What to Do in London in December

Updated: 14 noviembre 2023
 By Margaret

This post lists the many things to do in December in London and is updated for 2023.

We include family-friendly events, things to do at night, and, of course, free activities.

Despite being among the most crowded and expensive times to visit the city, December in London is so worth it.

There are loads of markets, displays, caroling, and Christmas-themed theater.

You won't want to miss the London Christmas lights and perhaps even go ice skating as well.

All of this is on top of the typical things the city has to offer.

The weather in December is also quite mild compared to other cities in the northern hemisphere.

As local London tour guides, we have drawn upon our extensive experience to come up with this list of December activities and events.

We also run the very popular London Travel Tips Facebook group, with roughly 125k members.

December in London Recommendations

We've incorporated some of the suggestions for December events and things to do in this post.

The group consists of locals, like our tour guides, expats, regular visitors, and newbies to London.

A link to the group can be found at the end of this post.


This section will feature our top 10 activities to enjoy in London throughout December.

For tips on the most popular activities in London, check out our other popular posts:

1. Go on a Christmas Lights Tour

Go on a tour with us throughout the city to see the very best lights and Christmas decorations that London has to offer on our pay-what-you-wish Christmas Lights Walking Tour.

There's no fee to take the tour. You can pay whatever you like or can afford after the tour is over.

Or join us on our Soho, Rock n’ Roll, or Theatreland Tours which will take you along the seasonally decorated and lit streets of the West End.

With Christmas on the way, December in London is full of festive fun, and there are more than enough activities for you to experience.

2. Enjoy Christmas Carols at Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall will be hosting their annual magical holiday concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, something that's taken place for over 150 years!

The orchestra will perform classic Christmas carols and the audience will join in by singing.

There will be shows from December 16th through December 24th.

Purchase tickets to Christmas Carols at Royal Albert Hall here.

Other holiday concerts will take place at Royal Albert Hall in December, including:

3. See The Nutcracker

The Royal Ballet puts on a production of the family-friendly ballet, The Nutcracker.

Going to this show each year has become a beloved Christmas tradition for many.

Clara, the heroine, her Nutcracker, a Mouse King, and a Sugar Plum Fairy are part of an adventure set against Tchaikovsky's score.

The show runs from December 6th, 2023 to January 13th, 2024.

Visit the Royal Opera House website for tickets.

4. Attend the Theatre

The West End of London is home to some of the most well-known theatres in the city, such as the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Gielgud Theatre, Apollo Theatre, Palace Theatre, and many more.

Performances have been taking place in this part of the city since 1663!

From long-term residencies to short runs, here is a list of musicals and plays you can see in December.

You can find more of London's December theatre productions here.

5. Visit Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland

At the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, you will find the largest German-style Christmas market in town, as well as games, rides, ice skating, food, and drink (keep an eye out for delicious classics like mulled wine and cider!)

There are thrill rides, a gigantic Ferris wheel with amazing views over London, and a section set up just for children.

Winter Wonderland will surely make an excellent day out for the family, and they will be open from November 17th, 2023 - January 1st, 2024.

Entrance tickets are free when you spend at least £25 on attractions, rides, games, food, or drink.

Otherwise, you can expect to pay £7.50 during peak hours and £5 during off-peak hours.

Learn more or book your tickets today.

6. See The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert

If you're looking for a new way to experience one of your favorite holiday films, The Muppet Christmas Carol will be screened at The Eventim Apollo.

While the movie is playing, a live orchestra will perform the musical score, giving you the chance to hear all of your favorite songs from this movie live!

The concert takes place twice on December 3rd, at 14:30 and 19:00.

Purchase tickets or learn more here.

Note that the Eventim Apollo has other Holiday movies set to live music planned including:

7. See a Concert 

London is full of music venues, and you can be sure that no matter which month you’re in town there will be a big-name artist or group performing.

This December is no different, with multiple big tours coming through the London area.


Note that there will also be several holiday-themed concerts at churches and other locations in London.

Click here to see even more concerts in London in December.

8. Enjoy a Night of Stand-Up Comedy

Who doesn't need a good laugh? Luckily, London is chock full of comedians, many of whom have shows in December.

Stand-Up Comedy

Comedy Clubs

For more great stand-up, check this list of comedy shows in London.

9. Celebrate New Year's Eve in London

London is one of the best cities in the world to celebrate New Year's Eve.

One experience not to be missed is the iconic London New Year's Eve Fireworks.

There are a wide array of fun events and activities taking place.

Find out about free things to do on New Year's Eve.

10. Save Money With a Tourist Pass

No matter what you’re planning to do during your trip to London this December, chances are you’ll be able to save a few pounds by using a tourist attraction discount pass.

If you have a lot of plans, you may want to consider an all-inclusive pass.

This service will provide admission to dozens of attractions for a set amount of time (1, 2, 3, 6, or 10 days).

Alternatively, you can also pay one flat price for a flex pass, which can be used for a specific number of activities (3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 attractions).

Finally, the build-your-own-pass is for visitors who don’t have much planned and just want something simple to use.

With this service, you can save 20% off admission at 2 or more popular locations.

Here are a few of the more popular attractions included with various London tourist passes:

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
  • Charles Dickens Museum
  • Chelsea FC Stadium Tour
  • Twickenham Stadium Tour
  • Emirates Stadium Tour
  • Science Museum IMAX
  • View From the Shard
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • Tower of London
  • London Zoo
  • And more!

Some of these passes also include skip-the-line admission at certain popular locations, making it easy to save both time and money.

For more details about these opportunities, please read our post covering London tourist attraction discount passes.


All of the winter festivals, the reindeer at Covent Garden, New Year’s Eve fireworks, and Christmas lights displays are free to visit (see our Top 10 section).

Food and rides can be a bit pricey, but you can save by eating beforehand and just splurging on mulled cider or hot chocolate while you’re there.

Below are some additional ideas for free things to do in December.

Click here for more ideas about free things to do in London at any time of the year.

Go to a Christmas Market

During the holiday period, the Southbank along the River Thames holds a wonderful Christmas market.

There you'll find food stalls with handmade treats and goods that are perfect for filling out your Christmas shopping list.

There will also be mulled wine and cider—the traditional London holiday drink! 

Most pubs throughout the capital will be providing mulled wine throughout the holiday season.

And stalls selling it will pop up in places like the Southbank Market, Covent Garden, and along the King's Road near Sloane Square.

This is just one of the Christmas markets you can enjoy in London, but there are many more, and they are all free to visit!

Read our post on the Christmas markets in London for more information.

Listen to Trafalgar Square Caroling

Listen to Christmas caroling in Trafalgar Square.

This usually takes place between 4 pm - 8 pm on weekdays, and between 2 pm - 6 pm on weekends.

No tickets are required, and you can take a selfie in front of the large Christmas tree in the square, a gift from Norway to London.

If you feel so inclined, you can also join in on the singing yourself.

If you'd like to learn more about the area, read our posts Things to Do in Trafalgar Square and Trafalgar Square Christmas Market.

Attend Advent and Christmas Services at Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey offers several Advent and Christmas services during the month of December. 

If you are attending a service, you do not have to pay. However, you may need to reserve a spot. 

You won’t be able to explore the building, the tombs, or the memorials, but you will have a chance to see the central nave to enjoy the magnificence of the building. 

Learn more on the Westminster Abbey events calendar.

Both Westminster Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral have daily mass services as well as choral services in the evening. 

Read more on our tips for free entry.

Our Westminster Tour finishes just outside of Westminster Abbey, so you may want to consider combining a visit to the church with this tour.

TIP: Don’t forget that admission to Westminster Abbey is included with some London tourist passes.

Visit Hamley’s Toy Store

Go window shopping in Hamley’s Toy Store which is considered one of the greatest toy stores in the world.

Is there a better time of year to visit a toy store than during December? 

Of course, the temptation will be to spend loads of money, but you don’t have to.

Sophisticated state-of-the-art displays of the newest toys will entertain you for not even a pound.

Our Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Chinatown Tour starts and finishes within walking distance of Hamley’s!

Watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

For many of you, this is a must-see when in London. Luckily, December means smaller crowds and possibly better views.

If you don't mind the colder temperatures, then this is a great time to witness this spectacle.

We have a post detailing where to get the best views and describing the ceremony in detail.

Our Westminster Tour also incorporates the Changing of the Guard and will put you in the perfect spot for a great view and good photographs.


After dark is one of the best times to walk around London during the month of December as you can enjoy all the incredible Christmas lights displays.

There are also several fun holiday activities in the evenings as well, such as ice skating and seeing a classic Christmas movie in concert.

Below are a few additional night activities.  Check out our post on things to do in London at night for even more ideas.

Experience London's Christmas Lights

There are beautiful Christmas lights all over London – particularly along the shopping streets of Oxford Street, Regent Street, Carnaby Street, and Bond Street. 

Covent Garden will be lit up with lights, as well as a public Christmas Tree dominating the plaza, which will be full of holiday-themed goods.

And don’t forget, they will also have reindeer in the area!

For a true visual treat, make time to visit Selfridges and Harrods, both of which will put up their most fabulous over-the-top and luxurious world-famous window displays – always worth seeing, even if you do not wish to go inside! 

Tip: If you do go inside, be sure to pick up a decadent and delectable Christmas pudding, a traditional holiday dessert that dates back to the 17th century.

Read our post on where to find the best lights, or come along with us on our pay-what-you-wish Christmas Lights Walking Tour.

There’s no fee to take the tour. You can pay whatever you like after the tour is over.

Click here for more ideas about free things to do in London at any time of the year.

Visit the Sky Garden

Located in the 'Walkie Talkie,' the Sky Garden is one of the best FREE indoor views of the city.

If you want to get a good look at the Christmas lights in London, this is an excellent place to see them!

We also recommend staying for dinner to enjoy a festive Christmas meal.

See Christmas at Kew

Christmas is the most enchanting time of year at Kew, London's Royal Botanic Gardens.

Many of Kew’s 12,000 trees and bushes are lit up in jewel-like colours along a path that winds throughout the gardens.

There are also sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections, food, and fairground rides.

For more information, visit our post on Christmas at Kew.

Join us on a tour!

Like our walking tours mentioned above, our evening tours are also offered on a pay-what-you-like basis so no matter what your budget, you can join us.

We have 6 evening/night tours, including a Harry Potter Film Location tour, a Twilight River Walk, and night versions of our classic Westminster tour and the City of London tour mentioned above.

For the braver souls, our Jack the Ripper tour and our London Ghost tour are waiting just for you. For availability, check our calendar

Find even more night activities by looking at our post on things to do in London at night.


Below are just some of the many things to do with kids in December and the Holiday Season in London.  

Be sure to look at all the sections of this post as many activities are family-friendly such as seeing the Christmas Lights, going to a holiday musical, attending a sporting event, and visiting Winter Wonderland.

For more ideas, read the family section of our free things to do in London post.

Visit Hogwarts in the Snow

Christmas has come to Hogwarts this year at the exhibit The Making of Harry Potter at  Warner Bros. Studio.

You'll see the Great Hall and Gryffindor common room decorated with Christmas cheer, as well as the model of the Hogwarts castle covered in snow.

Tickets are limited so be sure to book them in advance.

Join our Harry Potter Tour in London to learn even more about the filming of the series. 

You can also take this tour on your smartphone any time you wish.

Check Out the Charles Dickens Museum 

Although Charles Dickens didn't live in this house when he wrote A Christmas Carol, this former home of the great English novelist is his official museum.

And what better time of year to visit than during December and around the Christmas holiday?

Read our post on visiting the museum.

There is an admission cost, but it's waived if you have the London Pass.

Go Ice Skating

There are ice skating rinks throughout the city - even in places like the Tower of London, Somerset House, and Hampton Court Palace.

Regardless of whether or not you will be celebrating the holiday season, ice skating is a great way to take advantage of London's cold weather festivities. Just be sure to wear layers!

The London Eye Frostival is an annual holiday event at the London Eye that features a giant ice rink with incredible views.

Click here for a list of all the best places to go ice skating in the city.

For more great attractions you can visit with the family, read our section below on things to do with kids in London.

Meet Santa!

If you’re looking for other opportunities for your kids to meet Santa, Father Christmas often visits several locations in London during December, which means it’s a great time to take the family to meet him!

Santa will be traveling all over London in 2023, so look for him at places like Kew Gardens, Hamley’s Toy Store, Santa's Grotto Hyde Park, and Fulham Palace.

For more ideas of things to do with children, be sure to check out our post on visiting London with kids.

London Travel Tips and Hacks


About The Author


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: noviembre 14th, 2023
Back to Top