London is known for being a city that never sleeps. It always holds a lot of activities for young people such as festivals, markets, exhibitions, concerts, and theatre plays. Winter 2017/2018 is not going to be different! The city has prepared a wide range of attractions to plunge into so that nobody is bored during these cold, hopefully, snowy days. Are you ready for London Christmas?
Get yourself into one and only London Christmas spirit
Even though Christmas is festive all over the world, there is no better place to experience it than London. Starting in early November, the whole city is lit up and you can find plenty of Christmas festivals and markets all over the city.
Definitely, the most spectacular area when it comes to Christmas lights is Soho. Oxford Street lit up all of its 1178 baubles on November 7th, celebrating 58th annual London Christmas Lights Switch On. The person who pressed the switch on the button for the very first time this year was a singer Rita Ora, accompanied by X factor stars, musical actors, and radio presenters. Like every time, the event brought in thousands of people.
Just two days later, illuminations were lit on Carnaby Street along with -20% reductions in the shopping district.
On November 16th 300 000 lights came to Regent’s Street as well, making it the biggest installation in the city. It closely resembles the first Central London Christmas display in 1954.
You can find other Christmas displays in almost every other part of the city. Most of them are staying in London until January 5th 2018.
London winter festivals
The biggest and most popular winter festival in the United Kingdom’s capital is Winter Wonderland. Located in Hyde Park, this year it is bigger and more exciting than ever. It consists of adventure park attractions, shows, ice rink along with food and craft stalls. This year, Winter Wonderland is introducing Bar Hüttes. They are 10-20 people cabins, decorated with festive lights. Each of them contains karaoke machine with many classic Christmas songs to choose from. Winter Wonderland is open from November 17th 2017 until January 1st 2018. The entry is free but you can buy tickets for particular attractions in advance on Winter Wonderland official website.
Another London-based winter festival is Winterville. This year, it has moved from east to south and is set between Victoria Park and Clapham Common. It is much smaller and less crowded than Winter Wonderland, but still breathtaking. You can find there ice rink, roller disco, yoga on ice, cinema, markets and many other attractions. The entry is free apart from Friday and Saturday nights. You can get your tickets and find more information on Winterville website.
London ice rinks
Apart from ice rinks located in the Christmas festivals, there are plenty of other in the city. The most spectacular ones are the ones located in Canary Wharf, Somerset House, Hampton Court Palace, Natural History Museum and the Tower of London. You can use them every day between 10 or 11 in the morning and around 10 in the evening. Most of them are closing on January 7th 2018, the rest on January 1st.
Christmas in Hogwarts
If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will definitely enjoy the Hogwarts in the Snow experience in Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. You can enjoy it between November 18th 2017 and January 28th 2018. For the first time, the Great Hall will be decorated just like the Yule Ball during Triwizard Tournament in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire film. Hogwarts in the Snow is included in the standard ticket price, which is £39.00 for a person over 16 years old, £31.00 for a child between 5 and 15 years old or £126.00 for a family of 4. Tickets must be bought in advance, there is a limited number of places so hurry up! The average visit lasts around 3.5 hours.
Except for Hogwarts in the Snow, another attraction is Dinner in the Great Hall. It is hosted on 11th, 12th and 13th of December. Unfortunately, these events are already sold out, but you can always try your luck next year.
The Studio Tour is located in Leavesden, 20 miles north-west of London. It is easy to get there: you take a train from London Euston Station, get off at Watford Junction and then change to a bus that will take you directly to Hogwarts.
London Christmas cinemas
If you enjoy watching Christmas films in the cinema with your friends, you have to pop in to Lost Rivers Elephant at Elephant & Castle. You will see there all the unmissable classics. The line-up consists of: « Home Alone », « Love Actually », « Elf », « Die Hard », « Jingle All The Way », « The Santa Clause », « The Nightmare Before Christmas », « The Muppet Christmas Carol », « Miracle on 34th Street » and « National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation ». The tickets are £17.00 each and the shows are scheduled between November 23rd and December 16th.
Another proposition for film-lovers is Christmas Floating Film Festival. It is an outdoor cinema where you can enjoy some of the classics (« How the Grinch Stole Christmas », « Elf », « Home Alone », « The Muppet Christmas Carol » and « The Miracle on 34th Street ») on a bean bag by a warm heater. The screenings will take place every day between December 4th and December 10th at St. Katharine Docks. The price for each show is £13.25.
And the last but not least, my proposition for you is to visit the second edition of Gingerbread City at Museum of Architecture located in South Kensington. For just £3 you can see impressive maquettes made out of dough. You can also enjoy gingerbread house making workshops. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 to 19:00 and Sunday from 10:00am to 18:00, from December 6th until December 22nd.
Still not enough?
These attractions are enough to spend actively every day until the end of the year. But if it is not enough for you, you can always try to look for more inspirations on TimeOut London, VisitLondon or LondonTown websites. Also, if you are not a Christmas fan, there are plenty of events that will keep your head away from it. As I said, London has something for everyone!