Christmas in London is always a special time of the year, with plenty to see and do for all the family. With the city decorated in beautiful lights and packed with a variety of festive entertainment for all ages, it’s the perfect place to head to when you want to have a truly memorable Christmas.
Read on for the ultimate guide to the top things to enjoy in the city this festive period. With fantastic offers on packages at the Park Grand Hotel Heathrow, it’s the perfect time to soak up the festive cheer and enjoy all that the capital has to offer.
See the Christmas lights across London
London is alight with colour this Christmas, with some incredible and picturesque light displays all over the city. From the traditionally festive to novel and exciting contemporary features, you’ll be able to enjoy the perfect Christmas atmosphere after dark.
Within easy distance of the Park Grand Hotel Heathrow, you can find the historic Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. This Christmas, you can enjoy their spellbinding light trail, with a rich variety of light decorations across the gardens. Enjoy colourful light and sound shows as laser projections bring the lake and buildings to life, or explore the fantastical vines of light hanging from the trees.
A little further away in Wembley, Winterfest comes to the city, for the first ever time. This stunning light festival features a dazzling array of light sculptures, including an iconic Sonic Runway, which features rings of coloured light that shift and change hypnotically, as you pass below them. Look out for the magical LED Christmas tree, which will be London’s tallest ever. The festival is free to enter, making it a great destination to go to with family.
If you’re in the city for work and busy at meeting Venues London West End, be sure to take the time afterwards to head down towards central London, where you can see some of the prettiest displays in the capital. The famous stretch of Oxford Street is brightly lit with several LED panels, featuring abstract patterns, while Regent Street is adorned by its famous angels. Carnaby Street is renowned for putting on something distinctive and creative, and this year’s imaginative display takes its cue from the oceans. If you head a little further east, make sure to look up to the skyline, to see the dazzling Shard building tower above London, with a unique light show after dark across its uppermost storeys.
Don’t miss out on the many beautiful Christmas trees on display, too, with each of them decorated in a lovely and distinctive way. From the enormous tree at the centre of the Somerset House ice rink, to the traditional Norwegian Christmas tree that adorns Trafalgar Square, with its unique vertical lights, there are plenty of great sights to see across the capital.
Enjoy Christmas shopping
Finding the perfect gift at Christmas time can sometimes be a challenge, but when you’re in London, you’re truly spoilt for choice, as there is something for every budget and taste.
There are plenty of festive bargains and special deals to be found across the main shopping areas in the city, including a wealth of fabulous toys in the world’s oldest and most famous toy shop, Hamleys, delicious food and drink at Fortnum and Mason, or exquisitely luxurious gifts in Harrods. For high street picks, explore Oxford Street and Regent Street, with several top brand stores featuring Christmas promotions.
Don’t forget to check out the variety of stunning Christmas window displays in many of the city’s biggest stores at this time of year, which never fail to impress with their creativity and stunning detail.
When you’re staying at the Park Grand Hotel Heathrow, it’s always worth getting on the Tube to head around the city and indulge in some of the great festive markets on all over London. You’ll find several markets, each packed with wonderful gifts and lovely food and drink to enjoy. Have a cup of warming mulled wine or hot chocolate, whilst perusing the variety of beautiful decorations and crafts on sale, or admiring the cute traditional winter chalets. Pick up the perfect Christmas card, or find a unique, handmade gift for someone you love.
You’ll find some fantastic markets all over the city, including close to Piccadilly and Leicester Square, as well as overlooking the Thames by the Southbank Centre. And if you find yourself too busy with work in the meeting Venues London West End, check out some of the fantastic shopping centres around the city, including Westfield and the ICON Outlet centre, where you can get some excellent festive deals before the party season gets started.
Indulge in festive food and drink
Christmas is definitely not the time to start a new diet, especially not in London where you are spoilt for choice when it comes to festive food and drink. You’ll find a smorgasbord of culinary delights across the capital, from sumptuous festive dinners at some of the city’s best restaurants, to irresistible snacks to indulge in, across the many festive markets and fairs.
For a special occasion, several of London’s most popular restaurants will feature festive menus, making them ideal destinations to head to if you’re planning a group Christmas event. There are also several meeting Venues London West Endto choose from, if you’d prefer a private space for your work Christmas party or family celebration.
It’s also worth sampling the many treats on offer at stalls and markets across the city. You’ll find tasty treats including traditional German sausages, sweet baked festive pastries, and fragrant mulled wine and cider to wash it all down with. If you’re hunting for a food-related gift, head to the Fortnum Lodge at Somerset House, where the famous gourmet store will be showcasing some of their delicious products at their popup market.
Finally, with the festive party season in full swing, it’s also worth checking out some of the delicious cocktails and special drinks on offer. If you’re a hot chocolate fan, make a bee-line for Chin Chin Labs, who are showcasing a decadent hot chocolate topped with toasted marshmallow, packed with creamy goodness. Or sip on festive themed cocktails in some of the city’s best bars, including mince pie and panettone-infused drinks.
Get on the ice
One of the best things to do around London at Christmas is to enjoy the thrill of ice skating, and with some stunning outdoor ice rinks across the city, you can catch great views while having some fun.
Explore the wondrous Hampton Court Palace and spend a day out on the ice rink afterwards, where you can enjoy skating beneath the winter sky. The historic palace provides the perfect backdrop for some truly magical photo opportunities, and there’s plenty of space for spectators to relax, if you don’t feel confident on the ice yourself.
Over in South Kensington, you can skate at the Natural History Museum’s beautiful outdoor rink, with the lovely Victorian building behind you. It’s open from morning through to the evening, giving you plenty of time to enjoy practicing your tricks and spins, and is especially pretty towards sunset on a clear winter’s day, as the surroundings come alive with the colours of the dusk sky.
If you fancy skating beneath the stars, then Somerset House will be featuring some late night skate sessions, lit up spectacularly, and accompanied with the soundtrack of great music. They even have a special 24 hour skate session on in December, giving you the opportunity to skate through until sunrise. And for a skate session with a jaw-dropping view, get over to Skylight at Tobacco Dock, where you can enjoy Europe’s first and only rooftop skate rink. You’ll catch some stunning views across the city, as well as getting a fun ice skating session in the mix.
All of London’s outdoor ice rinks will have plenty of snacks and drinks available to keep you sated and content after an energetic session on the ice, with warming hot chocolate or fabulous cocktails, as well as a wide array of filling treats.
Catch some festive entertainment
If you feel like you need to take the festive celebrations a little easier and need something a bit more relaxing to enjoy, then check out some of the lovely festive films on show, all over the city. You’ll find plenty of special screenings of top festive classics, with musicals to sing along to, as well as heart-warming Christmas favourites.
Check out the wonderful Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square, which has a packed season of singalong screenings of some brilliant family-friendly Christmas movies, including The Muppets’ Christmas Carol and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Or for something a little more cosy, head to the Southbank Centre, where they’ll be showcasing a variety of family movies throughout the month inside their pop-up cinema. There’ll be animated hits for younger viewers, and iconic comedies for adults to enjoy, while you nestle on their ultra-comfortable bean-bags.
If the silver screen doesn’t appeal to you then head to the stage for some old school festive fun, with a traditional pantomime. Pantomimes are an undeniably entertaining performance for the whole family, as they take on classic fairy tales and give them a cheeky twist. Expect plenty of cross-dressing, wicked villains, and hilarious slapstick, as some of your favourite stars get in costume on the big stage.
There are some excellent pantomimes to choose from this year, including Goldilocks at the London Palladium, and Snow White at the Richmond Theatre. With legendary comedienne, Jo Brand, starring as the wicked queen, you can be confident that there will be plenty of laughs in store.
Experience a little magic
Christmas is always a magical time of year, especially for children, and one of the most exciting things to do in London during the festive period is to explore Hogwarts in the snow.
Head to the Warner Brothers’ Studio Tour to get a glimpse of the magical school of wizardry, and see it transformed for the winter, with sparkling snow and dazzling ice crystals. You can enjoy a chance to see the famous Harry Potter movie sets decorated for Christmas, with the sight of the Great Hall decorated with stunning lights, see the long tables set for a splendid feast, and admire the beautiful Christmas trees and magic-themed baubles.
Around the film set, you’ll also be able to discover how filmmakers managed to bring winter to life in the movies, with special snow effects and cosy-looking fireplaces, featuring smoke effects, snow that doesn’t melt and glittering carpets of ice. You might also be able to take a peek at the infamous Gryffindor common room and boys’ dorms, which are decorated with original festive props from the film series.
Afterwards, be sure to enjoy a delicious cup of butterbeer and some festive treats in the studio cafes. And keep a close eye out for the hand-decorated Christmas cards, dotted around the set, many of which were made by some of the cast themselves.
Enjoy a round of carols
For a truly heart-warming session of festive cheer, get together with some of your friends and family to enjoy London’s many wonderful carol singing choirs. Carols definitely capture the spirit of the season with the lovely sound of old favourites and traditional hymns filling the air.
You can find several opportunities to join other singers across the city for a carol singing session. Head to Trafalgar Square throughout the month to join a variety of singers running through many of your favourite Christmas carols, or experience the fantastic sound of singing with professional choirs or musicians in the captivating Royal Albert Hall.
You’ll also find many smaller events across various locations around the capital, with carols often being held by candlelight for a magical and captivating time. For a truly special moment at Christmas, it’s hard to beat the stunning sound of the choir at Westminster Abbey, during their Christmas Service.