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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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Have an awesome time this Christmas
Updated October 27, 2021
Travelling to London
Places to Stay in London
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.