Christmas is in the air in London, which means there will be a fantastic variety of festive magic to enjoy all over the city. From the traditional to the surprising, quirky, unusual and whimsical, London always puts on some of the most incredible Christmas events every year.
With so many pop-ups and markets taking place all over the city, it can be hard to decide where to go, so read on for the low down on some of the best Christmas activities to enjoy in the capital this year. You’ll find fun things to do in easy reach of hotels near Lancaster Gate, as well as plenty of exciting events that are worth travelling across the city for.
Winter Market at the Southbank Centre
There’s something wonderfully magical about the sight of beautiful coloured lights reflecting in the River Thames, and the Southbank Centre’s annual Winter Festival is one of the capital’s best festive pop-ups. Held across the south bank area, stretching from the London Eye all the way to the Southbank Centre itself, the pop up is both diverse and spacious enough, to ensure you never feel too crowded or overwhelmed.
You’ll find plenty of attractions here, from a traditional Christmas market to live music, performances, and delicious food and drink. Whether you simply want to enjoy a romantic walk through the pretty lights and soak up the atmosphere or want to dive into the market for some serious Christmas shopping, there is something for everyone here. And with great Tube connections to stations nearby, it’s easy to get to from Lancaster accommodation.
There are plenty of tempting food stalls around the market featuring tasty cuisine from all around the world, but make sure you start the day right with a healthy continental breakfast before you head off for the festive fun.
Nothing says winter better than the thought of getting cosy inside an igloo, and this year, you can bask with your friends in the comfort of your own private dining igloo, along the bank of the River Thames.
While there are plenty of fantastic restaurants near Lancaster for more intimate diners, Jimmy’s Lodge winter pop up is a great place to enjoy a group meal over the Christmas period. You can look forward to tucking into an indulgent winter feast, or a classic fondue while admiring the stunning look of the glass “igloo” around you.
The Great Christmas Feast
Food lovers and fans of Charles’ Dickens’ Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol, will love this dreamy Christmas pop up in London this year. Held at a secret location near London Bridge, you can step into Victorian London, as the world of the classic novel is brought to life around you in an inspiring immersive experience.
The Great Christmas Feast combines all the best parts of Christmas, with a delicious festive menu, warming seasonal cocktails, live theatre, music and an amazing set that transports you into the past.
Somerset House at Christmas
Close to Covent Garden, the historic space of Somerset House is transformed into a magical festive space every year at Christmas, and this year will be just as special.
You’ll find perennial favourites such as their fabulous outdoor ice rink, with a stunning 40 foot Christmas tree at the centre, as well as beautiful lights to admire all around you. This year, you can also enjoy a late-night skate session, with live music and special performances to accompany you, while you skate on for as long as you like through the early hours. With London’s first 24-hour ice skating event, there’s no excuse not to find time to hit the ice now.
Afterwards, you’ll want to head to the Fortnum and Mason Christmas Market, where you can find warming gourmet hot chocolate and tasty treats, as well as a lovely range of gifts to give friends and family. And if you need a break from all of the festive whimsy for a little while, head inside to check out some of the thought-provoking exhibitions instead.
Winterland Alpine Club in Fulham
If you really want to immerse yourself in all things magical and wintery, it’s worth making the journey down to Fulham in south London, where you’ll find Neverland – an incredible Alpine paradise that comes complete with fur-covered cosy sofas, winter cabins, an outdoor hot tub and much more. Taking you into a Scandinavian winter forest, the pop up features a variety of charming treats to enjoy.
The festive pop up takes place throughout the winter months, and offers a wonderful place of seasonal escapism, starting from just £5 a ticket. You can enjoy a delicious dinner inside their beautiful, shimmering glass igloos, relax in style in their winter lodges, or enjoy the full Nordic winter experience, with outdoor hot tubs and a glass of fizz. There’s even a Santa’s Grotto for younger guests, where you’ll get to meet the man himself, and get a little gift if you’ve been very good.
Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is undoubtedly one of London’s most popular and extravagant Christmas pop-ups, covering a large expanse of the park, and filled with thrilling rides, market stalls, food stalls, live theatre, an ice rink and thousands of sparkling, colourful lights all across the area. Located close to the hotels near Lancaster Gate, it’s a great pick for a festive activity, if you’re looking for something that is nearby and easy to get to in central London.
As the pop up is free to enter, Winter Wonderland is a great place for a browse, and still has plenty to do if you are looking for somewhere to spend a few hours. Be wary that it is extremely popular and can get very busy, especially later in the day and after dark, so if you are visiting it with family or small children, you may need to plan ahead to make sure you avoid festive fatigue.