When we found out we were moving to London, I immediately got so excited about Christmas season here. What a treat with lights and decorations.
Here are the London family Christmas activities we’ve chosen this season!
If there’s one London Christmas activity for families we heard about over and over, it was Christmas at Kew. We’ve loved visiting Kew Gardens in nice weather to walk around and play, and we can’t wait to see it all lit up. We’re also doing the festive dinner there!
This London family Christmas activity was a close second for what we were told we cannot miss. I can’t wait for this London family Christmas sing along.
Dan found out about this performance about 2 seconds after we found out we were moving to London. We love reading the children’s book version each year as a family, and we can’t wait to take our older kids to see a live performance.
Festive Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea has been one of our favorite London family activities. We’ve tried several different ones, and can’t wait to enjoy a few festive teas. We have a family tradition of doing an at-home Christmas afternoon tea the Sunday before Christmas, so this year, we’ll head out for it instead. We managed to snag the very last spot at the Ritz, which we’ve been wanting to visit for tea – we can’t wait. We’re also doing a festive tea date at The Lanesborough, as well as the Jurassic tea at the Ampersand Hotel for my kiddo turning 9 years old (that happens to be during festive season). All the tea!
One of our favorite Christmas activities each year is to see the Nutcracker. We’re trying to get tickets to the Royal Ballet production, but if we can’t, we’ll see a performance at the London Coliseum.
The Harry Potter Studio Tour is supposed to be amazing in general, but especially so during the festive season. We’ve never done it before and can’t wait! It sells out very quickly, but at the time of writing, a few slots are left here.
The London Symphony Orchestra performs a number of Discovery Family Concerts that are welcoming to young children. They’re doing one for Diwali and we’re so excited for it!
Hampton Court Palace Ice Skating
We originally hoped to go ice skating at Kensington Palace but when they canceled that rink, we decided to head further afield to Hampton Court Palace. We hear the whole palace is beautifully decorated for Christmas, so we’re looking forward to touring the grounds and inside after our skating session. Westfield Shopping Center in Shepherd’s Bush is another we considered that has a lovely outdoor rink!
Lights Walk & Bus Ride
I’ve heard from so many people that one of the most magical London Christmas activities is simply to walk around looking at all the lights and decorations. So fun. We’re planning on doing our lights walk around the Mayfair neighborhood and Covent Garden. We’ll hit up Old Bond Street, Oxford St, Regent St, Carnaby St, and St. Christopher’s Place, as well as look for displays in a number of beautiful shops: Liberty, Cartier, Fortnum & Mason, Hamley’s, Claridge’s, and more. We’ll probably also hop on a double decker to see the lights from up high!
We love Borough Market any time of year, but I suspect it will be especially magical at Christmastime. This Evening of Cheese with tastings and lots of vendors sounds so fun!
From what we here, a pantomime (or “panto” as it’s called colloquially) is quintessentially British holiday season magic. From what I understand, they’re interactive theater experiences that are slapstick and witty and fun for a wide variety of ages. While pantos take place year round, they’re especially popular around Christmastime and we can’t wait to go see our first! There are plenty of options around the city, but we opted for Cinderella at the Lyric Hammersmith, which has fantastic reviews.
Speaking of the Lyric Hammersmith, we can’t wait to see Father Christmas! This one is geared to kids under 5, so we can’t wait to take our two little girls while the older kids are at school.
European Christmas market are pretty magical and we can’t wait to visit this beautiful market near Tower Bridge.
Lucia Celebration at The Swedish Church
We’ve enjoyed participating in Sankta Lucia celebrations in the past and can’t wait to visit the one through The Swedish Church in London.
We’ve wanted to visit Windsor Castle for a while, and what better time than Christmas? The decorations are sure. tobe magnificent.
Here are a few other activities we’re planning either for date nights or with our older kids:
- Handel’s Messiah at St. Paul’s Cathedral
- St. Paul’s Advent Carol Service
- Tower of London Advent Service
- St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church Recitals
- Westminster Abbey carol services
There’s a notable item missing from this list – the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. We considered going, but honestly, it seems super crowded and just a giant carnival. We’ve heard from some who love it and some who hate it, so we’re passing on it this year.