December is here. For most of us that’s a month of Christmas markets, twinkling lights and going out slightly too often. Here are our favourite things to do in London this December 2023, taking you from festive indulgence to New Year’s Eve frolics.

On the lookout for something specifically Chistmassy? Be sure to check out our walking tour of London’s Christmas lights and roundup of the top London Christmas markets and winter festivals. It has all the best places to get you in the mood for carol singing and mulled wine!

Candlelight Concerts: A Dickensian Christmas by Candlelight

Photo by Fever

Embrace the traditions of Christmas with this candlelight performance of Christmas carols and music to get you fully into the festive spirit, accompanied by readings from Charles Dickens’s much-loved classic ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Njinga Santa Cycle

Photo by Njinga Cycling Ltd

If you love cycling, Santa and charity, then this is the event for you. All rolled up into one festive and feel-good event, you can join a casual cycle of 18km dressed as everyone’s favorite Christmas gift-bringer and deliver presents to the children at Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice. You have to register to participate but it’s free—and you must wear a Santa suit and come with an unwrapped gift for a child if you’re joining in.

Gingerbread City

Gingerbread Bridge Museum of architecture
Photo by MoA

The mammoth gingerbread city is only growing in size and creativity with each passing year. Gaze in a mixture of wonder and hunger at the structures created by a whole host of architects and engineers in a display that would knock Prue and Paul off their showstopper round feet. Created by the Museum of Architecture, the display was designed by a city-planning company and is an intricate creative scene well worth exploring.

South Bank Centre Winter Market

The South Bank is fairy-lit and lovely all year round, but it’s a particularly good spot if you want to avoid the hectic hordes of central London High Street shopping for something with a lot more charm in the cute little Alpine chalets.

Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square December 2019
Photo by

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to feel festive for free, head over to Trafalgar Square any evening between the 9th and 24th of December. With more than 40 carol groups serenading the square to raise money for charity, you’ll see it on most lists of things to do in London this December.

Peter Pan Cup

Wrap up warm and watch the quirky tradition of the hardy members of the Serpentine Swimmers Club diving into the chilly water from the south bank of Hyde Park every Christmas morning.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Photo by

A chance to get tickets for the grand annual fireworks display—the second batch of £10.00 tickets were released on November 30th. Don’t worry if you haven’t got tickets though, there are plenty of free places with great views of the show!

Koestler Arts: In Case of Emergency

The Koestler Awards is an annual programme encouraging people from the UK’s prison system to communicate and change their lives through art. The 2023 exhibition is curated by T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet Joelle Taylor, who has worked in prisons for over 20 years.

Ally Pally Christmas

Not a location to let a celebration pass it by, Alexandra Palace is back with its winter carnival taking place over three weekends. As well as festive treats like illuminations, a Victorian theatre and an outdoor ice rink the main attraction this year is a Santa’s grotto—making it a solid option.

Last updated 4th December 2023

Get all the info on what's on in London direct to your inbox every month

Recommended hotels located nearby