City Lit Blog

Things to do in London this Christmas

Story added 6th Dec 2017

There's plenty for everyone to enjoy in London over the festive season...

- Take a festive stroll around Covent Garden

Feel instantly festive right on the doorstep of City Lit by taking in the Christmas lights at Covent Garden. The lights will brighten up central London until 5 January 2018, so you'll have plenty of time to catch them over the festive period. This year's decorations include more than 115,000 pea lights, with the highlight the returning reindeer statue on the East Piazza. Christmas at Covent Garden


- Skate like Torvill and Dean at Somerset House (£)

ITV's popular ice skating competition 'Dancing On Ice' is making a comeback in early 2018, so why not finesse your own figure skating skills at Somerset House's popular annual attraction. Running until 14 January, there's plenty to enjoy even if you don't feel brave enough to take to the ice, with live music and plenty of food and drink options surrounding the rink.


- Be inspired by 'Living with the Gods' at the British Museum (£)

If you've been listening to Neil MacGregor's captivating Radio 4 series of the same name, it's definitely worth seeking out the accompanying exhibition at the British Museum. This exhibition provides a perspective on what makes believing a vital part of human behaviour, through stories, objects, rituals and more. A perfect counterbalance to festive indulgence.

Living with the Gods - selected dates over Christmas


- Watch the Christmas Day Serpentine swimmers brave the cold

Take a break from the festivities on the 25th and marvel at the bravery of the hardy souls of the Serpentine swimming club as they take the plunge into the freezing waters of the famous lake in the heart of Hyde Park. It'll make you all the more thankful for your winter coat...

Serpentine Christmas Swim - race details


- Catch 'The Man Who Invented Christmas' at the cinema (£)

Charles Dickens is synonymous with Christmas, and particularly Christmas in London. Learn more about the literary icon in this biographical drama starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer, which explores the period in the Dickens' life where he wrote the holiday classic, 'A Christmas Carol'.

The film has received plenty of critical acclaim, so 'Bah Humbug' is one thing you probably won't be saying as you leave the cinema!

On general release at various London cinemas


- Enter a real life fairytale at Kew Gardens (£)

With the early nights drawing in, Kew Gardens has the perfect remedy to lift the evening gloom. Follow a sparkling trail of over 1 million lights, and enter a fantasy world of singing trees, a fire garden, and incredible fauna, before enjoying a well-deserved break in the North Pole village.

Christmas at Kew until 1 January


- Sing Christmas carols in Trafalgar Square

From 11-23 December, enjoy a hearty singalong with the regular carol groups that assemble daily beneath Trafalgar Square's landmark Christmas tree.

Performances take place from 4pm-8pm on weekdays and 2-6pm at weekends.

Christmas carol singing at Trafalgar Square


- Discover a traditional Nordic Christmas at the Southbank Centre

Everyone needs a little hygge in their life over the festive season, and you'll find plenty of it this December at the Southbank Centre. 'Nordic Wintertime' brings the centre's year-long Nordic Matters programme to a close on the 23 December.

After learning about Scandinavian traditions, enjoy a leisurely walk through the South Bank Christmas market and finish off your last minute Christmas shopping.

Nordic Wintertime - Scandinavian activities for all the family


- Welcome 2018 in style at the New Year's Day Parade 

Celebrate the start of 2018 and get some welcome fresh air by watching the London New Year's Day Parade. It will see around 8,000 performers light up the streets of London. Running from Green Park to Parliament Square, this event attracts over 500,000 spectators so it's worth lining the streets early to secure the best views.

New year courses at City Lit