Things To Do In London Over Christmas And New Year

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 21 months ago

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Things To Do In London Over Christmas And New Year

Below are the details for 2019. We'll update this page with information for Christmas 2020 when it's announced, so keep checking back.

Ice skating at Natural History Museum: Things to do in London between Christmas and New Year 2018
Take to the ice at Natural History Museum and other rinks around the capital

Looking for things to do once Christmas Day is out of the way? Wondering what's open between then and New Year? Just want to get out of the house and away from the Monopoly/cheese board?

If you're looking for other things to do in London over the festive period, click here.

All week

ICE SKATING: Get out in the fresh air and take to the ice on London's winter pop-up skating rinks. From Royal Parks to rooftops and museum gardens, they're appearing all over the place. Most of them have bars and cafes on site, if turkey stocks are running low at home.

WEEKEND WALKS: This week is practically one long weekend anyway, so grab your walking boots and head out on one of our weekend walk routes. See a part of London you haven't visited before, and best of all, it's free — unless you stop in a pub for a pint or two...

Somerset House is one of the ice rinks open this week

DUVET DAY: Can't be bothered with the outside world? Stock up on mince pies, kick back and work your way through the videos on our YouTube channel.

DAY TRIPS: Want to get out of London for a day?  We've mapped some of our favourite day trips from the capital — perhaps leave the seaside trips until the summer, but why not visit a new town, city or museum.

PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA: From new releases to old classics, Leicester Square favourite Prince Charles Cinema screens a wealth of films between Christmas and New Year — think Spider-Man, Trainspotting, The Irishman, The Matrix, Free Solo, and a few NT Live Encore screenings of this summer's West End hit, Fleabag.

WAITRESS: Escape the cold with a night at theatre — and this musical will warm your heart as well as your cockles. Get Rush tickets for the five-star, smash hit Waitress for just £25 with TodayTix. Adelphi Theatre (West End), from £25, book ahead, 7.30pm, until March 2020 (sponsor)

Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Richmond Park

THEATRE SHOWS: If the pre-Christmas frenzy left you with no time to head to the theatre, why not check out the festive shows which are still on? We've picked the best theatre shows in London this Christmas, the family-friendly performances to take the kids to, and the big festive dance shows.

EXHIBITIONS: Why not use this downtime to catch up on a bit of culture? Several of London's large exhibitions are still running between Christmas and the New Year, although do check gallery and museum websites for changes in opening times this week. Our picks include Wildlife Photographer of the Year at Natural History Museum, Top Secret at Science Museum, Tutankhamun at Saatchi Gallery, and William Hogarth at Sir John Soane's Museum.

HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGES: Experience Richmond Park from the luxury of a horse-drawn carriage (or brake, if you want to get technical about it). Take a 75-minute ride through the Royal Park, preceded by a behind the scenes tour of the working stables. 29 November 2019-5 January 2020

You'll have to be quick if you want tickets for Christmas at Kew

CHRISTMAS AT KEW: You'll need to book way in advance if you want to take a wander through the light trail at Kew Gardens between Christmas and New Year, as tickets are selling out fast. A twinkling waterfall and a forest of vines are new additions this year, along with the usual light tunnel, fire garden and Victorian funfair. One of our favourite annual events in London. 20 November 2019-5 January 2020

WINTER WONDERLAND: The Hyde Park behemoth is open until the new year, and in the past we've found that's a bit less crowded after Christmas. As well as the funfair rides, this year's event hosts a special cinema, ice kingdom, circus and more. 21 November 2019-5 January 2020

Gingerbread City is on display at Somerset House. © Luke Hayes

GINGERBREAD CITY: Clap eyes (but not teeth) on a model city made entirely of gingerbread. The festive installation is the work of teams of architects, engineers and designers who compete against each other to try to create the winning design. 7 December 2019-5 January 2020

This is a sponsored inclusion on behalf of TodayTix.

Indulge in a night at the theatre for less with TodayTix

The best way to liven up the limbo period between Christmas and New Year? A night at the theatre! And don't despair if all that gift buying has left your wallet feeling lighter than you'd like - with the TodayTix app, score brilliant deals on the best of the West End, in seconds with just a few taps. Booking theatre tickets has never been easier.

Register to be the first to hear about 24hour offers with the best West End shows available at only £15. Feeling spontaneous? You can enter a Rush to get on the day tickets to shows such as Six and Waitress or enter a Lottery to get tickets to some of the most sought-after shows.

Download the TodayTix app to unlock Cyber Steals and £15 tickets to West End shows.

Christmas Eve: Tuesday 24 December 2019

FIVE GO JIVING: Dance your way into Christmas at Five Go Jiving, a free, family-friendly dance session. Turn up at 12pm to take a free swing dancing class covering the basic steps, before the band arrives to play a mixture of jive, jazz and dance music. 12pm

DICKENS OF A CITY: Join Footprints of London guide David Charnick for a wander through Charles Dickens' London, interspersed with readings from the author's work. Old inns, counting houses and debtors' prisons feature both in his writing and on this walk. 2.30pm-4.30pm

Christmas Day: Wednesday 25 December 2019

The Savoy is one of your Christmas dinner options

THINGS TO DO: Here's our full guide to things to do in London on Christmas Day, including guided walks, bus tours, and swimming.

CHRISTMAS DINNER: You'll need to book in advance if you want to eat out in London on Christmas Day. Here's our pick of the restaurants and hotels serving Christmas dinner in London.

WHAT'S OPEN: Looking for pubs, restaurants, bars or even museums (yes, there is one) that open on Christmas Day? We've got that covered too.

Boxing Day: Thursday 26 December 2019

Go on a foodie-themed Christmas lights walk

QUEER TANGO: Tango organisations Tango on the Thames, Queer Tango London and Tango Terra come together for an inclusive tango event at Southbank Centre. Spend the afternoon taking part in lessons and social dancing, and enjoying live performances, al accompanied by DJs and live music. 2pm

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS WALK: Pub+food+Christmas lights = bliss. Begin this festive walk in a pub with a roaring fire, before winding through the back streets and hidden passages of the West End, hearing food and drink themed historical snippets as you go, before emerging to see the Christmas lights and window displays of the area in all their glory. 5pm-6.45pm

Friday 27 December 2019

SOHO PUB WALK: Tour guide Richard Watkins leads a pub-themed jaunt through Soho. Visit a famous London department store which had its own local, a pub with an infamous pump on the street outside and one with an arm-less bard. 2.30pm-4.30pm

JOHN WILLIAMS: Hear the work of film composer John Williams performed by the London Concsert Orchestra. Music from Star Wars, Harry Potter, E.T., Jaws, Jurassic Park and several other very well known films is on the programme. 7.30pm

Saturday 28 December 2019

Enjoy Four Seasons by candlelight

FOUR SEASONS: Enjoy Vivaldi's Four Seasons masterpiece in an atmospheric concert, staged by candlelight. Work by other 18th century composers including Bach and Handel also features. 2.30pm

GATSBY CHRISTMAS PARTY: Party like it's the '20s — the 1920s, that is — at Cecil Sharp House's Gatsby Christmas party. The Art Deco Orchestra play tracks from the 1920s and 1930s, with dancing, party games and a licensed bar to keep you entertained. Period dress encouraged. 7.45pm-11pm

Sunday 29 December 2019

CITY IN THE BLITZ: The period between Christmas and New Year's Eve 1940 provided Londoners with something of a respite from the Blitz... until one dramatic night which left a third of the City of London in flames. Join London Metropolitan Archives for a walking tour through the City, looking at some of the areas which were affected by that particular aerial bombing campaign. 11am-1pm

SHOW TUNES: Jazz hands at the ready for an evening of The Greatest Show Tunes. The high-energy show has performers singing tunes from the likes of The Greatest Showman, Mamma Mia, Dreamgirls, Phantom of the Opera and other favourites, live on stage. 7.30pm

Monday 30 December 2019

PARADE CONCERTS: Ahead of the New Year's Day Parade on Wednesday, some of the bands and performers involved like to warm up at pre-parade concerts. Today, you can see a selection of school, concert and brass bands live, either at Cadogan Hall or at St John's Smith Square. 7.30pm

ZIMMER VS. WILLIAMS: Hans Zimmer and John Williams are two of the greatest film composers, and now their work goes head to head. The Music of Zimmer vs Williams is a performance by the London Concert Orchestra, interweaving some of their iconic scores. 7.30pm

New Year's Eve: Tuesday 31 December 2019

Take a look at our guide to spending New Year's Eve in London, whether you're looking for a peaceful day around town or a wild night of partying.

New Year's Day: Wednesday 1 January 2020

Assemble for the New Year's Day Parade

NEW YEAR'S DAY PARADE: If you've never been awake at a decent hour on New Year's Day, you may be unaware that a right racket of a parade stomps its way through town. The New Year's Day Parade has all manner of performers and floats, from London boroughs to classic cars to American high school bands. One year, Eddie the Eagle made an appearance, but there's no such A-list glamour this year. Still worth a watch if you're in the area and can stand a bit of noise though. From 12pm

BARBICAN CONSERVATORY: For a more gentle introduction to 2020, take an afternoon stroll around the City of London's tropical conservatory. Among Barbican's brutalist architecture lies something of a green paradise, with trees, plants, cacti, fish, and even a few terrapins. 12pm-5pm

CLASSIC CARS: London's classic car drivers are roaring into the year with the first Park It in the Market of 2020 in Greenwich. Vintage cars and motor bikes park up for the public to admire them, while the market stalls are open for business as usual. 2pm-6pm

Last Updated 06 January 2020