When it comes to the festive season, there’s no better place to be than the capital. London really knows how to entertain at the best of times and Christmas is no exception. Check out some of the highlights for things to see and do before Santa comes to town.
Christmas Markets & Fairs
1) Winter Wonderland – Hyde Park (17 November - 01 January)
You'll find winter markets, festive fairground rides, ice skating, warming winter food, grottos and of course plenty of mulled wine. Entry is free and some elements can be booked in advance.
2) Southbank Centre Wintertime Market (10 November - 04 January)
Shoppers can bag gifts, festive produce and sweet treats, and take in the seasonal Christmas shows.
3) Spirit of Christmas Fair – Olympia (30 October - 05 November)
With 750 independent traders selling everything from jewellery, food and drink to any bauble you could ever want.
4) Horniman Museum's Christmas Fair – Forest Hill (16 December)
Stock up on gifts at the art and craft stalls, buy seasonal produce from the regular traders, and tuck into mince pies and mulled wine while listening to carols.
5) Islington Christmas Market - Angel Central Shopping Centre (Dates TBC)
Expect traditional wooden chalets selling 'clever and creative' items.
6) Urban Makers East's Christmas market – Mile End (9-10 December)
Held at the Mile End Ecology Pavilion for two days, with over 50 different designer-makers each day, plus workshops for adults and kids, face painting, food, drink and more.
7) Winterville – Clapham Common (23 November - 01 January)
Winterville showcases a packed programme of attractions, entertainment, food and drink in East London. Built around the Winterville clock tower, this little festive town offers seasonal classics and dazzling alternatives for all ages.
In the run up to Christmas, there are various places to head to for a little ice-skating action with prices from £5. Here are some of the most popular:
Hyde Park http://www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/
Alexandra Palace http://www.alexandrapalace.com/ice-rink/
Hampton Court Palace http://www.hamptoncourtpalaceicerink.co.uk/
Queens Skate Dine Bowl http://www.queens.london/
Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square
Throughout the build-up to Christmas, more than 40 carol groups each sing for an hour beneath the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square to raise funds for voluntary or charitable organisations
Disney on Ice’s Passport to Adventure – The 02
Venture into the magical worlds of some of your best-loved Disney characters, including The Lion King's Simba in the Serengeti, Peter Pan in Neverland and Frozen’s Anna, Elsa and Olaf in snowy Arendelle
Christmas lights in the capital never fail to impress. Some of the best lights can be found in the following areas:
St Katharine Docks
Duke of York Square
Whether you live in London and get to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas on a daily basis or you're making a special trip to the capital, there is so much for you to see and do to really get you into a festive mood. Ho ho ho!