London Christmas Route
The extraordinary Christmas Lighting, the dining igloos along the river Thames, and the ice rinks with jaw dropping backgrounds of museums and parks, make London one of the world’s best Christmas destinations. Although some of the Christmas lighting has already been up since October, the real Christmas feeling starts to jingle when the seasonal themed pop-up restaurants appear and the winter takes hold of the daylight. For those visiting the city for a couple days in December, you want to make sure to experience the Christmas activities as much as possible. In this London Christmas Route, you’ll be guided through the seasonal highlights of the city in a single walking route.
- Route name: London Christmas Route
- Suggested duration: One day. Actual time walking is 2,5 hours.
- Best by: bike or on foot
- Distance: 12 KM
- Best time of the year: December
- Highlights: Dining igloos along the Thames, Winter WonderLand in Hyde Park, and ice skating at Sommerset House.
The London Christmas Route
Start your London Christmas Route at the Southbank Christmas Market along the Thames, from where you’ll have the best view on the Big Ben and the London Eye. The market is one of the first pop-ups to open, with wooden huts selling gifts and trinkets to take home. You don't need to talk too far to taste some delicious food either. Jimmy’s Lodge at the South Bank allows you to order their cheese fondue from their special Christmas menu in one of the winter igloos along the Thames. It cannot get any more romantic than that! Make sure to reserve your igloo in time, as this is a fairly popular dining spot for locals as well.
From the Southbank, you can cross the Westminster Bridge, passing the Big Ben Tower and Parliament Square, to get to Westminster Abbey. The stunning gothic cathedral will host several concerts in the weeks before Christmas day, and an actual Christmas display is set on the 25th. Continue your route towards the Natural History Museum, where an ice rink is placed in its courtyard around a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. The ice rink is one of the most enchanting rinks of London to show off your pivots and practices. To give your sore feet a break, Hotel Chocolat is providing hot chocolates, cream teas and prosecco on the side.
Time for some Christmas shopping at one of the best places to experience the festivity Harrods. The world-famous department store has adorned its facade with over 10,000 bulbs and has also decorated the inside to fit the occasion. You’re not far away from one of the largest festivities in the city now at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. This Christmas fun fair is for everyone, as it’s visited by Londoners, daytrippers and travelers. Besides the many lights and Christmas decorations you can spot here, it hosts the world’s largest transportable rollercoaster (alongside seven other theme park rides) and an ice rink.
After spinning out-of-control in one of the rollercoasters, it’s time to set foot in London's largest Christmas Light Displays on Oxford Street. Known as the first lights to be on display, this mile-long lighting stream has over 750,000 LED lights and 1,778 bulbs along the shopping street. Continue your walk towards Regent Street, which displays an angelic lighting design capturing everyone’s imagination, and head over to Carnaby Street Christmas Lights. As with last year’s display, which was the talk of the town, this year's comes with a groovy sixties design, they had to outdo themselves once more. With brightly colored parrots flying over the streets, this year’s theme channels a warmer climate to the Christmas season.
The London Christmas Route is almost coming to an end, but not before arriving at Covent Garden, one of the largest outdoor Christmas piazzas. The garden is one of the busiest in England and is decorated this year with a sparkly reindeer statue and 40 lit mistletoe chandeliers in the arcade. The romance is not far to be found. Last stop on the route is the elegant icing rink of Somerset House, with an overflow of lights, baubles, icicles, and Christmas trees. This year’s newest addition is the introduction of Skate Lates evening parties, which will elevate your spins, twirls and disco glitter to the next level!
Suggested reading for Christmas:
- The Berlin Christmas Route
- The Antwerp Christmas Route
- The Dusseldorf Christmas Route
- The New York Christmas Route
- The Budapest Christmas Route