Christmas in London: 2022 Guide

Christmas in always a special time of year in London, and the city really goes all out to get into the festive spirit. There's no shortage of activities that will leave you in a merry mood, from Christmas markets to magical light displays and festive shows. Here's our list of what not to miss to have the best Christmas in London 2022.

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Table of Contents

1. Tour the London Christmas Lights

London really goes all out with the Christmas lights, and they will be very hard to miss! All the major shopping areas put on their own unique light displays, and most are quite close to each other so it makes for a nice evening walking route.

All the lights will be switched on from early November and are free to see. Here are the main places to go:

Oxford Street and Regent Street Christmas Lights

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Head to the main shopping streets first for one of the biggest installations in London. Running the length of Oxford Street is 1500 sets of glimmering stars and fairy lights, neighboured by a flight of angels lining Regent’s Street.

Carnaby Street

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Next go to one of the trendiest shopping areas in London on Carnaby Street. They choose to partner with a charity to raise awareness, and this year it’s Choose Love – raising funds for refugees around the world.

The Christmas light installation this year is an eclectic collection inspired by their past 25 years of displays. From jellyfish and butterflies to queen lyrics and rolling stones tongues.

Bond Street

Finally, pay a visit to London’s luxury shopping district, Bond Street. They’re known for their peacock light displays, inspired by the vibrant past and fashion of the visitors of the street. There are around 250,000 lights making up the display so it’s not one to be missed.

2. Hogwarts in the Snow

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If rewatching the Harry Potter films over Christmas is a must-do for you, you’ll want to take a visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour over the festive season. It has an extra special atmosphere with all of the film sets decorated like Hogwarts at Christmas, including scenes from the Yule Ball and Diagon Alley.

The tour is located a short trip from London in Leavesden, and it really is a unique a must-see experience for any Harry Potter fan. You’ll need to prebook tickets and they do sell out, so do this in advance.

Dates: 12th November – 15th January 2023

Cost: From £51.50 per person


3. Watch a Winter Show

Whether you want to see a panto, musical or the ballet, there’s no shortage of festive Christmas shows running in London this Christmas. Here are the top picks:

Elf the Musical

Only running for a limited 8 week period, be transported to snowy New York in a musical rendition of the classic Christmas film Elf.

Dates: 22nd November – 7th January 2023

Cost: From £20 per person


The Snowman

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s take on The Snowman has had rave reviews for over two decades. Complete with a live orchestra, it’s one not to be missed for fans of the classic tale or of the ballet.

Dates: 19th November – 31st December 2022

Cost: From £18 per person


The Nutcracker

Telling a magical story of a girl who receives a nutcracker as a Christmas gift, this classic ballet will be playing at the Royal Opera House over the festive period.

Dates: 6th December – 13th January 2023

Cost: From £5 per person


Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

The iconic Wembley SSE arena will be hosting a special screening of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The show is complete with live singing, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Phoebe Bridgers as Sally, and Danny Elfman (the original musical composer) orchestrating everything. 

Dates: 9th & 10th December

Cost: From £48 per person


Backyard Cinema

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Backyard Cinema have returned with their newest experience, creating a winter wonderland to watch your favourite Christmas classics. You’ll be met with a sea of stars, snow topped fir trees and fairy lights as you settle down to watch in a comfy bean bag. Choose from ElfHome AloneLove ActuallyIt’s a Wonderful LifeThe HolidayThe Muppet Christmas CarolHow the Grinch Stole Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street.

Dates: 16th November – 5th January 2023

Cost: From £10 per person



The panto isn’t just for kids, and there’s nothing better to get you feeling the festive cheer. The top watches this year are Jack and the Beanstalk at The Palladium, and Snow White at Wimbledon Theatre.

4. Enjoy Christmas at Kew Gardens

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Head to Kew Gardens to enjoy their magical winter light trails and Christmas market. You’ll be able to enjoy tasty festive food and winter drinks as you wander around the gardens.

Dates: 16th November – 8th January 2023

Cost: From £21.50 per person


5. Visit Winter Wonderland

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The biggest Christmas celebration in London, Winter Wonderland in Hyde Parks gets over two million visitors a year. It has everything you’d expect, including festive markets, over 100 fairground rides, an ice rink live shows, and loads of bars and restaurants.

Standard entrance starts from £5 and you need to book in advance, but you can pay extra for some of the attractions – including their ice bar and ice kingdom.

Dates: 18th November – 23rd January 2023

Cost: From £5


6. Enjoy a Tuscan Christmas at Daphnes

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This well renowned Italian restaurant is sure to wow you with their over the top Christmas decorations. It’s the perfect place to round off a day of Christmas shopping.

This year they have partnered with Malfy Gin to create a range of delicious festive cocktails – try the Snow Globe with Malfy Orange, Frangelico, Drambuie, and Orange Bitters.

Book now:

7. Ice Skating at Somerset House 

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London has no shortage of ice rinks to provide festive fun for all the family. Most are in some pretty amazing locations, and have a cafe on site to warm up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine after you’ve spent time on the rink!

One of the most picture-perfect rinks in London, Somerset House has both daytime and late-night skates available. The rink is a huge 900 square metres, complete with a 40ft Christmas tree right in the middle. When you’re done, warm up with a Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate or a cocktail in the Moët & Chandon Skate Lounge.

Dates: 16th November – 15th January 2023

Cost: From £10


8. Visit a Christmas Market

Take your pick of London’s many Christmas markets! Expect spiced sugary churros, yummy bratwurst, hand-baked mince pies, hot chocolate and mulled wine. Pick up some hand-made Christmas decorations and festive goodies at the hundreds of gift stalls at each market.

Southbank Winter Market 

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Set in a magical location alongside the River Thames, this is a great place to pick up handmade Christmas gifts or have some festive street food. It’s based close to the London Eye and is full of little alpine lodges selling festive wares.

Christmas by the River

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With Tower Bridge and the London skyline as a backdrop, this one of the most scenic Christmas markets in London. You’ll find everything you expect from a Christmas market, bringing all the best seasonal treats and gifts to the city.

Leicester Square

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This is a small but sparkling Christmas market right in the center of London’s tourist district. Along with the expected food and gift stalls, they also have variety shows playing until January.

9. Have Christmas Afternoon Tea

You can’t visit London without enjoying an afternoon tea! Throughout the festive season most places will be giving their typical serving a festive twist. Here our some of our favourites.

Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Ritz Palm Court

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For the full blow-out festive afternoon tea, it has to be The Ritz. They transform their Palm Court with decorations and the afternoon tea itself is given a festive twist with mince pies and cakes.

Dates: 19th November – 1st January 2023

Cost: From £102

Book here:

B Bakery Christmas Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

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For a unique twist to afternoon tea, hop aboard the Brigit’s Christmas Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. You’ll wizz around London to see the best Christmas light while enjoying finger sandwiches, choux pastry and meringue tarts.

Dates: 14th November – 8th January 2023

Cost: From £45

Book here:

Christmas Afternoon Tea at Biscuiteers

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The home of British biscuits is offering a Christmas afternoon tea at select venues. You’ll be tucking into festive sandwiches, cranberry macarons, spiced honey and fig cake and more!

Cost: From £48

Book here:

10.Have a Pint in London’s Most Festive Pub

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The Churchill Arms in Kensington is a popular spot for Christmas photos, and it’s easy to see why. They pub is decorated with around 90 Christmas trees and thousands of fairy lights. Come here to enjoy some traditional Thai food and a pint of Fuller’s London Pride.

11. Go Christmas Shopping

If there’s anywhere to get your Christmas shopping done, it’s London. You’ve got world famous shopping streets, quirky independent boutiques and high end stores all in the same place. The top places to visit are:

Westfield – White City and Stratford

The Westfield shopping centers will be a hub for all things Christmas. With over 500 shops between them, they’ll be open until 10 pm for all the gifts you need – from luxury brands to stocking fillers.

Covent Garden and Seven Dials

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Home to some of London’s top heritage brands and independent boutiques, Covent Garden and Seven Dials are also great places to get your Instagram pics. Covent Garden has one of London’s biggest Christmas trees, alongside its magical mistletoe and bauble chandeliers. This year for the first time, they even have a Santa sleigh for you to get the perfect Christmas photo.


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Head to Knightsbridge to see the iconic Harrods, complete with magical Christmas shop windows and sparkling with over 12,000 lights. Harrods is nothing short of a Christmas lover’s paradise, especially their Christmas shop filled with luxury decorations and ornaments.

Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street is one of London’s trendiest shopping destinations, filled with independent boutiques and restaurants.

Oxford Street and Regent Street

The busiest streets in London, shoppers flock here year round but the atmosphere over Christmas is something else. Check out the window displays at Selfridges and John Lewis, or head to Hamleys toy shop for Christmas presents for the little ones.

12. Have a drink at a festive pop-up bar

Where should you head after you’ve completed all your Christmas acitivies in London? Visit one of the many pop up bars for the ultimate festive nightcap. You’ll find alpine snugs filled with furs, bars that look like they’re straight out of a Christmas film and toasty igloos.

Coppa Club Igloos

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The iconic riverside igloos have returned again. Enjoy a champagne cocktail while you watch the twinkling city lights, staying snug with a sheepskin blankets.

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Winterland London

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This shapeshifting spot in Fulham transforms year-round. From a Miami beach club in Summer to an Alpine log cabin in Winter, come at Christmas to choose from a lodge, cabin, ski lift, forest igloo, chalet or Bavarian tent to enjoy a night of drinking and feasting.

Book here:

Pergola on the Piste

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In the Winter Pergola Paddington transforms into a stunning ski lodge complete with DJs, live entertainment and special events. Enjoy a hot toddie with your oven-baked camembert and traditional Bavarian sharing plates. It’s free to enter but best to book to reserve your space.

Book here:

Advice for making the most of Christmas in London 2022

  • Make the most of the free activities – London can be expensive but there’s plenty of ways to get some festive cheer without spending anything at all.
  • Remember to book ahead – Attractions and shows will get booked up, so if there’s anything that’s top of your to do list, please remember to book ahead so you won’t be disappointed!
  • Wrap up warm – London gets cold so wrap up warm and remember your raincoat and umbrella.

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