An English Christmas Trip: Planning the Christmas Events for our Trip to London


In our last post about our trip to England, we scratched the surface of what we have planned for London. This week, we wanted to drill down further and list all the Christmas events/attractions that we’d like to see when we’re in London for 8 days.

Click here for our last London Trip Planning Post.

Click here for information on where we’re staying.

Covent Garden Christmas

Covent Garden is one of our favorite places in London and we can’t wait to see it all decked out for Christmas. They have all kinds of festivities planned. Such as Christmas Food market, decorations, caroling, reindeer petting, sales and much more. Should be magical and fun.


Hamley’s is the ultimate Toy Store. There are few like it left these days but this London institution has been around for hundreds of years. We can’t wait to choose our children’s few Christmas presents and find some uniquely British toys (and perhaps one or two Spitfire models for dad).

Camden Night Markets

This is something we’re not sure we can do with the kids as it takes place after dark. But the Camden Lock markets have special night shopping evenings where everything is decorated for Christmas and all the stallholders are open past normal hours. Should be cold but fun!

Christmas Shopping

We’re really looking forward to Christmas Shopping in London. While we’re scaling down our Christmas this year – the trip is gift enough for ourselves and we’re limited in what we have to bring home with us – we still plan to exchange a few gifts and make the kids feel special since they’ll be missing Christmas with their families.

Choral Evensong

I have yet to attend a Choral Evensong service at one of the Cathedrals and since we’ll be there during Christmas this is something we really want to make sure that we do.

Trafalgar Square – Carols and Tree

Trafalgar Square is another one of our favorite places and we can’t wait to see it decked our for Christmas. Norway donates the tree at the center of the square (it’s a thank you for British support during WWII) and we can’t wait to see it lit up. Also, pretty much every night there will be carol singers in the square. This is something we can easily do while we’re in the area doing other things.

Christmas Shop Windows

One Christmas tradition we can’t wait to see is all the windows at British department stores decked out with a Christmas theme. We’ll enjoy viewing the windows outside the shops we can’t really afford to shop in. Should be fun – it will remind us of home as we love to look at the Macy’s Windows in Chicago.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderfest

While this is geared towards tourists, we’re really looking forward to it, because at the end of the day, we’re tourists! The Winter Wonderfest takes over a corner of Hyde Park and features a Christmas market, food and rides. It’s really family friendly and we can’t wait to take the kids.

Christmas in London Photowalk

Photography is one my passions and I’ve not been able to do it much lately. One thing I’d like to do is go out after the kids are in bed and photograph London at Christmas at night. I’ve got a great camera to do it with and a light tripod, so I expect to have lots of great Christmas pictures of London.

We’ll probably add to this list as we get closer to the trip and chances are we won’t be able to do a few due to scheduling conflicts but these are certainly the things we would like to do so we can make the most of Christmas in London.

Have you been in London during Christmastime? What was your favorite thing to do? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. avatarPat says

    We did Christmas in London in 2009 and did a lot of these. If you can try a Xmas concert at royal Albert hall. Take the train from Waterloo to Windsor castle. Evensong at Westminster abbey is 530pm as I recall. By all means do a walk of the lights on regent, oxford, bond streets. There are some German Xmas markets around as well. Have a great time!

  2. avatarNancy says

    I have been living in the UK for the past 3 years and last year my husband and I went to Ely Cathedral for their Christmas mass and it was amazing!! I love London but sometimes think that visitors miss lots by not getting out into the country and seeing more of the real England as I like to call it. But if only in London, I would definitely see a show at the Royal Albert Hall. Good luck and have a blast!!

  3. avatarMary Golden says

    you might want to go to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. I wasn’t there at Christmas time, but I’ll bet it’s even better then. I would guess that the V and A might be a good place to visit too.

  4. avatarElizabeth Thomas says

    The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge is a wonderful English Christmas Eve tradition. After all, Cambridge is only about an hour’s train ride from London. Though waiting in line for the tickets would probably be difficult with your little children, you could also listen to it on BBC radio–it is well worth your time!

    • avatarMinerva says

      Never mind all that wandering about in the cold on trains etc etc…….’Carols from Kings’ is on the telly over Christmas……kids quiet, a large sherry, & exciting smells coming from the kitchen……& carols from Cambridge……BLISS!

      • avatarMinerva says

        …oh, oh, oh…..& I forgot to say………if you want to know (& plan so there’s no fighting!) what’s on the telly-box over the festive period, nip down the Newsagents & buy yourself the Christmas/New Year edition of the ‘TV Times’ (or you could buy the ‘Radio Times’, they are both as good as each other for what’s on).

  5. avatarSusan says

    Try to take in an evening carol concert at St. Martin In The Fields (if not too late for your kiddies). Also – we hit upon by chance the afternoon concert given for parents, etc by the elementary age choiristers of the St. Paul’s choir school – lovely – and free!

  6. avatarSusan Peterson says

    You must take in a traditional Pantomime. Aladdin and Cinderella are the favorites. There is a lot of audience participation from the kids. They’re great. I really miss them.

    • avatar says

      Susan I was going to tell them to go to a “Panto” I try to describe it to my American friends but they don’t really get the idea. I miss them too.

  7. avatar says

    Hampton Court is a must!!!!!!! They have the 16th century kitchens cooking Tudor meals and everyone is in costume. They have a huge court dinner the way it was when Henry VIII and Elizabeth II were in reign. The kids will love it. Also try Hatfield House they hold banquets as well. I lived in Cambridge for 5 years and love England I hope to return to my home soon as I miss it so much.

  8. avatarMary says

    English Christmas pictures you can make and sell as posters or postcards, or something else I can decorate my house with — just a thought :)

  9. avatarkevie says

    I was there for the big blizzard of 2011. That damp cold goes through you like nothing else and England’s snow removal skills are about on par with Atlanta’s. That being said, we got a picture of the Olde Curiosity Shoppe covered in snow. That doesn’t happen too often. Also made it to Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols (our main reason for the trip). Even standing on line to get in was its own unique experience. Merry Cryptmas, an art show in St. Pancras Crypt was a terrific, offbeat scene. If you are there on Christmas Day, visit the Dickens House Museum. Walking the empty streets of London was wonderful, too.

  10. avatar says

    Do you have room for me in your luggage? I just came back……but I am ready to go again & you are seeing areas I have never seen! Christmas time is really nice there.