The Top Things To Do in London for Christmas 2021
Let’s be honest. Christmas 2020 was a bit of a let-down. With lockdowns isolating families and friends, the festivities didn’t seem quite so...well…festive. The good news is that Christmas-lovers need not fear as London is most definitely back open for business for Christmas 2021. What’s more, it’s looking to make up for lost time. Our guide will walk you through some of the best festive activities in London while you are visiting on your Berry’s Coach trip. Before too long, you’ll be fully back in the holiday mood!
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London is famous for its theatres and entertainment. Christmas time is one of the best times to go see something in the West End for families as there tends to be lots more family-friendly output. One great example is ‘A Christmas Carol’ showing at the Old Vic, which is recommended for children 8+. You almost certainly know the story of the man revisited by the ghosts of past, present and future to teach him the true spirit of Christmas and reform his miserly ways, and it lends itself well to the stage. Tickets start at a very reasonable £20.
If you have slightly younger children (or are just a big kid at heart), then The Muppet Christmas Carol is also showing at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall. The film is accompanied by a live orchestra bringing the songs and soundtrack to life. It’s obviously the same story, just with more slapstick, humour, songs and - most importantly – Muppets! You’ll have to be quick though, as it’s only showing on 11th December.
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This huge event takes place in Hyde Park, which is transformed into an outdoor fun, food, shopping and entertainment venue. You can expect ice rinks, fairground rides, Christmas market stalls, Bavarian food and beer houses, shows, circus acts, live music and much more. Once you are inside you can stay as long as you wish, while the food and rides tend to be more on the expensive side, the atmosphere and collection of Christmas entertainment are fantastic. Kids will love the experience and the Bavarian theme will help keep adults feeling nostalgic.
Unlike other years, this year you will have to book in advance. It’s free if you go in off-peak hours, and I would strongly suggest you do so. Not only will this save money, but you will also be grateful for the smaller crowds as the larger crowds and inevitable queues do dampen some of the fun. If you want to go during peak times, you can claim the price of the ticket back off pre-booked activities or food and drink.
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There are multiple choices for ice skating in London for Christmas 2021. One of the best is Skate at Somerset House for its well run and set in the beautiful courtyard of the London working arts centre. For younger skaters who haven’t quite found their feet yet, there is a mini training rink to the side of the main one. When their confidence builds, you can use one of the supportive ‘skate penguins’ to hold onto to give them extra stability. This rink wins out both for its surroundings, but also due to its geographical placement. Just a short walk away is the Christmas lights of Covent Garden, Oxford Street and Carnaby Street, making this an excellent evening double activity for couples and families alike.
Tickets start at £11 for adults and £8 for children (under 12) and session times last 45 minutes. This is more than enough time on the ice for everyone. After skating, you may wish to take part in the on-site catering which features traditional mince pies and mulled wine. Also - as the event is sponsored by a champagne company - you have the option of treating yourself to a glass of fizz.
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Everyone loves a Christmas market. Many people will be travelling to London predominantly for them, which is great because there are several scattered across London during the festive season. The main hubs for these markets are The Southbank Centre, Leicester Square and Winter Wonderland. The alpine chalet stalls tend to be rather similar in their wares, so for size and free access, I would suggest the Southbank Centre is the better option.
Better still, the views across the Thames along the Southbank also add to the magic. Once on site, you can sample a range of artisan crafts, jewellery and international cuisines, including German Bratwurst, Dutch pancakes, mulled wine, and the traditional Christmas gourmet burgers (!).
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If you are visiting with a family then no trip to London is complete without a trip to the various London toy stores. The best of the bunch is Hamley’s which offers multiple floors of every conceivable children’s toy you can imagine. During the Christmas season, there is a casual rivalry between a lot of the large London department stores for the best festive decorations. Being predominantly aimed at kids, Hamley’s never fails to disappoint and so is well worth a visit for the spectacle of their decorations alone. Unsurprisingly, kids can visit Santa and his elves in his grotto where they can tell him about all the toys they have just seen (and now want) for Christmas.
Other honourable mentions include the Lego Store (Leicester Square), the Disney Store (Oxford Street), and The Harry Potter Shop (Platform 9 3/4, King’s Cross Station), which will all entertain the kids for hours. All the stores also give plenty of opportunity for Christmas stocking fillers for the young and young-at-heart alike.
Christmas is the perfect time to explore London as a couple or as a family. With the wealth and breadth of food, fun, and entertainment you will be spoilt for choice on what to do. Using our guide, you can see some of the best of the festivities to get in you fully in the holiday spirit before returning home via Berry’s coach to enjoy the holiday season with your family.
As with all activities, do make sure you give enough time for any potential travel delays. Passengers should be back at Hammersmith Bus Station (Stop D) at least 15 minutes prior to the pre-booked departure time. Unfortunately, the coach is not able to wait if you are running late.
London transport costs vary. The London Underground will be a lower-cost alternative to a taxi or Uber. Remember walking is free!
All information was correct at the time of writing. However, please always check venues prior to travel in case of any changes due to COVID-19 or otherwise.