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SKATE at Somerset House
Photograph: David Jensen

Things to do on Christmas Eve in London

It’s the big day in lots of countries, but in the UK Christmas Eve is often just a retail frenzy. Do this stuff instead

Chris Waywell
Written by
Chris Waywell

The information on this page was correct at the time of publication, but please check with venues before you head out

Don’t just spend Christmas Eve doing last-minute shopping, prepping veg or sitting glumly in the pub. Make the most of every minute of this year’s festive season and have a Christmas Eve to remember, by taking in some of London’s most Christmassy things to do before everything shuts down for Christmas Day. From twinkling lights to the city’s loveliest Christmas trees to make you feel all warm and anticipatory, take a look at our top picks for things to do on December 24 2023


🎅Read our full guide to Christmas in London.
🎄Check out the best hotels in London for unforgettable Christmas stays.

Best things to do on Christmas Eve in London

  • Things to do
  • Film events

This Christmas, the Prince Charles Cinema said, ’Tis the season for a bucketload of films’ and the festive flicks extend to the night before Christmas. On December 24 you can settle down to watch a whole roster of seasonal classics including ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ (sing-along as well as a standard screening) and ‘Die Hard’. 

  • Things to do
  • Ice skating

Slide into Christmas by spinning around on one of London’s best ice rinks, all of which are open on Christmas Eve. Winter Wonderland’s is the biggest; Canary Wharf’s is open for the longest period and Somerset House’s is the most fabulous. Take your pick, lace up your skates and get swishing.

  • Things to do
  • Concerts

Get yourself feeling ridiculously festive with an evening of carols inside Sir Christopher Wren’s architectural masterpiece, aka The Big Lad aka St Paul’s Cathedral. Every Christmas Eve the legendary London landmark hosts a Christmas Carol Service where the nativity is told through words and music. Or, stay up late and head to the Midnight Mass with music from the Cathedral Choir. They’re free and always hugely popular, so get down there early and be prepared to queue. 

Sink a mulled wine
  • Bars and pubs

Pub mulled wine can be a bit hit and miss. So we’ve sought out the best cosy London pubs pouring mulled wine that’s a cut above the rest. Find yourself a nook and wrap your mitts around one of these steaming, spicy bevvies.  

  • Museums
  • Bloomsbury

Can you get any more Christmassy than wandering around the home of the man who wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’ on Christmas Eve – the very night when all the ghostly shit went down in the story? We don’t think so. See the museum’s original Victorian furniture and fittings kitted out festive greenery and tour the house as carols play in the background. You’ll also get a free mince pie and mulled wine, get to watch ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’, arguably the all-time greatest adaption of the classic. 

  • Theatre

Whether it’s a cutesy puppet show for toddlers, a traditional family trip to see a pantomime, or a dazzling night at the circus, our guide to Christmas theatre in London has got you covered. Check out our comprehensive panto guide for the best places to sample this most entirely British of festive traditions. But if fabulous dames and shouts of ‘He’s BEHIND you!’ aren’t your particular bag of brussels sprouts, then don’t worry: there’s something out there for all tastes. 

Looking for things to do in London on Christmas Day?


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