A mini guide to Christmas in London

As December quickly approaches I’m slowly preparing myself for the festive season ahead. I tend to ignore the build up that seems to start at the end of summer, a month of fun is plenty for me! The best thing about having enjoyed a few Christmases in London is that over the years I’ve discovered most of the annual events and without much planning I know where to go to get that festive feeling and to make the most of the brilliant build up in the city.

For those new to London, just visiting or looking to find a way to get into the spirit I’ve put together…


(It’s a mini guide so do share anything that’s worth seeing at this time of year!)

Christmas markets – The best way to feel festive is to wander around the seasonal markets which pop up around the city. I fully expected my search to start with Southbank and end with Winter Wonderland so I was happily surprised to find the guys over at the Londonist have put together a pretty impressive list of Christmas markets. Find it here.

Christmas lights – I love the Christmas lights in London! Last year I got Eric Simpson, retired London cabbie, to share his top tips for a London Christmas lights tour. Although the lights change from year to year the route is still a great one to follow.  And to make the tour even easier to follow I’ve added this google map of the route (hopefully it works)!

Christmas trees – Some spectacular Christmas trees spring up the city, as you would expect the finest can be found at five star hotels. The Ritz usually put up a grand traditional tree in reception. Claridges add some style with decorations by reknowned designers (this year it’s Dolce and Gabbana). The Goring make the most of the outdoors with their tree taking pride of place on the lawn (here’s whay you can find this year).

Ice skating – Skating on ice is something which seems to go hand-in-hand with Christmas and there are plenty of opportunities to get your skates on.  I’ve been to Somerset House and the Natural History Museum in the past, I’m thinking about Tower of London and Hampton Court this year, but there’s also Canary Wharf and the London Eye to check out.

Festive jumpers – A fun item to have in your wardrobe and bring out for a laugh once a year. I brought a selection of my favourites together last year. This year I’d go to Asda for low-priced knits for all the family . If I had some more money to spend I’d go for this Topshop gingerbread man jumper, or for something more glam this Topshop sequin present jumper. For gents it has to be this cute (but silly) River Island penguin jumper or  this smart M&S fair isle jumper. If you’re stuck for somewhere to wear it there’s a Christmas Jumper Day on 13 December in aid of Save the Children and Freeze festival is hoping to attract a record-breaking number of jumpers to their christmas jumper party.

What do you love doing for the Christmas build up in London?

There are plenty of one-off Christmas events coming up so keep an eye out for the December edition of ‘On the radar’ for more!


  1. November 27, 2013 / 1:55 pm

    I love Christmas in London and my top tip is a Christmas concert- nothing makes me feel as festive as carols! My favourites are the ones at the Royal Albert hall but they do them at the Festival hall and lots of other places too! Also love doing some Christmas crafts and the craft evenings at Make Lounge in Angel are fun. Having fallen over ice skating a couple of weeks ago and given myself a nasty cut I won’t be doing any more skating this year, but looking forward to the Christmas market on southbank when I eventually make it there!

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      November 27, 2013 / 5:31 pm

      I’ve never been to a Christmas concert before, I’ll have to look into them.

      I’ve had some hairy experiences ice skating so can agree that once a season is enough!

  2. November 27, 2013 / 5:25 pm

    Oooh great lists! I am so excited to have my first Christmas in London – think I will try squeeze in at least a couple of these this weekend :)

    • ThisCityLifeLondon
      November 27, 2013 / 5:29 pm

      Oh have fun! Every Christmas in London is great but the first one is pretty exciting! :)

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