7 Best Christmas 2013 Events in London

Foreign Students's picture

With Christmas now less than a month away, the Festive season is in full swing in London. Lights are going up, ice rinks are appearing and loads of special events are going on all over the Capital.

We've gathered together seven of the best Christmassy things happening in London over the next month to get you in the mood.

1) Christmas Shows

Going to the theatre is a must at Christmas. For the traditionalists, nothing beats a bit of ballet, like the English National Ballet's Nutcracker (from £10), or the celebrated modern reinterpretation of Swan Lake at the Sadler's Wells theatre (from £12). Or if you want a bit of drama at Christmas, The Light Princess at the National Theatre looks like a good bet, with rave reviews.

If you're going with kids (or you just love a bit of traditional British pantomime), then have a look at Potted Panto. Take a whistle-stop tour of seven classic pantos, from Aladdin, to Jack and the Beanstalk- all looked at in a very funny, wry way.

2) Christmas Markets

Whether you want to stuff yourself with festive food & drink, or look for some unusual hand-crafted presents, one of London's many Christmas markets will be perfect.

The Southbank is always special at Christmas and the market is one of the best around. With the standard food and craft stalls every day, as well as special shorter events like the Chocolate Festival (13-15 Dec) and the Real Food Market (19-22 Dec). Or if you want something a little different, head over to the Dalston Market on 1st December where local designers & artisans are gathering at the cool east London centre.

However, the biggest Christmas market around can be found at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. The annual celebration has hundreds of stalls, as well everything from beer halls, to Ferris wheels, to a Christmas circus. It is free to get in, but pretty much everything costs money once you're there.

3) Outdoor Ice skating

In recent years, outdoor ice rinks have become one of the biggest and best parts of Christmas in London. For the month of December they pop up at various different iconic locations and make for the perfect afternoon or evening out.

This year, some of the best can be found at the iconic London Eye, the stunning Somerset House, the imposing Natural History Museum, and the commercial Westfield. Most are open daily well into the evening and tickets range from about £8 to £13 for an hour of skating.

4) Carol Singing

Christmas is the perfect time to see some of London's best-known landmarks in a unique way. Lots of the big churches and concert halls hold carol services with professional orchestras and choirs where you can turn up and sing along.

At the Royal Albert Hall there is Carol Singalong events, as well as the beautiful Carols By Candlelight. However, the most special event is probably the Westminster Cathedral Christmas Celebration on the 18th and 19th December.

5) Medieval Christmas Banquet

Every Thursday and Friday afternoon from the 5th December, a ‘Yuletide Christmas Luncheon' will be held at the historic St Katharine Docks. Be transported back in time and join Henry VIII and his courtiers feasting on traditional food with knights battling each other and minstrels playing music.

For £40 you'll get a five-course meal, live entertainment, half a bottle of wine and even a "Medieval disco". A truly unique experience that will certainly prepare you for the feasting part of the Christmas season.

6) Christmas Lights

You can't help but have noticed that Christmas lights have gone up pretty much everywhere you look around the city. All the major streets go all out each year, with Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Regent Street & Covent Garden all looking glitteringly impressive.

Wandering around areas of London looking at the shop displays and popping in for the odd mulled wine at pubs is a great way to see the lights. Or if you want to splash out a little more, then a night bus tour can be brilliant at this time of year. The night tour here costs £18 and takes you around all the main landmarks in London, or if you really want to go for it, there is a special Christmas Eve tour that takes you around all the lights of London for 2 ½ hours for £29.

7) Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is pretty magical at the worst of times, but at Christmas they go all out. Throughout December the Gardens are staying open late every evening with tours though the illuminated winter landscape. The trail weaves through the beautifully lit famous botanic gardens.

Share with friends