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Christmas in London: what to do, what to see and where to stay - Blog Voyage - Découvrir Ensemble

Christmas in London: what to do, what to see and where to stay

Last update : 7 May 2024
Spending Christmas in London is a great idea, believe us! London is one of those capitals we could visit several times a year and never get bored of.

This lively city, with its completely different neighborhoods, still fascinates us! We’ve visited twice at Christmas time, and it’s undoubtedly our favorite time to visit London. So if you’re planning to visit London at Christmas, check out our travel blog for all our tips on how to make your stay a success: things to see in London, activities to do and the most beautiful Christmas decorations and illuminations to discover, our best places to eat and sleep in London! 

Christmas in London, where to sleep?

Accommodation in the English capital, London, is generally overpriced, yet the quality isn’t always up to scratch…. It’s also hard to find the right compromise between sleeping in central London and moving a little further away. During our various stays in London we had the opportunity to try out several addresses, you’ll find our two favorite addresses below!

A hotel in central London, the Z Hotel Picadilly

When we’re only staying a few days in London, we like to be able to sleep in the center of the city, so as not to waste time on public transport and to do as much as possible on foot. This hotel is ideally located, very close to Picadilly Circus, in a very lively area. Ideal for going to see a musical one evening and then walking home, for example. The rooms are quite small, but enough for a few nights’ stay!

where to sleep Christmas in London

A design and art hotel in London, the citizenM London Banckside

This really is the coup de coeur hotel par excellence! The CitizenM chain of boutique hotels has a real charm about it, and all the furnishings are carefully chosen. The one in London is located in a very arty area, very close to the Tate Modern and Borought Market. So you’re close to the center without the hustle and bustle of the hypercenter. If you’re looking for a colorful, designer, high-tech hotel, you’ve come to the right place!

where to sleep Christmas in London

Christmas in London, decorations and illuminations

We were particularly impressed by the level of Christmas decorations in London. You’ll be instantly immersed in the Christmas atmosphere! Find below our selection of addresses to see the best decorations and illuminations in London. London is a city with so much to do! Why not leave Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster, the National Gallery, the British Museum and all the other museums to one side during your stay in London, for something a little more lively? Christmas is the best time to discover the bustle and richness of London.

Regent Street and Oxford Street

London’s Christmas lights are installed from mid-November and switch on from 5:30pm. These are the city’s biggest Christmas decorations, and you’ll also find many small decorated covered galleries. A quick hello to Picadilly Circus and you’re all set!

londres noel londres metro

The Covent Garden Market

The Market is fully decorated with garlands and Christmas trees. You’ll also find a huge fir tree on the forecourt out front! The area is quite warm, and the shopping street next to the market will amaze you with its Christmas-dressed storefronts and fully illuminated facades.

covent market covent garden londres

The stunning Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street’s decorations were our favorites of the British capital! They have the distinction of being very creative and cheerful. Take a stroll through Soho and across Carnaby Street to the Liberty department store, where you can discover their floor entirely dedicated to Christmas. A must-see during your Christmas weekend in London!

london christmas illuminations Christmas in London londres illuminations noël

Christmas in London, impossible to forget the Soho district

The pretty Soho district was one of our favorites. From Chinatown to Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square, get ready to be amazed. This lively district of London is decorated and lit up for Christmas on every street.

Christmas in London

The big wheel, London Eye

One of London’s most iconic landmarks is well worth a visit all year round, but especially at Christmas. A great illumination where the bravest will venture for a superb view of the city. Afterwards, take a trip on the Thames!

Trafalgar Square

These Christmas decorations are worth the detour even though they’re the simplest, London classics!

decorations londres

Christmas in London, what to do for activities?


Window and Christmas shopping

Whether you’re keen to bring back little gifts from London or not, taking a tour of London’s department stores is an institution. At Christmas time, they often have a section devoted to Christmas tree decorations and gift ideas, to suit all budgets. Here’s our selection of must-see London department stores this Christmas:

  • Liberty: discover this superb store and its wooden building at the end of Carnaby Street. The top floor is dedicated to Christmas trees, where you’ll find all kinds of decorations: baubles, garlands and twinkling stars. But you’ll also find great gift ideas in stationery, skincare, make-up, jewelry, accessories and gourmet treats… Her windows are generally sober but charming.
  • Harrods: just to see its facade, it’s worth the detour. It’s fully illuminated for Christmas, enough to get a nice photo. We passed on the offer, not very affordable, but if you’re looking for a luxury gift, you’ve got plenty to choose from!
  • Fortnum & Mason: we love this store! Specializing in tea, coffee, gourmet baskets, tableware and elegant accessories, this is the store to find a gourmet gift to bring home. The  Christmas boxes of tea and cakes are particularly pretty.
  • Hamley’s: one of the world’s biggest toy stores, located on Regent Street will blow your mind. Whether you’ve got kids or not, this fantastic world is well worth a visit. The store’s many events at Christmas time are a real joy to behold!

As you can see, when you’re in London, stopping by one of these department stores to admire the windows and decorations is an excellent idea!

London Christmas londres noel

Christmas markets in London

Of course, when you visit London, you want to do the city’s must-sees: Buckimgham Palace, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben or Madame Tussauds! But if you come to London over the Christmas period, take the opportunity to discover the wonderful Christmas markets, created every year in the four corners of the city. Stroll through the fragrant aisles of ephemeral villages of wooden chalets to find small gifts, taste a local specialty or simply soak up the Christmas atmosphere.

Here are the various Christmas markets in London:

  • Tate Modern and its Christmas Market;
  • The Southbank Christmas Market;
  • Long docks for the London Bridge Christmas Market;
  • The Leicester Square Christmas Market.

They open their doors around mid-November and close either around December 24 or early January, depending on the market.

Christmas in London

Adventuring to one of London’s Christmas ice rinks

Now that, if it isn’t the representative activity of Christmas movies…. Discovering one of London’s many ice rinks is the must-do activity during your Christmas in London stay! You can choose from all these ephemeral ice rinks in London:

  • The Natural History Museum Ice Rink in London;
  • Drive to Hyde Park Wonderland to discover its ice rink;
  • Canary Wharf skating rink;
  • Tower of London skating rink version;
  • Westfield shopping center skating rink.

Christmas fairs in London

Yes, as we told you, Christmas is celebrated in London like nowhere else! Here you can discover a huge Christmas funfair, the famous Winter Wanderland. Let’s take a tour of London’s attractions!

You’ll find it right in the heart of Hyde Park, where you’ll be able to admire some squirrels. Among London’s many parks, Hyde Park remains our favorite. Nearby, discover the Mayfair district and Portobello Road with its antique market!

For those who would like to do more attractions and cultural visits, we advise you to take the London Pass, which allows you to have preferential rates for the duration of your stay.

Christmas in London

Discover Harry Potter Studios at Christmas, “Hogwarts in the snow”

For all Harry Potter fans, you probably already know, the Studios of the films are very close to London. Visiting Harry Potter Studios is a way to fully immerse yourself in the world of the books and films, discovering XXL sets, costumes and all the secrets of filming. At Christmas time, all the studios are transformed in the “Hogwarts at Christmas” spirit, and it’s well worth it. Between the redecorated Great Hall with its huge fir trees and the fake snow projected outside, it’s like being there.

studio harry potter

Visiting London, the best districts

Our favorite neighborhoods in London, to discover of course throughout the year but also at Christmas. The amazing thing about London is the diversity of scenery, atmosphere and culture depending on the different neighborhoods. And if you’d like to read about Marie’s experience of one year in London head to our dedicated article.

Camden Town and Market, the atypical, lively and surprising London

This famous district is a London must-see! We particularly love it for its iconic, colorful street art. Although very touristy, this incredible neighborhood mixes quirky stalls, sneaker stores, look rocks, souvenirs where you could bargain for hours. The Market’s different alleyways are well worth a visit: Camden Lock Market, Camden Lock Village, Inverness Market and Stables Market.
The Street Food Market is well worth a visit for its multicultural stalls, where you can sample everything from burgers and the famous Fish & Chips to Indian dishes and bubble waffles! Take a stroll along the banks of the Regent’s Canal, which are almost at odds with the rest of Camden, and very soothing indeed. And stop in at “Cyberdog”, a completely offbeat, futuristic store where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world.

camden market camden market camden town Christmas in London

Notting Hill, Julia Robert’s elegant and colorful neighborhood

The famous Notting Hill district is well worth a visit. Try to go during the week to avoid the crowds of tourists, so you can enjoy the pretty alleys of colorful houses serenely. Don’t hesitate to get lost in the neighborhood, as some streets are packed with tourists while others, equally charming, are completely deserted!

Christmas in London London blog voyage notting hill londres

Picadilly Circus, London’s Times Square

This iconic London square is a must-see at least once. With its huge screens and pretty luxury stores, London-esque buildings and amateur singers, you’ll quickly be won over. We love it here, even though we’re just passing through! This is also where you’ll find many of the Christmas decorations and illuminations.

picadilly square

Christmas in London, don’t forget the Soho district

Right next to Picadilly Circus, discover the pretty Soho district. Always as lively whatever the time of year, you’ll discover Chinatown and its tantalizing smells of Asian cuisine. Also nearby is Soho Square, where you can take in the fresh air. In this district, there’s a constant bustle of bars, restaurants, theaters and cinemas that bring Soho to life. It’s also London’s gay district. Stroll down to Carnaby Street to admire the superb Christmas illuminations and for a shopping spree.

Christmas in London

Christmas in London, where to eat?

Wagamama, a world cuisine restaurant in London

This chain of world cuisine restaurants is top notch! We tried vegetarian gyozas and chicken curries, a real delight. The atmosphere of the restaurants is quite warm and festive, we recommend.


Mazi, Greek cuisine revisited in the heart of Notting Hill

This tiny, rather designer restaurant offers modern, revisited Greek cuisine. While there are classic dishes such as tzatzikis or Greek salads, you can also discover gyros in a whole new form. Right in the heart of Notting Hill, it’s a lovely gustatory discovery, but one that comes at a price: count £30 per person minimum for lunch.

mazi restaurant

EL&N Cafe, girly tea time in London

These London cafés are 100% Instagram-able. Their candy-pink tea-room atmosphere has won over fans of glamorous cakes and coffees. Expect to queue a little, as the spaces are small and quickly snapped up. The cakes are delicious, with a special mention for the Red Velvet, but quite expensive. Count £15/20 per person for a gourmet snack.

elan cafe

Breakfast Club, in the pretty district of Soho

This trendy chain of restaurants is particularly good for brunch! To secure a table, remember to reserve.

Le Pain Quotidien, a sure bet all over London

The eternal Pain Quotidien, of which we’re never disappointed for a good Sunday morning brunch. We had lunch at the one at St Pancrass Station before catching the train back, but you’ll find plenty of restaurants in London!

pain quotidien

The Sky Garden, a café with a view over London

Very pretty address, where you can go up for free without even having lunch, but you have to book well in advance. You can also go up for breakfast or lunch at the café on the top floor of the skyscraper. The opportunity to have a breathtaking view of the city and enjoy this place, out of time.

Christmas in London notting hill

Visiting London at Christmas, practical information

How to come and spend Christmas in London

  • By train: via Eurostar, a sometimes expensive but oh-so-fast option! You’ll be in less than 2 hours from the center of Paris (Gare du Nord) to the center of London (St Pancrass Station).
  • By bus: the economical option! Tested and approved when you have the time, in 7 hours and for a few dozen euros you can reach London.

How to get around London

The London Underground is very well served, safe and clean. The only drawback is that it’s not cheap! We recommend you take an Oyster card, a real convenience for the duration of your stay. Visit the whole of London by tube! There are many Tube stations across the city, from St James’s to Waterloo.

And for those staying a little further afield, at the far end of town in Shoredich or even further afield in Grenwitch, trains run regularly until late, so you can even hang out in London pubs pretty late!

london blog voyage
Thank you for reading

We hope that the tips and good addresses on our travel blog will help you organize your Christmas celebrations in London.

You can also follow our daily adventures on Instagram 🙂
Clem & Alex

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