Christmas is everywhere in London, and that means markets, gingerbread houses and plenty of illuminations! If you have shopping to do or want a cheapo-friendly festive evening out, look no further than our top events of December.
Take your pick from our listings both festive and regular, but if you’re on the lookout for something particularly Christmas-y, then be sure to have a look at our Festive Events round-up too! It has all the best markets, festivals and events to get you in the mood for carol singing and mulled wine!
Ally Pally Christmas Carnival
Not a location to let a celebration pass it by, Alexandra Palace is back with its winter carnival taking place over three weekeends. As well as festive treats like Streatlife food, craft beer, Panto on Ice and Horrible Histories Live, it’s a great chance to see the newly restored theatre.
Portobello Winter Weekends
Enjoy four whole weekends of wintery goodness with all your shopping needs covered this December. With plenty of street entertainment and great food you might get distracted from all the stalls if you’re not careful! The market has a variety of smaller themed markets including the New Youthquake market at Tavistock Square which supports younger stallholders.
Njinga Santa Cycle
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.
Chanukah in Trafalgar Square
Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights with a visit to a giant Menorah in Trafalgar Square. There will be a main lighting ceremony on December 5th with live music and dancing and the menorah will remain in place for the the full 8 days of Chanukah.
The St John’s Hospice Christmas Fayre
At the St John’s Fayre you can enjoy browsing through stalls run by locals, kids can ride reindeer and visit Santa’s grotto and know you’re helping out a charity too. This annual event raises money for the local hospice while providing everything you need for a festive day out as well as kicking off (or adding the finishing touches to) your present stockpile.
A Knockout Night of Comedy
Support the local All Stars Boxing club while laughing yourself silly at their comedy night. Hosted by one of the UK’s fastest growing Comedians White Yardie and featuring Hakan ‘Manlikehaks’ Hassan along with plenty more acts, you’ll be working those stomach muscles with laughter rather than sparring—but working them nonetheless.
E17 Designer’s Christmas Markets
Another great spot for your Christmas shopping, this market focuses on crafters and creators from E17. There will be three separate markets in two locations on different weekends, so do check which event you want to attend. You can peruse the stalls, enjoy cake and tea as well as meeting the makers of your new gifts (always helps to have a backstory!).
Release your inner child and gaze in a mixture of wonder and jealousy at the structures created by a whole host of architects and engineers in a display that would knock Mary, 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 and creative scene well worth exploring.
Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square
If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to feel festive for free, head over to Trafalgar Square any evening between the 10th and 21st of December. More than 40 carol groups will be serenading the square to raise money for charity.
Suspiciously Cheap Comedy: West End Charity Spectacular
Bringing big names to the West End, this comedy troupe does what it says on the tin. Making sure comedy is affordable as well as raising money for charity, this new material night is a great way to spend an evening if you can snap up tickets in time.
Peter Pan Cup
If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to swim in open water on Christmas day in the UK, then look no further. The Peter Pan cup is a questionable tradition of the hardy members of the Serpentine Swimmers Club who dive into the chilly water from the south bank of Hyde Park every Christmas morning.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
A chance to get tickets for the grand annual fireworks display—the second batch £10 tickets will be released on November 30th. Don’t panic of you don’t get tickets though, there are plenty of places you can watch the show from!
Last Chance Events
Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays | Until December 19th | Bethnal Green
Sliders Curling On Roof East | Until December 22nd | Stratford
Deptford Market Yard | Until December 22nd | Deptford
Winterville | Until December 23rd | Clapham
After Dark | Until December 30th | Chiswick
Christmas by the River | Until Jan 2nd | London Bridge
Christmas at Kew | Until Jan 5th | Kew
Leicester Square Christmas Market | Until Jan 5th | Leicester Square
Tower of London Ice Skating | Until Jan 6th | Tower Hill
Hampton Court Palace Ice Skating | Until Jan 6th | Richmond
Hooked at the Science Gallery | Until Jan 6th | London Bridge
Votes for Women Centenary Exhibition | Until Jan 6th | Barbican
Winter Festival at South Bank | Until Jan 6th | South Bank
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland | Until Jan 6th | Wesminster
Ice Skating at Somerset House | Until Jan 13th | Aldwych
Natural History Museum Ice Skating | Until Jan 20th | South Kensington
Poster Women: A Century of Art and Design | Until Jan 31st | Covent Garden
Canary Wharf Ice Skating | Until Feb 16th | Canary Wharf
Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt | Until Feb 24th | Knightsbridge