A brilliant way to get into the Christmas spirit is to stroll along the glistening streets of London, visiting the festive attractions within the capital. Whether you are a visitor in the capital or a London local, you can be sure to enjoy a range of activities this Christmas time whatever the budget.
From free Christmas lights switch on events to ice skating at iconic locations across the city, take a look at our favourites below to find inspiration for your rail trip to London this Christmas.
Most of the main Christmas lights are switched on in November so you can feel festive throughout the run up to the big day. Even better, why not attend a light switch on where you can be amongst the brilliant atmosphere, with music, shopping discounts and deals and in-store events.
1. Carnaby Street - THU 4th November 2021
An alternative to the traditional Christmas displays, Carnaby Street switches on its lights on Thursday 4th November at 12pm. 2021s display, Carnaby Kaleidoscope
, is in collaboration with Choose Love, set up by the charity Help Refugees. Choose Love will have a pop up shop at 3 Carnaby Street where you can purchase items to be donated to refugees around the world. On the light switch on day, 4th November, over 100 local shops, bars and restaurants will also offer exclusive 20% discounts, plus free drinks and goodie bags! Find out more here
2. REGENT STREET - SAT 13TH NOVEMBER 2021 TO SUN 2ND JANUARY 2022
With 300,000 glistening lights, this Christmas display is the biggest in London. Regent Street started the public Christmas light display tradition back in 1954 and has continued to impress over the years. The Spirit of Christmas will bring the return of the famous angels soaring above Regent Street, inspired by the original 1954 display. There will be 45 sparkling angels in total, making any trip to Regent Street a festive one. The official switch on takes place on Saturday 13th November 2021 from 2pm and will be lit until 2nd January 2022, 2pm until midnight each day for a more sustainable display. Find out more here.
3. Oxford Street - 2021 date to be announced
Stroll down Oxford Street at dusk where you will find their fantastic lights and decorations. Their annual switch on always attracts many visitors to the famous shopping street. Last year’s lights celebrated London and the people’s resilience during the last year, proving to be an impressive display as always. It is the perfect opportunity to get your Christmas shopping sorted at the same time as admiring the festive display.
4. Covent Garden - Tue 9th November 2021
Home to one of the biggest Christmas trees in London at 60 feet, this hand-picked tree is an impressive sight, draped with 30,000 lights, set in the 19th Century streets of Covent Garden. The big switch on will take place on Thursday 9th November and you can expect a reappearance of 45 mistletoe chandeliers and over 100,000 lights illuminating the Market Building. More details of Covent Garden’s “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe” display will be revealed here
A great addition to any festive London itinerary, a Christmas attraction can be fun for all the family. London is home to some of the best and most popular attractions and even more so at Christmas time. You’ll find family favourites such as a trip to the theatre, the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio Tour and ice skating at well known locations, from the Natural History Museum to Somerset House.
1. hogwarts in the snow – 12th November 2021 to 16th January 2022
Leavesden, Watford WD25 7LR
A short journey outside of London and you’ll be transported behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films, with original props that many of us will recognise. This already remarkable attraction will undergo its annual festive transformation into Hogwarts in the Snow
, making it even more magical than ever. See sets such as the Great Hall and the Gryffindor Common Room with a Christmas makeover as they were decorated for the films. New for 2021, the Forbidden Forest will be transformed into a festive wonderland, as well as Diagon Alley, Hagrid’s Hut and the Hogwarts castle model. Discover more surprises and magic along the way. Tickets must be purchased in advance - book here
2. Christmas at Kew - WED 17 November 2021 to SUN 9 January 2022
Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB
Christmas at Kew
is a brilliant and beautiful way to spend an evening in London. Winding through Kew Gardens after-dark, this attraction will showcase enchanting installations such as light, music and water displays, interactive colour-changing vines, waterfalls and a tunnel of light! You’ll find something for all the family along this twinkling trail of lights. Along the trail, enjoy food and drink from independent street food vendors offering festive treats. Tickets must be purchased in advance – please find further details on the Kew Gardens website
3. Ice Skating - From October 2021 until January 2022
Skate in style with views of iconic London locations. Another popular festive activity, ice rinks pop up in various locations such as Somerset House
, Hampton Court Palace
and Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland
. Don’t miss the ice rink at the Natural History Museum
which has it’s final appearance this year, before being transformed into a hub for urban wildlife. Whether you are a skilled skater or a complete novice, why not get your skates on this Christmas? Check in advance if pre-booking is required.
4. Theatres - Throughout November 2021 to January 2022
Another ultimate Christmas tradition is taking the family on a trip to the theatre. London is home to plenty of pantomimes and live shows that are certain to be a fantastic addition to any visit to the capital this Christmas. Whether you enjoy classic favourites, festive ballets or the latest West End productions, you have it all to choose from.
Take your pick from family favourites like Frozen: The Musical
at Theatre Royal Drury Lane or Cinderella: The Musical
at Gillian Lynne Theatre throughout the festive period. If you’re after something more classic, see the English National Ballet’s Nutcracker
at the London Coliseum from 16th December 2021 to 8th January. The Snowman
is also showing at London’s Peacock Theatre between November 2021 – January 2022.
Looking for even more festive inspiration? Check out a selection of shopping locations and Christmas markets here
or read some of the best Christmas activities in Hull, Beverley and London here
Advance tickets are available on the Hull Trains website and app throughout December 2021 and January 2022. Book your Christmas trip now to get the best fares!