London – family activities in December

London really is magical in the run-up to Christmas (in my opinion it is equally and oppositely grim in January, so make the most of the December festive feels…). Here are a few of the places I’m going to try to get to this year before we head to the southern hemisphere for a warm Christmas. No doubt they’ll also be fixtures in years to come!

Ice Skating!

There are so many gorgeous places to skate in London – some of the most festive I think are the Natural History Museum (obviously!), the Tower of London moat, Canary Wharf and Hampton Court Palace.

Photo: Drew Gardner

Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square (11 – 21 December)

Around forty groups of carollers each sing for an hour under the beautiful and world-famous Christmas which has been an annual gift from the Norwegian government to the UK since 1947.

Around forty groups of carollers each sing for an hour beneath the world-famous Christmas tree which has been annual gift from the Norwegian government to the UK since 1947.  This is a great opportunity to hear all of the classic carols from yesteryear in a lovely festive environment – each group will be collecting donations for its favourite charity. Drinks and snacks served in the Square.

The full programme can be found here.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

In my opinion probably not worth going every year, but every couple of years it feels fresh again and it’s fun to go along with a few thousand of your closest friends and enjoy Winter Wonderland. We went with C when she was about 18 months and the Zippos Circus and wandering around looking at rides and stands were a big hit. For big and small kids there are rides, Santa’s Grotto, a Magical Ice Kingdom, and much more.


Winter activities for families: Hyde Park winter wonderland

Southbank Winter Festival (8 December to 9 January)

While it’s no European Christmas market, there is something fun about walking along Southbank enjoying the festive food and drinks! Each year incorporates some different shows, live music and free workshops and activities. Best for warmer (or at least not super windy) days because it is just not fun being cold out there….

See the full schedule here.

Christmas in Leicester Square (November – January 2019)

Back for a second year, Christmas in Leicester Square has something for everyone. The lights are twinkly and pretty, there is a Santa Grotto (ticketed on the website), Christmas shows, the Brat Kid Carnival and a bubble show.

Full schedule at

Festivities at the Royal Albert Hall (December)

For something a little different this Christmas, try the festive experiences created by the Royal Albert Hall this year. Events include the Nutcracker, Paddington Bear, The Snowman and a Christmas Orchestral Adventure.  There is also a magical tour of the hall created especially for children – it is largely sold out in December but hopefully that popularity means it’ll run again next year.

Tickets can be bought here.


Kew Gardens (22 November – 5 December)

Kew Gardens are a beautiful place to get into the Christmas spirit, with beautiful lights, a Victorian carousel and Father Christmas on site. Lovely for a walk around with the family in the crisp wintry air.

Winter activities for families: Christmas at Kew Gardens



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