Things To Do This Christmas Weekend In London: 24-25 December 2022

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All weekend

A crown shaped Christmas light hanging over Bond Street
Photo: Will Noble/Londonist

CHRISTMAS TRAVEL: Before you plan your festive weekend, check out your transport options. There's no public transport in London on Christmas Day — no tubes, trains or buses — and things wind down early on Christmas Eve, due to those train strikes. Here's a complete guide to public transport in London over the Christmas period.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: London's Christmas lights are on every evening through December (most of them are switched on 3pm-11pm) — including Christmas Day. You could visit them either evening this weekend, though the West End is likely to be very busy on Christmas Eve. It'll be quieter on Christmas Day, but take note of the lack of transport (above) and the fact that most places are closed, meaning no access to toilets, food and drink and other facilities. Read our full guide to viewing London's Christmas lights to get the lowdown.

WEEKEND WALKS: Whether you want a Christmas Eve stroll to distract the kids from ALL THE EXCITEMENT, or a Christmas Day wander pre- or post-turkey or nut-roast, browse our weekend walks for routes in and around London.

Saturday 24 December: Christmas Eve

A miniature mechanic's garage made out of gingerbread
Visit Gingerbread City © Luke O'Donovan

ICE SKATING: Burn off some of that excited energy before the big day on one of London's seasonal ice rinks. Chances are they'll be quite busy today, so book ahead. Most of them have cafes or bars running alongside them so you can warm up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine afterwards. Bliss.

GINGERBREAD CITY: Take a stroll around London's tastiest exhibition, Gingerbread City — which actually consists of five miniature cities made from the festive biscuit (no nibbling, though). See buildings, bridges, train stations and other structures made from gingerbread, designed and built by teams of architects, and decorated with icing and sweets. 9am-5pm

WINTER WONDERLAND: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland has entertainment for all ages in the form of (deep breath...) winter markets, an ice rinks, circus shows, Santa Land, rollercoasters and fairground rides, food and drink stalls and more. Sure, it's probably not the cheapest day out you'll ever have, but it'll stop them asking "how many sleeps?" for a few hours. Just remember you need to book your entry in advance this year — particularly today, as it's likely to be very busy. 10am-10pm

DICKENS MUSEUM: Bloomsbury's Charles Dickens Museum — which always looks fantastic dressed in it festive finery — is open today, with adaptations of A Christmas Carol — including The Muppet Christmas Carol — shown throughout the day, a first edition of the festive novel on display, plus a free mince pie and mulled wine or soft drink. More festive than an elf rolled in glitter, basically. 10am-6pm

Ice rink, Christmas tree and fairground wheel in front of Battersea Power Station
Go skating at Battersea Power Station or one of London's other rinks. Image: Joshua Atkins

CAROLS AT THE HALL: Get your fill of Deck The Halls and Fa La Las at the final Carols at the Royal Albert Hall, a performance by the Royal Choral Society, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, British Imperial Military Band, National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and others, which is repeated several times in the run-up to Christmas. 11am/3pm

FIVE GO JIVING: As part of Southbank Centre's Winter Festival, there's a free festive jive event in Royal Festival Hall. Everyone's welcome at Five Go Jiving, with a dance class, live musicians and a DJ getting Christmas off to a lively start. In person or online, FREE, 1pm

DICKENSIAN CHRISTMAS: Actor Stephen Mangan is at Cadogan Hall, presenting a selection of readings from A Christmas Carol, along with Victorian carols performed by the Mozart Festival Chorus and London Concert Brass. 2.30pm

Sunday 25 December: Christmas Day

The exterior of the Churchill Arms pub, absoultely covered in lights and Christmas trees
Image: Matt Brown/Londonist

CHRISTMAS DAY: For a full idea of what's on in London today (it's probably more than you think...) take a look at our guide to things to do in London on Christmas Day.

SWIMMING: Not everyone's cup of tea, but if you fancy squeezing in a bracing dip between the presents and the parsnips, these are London's swimming pools and lidos which open on Christmas Day.

CHRISTMAS DINNER: Most restaurants and cafes will be closed on Christmas Day, but a few do open, serving a special Christmas Day menu. Here's our pick of where to eat dinner in London on Christmas Day — you'll need to book in advance, so if you're reading this on the morning of 25 December, you're probably too late.

PETER PAN CUP: If you do one thing on Christmas Day in London, head to Hyde Park to watch the Peter Pan Cup. A group of hardy swimmers from Serpentine Swimming Club take to the chilly waters; you can't take part unless you're a member, but you can watch them from the comfort of dry land. FREE, 25 December