Christmas in London with Kids 2021

Christmas in London with Kids

Looking for ideas to celebrate Christmas in London with kids? In this guide, you’ll find a list of 2021 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 2021 list of upcoming Christmas events for kids in London, so do check back for more updates ahead of the festive season.

Christmas events for kids London

Santa’s Grotto at Strand Palace

14 November – 24 December 2021

Strand Palace are bringing the North Pole to London for Christmas, with different lands for children to explore on the way to Santa’s grotto, including a snowy tundra of ice and snow with a few furry creatures and a quintessential Victorian toyshop. Combine with a Christmas afternoon tea (see below, book separately) and a visit to Covent Garden for a fun festive day out in central London.

Tickets: Adult tickets are £5 and child tickets are £25 (includes gift valued at £16)

Book the Santa Grotto Adventure at the Strand Palace

Christmas Afternoon Tea at Strand Palace

Santa’s special festive tea at the Strand Palace will be served in the spacious & opulent art deco tearoom at Haxells, with flavours of the holiday season including turkey and cranberry finger sandwiches. A selection of sweet treats is also available, including Christmas tree shortbread with layers of dark and white chocolate ganache and freshly baked cranberry or plain scones with clotted cream and conserve. Kids can also decorate their own gingerbread man as part of the Festive Tea.

Tickets: Santa’s special Festive tea is priced at £25 for adults and £10 for children

Book Santa’s Festive Tea at the Strand Palace

Christmas at the London Transport Museum

4 – 23 December 2021

Meet Santa and join in the festive activities at the London Transport Museum from 4 December. The London Transport Museum is also located in Covent Garden and 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.

Christmas in London with Kids

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. Santa and his Elf will be at the London Transport Museum from 4 – 23 December 11:00-15:00 daily. 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.

Buy tickets and book timed entry slots to visit the London Transport Museum

Victorian Santa’s Grotto at Museum of London

3 – 23 December 2021

Take a stroll through a twinkling Victorian Walk at the Museum of London, transformed with festive decorations and the sound of carols in the distance, and discover Santa in his secret grotto. Once you’ve found him, tell Santa your Christmas wishes and receive a special gift. You can even take a photo to capture the moment as personal photography is now permitted! Time slots still available to book on the Museum of London website.

Tickets: £12.50 per child (includes gift)

Book tickets for the Victorian Santa’s Grotto at Museum of London

Father Christmas at Royal Albert Hall

2 – 21 December 2021

In this very special festive experience, magic awaits as the porch at Royal Albert Hall is transformed into an enchanting winter grotto 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, ending with each child taking home their very own gift.

Tickets: Child (1+) tickets are £17.50. Babes in arms can attend without a ticket but will not receive a present. Each child place booked can be accompanied by a maximum of 2 adults (adults do not require a ticket) Recommended for children aged 3+ but all are welcome.

Book Storytime with Father Christmas tickets at Royal Albert Hall

The Magic of Christmas at London Zoo

27 November – 3 January 2022

Plan a fun festive family day out this Christmas at the ZSL London Zoo. Take part in a festive family trail to help Santa do some research on what the animals would like for Christmas. Explore the zoo and collect information along the way to report back to Mrs Claus in the polar post room.

Santa’s Grotto at London Zoo [SOLD OUT]: 4-5 and 11-24 December – Join in with festive crafts before meeting Santa in his magical grotto at the heart of the London Zoo and receive a special early Christmas gift to take home. For the Meet Santa experience, you only need to book a date/time slot for each participating child; accompanying adults do not need to book a Meet Santa ticket for themselves. All visitors will need a valid Zoo entry ticket or ZSL membership to enter the Zoo, in addition to any Meet Santa tickets.

Book entry tickets for the ZSL London Zoo

Gingerbread City Exhibition

4 December 2021 – 9 January 2022

Gingerbread City Exhibition London

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. Our kids enjoyed visiting the Gingerbread City exhibition in 2019 (photo shown above) – the detail and creativity was amazing!

Address: 6-7 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8JU

Tickets: Adult and 13+ tickets are £14. Child (ages 3-12) tickets are £8.50. Under 3s enter free

Book tickets for the Gingerbread City Exhibition

Family Workshops at the Gingerbread City Exhibition

London Gingerbread City Exhibition

Family Workshops: There will also be festive family workshops taking place every day during the Gingerbread City exhibition, designed around the exhibition theme of Nature in the City. We have done these workshops twice before in previous years building our own gingerbread house and enjoyed the experience! This year the workshops cost £40 for one adult and one child and include all materials to build a gingerbread house. Note that the workshops do not include a ticket to the exhibition.

Book tickets for the Gingerbread City Exhibition Family Workshops

Christmas at the Tower of London

1 December 2021 – 2 January 2022

Discover the iconic history of the Tower of London this Christmas through the animals that once lived within these walls, with a magical, festive experience for all the family. Explore spectacular displays of festive decorations and illuminated animal-themed areas across the fortress, from majestic elephants to a twinkling winter wonderland scene where polar bears roam and playful ravens nest. The Christmas at the Tower of London experience is included in palace admission (Historic Royal Palace members go free).

Book tickets for the Tower of London

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

19 November 2021 to 3 January 2022

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.

Tickets: Advance bookings are required for 2021 Winter Wonderland. Adult/teen and child (12 and under) ticket admission prices are £5 – £7.50 depending on the time/day. There are additional costs for the ice rink, circus and other attractions. Check the costs for each attraction on the full Hyde Park Winter Wonderland 2021 price guide.

Book your tickets for Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

WB Studio Tour: Hogwarts in the Snow

13 November 2021 – 16 January 2022

Christmas in London with Kids

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. Limited availability for November and December.

Book your tickets at WB Studio Tour London: Making of Harry Potter

Santa’s Grotto at Alexandra Palace

3 – 23 December 2021

Little ones are treated to a meeting with Santa, a small gift plus the opportunity to have their photo taken with Santa at his festive grotto.

Tickets: Child tickets are £14.50. All children must be accompanied by an adult with a maximum of 5 people allowed in at any one time.

Santa’s Grotto at Alexandra Palace [SOLD OUT]

LEGO x Covent Garden

1st December 2021 – 3rd January 2022

LEGO will be returning to Covent Garden for Christmas 2021 with an immersive adventure, featuring the ‘Christmas Carousel of Creativity’ which will include a rocket race car, a firefighting dragon and a cactus Christmas tree. (Photo from last year’s Lego x Covent Garden pop-up event)

Lego Covent Garden 2021

You will be able to walk all around the installation for free and there will be no prior booking required.

Free – no booking required. Find latest information at LEGO x Covent Garden

Meet Father Christmas at the National Gallery

27 November – 23 December, select dates

Come and visit Father Christmas in his London home at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square and help his elves with preparations for the busiest Christmas yet. Family activities include making snowflakes with elves, listen to a story told by elves in a wintry forest, meet Father Christmas and receive a token to trade for a gift in the Sorting Office.

Tickets: Adult tickets cost £12 and child tickets (age 3-11) cost £22

Book tickets to Meet Father Christmas at the National Gallery

Christmas Light Trails and Winter Illuminations

Christmas at Kew

17 November 2021 – 9 January 2022

Christmas at Kew Lights

Kew Gardens has one of the most magical winter trail lights to visit at Christmas in London with kids. We enjoyed visiting in 2019 – the panoramic Palm House light display (shown above) 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 8pm. Standard adult tickets are Off peak £21.50/ Peak £26.50. Child (ages 4 – 15) tickets start from £16.50. Child under 4 enter free.

There are very few time slots left for November and December, however as of this writing there is still plenty of availability to enjoy this lights trail in January.

Book your tickets for Christmas at Kew

ILLUMINATURE

22 October 2021 – 9 January 2022

WWT London Wetland Centre Barnes will have a new light trail running from 4pm to 9pm, starting 22 October 2021! Join friends and family as you explore the after-dark trail through habitats of owls, geese and otters. Walk past reed beds, lagoons and the grazing marsh and see larger-than-life illuminations of iconic wetland wildlife.

Tickets are £17.50 for adults and £12.50 per child, under 4’s visit free. Catering and gifts are also available at the event.

Book your tickets for Illuminature at WWT Wetland Centre London 

Lightopia at Crystal Palace

19 November 2021 – 2 January 2022

The award-winning Lightopia returns to London, to the historic Crystal Palace Park. Promising to be London’s finest festival of lights this Christmas, see Crystal Palace reborn in light, alongside incredible installations and routes.

Tickets: Adult tickets from £19.50. Child (ages 3 – 15) tickets from £13. Infants aged 0-2 visit for free

Book your tickets for Lightopia 2021 at Crystal Palace

Winterfest at Wembley Park

24 November 2021 – 09 January 2022

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.

Free to visit! See latest information about Wembley Park Winterfest

Palace of Stardust at Hampton Court Palace

8 December 2021 – 3 January 2022

This Christmas, Hampton Court Palace will have a lights trail filled with magical illuminations of clocks, moons, planets and sundials. The light trail will wind through some of the palace’s stunning gardens and across a flickering moonlit ball in the East Front Gardens, with seasonal food and drink stalls along the way.

Tickets: Adult tickets from £12.50. Child (5+) tickets are £8. Under 5s go free and do not need a ticket. Historic Royal Palace members get half-price entry and exclusive members only time slots are available for booking.

Book your time slots and buy tickets at Hampton Court Palace

Ice Skating Rinks in London

Natural History Museum

22 October 2021 – 16 January 2022 (closed Christmas Day)

Natural History Museum Ice Rink

After 16 years, this will be the final year of the Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum. Experience the thrill of skating surrounded by fairy lights nestled in frost-covered trees, with the smell of mulled wine in the air.

Tickets: Adults from £12.65; Children from £8.80

Penguin Skate Aids NHM

Skate Aids: The NHM Ice Rink have a limited supply of penguin skate aids, which cost £6 available on a first-come first served basis from the skate hire counter. Skate aids cannot be booked in advance. There are also children’s bob skates available free of charge, these are twin bladed skates that fit over a child’s shoes.

Book your tickets for the Natural History Museum ice rink

Hampton Court Palace

13 November 2021 – 9 January 2022 (closed Christmas Day)

Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink

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 £16.00 to £19.00; Child aged 10-12 from £11.50 to £14.00; Child under 10 from £11.50 to £14.00

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.

Book your tickets (and penguin skate aid if needed) for the Hampton Court Palace ice rink

Somerset House

17 November 2021 – 16 January 2022 (closed Christmas Day)

Ice skating in London

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 £11. 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.

Book your ice skating session at Skate at Somerset House

Queen’s House

18 November 2021 – 9 January 2022 (closed Christmas Day)

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.

Tickets: Adult tickets start from £15. Child tickets start from £8.50.

Skate Aids: Skate Aids cost £5 and are available for purchase with a child ticket – this will pop up when you proceed to basket.

Book your ice skating session at the Queen’s House Ice Rink

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

19 November 2021 to 3 January 2022

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.

Book your tickets for Winter Wonderland Ice Rink

London Christmas Markets

Southbank Centre Winter Market

4 November – 24 December 2021 | 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

12 November 2021 – 9 January 2022 | 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

16 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 | Christmas by the River 2021

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.

Kingston Christmas Market

18 November – 24 December 2021 | 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.

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.

Christmas in London for Kids

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 2021 Christmas in London lights and decorations!

Carnaby

from 4 November 2021 | Carnaby Christmas Kaleidoscope 2021

From 4th November, over 600 sparkling 3D and 2D butterflies will flutter through Carnaby this Christmas as part of its Kaleidoscope festive installation.

Covent Garden

from 9 November 2021 to 3 January 2022 | Christmas in Covent Garden 2021

Covent Garden in London with Kids

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.

Christmas trees will be dressed with snow, ice and Frozen decorations and there will be daily flurries of snow every hour from 12pm until 7 pm, accompanied by an instrumental rendition of Let It Go.

Regent Street

from 13 November 2021 to 2 January 2022 | Regent Street ‘Spirit of Christmas’ 2021

Christmas Lights Regent Street London

The Regent Street Christmas lights will be switched on starting 13 November, with the displays on from 2pm to midnight everyday for a more sustainable display.

Christmas in London with Kids 2021

One of London’s most iconic Christmas lights displays, the Spirit of Christmas angels will be back soaring above the Regent Street and St James’s neighbourhoods.

Chelsea

20 November 2021 | Chelsea Christmas Lights Switch-on 2021

London Christmas Lights 2021

Chelsea will be lighting up for the festive season from 20 November 2021, with Christmas light displays over Sloane Square (shown above), Sloane Street, Duke of York Square, Pavilion Road and the King’s Road.

Mayfair

12 November 2021 | Christmas in Mayfair

Christmas in London with Kids

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. The Christmas light displays are up at South Molton Street (pictured), while the Mount Street Christmas lights will be switched on from 18 November, with carol singers and late night shopping.

I hope you found this guide to Christmas in London with kids helpful! I’ll keep adding to the Christmas Events 2021 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 a “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 18 November 2021 with latest Christmas in London events information.

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Christmas in London with Kids

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