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Christmas at Covent Garden

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This post covers everything you need to know about celebrating Christmas at Covent Garden.

This year's theme is similar to last season with many of the same decorations and events and will last until the 3rd of January.

Note that the lights are lit from 11:00 - Midnight every day!

We include details about festive activities, decorations, winter markets, and other fun things to see and do.


Overview

Covent Garden is worth visiting any time of the year, but at Christmas, it truly stands out.

The covered market and piazza are festooned with beautiful decorations, giant baubles, over 30,000 twinkling lights, and mistletoe chandeliers.

Music plays, the stall owners sell their seasonal goods, and holiday food and drink are plentiful! This is all in addition to the regular market stalls and shops that are open all year-'round.

But aside from thousands of lights, giant baubles, and wreaths, there’s a lot happening in Covent Garden this Christmas time that you won’t want to miss.

London Walking Tours

Oh - and take note...Our London Christmas Lights Tour, the first pay-what-you-like Christmas lights tour in London, starts right here in Covent Garden so consider combining the two for a truly unforgettable festive experience!

It runs every night but Tuesdays at 18:00 and includes a stop at the Leicester Square Christmas Market along the way. Book HERE.


Things to Do for Christmas at Covent Garden

This section will cover several fun things to experience at Covent Garden during the holiday season.

We include details about both festive activities and major attractions in the area.


The Tree

Right in front of the iconic covered market is the Covent Garden Christmas tree, one of London’s tallest, topping out around 60ft high - 5 feet higher than 2021's tree!

The tree will be trimmed by a team of around 60 workers who will adorn the branches with 30,000 lights and ornaments.

It’s hard to miss, but you’ll find it adjacent to the Royal Opera House.

The tree is actually brought in from the same place where the Royal Family gets its Christmas trees, which makes it that much more special.

To keep things sustainable, three trees are planted for every tree cut down from the farm where it is harvested.

And at the end of the holiday season, the Covent Garden tree will be recycled into woodchips!


The Sleigh

New for 2022, Santa's sleigh has arrived in Covent Garden!

On display this year is a recommissioned sleigh, dating from 1884 and hand painted by British artist James Gemmill.

Photo by @nurse_ruff

The sleigh is not only beautiful to look at but guests are invited to take a seat and get a festive photo in Santa's favourite seat!

The Sleigh is open to the public from 9:00am - 9:00pm and roped off after hours.


The Music

There will be seasonal music aplenty, but keep your ears open for some special performances.

In addition to performances of the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House, there will be free performances in the piazza by the London International Gospel Choir and the cast from ELF the musical!


The Christmas Sandwich Festival

This is a one-of-a-kind...From the 3rd to the 10th of December, Covent Garden will be hosting its own Christmas Sandwich Festival.

This year, Covent Garden has partnered with local restaurants, which will host a number of pop-up venues featuring novelty Christmas sandwiches such as Blondies Kitchen, Lilly's Cafe, French and Chez Antoinette just to name a few.

Guests will be able to taste over 15 Christmas sandwiches from 9 different sites, ranging from the traditional (think turkey and cranberry) to the luxury (think truffles!).

There are plenary of vegetarian offers available, too!


The Forecast Predicts Snow Flurries

London gets plenty cold in the winter, but it doesn't tend to snow as often as people think - except in Covent Garden!

Carrying over from 2021's popular flurry experience, it will be snowing every day in Covent Garden!

The snowfall is daily, starting on the 1st of December until the 31st of the same month.

The flurries will fall hourly from 12:00pm - 9:00pm and, of course, is a free experience.

This experience is truly magical and, honestly, worth a visit just on its’ own!


The Wonder Wood

This one is back by popular demand!

This year, Covent Garden's Market Building will be transformed into a magical wonder word - a forest brimming with dozens of beautiful Christmas trees, all expertly decorated by the creatives of Covent Garden's horticultural society.

Photo courtesy of Facebook

This year, the event is partnered with Cash4Kids and QR codes set up throughout the Wonder Wood will let visitors make donations to the charity on their phones.

Cash4Kids is operating a "Mission Christmas" this year with all donations ensuring that no children go without a present under the tree on Christmas Day!


Festive Thursdays

For the 2022 season, Covent Garden had made Thursdays a designated festive night with shops and restaurants opening with extended hours.

This light-night event will also see shops hosting in-store events with exclusive discounts and special festive moments to ensure something a little special for everybody who comes down to enjoy it!


L'OR Coffee: L'Art du Cafe'

Luxury coffee brand LO'R has launched it's first ever pop up in Covent Garden this year.

An immersive space featuring not only delicious coffee but a range of cocktails and mocktails for those not so into java.

The Cafe' advertises itself as a "superior coffee experience away from the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden's streets."

This Cafe' is open from 10:00am - 8:00pm Monday to Saturday and 12:00pm - 6:00pm on Sundays.


Dolce&Gabbana x Covent Garden

Luxury shoppers rejoice!

For Christmas 2022, Dolce&Gabbana has set up an immersive shopping experience at the Covent Garden Piazza and Market Building.

In addition to pop up shops selling a select of goods there will also be numerous curated photo opportunities.

Expect bold patterns and bright lights, perfect backgrounds for your holiday photos!

The Piazza Pop-Up opening times are:

10:00am - 9:00pm Monday to Saturday and 12:00pm - 5:00pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays in December.

Then, 10:00am - 8:00pm Monday to Saturday at 12:00pm - 5:00pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays in January.


Dates and Times

  • The Covent Garden Christmas decorations are on from 11:00am - Midnight every day, 7 days a week from 9th November - 3rd January.
  • The Covent Garden Wonder Wood is open from 12:00pm - 9:00pm, every day, 7 days a week from 29th November - 3rd January.
  • The Sandwich Festival takes place from the 3rd - 10th of December.
  • The L'OR Cafe' is open from 10:00am - 8:00pm Mondays to Saturdays at 12:00pm - 6:00pm Sundays from the 23rd November - 23rd December.
  • Snowfall takes place on the hour from 12:00pm until 9:00pm, every day, 7 days a week from 1st December to the 21st December.
  • The Dolce&Gabbana x Covent Garden is open from 8th November - 15th January with varying operating times (see full description above).

How To Get Here

Nearest Underground Stations: Covent Garden, Leicester Square (5-minute walk), Charing Cross (6-minute walk), Embankment (10-minute walk), Holborn (10-minute walk), Tottenham Court Yard (12-minute walk)

Nearest Rail Stations: Charing Cross Station

Bus Routes: 9, 13, 15, 23, 24, 139, 153

About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: December 3rd, 2022
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