Countdown to Christmas in London
Trafalgar Square is where you’ll find the huge Christmas tree, donated to the people of Britain by the city of Oslo each year, and it’s lit up beautifully from early December. On weekday evening and weekend afternoons lots of different groups get involved in carol singing beneath the tree, making it a very festive place to be.
Where to go ice skating in London at Christmas
Winter ice skating is always hugely popular in London. Pretty ice rinks pop up at places like the Natural History Museum, Canary Wharf, Somerset House and Hampton Court Palace from October right through till February. Here’s our guide to where to get your skates on over Christmas 2017.
Christmas events in London
Winter Wonderland opens in Hyde Park (17 November 2017-1 January 2018) featuring a huge fun fair, games, Christmas market and seasonal food and drink. It’s free to enter but gets very busy and everything you do inside will cost you apart from walking around and soaking up the atmosphere.
Christmas At Kew is a twinkly light trail, winding through Kew Gardens after dark. As well as the lights — which are always stunning — there are food stalls and Victorian funfair rides.
Greenwich Winter Time is new for 2017, set in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, with an ice rink, food and drink stalls, live entertainment and Santa’s Grotto. You’ll have to pay for entry, with extra costs for things such as the ice rink and visiting Santa.
Winterville is back again too, although the details are more than a little hazy. Dates and venue TBC, all we know is that it’s somewhere in south London.
Enchanted Eltham Palace is a winter lights trail, new for 2017, lighting up the beautiful grounds with fairy lights, to be enjoyed with a mince pie and mulled wine.
Stratford’s Roof East gets a winter makeover from 2 November 2017, complete with rooftop curling, a ski lodge bar and igloos to dine in.
Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland will be illuminated once again with colourful lights, all situated around an ornamental lake, and inside the historic arboretum.
Christmas Day in London
Christmas Day can be a magical time to explore the capital if you get up early enough. After about 11am there’s a surprising amount of people about and more and more pubs and restaurants open each year. It’s still a special day in the city however. No tubes, buses or trams will be running but if you can get into town by walking, cycle hire, taxi or your own transport, here are some of the things going on.
An increasing number of central London cafes, pubs and restaurants open on Christmas Day but the decision to do so can be last minute.
New Year’s Eve in London
It’s never too early to make your New Year’s Eve plans — plenty of parties and events sell out months in advance. Here’s our guide to this year’s New Year’s Eve events. It contains daytime events and parties that go on well into the night.