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33 things to do on Christmas Eve in London

Whether you're looking for last-minute shopping ideas or festive carol concerts, find things to do in London on Christmas Eve with our guide.

Christmas shows in London

A cast of Circus 1903 performers on stage under purple and orange lights
Circus 1903 performers on stage © See Tickets. Image courtesy of See Tickets.

See a top musical in London or find special festive shows or pantomimes from London's theatres the day before Christmas.

  1. Book a spot for classic musicals, such as The Lion King and Wicked, or follow two brothers torn apart by fate in The Prince of Egypt.
  2. Laugh at the escapades of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society in The Play That Goes Wrong or a set of hapless magicians in Magic Goes Wrong.
  3. Be amazed by the acts as Circus 1903 brings plenty of acrobatics, stunts and puppetry to the Southbank Centre.
  4. Treat the kids to fun-filled shows for the little ones, including Stick Man, Roald Dahl's Matilda, and Peppa Pig's Best Day Ever.

Find more Christmas shows

Christmas Eve tours of London

Angel-shaped white and yellow lights hang above Regent Street at night.
Regent Street Christmas lights © Shutterstock

Experience all the festive feels during a Christmas Eve tour of London:

  1. Explore the capital while it's dressed in its festive finest during a London Christmas lights tour on an open-top bus.
  2. Go on a London Christmas lights tour and tuck into a three-course dinner, before attending Midnight Mass at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
  3. Experience some of the capital's top attractions with the Total London Experience on Christmas Eve, including the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye and a river cruise.
  4. See famous landmarks sparkle as night falls across the city with the Illuminations of London on Christmas Eve tour.
  5. Soak up the Spirit of London on Christmas Eve with a fun-packed river cruise and bus tour stopping at the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace.
  6. Enjoy a day trip from London to visit Windsor Castle and Stonehenge this Christmas Eve.
  7. Venture south of London for the day with a trip to Leeds Castle, Canterbury and the White Cliffs of Dover.
  8. See historic sights on a coach tour to Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, the Cotswolds and Warwick Castle.
  9. Or view iconic Stonehenge on a number of tours; whether a morning tour of the monument, in combination with Windsor Castle and Oxford or alongside a visit to the Roman Baths in Bath.

London Christmas carols and concerts

Make the most of your London Christmas break with a carol concert or a traditional service:

  1. Book ahead to catch the Christmas Eve carol service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
  2. Sing along to carols at the Royal Albert Hall.

Check back nearer the time for confirmation on more Christmas Eve concerts and services.

Christmas things to do in London

Flaming puddings at Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros. Studios The Making of Harry Potter
Flaming Christmas Puddings at Hogwarts in the Snow. TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. Image courtesy of Fever PR.

Soak up the seasonal atmosphere before the big day, from twinkling lights and dazzling trees to Christmas markets in London: 

  1. Head to Hogwarts in the Snow to follow in the footsteps of your favourite wizard this Christmas Eve at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
  2. Tick off some of the top London attractions from your Christmas wish list – make sure to check individual opening times and book tickets in advance.
  3. Stroll around the city in search of the best London Christmas lights, while waiting for Father Christmas to visit.
  4. Fill your Instagram with some of the coolest Christmas trees in the capital.
  5. Pick up warming treats, London Christmas ornaments and last-minute presents at Christmas markets across the city. 

Last-minute London Christmas shopping

Don't panic! Head to some of the best places for Christmas shopping in London to pick up any last-minute gifts: 

  1. Admire seasonal window displays and hunt for presents at London department stores.
  2. Shop 'til you drop in the ultimate Christmas shopping hotspots, including Oxford StreetRegent Street, Carnaby and Bond Street.
  3. Find handmade gifts, foodie treats and one-of-a-kind items at one of the London Christmas markets.

Christmas ice skating in London

A lady, dressed in a black coat and white hat, stands next to a child wearing a white hat and red coat on an ice rink at night. The child is holding onto a penguin-shaped stabiliser and an illuminated Christmas tree and the Natural History Museum are in the background.
Ice skating at the Natural History Museum © visitlondon.com

Go for a twirl on one of London’s top ice skating rinks this Christmas Eve: 

  1. Whizz underneath twinkling lights and take in quayside views on the rink at Skylight.
  2. Get in the festive spirit and soak up views of Hampton Court Palace while twirling around the beautiful ice rink.
  3. Skate in the shadow of skyscrapers at the iconic ice rink in Canary Wharf.
  4. Take in the stunning surroundings at the Natural History Museum Ice Rink.
  5. Or hang out on ice at the Queen's House rink. 

London Christmas Eve dinner and drinksĀ 

Toast to the festive season in a lively bar or enjoy a pre-Christmas dinner out in London:

  1. Get Christmas off to a cracking start with a Christmas Eve meal at one of London's top restaurants.
  2. Treat yourself to sumptuous food from a Michelin-starred restaurant, a feast created by a celebrity chef or a dinner at one of London's most romantic restaurants.
  3. Celebrate the holidays with some bubbly at swanky champagne bars.
  4. Continue the festivities with a drink and stunning view at one of London's rooftop bars, many of which have heated terraces and themed winter pop-ups.
  5. Snuggle up in front of an open fire in one of the capital's cosiest pubs.

Travelling around London on Christmas Eve

There are usually changes to some public transport services on Christmas Eve, so make sure to check your route before travelling. 

On the Tube, some services are reduced during the afternoon and evening; while on buses, there is usually no night service.

Travel on the London Overground, DLR, Thames Clippers, National Rail, Gatwick Express, trams and coaches is also affected during Christmas in London. 

Find more information about transport over the festive season or visit the Transport for London website.

For more things to do over the festive period in London, take a look at our guide to Christmas in London, or check out our roundup of things to do in London on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Plus, find more essential Christmas and New Year’s Eve information with our guide to transport and opening times.

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