London doesn't stop for Christmas until the big man’s actually popping down chimneys, and neither need you. From showing off your coolest moves on the skating rink to singing carols by candlelight (via some seriously last-minute Christmas shopping), here’s our pick of the best things to do in London on December 24.
We’ll be updating this page with more events for Christmas Eve 2018 as they are announced.
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Spending Christmas Eve 2018 in London?
An evening of Christmas carols is a surefire way to get into the festive mood. If by Christmas Eve you're still feeling more like the Grinch than Santa, head to one of London's carol services for candlelight, music and as many Christmas songs as you can handle. There are services at the grandest of venues: try Westminster Abbey, the Royal Albert Hall, St Paul’s, and St Martin-in-the-Fields.
Whether you dance on ice like Christopher Dean or simply scramble around like Bambi, the capital’s outdoor ice rinks are some of the most magical locations you’ll see all season. Book your skating session before the rinks pack up for the year: most of the major ones still open on Christmas Eve.
Perfect for picking up stocking fillers Christmas markets are also great places to scoff festive foodstuffs. It’s hard to not stuff yourself silly as mulled wine and cider, craft beer, fine cheeses, and mince pies line the stalls at the capital’s best Christmas fairs. Markets at Winter Wonderland, Leicester Square and the Southbank are all still doing a roaring trade on Christmas Eve.
If you’re not one of the smug shopppers who finished their present-buying back in October, Christmas Eve may well involve a mad dash along Oxford Street. Guiding you in the right direction is our run-down of the capital’s best shops for gifts, stocking fillers and decorations, with Selfridges, Harrods and Liberty are all still open for last-minute business.
If you fancy spending your Christmas Eve screaming ‘he’s behind you’ then boy, have you come to the right place. Tons of silly but seriously entertaining pantos take place across the city, and those still throwing open their doors come Christmas Eve include Theatre Royal Stratford East, Lyric Hammermsith, New Wimbledon Theatre and the Palladium.
There’s more Christmas fun at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland than you can shake a foot-long Toblerone at. Santa's grotto, ice skating, mulled wine bars, candy cane stalls and fairy light-lit funfair rides – head here on Christmas Eve and it’ll feel like Christmas has come a day early.