London has a lot to offer, especially during the festive season. From its iconic buildings, historic landmarks, busy streets, evolving cuisine, and rich culture, it would take you years to fully discover this remarkable city. If you want to experience some of the highlights London has to offer, then check out these 25 Things to Do in London in December to get you started!
Grab a coat, you’re gonna need one.
25 Things to Do in London in December
1. TAKE A SPIN oN THE LONDON EYE
Europe’s tallest ferris wheel, the London Eye is an iconic symbol of modern London. Overlooking the Thames River, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, this attraction offers a 30 minute journey providing breathtaking 360° panoramas of London 135 meters above the ground! Multilingual interactive guides are available in every capsule providing information about some of the iconic landmarks. In my opinion, the experience is even more awesome at night when there are fewer queues.
2. Meet the Stars at Madame Tussauds
Meet the world’s most famous stars and influential leaders, take a nostalgic taxi ride of London’s history, experience Marvel’s Super Heroes in 4D, and more at Madame Tussauds in London. If you’re a Star Wars fan, check out the current Star Wars exhibition where you can encounter immersive scenes with iconic heroes and villains from the Star Wars universe. Just look at this magnificent creature I encountered!
3. Visit London’s Largest Market: Camden Market
I fell in love with the quirky and unique Camden Town. The famous Camden Market has over 1,000 unique shops, stalls, bars and cafes! It’s the largest market in London, open seven days a week. Now you really have no excuse not to go!
When you’re done exploring, go to Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park just before sunset for a great view over the city.
4. Wander Around Covent Garden
The bustling Covent Garden is a must-see in central London, especially during the holidays where streets are adorned with festive lights and decorations. You can find many shops, restaurants, cafés, pubs, and more as you wander around. You can even find that custard donut I was raving about from Bread Ahead Bakery on my Secret Food Tours in London experience.
5. Check Out the Christmas Lights
Every Christmas, London sparkles with magical twinkling festive lights and decorations. Check out the renowned Oxford Street and Regent Street decorations to get you into that cheerful Christmas mood.
6. Live the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Experience
With The Original London Sightseeing Tour, you get to experience a fun hop-on-hop-off bus tour, a river cruise, AND free walking tours in different locations the buses stop at. Three in one! Not to mention all the discounts you get on other landmarks and activities in London. Happy exploring!
7. Play in Winter Wonderland
December is the month of Christmas, and what screams Christmas more than Winter Wonderland? Christmas lovers and Scrooges alike will enjoy the festive and magical atmosphere at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Hundreds of attractions, entertainment, rides, games, and more all await you along with a huge European Christmas Market to buy some treats and edible souvenirs.
Grab a fragrant spiced mulled wine at the European Christmas Market to keep warm on those cold winter nights! There’s also hot chocolate. #justsaying
8. Go Ice Skating
Ice skating outdoors just allows for a more magical winter experience! We really enjoyed ice skating in Scotland and I actually included it on the top 15 things to do in Edinburgh this Christmas, so why not add it for London too?
You can skate in UK’s largest open-air ice rink at Winter Wonderland! There’s also Broadgate Circle, which is one of the popular ice skating rinks in London along with Canary Wharf Ice Rink, which has a pop-up bar and restaurant in case you get hungry after burning all those calories!
9. Go Window Shopping at London’s Renowned Luxury Department Stores
I’m talking about Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty – paradise for luxury shoppers! Those creative Christmas decorations this time of the year are just gorgeous. Step into Harrods and prepare to get lost on all floors, corridors, corners…This place is huge. I believe it’s considered an actual landmark too! Foodies, be sure to check out their food hall 😉
10. Check out Gourmet Christmas Treats and Hampers from Fortnum and Mason
If you’re looking for the ultimate gift for a foodie, the gourmet Christmas treats and luxury hampers from Fortnum and Mason won’t disappoint. Every basket of luxurious treats is a foodie’s treasure chest! Since we’re on the subject of gourmet hampers, check out this article featuring the most eye-catching, drool-worthy luxury hampers: Top 10 Luxury Christmas Hampers. That Christmas hamper by Daylesford is stunning!
11. Visit Platform 9 and 3/4
Nerd alert: I’m a Harry Potter fan all the way; I read all the books (a minimum of 5 times each) before the movies even came out. Harry Potter has had a huge effect on my childhood – and my social life :’). Moving on…
Harry Potter fans will love this one! There are so many Harry Potter places to visit in London; one of which is Platform 9 and ¾. Yes, it exists. There’s also a shop where you can find loads of unnecessary (but really oh-so-necessary) souvenirs at King’s Cross!
12. Enjoy Afternoon Tea the British Way
What’s included in this iconic British meal? Well, tea, of course, finely cut sandwiches with classic fillings, freshly baked scones and jam, tarts, cakes, and other delectable sweet and savoury treats. Indulge in the world famous Afternoon Tea at The Ritz Hotel in London. Other just as popular venues you can’t go wrong include The Dorchester , Clardige’s, or Shangri-La at the Shard for an Afternoon Tea with a spectacular view!
13. Witness the Changing of the Guard
Visit Buckingham Palace to catch the Changing of the Guard. In the winter season, it’s not every day so be sure to check the Changing of the Guard schedule first!
14. Cross Tower Bridge
Mistakenly assumed as The London Bridge, the 150-year old iconic Tower Bridge on the Thames River is a must-see. You can also visit the Engine Rooms where you can view the authentic machinery which once lifted Tower Bridge’s 1000 tonne bascules!
15. Explore Tower of London
This Historic Royal Palace is one of the world’s most famous fortresses and one of Britain’s most visited historic landmarks. Check out the fortress’s ancient instruments of torture, the Crown jewels and largest diamond ever found, and even the graffiti painted by prisoners on the walls. Watch the Tower of London come alive with historical re-enactments where historic characters, interactive site trails, and more are encountered.
16. Check Out a Free Art Museum
Almost all of London’s art museums are free to the public, so it’s worth checking at least one of them out while you’re in the city. The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square offers 2,300 paintings for you to see and appreciate including artworks from Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Gogh, and Jan van Eyck. While you’re there, check out Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth ! This year, a bronze 7-meters-tall thumbs-up sculpture “Really Good” by David Shrigley is featured.
If you’re more into modern art, then Tate Modern on the Southbank of River Thames would be a good option. It’s also next to the renowned London Eye so after you’re done staring at art, you can go for a spin and enjoy 360 panoramas of the city!
17. Go to the Theatre
The Globe has featured many original Shakespeare plays as well as a number of magnificent productions every year since 1599. It’s an open-air theatre, which operates no matter the weather conditions. I did tell you to bring a jacket! Book your tickets in advance, especially during the holidays!
18. Science Museum
Discover the Science Museum’s extraordinary collection including the most revolutionary scientific inventions of all time! Learn about the atmosphere, human body, measuring time, and other interesting educational topics.
19. Natural History Museum
Have you ever seen a dinosaur up close? There’s a particularly huge one at the entrance of the Natural History Museum – well, its remains anyway. The museum covers over 80 million specimens spanning billions of years! Sorry to burst your bubble though, the animals don’t come to life after closing time.
20. Have a Pint in a Traditional English Pub
You can’t visit London without going to a pub. Visit one of London’s traditional old pubs and try some English cider, which tastes a lot like buzzed fizzy apple juice. And really, who doesn’t like buzzed juice?
21. Visit Portobello Road Market on a Sunday
Since the 1800s, this famous traditional market offers anything you can think of from fruits, donuts, hot dishes, antiques, vintage clothes, books, music records, and more! The antiques here are a bit on the pricier side, but you’re bound to find a bargain! While you’re there, walk around the beautiful Notting Hill area.
22. Have London’s #1 Dish: Curry!
It’s pretty strange that London’s number one dish is not British. Indian cuisine has made a significant influence on English culture. Visit Brick Lane, which is also referred to as one of the main destinations for curry in London! Eating Europe Food Tours have made this much easier for curry-ious foodies looking for the best curry with this article: 5 Best Indian Restaurants on Brick Lane.
By the way, do forgive my lame pun, but I just had to put that in there.
23. Eat Your Way Through Borough Market
Borough Market happens to be the “it” foodie scene right now – and with good reason too. This flourishing historic food market is packed with reasonably-priced high-quality take-away restaurants as well as tempting market stalls offering a wide variety of different foods, from cakes, cookies, and brownies to gourmet burgers, the best traditional scotch eggs I’ve ever had, and much more! Borough Market is a must-see unique food destination in London and one of the best markets for international cuisine.
24. Go on a Food Tour
Of course, I had to include food tours in my list of 25 Things to Do in London in December! This should be on all your London to-do lists, no matter what month you visit.
Discover some of the best cuisine London has to offer by going on a guided food tour! Food is one of the best ways to enjoy a new city and food tours can offer all the hints and tips you need to deliciously dine like a true local. You receive a great insight about British culture and history as well as leave with a happy tummy filled with delicious food! Check out my personal experience with Secret Food Tours in London. Another award-winning food tour that I really enjoyed and recommend is Eating London Food Tours (review will be up soon!).
25. Shop for Bargains after Boxing Day
On December 25th, you will witness some crazy sales in London. I guess buying gifts at the last minute is fruitful after all!
Be sure to also check out Visit London’s extensive list of 101 things to do during the Christmas holidays. I haven’t been there as long as they have 😉
What are some of your favourite things to do in London in December – or any other month for that matter? 🙂
STAY TUNED FOR MORE UK ADVENTURES!
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