Whether or not you celebrate, London comes alive during the festive season in December, so join in the fun with our ultimate guide to Christmas and NYE
London is a fabulous place to spend the holiday season. Top hotels vie with each other to display the best and most stunning decorations, prime shopping areas light up with gorgeous overhead displays, there are pop-up ice-skating rinks, theater productions on a seasonal theme – including the centuries-old tradition of pantomime – winter markets, classical concerts and much more.
Christmas and New Year come as glorious bursts of light and activity, especially in more northern countries such as Britain, where night falls early and bright and twinkling celebrations are a welcome relief from the darkness.
Children living within reach of the capital will have been brought up on visiting Santa in his grotto, seeing the Oxford and Regent Street lights, roaring the traditional response at the panto, and singing carols at a concert or around the huge Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square.
Everywhere, there are festive things to eat, buy and watch – and if by any chance there should be snow, the capital turns into a true winter wonderland.
If you’re thinking of making a trip, why not let MCC help? Call our Bookings service, or message a member of the team via WhatsApp on +966 533 633 607 for assistance with all your travel plans.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
– Christmas at Kew, Kew Gardens, November 16 to January 8.
– Christmas at the Tower of London, festive displays and trails, November 23 to January 3.
– Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, November 18 to January 2.
– The Magic of Christmas, London Zoo, November 26 to January 3
– Picture Perfect Christmas, National Gallery, family show from 3+, November 26 to December 23
– The View from The Shard, London Bridge, lights, views, dining and more.
– Hogwarts in the Snow, Warner Bros, Leavesden, November 12 to January 15.
– Hamley’s toy store, Regent Street.
– Jingle Bell Blast + Meet Santa, speedboat ride with gifts and sightseeing, weekends December 3 to 24.
– Santaland, Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, November 18 to January 2.
– Somerset House, Strand, November 16 to January 15.
– Glide, Battersea Power Station, November 11 to January 8.
– Hampton Court Palace ice rink, Surrey, November 7 to January 8.
– Winter Wonderland ice rink, Hyde Park, November 18 to January 2.
– Ice Rink Canary Wharf, London E14, October 22 to February 25.
– Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, arrival tba.
– Oxford Street, November 2 to early January.
– Regent Street, November 9 to January 2.
– Bond Street November onwards.
– Covent Garden, November onwards.
– Mayfair and Belgravia November onwards.
TOP HOTELS FOR CHRISTMAS
– The Connaught, Mayfair, two-night package from December 24, including carriage ride.
– The Ritz, Piccadilly, gorgeous decorations. Christmas and New Year events.
– Claridge’s, Mayfair, stunning decorations. Christmas offers including carriage ride.
– The Goring, Belgravia, royal warrant holders, glittering elegance.
– The Savoy, Strand, Luxury near the theater district.
– The Corinthia, Whitehall, festive program for Christmas and New Year.
– Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard, Absolutely stunning views.
– Winter Wonderland Christmas Market, Hyde Park, November 18 to January 2.
– Leicester Square Christmas Market, November 12 to January 9.
– Southbank Centre Winter Market, November 4 to December 21
– Greenwich Christmas Market and lights switch-on, November 17.
– Borough Market at Christmas, bustling with festive cheer and goods.
RESTAURANTS AND PARTIES
Top restaurants serving Christmas and New Year menus:
– Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay, Belgravia, Michelin-starred festive food.
– Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, Park Lane, three Michelin stars.
– Northall restaurant, Corinthia, Whitehall.
– Roast, Borough Market, upscale modern British menu.
– The Lanesborough Grill, Mayfair, fine dining.
CHRISTMAS-THEMED AFTERNOON TEA
– Claridge’s Festive Afternoon Tea, November 7 to January 2.
– Christmas afternoon tea at The Ritz, November 20 to 30 December.
– Festive Afternoon Tea at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, November 18 to January 2.
– Winter Wonderland Afternoon Tea at London Hilton on Park Lane, December 3 to January 2.
– The Official Peter Rabbit Festive Afternoon Tea, The Dilly, December 5 to January 6 (tbc).
NEW YEAR’S EVE
– London 2022 fireworks display on the Thames, Southbank, times tba.
– New Year’s Eve Spectacular, Southbank Centre.
– Masquerade Gala Dinner and Party, The Dorchester.
– New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise and Fireworks aboard the Meteor.
– New Year’s Eve Thames cruise with fireworks on the Jupiter Clipper.
– New Year’s Eve Ball, Evolution Battersea.
THEATER AND MUSIC
The Nutcracker – Tchaikovsky’s ballet is a must-see at Christmas. Every small ballet fan has to see The Nutcracker at least once in their lives, hence there are three productions to choose from:
– Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, December 6 to January 14.
– English National Ballet at the Coliseum, December 15 to January 7.
– Birmingham Royal Ballet at the Royal Albert Hall December 28 to 31.
Pantomime – a historic seasonal theater tradition, performed only during the winter holiday season, putting a slapstick face on old fairytales:
– Jack And The Beanstalk, London Palladium, December 10 to January 15. The big one, with an all-star cast.
– Jack And The Beanstalk, the Lyric, Hammersmith, November 19 to January 7.
– Mother Goose, Duke of York’s Theatre, December 15 to January 29. With stars Ian McKellen, John Bishop and Mel Giedroyc.
– My Christmas Orchestral Adventure, classical music fun for children, Royal Albert Hall, Sunday December 11.
– Christmas concert, Westminster Abbey, times tba.
– Handel’s Messiah, St Paul’s Cathedral, December 18, 5pm, tickets £10-£15.
– Handel’s Messiah, Royal Albert Hall, December 14, 2022 2pm and 7pm.
– Christmas Carol Concert, St Paul’s Cathedral, December 23, 4pm, free.
– Carols At The Hall, Royal Albert Hall, December 17 to 24.
– Christmas with the Royal Choral Society, Royal Albert Hall, December 12.
– Carols by Candlelight, Barbican Hall, , December 22, Mozart Orchestra in 18th-century costume.
– New Year’s Day Proms, Barbican Hall, January 1.
– Elf The Musical, Dominion Theatre, November 14 to January 7.
– Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol, Southbank, December 8 to January 8.
– A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, Dickens’ classic tale, November 12 to January 7.
– The Fir Tree, Shakespeare’s Globe, child-centered production of classic winter fairytale, December 15-31.