Welcome to Mumsnet!

We’re delighted you’ve found us. Join in the conversation on the UK's busiest site for parents

Get started »

8 things to do with kids in London this Christmas

Whether you live in the capital or are planning a special trip, there are LOADS of festive things to see and do across the city this Christmas

Share this on Facebook

1. Head to the Southbank for some <klaxon> free festive fun 

Get your Christmas hit in one quick fix at the Southbank Christmas market. It's heavy on atmosphere (think mulled wine, chestnuts, handicraft stalls and entertainers) but light on the wallet (aside from any purchases, obvs).
"Definitely go to the Christmas market on the Southbank - it's lovely in the evening with all the lights, the views of Parliament etc."
"Southbank Christmas market is cheaper than Winter Wonderland - and just as good."

2. Release your inner Torvil (or Bambi)

Zoom around some of London's finest landmarks with an evening ice-skating session. This year you'll find rinks in the moat at the Tower of London, in front of the Natural History Museum, opposite the London Eye and in the grounds of Somerset House and Hampton Court Palace. 

"I'd really recommend ice-skating. Somerset House and the Natural History Museum are both lovely, but you'll need to book in advance."

3. Blow the budget with a family show

Watching a West End show is a fantastic Christmas treat, but alas, one that doesn't come cheap. Check out the likes of LoveTheatre.com for promotions and discounted prices; if you haven't got your heart set on a specific show, head to the Leicester Square theatre ticket booth on the day and see what's still available. 

"We saw Matilda last Christmas Eve, and it was fantastic!"

"Last year I took my daughter to see The Snowman at The Peacock theatre. We both loved the show and I highly recommend it."

4. Take 'em to a toy shop

Brace yourself against the crowds and head to one of London's big department stores for a mooch around the toy department. Yes, we know it will be busy, but think of the children and the large G&T you've promised yourself afterwards: this is the stuff of childhood dreams.   

"Harrods' toy department is excellent, even if you don't get tickets for Santa." 

5. Escape the madness for a civilised evening in Kew

Head out to Kew for some magical Christmas illuminations - think dancing fountains and a tunnel of lights, rather than gaudy Santas and comedy reindeer.

"Kew Gardens do a really magical night with incredible lights and toasting marshmallows on fires. Much much nicer than Winter Wonderland."

6. Fa la la la la, la la la la

What could be more festive than belting out a few carols by candlelight? Many churches and venues across the capital will be holding special carol concerts - a favourite with Mumsnetters is the centrally located St. Martin in the Fields.

"Wigmore Hall can also be really magical for chamber music concerts. It's a beautiful venue and very close to Oxford Street." 

7.  Go walking in a Winter Wonderland

Mumsnetters are divided when it comes to London's Winter Wonderland: some love the bustling atmosphere and attractions, others can't bear the crowds and the additional costs once you're through the gate. Have a think about whether it's your sort of thing before you go - and understand that you'll be spending more than just the cost of the entrance tickets. 

"My children were two and six last time we went, and although I kept them on a tight leash I easily spent £40 on the (baby) rides. We didn't buy much food. It is quite nice though and I'm looking forward to going back."

8.  Just... mooch

<Whispers> There's plenty to see without having to hoof to a specific Christmas-themed attraction. Mumsnetters suggest bagging a seat at the front of a double-decker for a trip down Oxford or Regent Street to admire the lights. Alternatively, stop by Selfridges or Harrods for a nosey at the festively dressed windows, soak up the atmosphere in Covent Garden or head to Trafalgar Square to se the ginormous tree.

"How about a walking tour of the best Christmas lights and shop windows - that will keep everyone happy (tip: your partner can take the kids for emergency hot chocolate breaks while you do a swift bit of shopping)."

Last updated: almost 3 years ago