Looking for ideas to celebrate Christmas in London with kids? In this guide, you’ll find a list of 2022 festive events and activities for kids in London, the best Christmas lights and decorations in London, and where to book tickets to meet Father Christmas.
Christmas Events for Kids in London
I will keep adding to this 2022 list of upcoming Christmas events for kids in London, so do check back for more updates ahead of the festive season.
Santa’s Grotto at Bentalls Kingston
Various dates, November – December 2022
Santa is setting up his workshop in Bentalls Kingston from 17 November. Not only will you meet the man himself, sit in his famous sleigh and sing a festive tune with the reindeers, but guests will also help the mischievous elves with a spot of crafting, by decorating a bespoke ceramic plate to take home, ready to top with Christmas Eve treats for Santa – plus a carrot for Rudolph, of course.
The magical Santa’s Grotto at Bentalls Kingston will be aglow on selected dates in November and then daily throughout December. The tickets are priced at £11 per person. Every attendee must purchase a ticket, under 2’s go free.
Book tickets for Santa’s Grotto at Bentalls Kingston
Santa’s Grotto at Hamley’s
12 November – 24 December 2022
Tickets are now available for Hamley’s festive Santa’s Grotto experience at their Regent Street store this Christmas. Enchanted elves will welcome you to their Christmas festivities and the opportunity for your family to meet Santa.
To make your time with Jolly St Nick even more special, he has a treat waiting for you to take home. Don’t forget to tell Hamley’s your family members’ names and favourite things to do so their toy testing elves can let Santa know before you arrive.
One ticket costs £50 and allows access for up to 3 people. Additional people cost £15 each, up to a total of 6 people (applicable for all ages). You can take your own snaps of your experience with Santa, but there is also an optional photo to purchase at the end of your visit. Recommended for ages 2 to 8 years old.
Book tickets for Santa’s Grotto at Hamley’s
Enchanted Woodland at Syon House
Various dates, November 2022
Syon Park once again hosts the Enchanted Woodland during November 2022, which sees the 600-year-old gardens transformed by a display of lights and music. Now in its 15th year the trail winds through the arboretum, passing the sixteenth century Syon House, and ends at the spectacular Great Conservatory.
An array of lighting effects – from high-tech lasers to low tech candles – illuminate the visitor’s way through the trees.
Book tickets for the Enchanted Woodland at Syon House
Christmas at Kew
16 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
Kew Gardens has one of the most magical winter trail lights to visit at Christmas in London with kids. The panoramic Palm House light display was one of our favourite parts of the Christmas at Kew trail.
There are also sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections, flickering flames in the Fire Garden, and the chance to see Father Christmas. Independent street food vendors offer tasty festive delights, from hot food and sweet treats to spiced winter warmers and hot chocolate.
Tickets: Trails start between 4.20pm and 8.20pm and the Gardens close at 10pm. Standard adult tickets are Off peak £21.50/ Peak £28. Child (ages 4 – 15) tickets start from £16.50. Child under 4 enter free.
Book your tickets for Christmas at Kew
WB Studio Tour: Hogwarts in the Snow
12 November 2022 – 15 January 2023
One of our favourite places to visit during the festive season is Warner Bros. Studio Tour, just outside London in Leavesden, for the annual Hogwarts in the Snow feature. In addition to seeing the Great Hall dressed up for Christmas with amazing details, the Forbidden Forest will also undergo a wintery transformation. It is an amazing and unique experience seeing the areas of the Harry Potter set, and the Hogwarts castle model, decorated as it was during the winter and Christmas scenes in the movies.
Read more about this annual Christmas feature in my Harry Potter Studio Tour review: Hogwarts in the Snow London
Tickets: Adult tickets from £49.95. Child (ages 4+) tickets from £39.95. Under 4s enter free. Tickets now on sale
Book your tickets at WB Studio Tour London: Making of Harry Potter
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023
Located in the heart of London, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is one of the top places to visit for Christmas in London with kids, offering a wide variety of attractions, activities, entertainment, food and drinks. There’s an ice skating rink, Magical Ice Kingdom, Zippos Christmas Circus and over 100 fairground rides for all ages.
Santa’s Grotto at Winter Wonderland: Santa Land for young children offers various kids’ rides plus the change to meet Santa himself! It is free to enter the Santa’s grotto and run on a first come, first served basis.
Website: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Jack and the Beanstalk at Lyric Hammersmith
19 November 2022 – 7 January 2023
Classic fairy-tale Jack and the Beanstalk gets the full Lyric treatment this panto season, complete with live music, dance and whip-smart comedy, a perfect night out for the whole family. Recommended for ages 6+. Tickets from £10.
Book tickets for Jack and the Beanstalk at Lyric Hammersmith
Christmas at the Tower of London
23 November 2022 – 03 January 2023 (except 24, 25, 26 December and 01 January)
This Christmas, see the 12 Days of Christmas brought to life in unique Tower of London style, with the famous fortress transformed like never before with magical festive displays. Discover 9 rowdy ravens, seek out a Christmas tree for each of Henry VIII’s wives, or snap a photo with 3 lordly life-size lions in support of England’s World Cup campaign.
Pick up a special trail map and find all the song’s famous verses and complete a perfect festive day out with an indulgent mince pie and warming hot chocolate from the café.
Book tickets for the Tower of London
Magic of Christmas at ZSL London Zoo
26 November 2022 – 3 January 2023
Experience the Magic of Christmas on a festive family day out at London Zoo. You can enjoy cookie decorating with Mrs Claus, Christmas festivities, animal crafts and meet Santa’s Chief Elf in the Polar Post Room.
There will also be the opportunity to meet Santa himself! Little ones can join in festive crafts before meeting Santa in his magical grotto at the heart of the Zoo and receive a very special early Christmas gift to take home. Meet Santa tickets have not yet been released. I will update this post once tickets are made available.
Book tickets for ZSL London Zoo
Enchanted Eltham at Eltham Palace & Gardens
Various dates, December 2022
Experience the past in a spectacular new light this December at Eltham Palace & Gardens in Greenwich. Explore the grounds and gardens to discover a magical world of illumination, sound and colour. Warm up with a glass of mulled wine, toast a marshmallow under the night sky or hop on a traditional fairground ride.
Timeslots are available to book for every 15 minutes from 4pm to 7pm on the following days: 2 – 4, 8 – 11, 15 – 18, 20 – 23, 27 – 30 December 2022.
Book tickets at Eltham Palace & Gardens
Storytime with Father Christmas at Royal Albert Hall
2 – 20 December 2022
In this very special festive experience, magic awaits as the porch at Royal Albert Hall is transformed into an enchanting North Pole street for Storytime with Father Christmas.
Father Christmas and his merry head elf Crumpet will take you on a joyful journey in a charming Christmas Storytime session, featuring Chris Naylor-Ballesteros’ ‘Tiny Reindeer’, ending with each child taking home their own gift.
Book tickets for Storytime with Father Christmas at Royal Albert Hall
Festive Fayre at Hampton Court Palace
2 – 4 December 2022 | Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre
Hampton Court Palace courtyards will be transformed into a food-lover’s Christmas wonderland, on 2 -4 December, full of delicious artisan food and drink, as well as perfect gifts to pick up for loved ones. Eat, drink, shop and be merry, all whilst soaking up the atmosphere and spirit of the season, with festive entertainment from the East Front bandstand.
Entry to the Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre is included in your Hampton Court Palace admission ticket.
Book tickets for Hampton Court Palace
Palace of Light at Hampton Court Palace
7 December 2022 – 2 January 2023 (excluding 12-13, 24, 25, 26 December)
Palace of Light, the annual festive lantern and light experience at Hampton Court Palace, will be on from 7 December. Encounter curious creatures, from glittering unicorns to polka-dot panthers and from lurking lions to galloping greyhounds, as you wander through the atmospheric gardens and historic palace courtyards after dark.
These captivating luminous displays are created by a skilled team of artists and craftspeople, and are inspired by the Royal Beasts, a collection of heraldic statues commissioned for Hampton Court by Henry VIII himself. Allow around 45 – 60 minutes to enjoy the experience at a leisurely pace and enjoy delicious food and drink.
Book tickets for Palace of Light at Hampton Court Palace
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol at Southbank Centre
8 December 2022 – 8 January 2023
Dickens’ classic tale gets a Tennessee twist in an all-new musical at the Southbank Centre, with a soundtrack written by the Queen of Country herself.
Set during the 1930s in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee, this heart-warming and truly unforgettable production imagines Ebenezer Scrooge as the owner of a mining company town, where his callous greed blinds him to the joys and gifts of the season. As a Christmas Eve snowstorm approaches, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who compel him to see life anew and discover that love is the greatest and most precious gift we have.
Recommended for ages 8+. Tickets from £18.50.
Book tickets for Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol at Southbank Centre
Royal Albert Hall Presents: My Christmas Orchestral Adventure
11 December 2022
My Christmas Orchestral Adventure returns in 2022 and Albert’s Orchestra is poised and ready for a magical journey through classical music. Performance times are at 1pm and 4.30pm.
Book tickets at the Royal Albert Hall
Christmas at the London Transport Museum
December 2022 Dates TBA
Meet Santa and join in the festive activities at the London Transport Museum. Since the London Transport Museum is located in Covent Garden, planning a visit at the museum is one of our favourite ways to make a full family day out of enjoying the festive atmosphere of the area.
This Christmas at the London Transport Museum, families can participate in the new interactive game ‘Fix Santa’s Sleigh!’, have a chance to meet Santa and his Elf in a magical winter garden and follow a festive trail around the Museum galleries with weekly prizes up for grabs. This is a great Santa experience for young children since it’s low key, there is no extra charge or specific time slot and families can enjoy the museum, play areas and festive activities at their own pace.
Tickets: Adult tickets are £18.50 and valid for one year. Children and young people under 17 enter free. All visitors, including children, are required to have a timed entry slot booked in advance.
Website: London Transport Museum
Gingerbread City Exhibition
December 2022 Dates TBA
The Gingerbread City is an annual exhibition where architects, designers and engineers create an entire city made of gingerbread. The aim of the exhibition is to connect the public with architecture through an innovative display designed for the holiday season.
Website: Gingerbread City Exhibition
Winterfest at Wembley Park
2022 Dates TBA
Wembley Park’s free winter lights trail, Winterfest, is returning for 2021. Celebrating togetherness, this year’s Christmas lights theme will be ‘Reunited in Light’, and will feature returning favourites such as London’s largest LED tree and brand-new commissions and art installations.
Website: Wembley Park Winterfest
Ice Skating Rinks in London
16 November 2022 – 15 January 2023
Magnificent ice rink transforms the neoclassical courtyard at Somerset House into the essential winter destination, complete with a glorious 40ft Christmas tree and specially curated decorations from Moët & Chandon.
Tickets: Adult skate tickets from £10. – £22 Child (12 years or under) prices start from £8.50.
Skate Aids: Skate aids are available for children aged age 8 or under. There are a limited number of skate aids that will be available on a first-come-first-served basis and cannot be pre-booked. Please ask one of the Skate at Somerset House ice marshal staff when starting your session if you would like a skate aid.
Website: Skate at Somerset House
Hampton Court Palace
17 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
This beautiful, outdoor, open-air ice rink offers you the chance to glide across the ice under a star-covered sky while surrounded by spectacular views of the historic Tudor palace.
Tickets: Prices vary depending on day: Adults/teens from £17.50 to £20.50; Child aged 3 – 12 years from £13 to £15.50
Skate Aids: The children’s skate aids at the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink cost £5. Limited skate aids are available per session and must be booked in advance when purchasing the ice rink tickets online. The skate aids measure at approximately 78 cm high and are exclusively for children aged 10 and under.
Website: Hampton Court Palace ice rink
The Queen’s House Ice Rink
17 November 2022 – 8 January 2023
This magical open-air ice skating rink takes centre stage once again this festive season in the grounds of Royal Museums Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Queen’s House ice rink will be open from 10am to 9pm, with relaxed sessions available to book.
There will also be Tiny Tots sessions every Tuesday during term time, from 22 November to 13 December, plus 3 January from 11am to 1145am. The Tiny Tots sessions will cost just £5 and applies to children aged 3 to 6 years old. The minimum age to skate is 3 years old.
A 50% discount is also available for children aged 3 to 6 during off-peak sessions until 18:00 Monday-Friday (last skate 17:00).
Tickets: Adult tickets start from £16. Child tickets start from £10.
Skate Aids: Skate Aids cost £5 and are available to book online (subject to availability) with a child ticket
Book tickets for the Queen’s House Ice Rink
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023
Skate at the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink in the heart of London’s Hyde Park at Winter Wonderland this Christmas season. Set under a canopy of twinkly lights and built around the iconic Victorian bandstand, you can hit the ice from 10:00am to 10:00pm daily. Open to all ages and abilities – wheelchairs too.
Tickets: Adult ice rink tickets from £10.50. Children (12 and under) ice rinks tickets from £7.50. Advance bookings are required for 2021 Winter Wonderland. Ice rink tickets are in addition to the Winter Wonderland general admission costs (which are £5 to £7.50 for adults and children depending on time/day).
Skate Aids: Winter Wonderland have a limited supply of penguin skate aids which cost £5 and are available on a first-come first served basis from the skate hire counter. They also have children’s bob skates (twin bladed skates that fit over a child’s shoes) available free of charge. Please speak to any member of Ice Rink staff if you wish to hire a skate aid or require bob skates.
Website: Winter Wonderland Ice Rink
London Christmas Markets
Kingston Christmas Market
10 November – 24 December 2022 | Kingston Christmas Market
Christmas Market set in the traditional market town of Kingston-upon-Thames, featuring over 40 festive market vendors in traditional wooden cabins, an Alpine Village with a fire pit and a vintage carousel. Feast on a hog roast roll, warm up with a mug of mulled wine and enjoy live entertainment under twinkling fairy lights.
Southbank Centre Winter Market
2022 Dates TBA | Southbank Centre Winter Market
Stroll along the Thames under twinkling lights and sample indulgent drinks, scrumptious street food and seasonal goodies from the traditional alpine-style chalets along the Queen’s Walk on London’s South Bank.
Christmas in Leicester Square
2022 Dates TBA | Christmas in Leicester Square
Christmas in Leicester Square transforms the centre of bustling London into a wonderland including traditional Christmas markets with hand-crafted goods and delicious food and drinks, plus a whole host of fantastic shows in the beautiful surrounds of a traditional 1920s spiegeltent.
London Bridge City Christmas by the River
2022 Dates TBA | London Bridge City Events
With stunning views of Tower Bridge, The Tower of London and the iconic City skyline, Christmas by the River is London’s most scenic Christmas market. Discover an array of boutique vendors and delicious pop-up food and drink stalls at London Bridge City from 16 November. Christmas by the River will be open from 11am – 9pm on Sunday – Wednesday and 11am to 10pm Thursday – Saturday.
Christmas Lights in London
One of our favourite things to do at Christmas in London with kids is to take a walk in central London to see the festive lights and decorations. Best places to see Christmas lights in London include Regent Street, Carnaby, Bond Street, Oxford Street, Covent Garden, King’s Road Chelsea and South Molton Street.
I will keep this list updated once more dates are announced for the Christmas lights in London to be switched on – and with new photos once we have the chance to see the 2022 Christmas in London lights and decorations!
2022 Dates TBA | Carnaby
2022 Dates TBA | Christmas in Covent Garden
The Covent Garden Christmas Decorations will be on from 7am until 11pm every day. Along with the Christmas lights, enjoy magical daily snow moments on the West and North Piazzas at Covent Garden, and immerse yourself in the Frozen Forest on the North Piazza.
2022 Dates TBA | Regent Street
The Regent Street Christmas lights will be switched on starting from mid-November, with the displays on from 2pm to midnight everyday for a more sustainable display.
2022 Dates TBA | Duke of York Square
Chelsea will be lighting up for the festive season from late November, with Christmas light displays over Sloane Square (shown above), Sloane Street, Duke of York Square, Pavilion Road and the King’s Road.
2022 Dates TBA | Mayfair
Mayfair always has the best Christmas lights and decorations in London, with over 60,000 sparking lights, extravagant Christmas trees and fantastic window displays to see around the neighbourhood.
The top spots in Mayfair to enjoy the festive atmosphere and decorations are along New Bond Street, South Molton Street and Mount Street.
I hope you found this guide to Christmas in London with kids helpful! I’ll keep adding to the Christmas Events 2022 list and updating the London Christmas lights and decorations list for this festive season so do check back for more updates.
Christmas in London Map
I am also pinning the top places in London to visit for Christmas shopping, festive lights and decorations and ice skating rinks in the “London Christmas Lights and Decorations” Google Map Guide. For a direct link to the map to bookmark, click here. To explore the map, click on the door sign with an arrow just before the map title.
This post was updated on 28 September 2022 with latest Christmas in London events information.
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