December is a month devoted to festive celebrations in London, and the city’s Christmas spirit is wonderfully infectious. Guests staying at any of our London hotels over the holiday season will have plenty of opportunities to join in the celebrations and experience some seasonal British traditions. From a classic winter ballet to a Christmas Day swimming race, these December events in London are not to be missed.
Christmas at Kew
A seasonal celebration at the UK’s foremost botanic gardens, Christmas at Kew is a stunning after-dark light show. Follow the illuminated trail, which features over one million lights, and showcases some of the Gardens’ most beautiful buildings and landscapes.
22nd November 2017-1st January 2018, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Greenwich Wintertime Festival
Set in the scenic surroundings of Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College, the Wintertime Festival promises a festive experience to remember. Combining classic Christmas traditions with new ideas, visitors can take a spin on the ice rink and be entertained by live music, DJ’s, theatre and kids shows as well as street performers and a silent disco. There’s also a gourmet Christmas market serving up the best holiday food and drink.
1st-31st December 2017, Old Royal Naval College
Great Christmas Pudding Race
A light-hearted and hilarious festive event, the Great Christmas Pudding Race also raises a significant amount of money for charity. Taking place in Covent Garden, festively dressed participants must brave a series of obstacles whilst carrying a Christmas Pudding. Spectators can enjoy live music and entertainment whilst cheering on contenders.
2nd December 2017, Covent Garden
Father Christmas at The Hall
Discover a festive wonderland inside London’s famous Royal Albert Hall, where children are invited to participate in an immersive and thoroughly enjoyable Christmas experience. Father Christmas has become stuck at the Hall and his sleigh needs repairing, but fortunately, young visitors can help him out by taking part in interactive games and experiences. What’s more, children will also meet Father Christmas and receive a special present.
5th-24th December 2017, Royal Albert Hall
Olympia Horse Show
A six-day event that combines world-class equestrian action with plenty of festive cheer, Olympia Horse Show is a historic and much loved spectacle. Not only will you see some of the world’s finest riders compete in show jumping and dressage, but you’ll also get a good dose of seasonal entertainment.
12th-18th December 2017, Olympia London
English National Ballet, Nutcracker at London Coliseum
An outing that all the family will enjoy, English National Ballet brings Tchaikovsky’s Christmas masterpiece to life with over 100 dancers and musicians. Set on Christmas Eve, this is an enchanting production of the famous winter tale.
13th December 2017-6th January 2018, London Coliseum
ABBA: Super Troupers
An immersive and highly enjoyable exhibition, ABBA: Super Troupers allows visitors to relive the ABBA mania that swept through Britain in the 1970s. Accompanied by a tour guide, expect to see previously unseen items such as the band’s personal notes and extravagant costumes.
14th December 2017- 29th April 2018, Southbank Centre
Peter Pan Cup
A very British tradition, the Serpentine Swimming Club celebrates Christmas Day by jumping into the icy waters of the Hyde Park Lake. Only experienced members of the club should brave this 100-yard race, but this lively event is certainly worth watching.
25th December 2017, Serpentine Lake, Hyde Park
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
Welcome 2018 with London’s spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display. As Big Ben strikes twelve, crowds of revellers line the banks of the Thames to admire the mesmerizing display over the London Eye.
31st December 2017-1st January 2018, Victoria Embankment
Experience the festive magic of London in December at any one of Red Carnation’s London hotels.
Image Credits: Lead image © Raymond Gubby. Christmas at Kew © Jeff Eden. Greenwich Wintertime Festival © Greenwich Wintertime Festival. The Great Christmas Pudding Race ©The Great Christmas Pudding Race. Olympia Horse Show © Kit Houghton. Nutcracker © Jason Bell and Charlotte Wilkinson Studio. ABBA © Southbank. Serpentine lake © iStock/DavidCallan.