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 have only included the Christmas events and activities for kids in London that still have tickets available as of this writing. I’ll keep adding to this Christmas London Events 2021 list so do check back for more updates ahead of the festive season.
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 will go on general sale at 10am on Friday 15 October 2021
Book Storytime with Father Christmas tickets from 15 October 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: 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 a session to Meet Santa at the London Zoo
Book entry tickets for the ZSL London Zoo
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.
Book the Santa’s Grotto at Alexandra Palace
Gingerbread City Exhibition
4 December 2021 to 9 January 2022
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
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
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
19 November 2021 to 3 January 2022
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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
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.
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
Christmas Light Trails and Winter Illuminations
Christmas at Kew
17 November 2021 – 9 January 2022
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
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
Ice Skating Rinks in London
Natural History Museum
22 October 2021 – 16 January 2022 (closed Christmas Day)
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
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)
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
17 November 2021 – 16 January 2022 (closed Christmas Day)
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
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
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 2021 Christmas in London lights and decorations!
from 4 November 2021
From 4th November, over 600 sparkling 3D and 2D butterflies will flutter through Carnaby this Christmas as part of its Kaleidoscope festive installation.
from 12 November 2021
Regent Street will be switching on their Christmas lights on 12 November. An announcement hasn’t been made yet if there will be the iconic Spirit of Christmas angels (shown below) up again in 2021 or if it will be a different installation. I’ll update this post once that has been confirmed.
2021 Christmas Lights Date TBC
South Molton Street
2021 Christmas Lights Date TBC
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.
Pin for Later – Christmas in London with Kids