Winter Festivals & Markets Around London For Sparkling Lights & Outdoor Ice Rinks & Movie Screenings

Klook
2020-03-14
London Winter Festival Cover 2

Where to spend Christmas in London

You’ve heard travel stories, watched countless romantic Christmas movies, now it’s time to experience the allure of celebrating Christmas in London. Ice skating rinks, giant Christmas trees and winter markets to stock up on all your festive treats, if you’re looking for places to spend Christmas in London, read on!

London Travel Essentials

Before we begin, here are some essentials for you to have a jolly good time exploring the London festivities.

  1. 4G SIM Card (SG Delivery): Stay connected wherever you go with a 4G SIM Card and upload all your glistening travel pictures on the go!

  2. London Travelcard: Enjoy UNLIMITED travel on London’s public transport network as you hop between festivals and markets

  3. The London Pass: Save yourselves the hassle of buying single admission tickets with an all-access pass that allows you to take in the festive sights and sounds of London from iconic locations such as The Shard

  4. Heathrow Express Ticket: Enjoy a comfortable transit into the city upon landing

Winter festivals

1. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

London-Winter-Festival-Hyde-Park

Credits: Pablo Soriano on Unsplash

Immerse yourself in all things festive at THE most spectacular Christmas destination in London! An array of excitable activities await as you step into Hyde Park! New to the Winter Wonderland this year, take a ride on the world’s TALLEST transportable Observation Wheel to fully soak in the ambiance of Hyde Park, lit by thousands of sparkling lights!

London-Winter-Festival-Circus-MegaDome

Credits: Pablo Nicolello on Unsplash

Hyde Park is also home to the largest open-air ice rink in the UK, the Circus MegaDome and Bar Ice! For those looking to bring back a piece of Christmas, head over to SantaLand, London’s biggest Christmas Market!

2. SantaLand

London-Winter-Festival-Santaland

Credits: Javi Vte Rejas on Flickr

Being the star of Christmas, it’s no surprise that Santa has an entire event celebrating him! Located at SantaLand Winter Market, enjoy family-friendly rides, attractions and get a chance to meet the man himself! Be nice and you might even be so lucky to get a gift!

London-Winter-Festival-Christmas-Lights-Tour

For a change of pace, stroll down the cobbled streets of Covent Garden and explore one of the city’s most famous markets. Visit Leicester and Trafalgar Square and see these iconic landmarks all dressed up in fun Christmas decor. Oh, and don’t miss out on those fascinating Christmas stories about Santa and Ebenezer Scrooge!

Hop on a guided tour around popular winter festival locations with our London Christmas Lights and Markets Tour. With a local guide who knows the ins and outs of London, you’ll be sure to discover hidden gems and learn about some stories that we might not even know about!

P.S. Did we mention that you’ll also get a free drink and a traditional fruit mince pie

Where: Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

When: 21 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Operating Hours: 10am – 10pm

Admission: Free (Selected rides are ticketed)

3. Southbank Center Winter Festival

For the self-professed hipster or all you artists at heart, this is the festival for you! Experience a colourful line-up of festive shows, pop-ups and performances at the Southbank Center Winter Festival. Highlights include a musical puppet version of ‘Black Beauty’, a retro circus show and Christmas themed concerts performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Credits: Elliott Brown on Flickr

Lined along the River Thames, the Southbank Center Winter Markets boasts German-inspired wooden chalets that host traders selling festive treats and gifts. Have a cup of mulled wine and mince pie as you search for the perfect Christmas gift!

If you are looking for a romantic experience or if you want to enjoy the festive performances and atmosphere without being stuck in the Christmas crowd, Klook an evening cruise down the River Thames as you watch the sunset with a complimentary bubbly in hand.

Where: Southbank Centre, Lambeth, London SE1, UK

When: 8 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Operating Hours: 10am – 10pm

Admission: Free

4. Kew Gardens

London-Winter-Festival-Kew-Gardens

Credits: Thomas on Flickr

Be prepared to get lit as you follow the fantastical trail at the Kew Botanical Gardens. This year, visitors will be brought along a different route from previous editions. Expect to be enthralled by the beautifully decorated garden, catch a glimpse of folkloric illuminations of mythical fairy creatures and get blown away by hyper-realistic laser projections.

From award winning pies to sourdough pizzas, choose from a selection of street food options as you go along the trail.

Where: Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE

When: 20 November 2019 – 5 January 2020

Operating Hours: 5am – 10pm (advanced booking only)

Admission: Adult: From £18, Family: From £52, Child 4 – 6: From £11, Under 4: Free

Ice Skating in London

Ice skating is a popular seasonal activity come wintertime because where else can you ice-skate OUTDOORS!! Come Christmas time, couples and families flood popular Ice rinks around the city, decked out with fairy lights and Christmas trees that are adorned with a variety of ornaments.

5. Natural History Museum

London-Winter-Festival-Natural-History-Museum

With one of the longest ice skating sessions in the city (50mins), we recommend visiting the Natural History Museum ice rink which is always the first to open for the season! Work your magic in this spacious rink and take a few Instagram worthy snaps while you’re at it.

6. Somerset House

London-Winter-Festival-Somerset-House

Centered around a 40ft tall Christmas tree, the ice rink at Somerset House is one that’s hard to miss! Spend the day skating within the posh facade of this iconic neoclassical building. Head over to the Fortnum’s Lodge after your session to get your serving of winter classics like raclette, mince pies and mulled wine. On selected nights, the rink even transforms into an open-air party destination with DJs dropping their beats from a rink-side booth!

Book your Skate at Somerset House tickets with Klook and enjoy FREE Ice skate rental and the use of 1 locker

Outdoor Movie Screenings

Outdoor cinemas are just as popular during the winter season! Imagine watching your favourite seasonal Rom-Com under the moonlight, accompanied by the illumination of the festive lights all around!

7. Secret Snow Kingdom

London-Winter-Festival-Backyard-Cinema

Credits: @backyardcinema on Instagram

If you’re looking for a Christmas adventure, the Secret Snow Kingdom by Backyard Cinema is just for you. A speakeasy concept, enter a hidden entrance that leads to a secret subterranean passageway, find your way through the magical ball pit and don’t forget the password!

Where: Capital Studios, Ram Quarter, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, London, SW18 1ET

When: Until 19 January 2020

Operating Hours: 12pm – 8.30pm

Admission: From £18.99

8. Southbank Center

London-Winter-Festival-Southbank-Center

Credits: @southbankcentre on Instagram

Besides its winter festival, Southbank Center also hosts a Winter Pop-up cinema, so if you’re looking to take a break from all the festive shopping and eating, you know where to head!

Catch popular films like Finding Nemo, The Lion King and Home Alone 2 at this pop-up cinema, perfect for family bonding time. Get your drinks and snacks from the Southbank Center Winter Market and make yourself right at home on the comfy bean bags provided.

Where: Southbank Centre, Lambeth, London SE1, UK

When: 11 November – 29 December 2020

Operating Hours: Various times

Admission: Free – £15

Santa’s Grottos

Not many have the privilege to say that they’ve met Santa Claus! Treat your little ones to a Christmas surprise at one of the many Santa’s Grottos around London.

9. London Zoo

London-Winter-Festival-London-Zoo

Credits: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

A wholesome trip with the family to the zoo to learn about different animals, and you see a reindeer? If you’re visiting the London Zoo on the weekends this December, you might just see some familiar faces there!

#Klooktip: For something extra special, book your child in for a VIP experience where you will enjoy pre-entry into the zoo before it opens to the public. You will even get to have breakfast with Mrs. Claus before meeting Father Christmas himself!

Where: Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, London, NW1 4RY

When: 7 – 24 December 2019 (Weekends)

Admission: £12 per child

A Wizarding Christmas

After soaking in all the magic of Christmas, it’s now time to experience the magic of filmmaking. Set off on an adventure and enter the wizarding world of Harry Potter!

10. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter

London-Winter-Festival-Warner-Bros-Studio-Tour

Calling all Harry Potter fans, this one’s for you! All dressed up in Christmas decorations, take a full-day tour to Warner Bros. Studio where all 8 Harry Potter films were produced! Feel the nostalgia hit as you explore the authentic sets, props and costumes that were used in the movies.

With it being the festive period, enjoy seasonal specials like having Christmas dinner in Hogwarts Great Hall or other iconic sets!

Booking your Warner Bros. Studio Tour London with Klook would save you the hassle of arranging for transportation to the studio as a Round-Trip transport service would be included in the package.

Enjoy up to $100 off your trip to London

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Enjoy more Christmas goodies and souvenirs with all that money SAVED when you cart out on your London activities with Klook’s year end sale!

    • Enjoy $30 off with a minimum spend of $300 using the code <EXPLORE30>

    • Enjoy $70 off with a minimum spend of $550 using the code <EXPLORE70>

    • For new users, enjoy 12% off activities with a minimum spend of $50 using the code <EXPLORENEW>

T&Cs apply, Codes are applicable for use on the Klook App only.

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