara Hotel Kensington is a 4-star rated accommodation and offers easy access to transportation at High Street Kensington. You could dine on site for a modern British and European cuisine – but why would you when you can get to Coal Drops Yard in an easy taxi ride or by the London Underground to Kings Cross.
Secondly, the Millennium Gloucester Hotel Kensington is also a 4-star rated accommodation set against fashionable South Kensington, with easy access to Victoria Albert Museum, Hyde Park and Gloucester Road tube station. Staying here will also give you easy access to Coal Drops Yard and surrounds of Kings Cross.
The Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Group run seasonal campaigns and offer discounts for their members as well which may be something of value to you if you are considering travels and enjoying their hospitality at your selected destinations. Use the link below and search for your stay.
For a greater selection of accommodation to suit every budget, including self-catered apartments, long-stay, family vacation, look-up booking dot com who are my go-to search engine for good quality places to stay.
A visit to Coal Drops Yard at Christmas or at any time of the year and you will find that it is a place of culture, food and great vibes. There are so many choices to satisfy one’s gastronomic cravings with a great combination of boutiques, restaurants, coffee bars and plenty of outdoor spaces. Both Granary Square and Regent’s Canal are great for people watch or to read a book. Coal Drops Yard is a destinations that should top your list when in London.
Have you visited Coal Drops Yard? If you have, please do share your experiences — you never know who you might inspire. If you are yet to, was this article valuable to you in planning your visit to Coal Drops Yard? If so, let me know in comments below. Would love to hear from you.
Have a wonderful time exploring Coal Drops Yard.
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Coal Drops Yard at Christmas in Kings Cross London first published at timelesstravelsteps.com Updated October 19, 2021