London events in December

Your guide to the best activities, events and fun stuff happening in London throughout December 2018
Dave Feaster/ Flickr

Can you hear those sleigh bells jingling? Of course you can. It’s December in London and that means winter has truly arrived and Christmas in London has begun. See the city skies sparkling with glimmering Christmas lights, fill your ears with Christmas songs, swap your lunchtime sushi for an indulgent Christmas sandwich, pig out on even more luxurious menus at London's best restaurants and watch the pubs in London get even buzzier than normal and head one of the festive parties popping up all around town. 

If Christmas is just one big old bore for you, don't worry! There's huge helpings of cosy winter pop-ups and brilliant events without the tinsel trappings to enjoy in London. Plus, there's the epic New Year celebrations to start planning. Read our guide for the lowdown on the events, parties, cultural happenings and things to do taking place in London in December 2018.

RECOMMENDED: The definitive London events calendar

Our December 2018 highlights

Things to do, Walks and tours

Christmas at Kew Gardens

icon-location-pin Kew

What is it? Kew's incredible gardens get another magnificent seasonal makeover as illuminations light up the botanical gardens and bring the buildings and plants to life. Why go? Follow the mile-long past a million sparkling pea-lights, tree canopies flooded with festive colour, a moonlit Laser Garden hidden in the woods, a festive flotilla of hundreds of glowing boats, a fire garden and glorious kaleidoscopic lights dancing over the grand Palm House. 

Theatre, Drama

‘A Christmas Carol’

icon-location-pin Southwark

What is it? ‘A Christmas Carol’ returns for Christmas 2018 with Stephen Tompkinson as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Why go? It's is the Coldplay of festive theatre: big, bombastic and happy, and overwhelmingly winsome.

Time Out says
Things to do, Exhibitions

Hogwarts in the Snow

icon-location-pin Abbots Langley

What is it? The Harry Potter studio tours get a festive makeover once more this Winter, with Christmas trees and a seasonal feast in the Great Hall, decorations in Gryffindor common room and snow drifts in Diagon Alley.
Why go? Even if you've seen the experience before, seeing it at Christmas time is even more magical.

Time Out says
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

icon-location-pin Kensington

What is it? The Grinch would have a real job stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park's massive tribute to festive fun, which is back for an twelfth year in 2019.
Why go? For fairground rides, a child-friendly Santa Land, Christmas markets, ice rink, Victorian bandstand, family-friendly Christmas shows, snow and ice sculptures and plenty more festive fun. 

Things to do, Ice skating

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

icon-location-pin Brompton

What is it? London’s most enchanting ice rink, thanks to the beautiful backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse's buildings, a row of trees dripping in fairy lights and a majestic Christmas tree in the middle of the ice.
Why go? To have some fun on a London Christmas classic. 

Things to do, Markets and fairs

Southbank Centre Wintertime Market

icon-location-pin South Bank

What is it? You’ll find plenty more than baubles and gingerbread to tempt you in the wooden chalets that make up this iconic Christmas market. 
Why go? Stock up on festive food and tipples, unique gifts, stocking fillers and treats.

Things to do

Christmas in London

London at Christmas time is pretty darn magical. Discover ideas for fun family outings throughout the Christmas period, plus fun things to do on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day in the capital. 

Things to do

Christmas lights in London

Dazzle your eyes be taking a peek at London's twinkling Christmas lights. The illuminations give London an instant festive makeover. Plan a wintery outing with our guide to all the main lights in London for Christmas 2018. 

Shopping, Markets and fairs

Christmas markets and fairs in London

Swap stressful Christmas shopping in busy department stores for something a little more laid back. We've got you covered with our guide to London’s loveliest Christmas markets and festive fairs. 

Things to do, Ice skating

Skate at Somerset House

icon-location-pin Temple

What is it? Somerset House's grand 18th-century courtyard is the stunning setting for an ice rink again this winter.
Why go? No matter how unimpressive your skating skills a trip to this 900-square-metre outdoor rink will be the very definition of festive fun. 

Things to do, Quirky events

Peter Pan Cup

icon-location-pin Knightsbridge

What is it? Strictly a spectator event - unless you happen to be a member of the Serpentine Swimming Club - the Peter Pan Cup race through the Serpentine's icy waters takes place each year on Christmas morning.
Why go? To cheer on the hardy swimmers as they race to the finish line. 

Skate at Somerset House, ice rink
© Life After Print Ltd.
Things to do, Ice skating

Ice skating in London

Whether your ice skating skills are jaw-droppingly magnificent or utterly non-existent, you'll still find London's ice rinks as enchanting as ever. 

New Year's Eve Fireworks in London, with Big Ben
© Stewart Marsden
Things to do

New Year's Eve and New Year in London

London is one of the best places in the world to be for New Year celebrations. Fact. Never one to miss out on a party, the capital is fully prepared with loads of New Year's Eve parties and events up its sparkly sleeve, as well as the mighty NYE firework display over the Thames. 


New Year’s Eve parties in London

New Year's Eve parties are ten to the dozen in London, from quirky fancy dress events to heads-core raving. Our definitive list of events rounds up the many nights taking place, making it easy to track down your perfect NYE bash, whatever you're looking for.

See what's on in January