London sure is a sight to see during the winter months, if you can get past the chill-your-bones air. And regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it is worth getting out and seeing the festive decorations. But maybe you’re not sure where to start!

That’s where Insider London comes in. We’ve collected 25 exciting and unique things to do this holiday season. Don’t see your favourite pastime on the list? Why not leave a comment below and let us know where we’ve gone wrong!

london-christmas-tree

  1. It may be cold and it could snow this Christmas, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a little tour on the Thames. Especially when there’s food involved. City Cruises will be running special boat tours and even a Christmas party on Christmas Day. Prices range from £15 – £115, depending on when you choose to sail the Thames.

  2. No Christmas itinerary would be complete without a stroll through the streets to see all the lights. It’s also, of course, the cheapest way to celebrate the holidays. You can even get your holiday shopping done! Carnaby Street, Oxford Street,  and Covent Garden are some of the most popular sites to see.

  3. Starting November 15th, the Southbank Centre Christmas Market at the London Eye will be open. There are plenty of browsable stands, decorative lights, food, carollers, and even a visit from Santa Claus! There’s also the Belgravia Christmas Sunday at Elizabeth Street and Pimlico Road, where you can browse gifts ranging from jewellery to home interior while watching jugglers and listening to trumpeteers.

  4. Starting November 22nd, Syon Park will open their gates for their annual Enchanted Woodland event. The event will be open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5:00pm to 8:00pm until December 8th. Tickets are only £7.00 for adults and £3.00 for children. The walks, on average, take around an hour, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes!

  5. From November 29th to January 5th, the Soho Theatre is showing “a darkly magical, weird and wonderful Christmas musical” entitled The Night Before Christmas. Tickets range from £15 to £25, depending on which day you choose to attend.

  6. Ice Skating at The Natural History Museum: The ice rink will be set up until January 5th 2014, so you’ll have plenty of time to grab your skates and glide on the museum’s 950 square-metre rink. But if you’re not ready to show off your skating skills, why not take some time and view the grand Christmas tree or sing along to some Christmas music.

  7. From November 14th to January 5th, Somerset House will be opening their ice rinks to the public. Time slots run for an hour each and start at 10, or you can book a day ticket which must be purchased on-site.

  8. There are only a few dates left, so you should book your tickets for The Nutcracker at The Royal House Opera. The classic  play, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s score, follows the story of a young girl whose enchanted Christmas present takes her on an adventure.

  9. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is an actual winter wonderland. Inside the park, you’ll find an ice rink, the Magical Ice Kingdom, and even a circus! The wonderland opened November 22nd and runs until January 5th, and starts each day at 10. What’s even more wonderful about the winter wonderland is that admission is free. Bring all of your little elf friends to visit Santa or take a trip on the giant observation wheel.

london-christmas-ornaments-lights

10. Adapted from Raymond Briggs’ book, Father Christmas will be at the Lyric Theatre throughout the Christmas period. There is even the option to attend a Messy Play, which gives you the option to join in on arts and crafts after the show. Tickets range from £8 to £10 and it runs for about 50 minutes.

  1. Ever wondered how Christmas celebration has changed over the years? Each year, the Geffrye Museum puts together a Christmas transformation of their period rooms, giving guests a glimpse into the years past. There’s even a chance to join in on the burning of the holly and ivy, with carol singing, and stories to delight. Entry is free and the event runs from November 26th until January 5th.

  2. The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree lighting takes place on December 5th; a torchlit procession for the Blessing of the Crib takes place on December 8th; and Carol Singing begins on December 9th. The carols will be sung from 16.00 to 20.00 on weekdays and from 14.00 to 18.00 on weekends. Of course, all events are free and are outside, so be sure to dress warm.

  3. What’s better than dressing up in a Santa Suit and gallivanting around London pubs for an entire evening? Apparently nothing, since there are quite a few going on this season. [

    London sure is a sight to see during the winter months, if you can get past the chill-your-bones air. And regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it is worth getting out and seeing the festive decorations. But maybe you’re not sure where to start!

That’s where Insider London comes in. We’ve collected 25 exciting and unique things to do this holiday season. Don’t see your favourite pastime on the list? Why not leave a comment below and let us know where we’ve gone wrong!

london-christmas-tree

  1. It may be cold and it could snow this Christmas, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a little tour on the Thames. Especially when there’s food involved. City Cruises will be running special boat tours and even a Christmas party on Christmas Day. Prices range from £15 – £115, depending on when you choose to sail the Thames.

  2. No Christmas itinerary would be complete without a stroll through the streets to see all the lights. It’s also, of course, the cheapest way to celebrate the holidays. You can even get your holiday shopping done! Carnaby Street, Oxford Street,  and Covent Garden are some of the most popular sites to see.

  3. Starting November 15th, the Southbank Centre Christmas Market at the London Eye will be open. There are plenty of browsable stands, decorative lights, food, carollers, and even a visit from Santa Claus! There’s also the Belgravia Christmas Sunday at Elizabeth Street and Pimlico Road, where you can browse gifts ranging from jewellery to home interior while watching jugglers and listening to trumpeteers.

  4. Starting November 22nd, Syon Park will open their gates for their annual Enchanted Woodland event. The event will be open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 5:00pm to 8:00pm until December 8th. Tickets are only £7.00 for adults and £3.00 for children. The walks, on average, take around an hour, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and warm clothes!

  5. From November 29th to January 5th, the Soho Theatre is showing “a darkly magical, weird and wonderful Christmas musical” entitled The Night Before Christmas. Tickets range from £15 to £25, depending on which day you choose to attend.

  6. Ice Skating at The Natural History Museum: The ice rink will be set up until January 5th 2014, so you’ll have plenty of time to grab your skates and glide on the museum’s 950 square-metre rink. But if you’re not ready to show off your skating skills, why not take some time and view the grand Christmas tree or sing along to some Christmas music.

  7. From November 14th to January 5th, Somerset House will be opening their ice rinks to the public. Time slots run for an hour each and start at 10, or you can book a day ticket which must be purchased on-site.

  8. There are only a few dates left, so you should book your tickets for The Nutcracker at The Royal House Opera. The classic  play, accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s score, follows the story of a young girl whose enchanted Christmas present takes her on an adventure.

  9. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is an actual winter wonderland. Inside the park, you’ll find an ice rink, the Magical Ice Kingdom, and even a circus! The wonderland opened November 22nd and runs until January 5th, and starts each day at 10. What’s even more wonderful about the winter wonderland is that admission is free. Bring all of your little elf friends to visit Santa or take a trip on the giant observation wheel.

london-christmas-ornaments-lights

10. Adapted from Raymond Briggs’ book, Father Christmas will be at the Lyric Theatre throughout the Christmas period. There is even the option to attend a Messy Play, which gives you the option to join in on arts and crafts after the show. Tickets range from £8 to £10 and it runs for about 50 minutes.

  1. Ever wondered how Christmas celebration has changed over the years? Each year, the Geffrye Museum puts together a Christmas transformation of their period rooms, giving guests a glimpse into the years past. There’s even a chance to join in on the burning of the holly and ivy, with carol singing, and stories to delight. Entry is free and the event runs from November 26th until January 5th.

  2. The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree lighting takes place on December 5th; a torchlit procession for the Blessing of the Crib takes place on December 8th; and Carol Singing begins on December 9th. The carols will be sung from 16.00 to 20.00 on weekdays and from 14.00 to 18.00 on weekends. Of course, all events are free and are outside, so be sure to dress warm.

  3. What’s better than dressing up in a Santa Suit and gallivanting around London pubs for an entire evening? Apparently nothing, since there are quite a few going on this season.](http://www.designmynight.com/london/bars/1-big-night-out-pub-crawl-leicester-square/santa-suit-christmas-pub-crawl-weekender) is holding one on December 20th and 21st, tickets are £25, and santa suits are not mandatory. There’s also Fanatics Santa Pub Crawl, which is quite different from the aforementioned one. The crawl starts at 10 am on December 8th, tickets include a classic santa suit, and a double-decker bus. Or how about a charity pub crawl? SantaLash does just that! Last years pub crawl raised a whopping £20,000.

  4. For Companies: If you’re feeling particularly royal this holiday season, why not reserve a seat at Warwick Castle? The parties start November 15th and run through January with meals between £50 and £65 per person. The menus are beautifully extravagant and you can even attend a tour of the castle. For Individuals: If there’s one thing missing from your holiday season itinerary, it’s having breakfast with Santa Claus himself. Dinners and lunches run every weekend during December and prices range depending on the meal and age of attendee.

  5. From November 23rd to December 20th, Kensington Palace will be transformed into an advent calendar. Each day will feature a reveal based on the young Princess Victoria’s Christmas diary entries and letters. Tickets for adults are £14.50 and kids are free.

  6. Nothing screams the holiday season like an entire weekend of chocolate. Not only does the aptly named Chocolate Festival promote chocolatiers around the UK, but there will also be a series of Masters of Chocolate masterclasses. There will also be a wide range of sweets and treats as well as chocolate-themed gifts! The event runs from December 13th to the 15th and begins around noon each day.

  7. The Charles Dickens Museum of London is hosting several Dickens themed Christmas events. For starters, Tim Corroll will be directing a retelling of Dickens’ classic Christmas tale from Dec 17th until the 21st. Tickets are £16, entry to the museum starts at 6:30pm, and the performance begins at 7:30pm. Another event, called A Very Dickensian Christmas,  will be held between December 24th to the 26th from 10 am to 5pm each day. You can enjoy warming cider while enjoying the festive greenery and authentic Victorian decorations.

  8. If you’ve always dreamed about hosting a lumberjack themed party, or being a lumberjack in general, then boy do I have some good news. Platterform is once again hosting Skylodge, a Lumberjack’s dream escape to rediscover the joys of Lumberjack Olympic Games, a Big Foot Film Club, and Campfire Sessions. The full launch is on November 28th, so be ready to book your tickets soon!

  9. Looking to give your loved ones a more original gift this year? Why not attend the Designers/Makers Christmas Market from December 16th to December 22nd? Artists and designers around the UK will be selling textiles, ceramics, prints, and other unique gifts from 11:00 to 20:00 each day. The market will also include workshops and demonstrations on creating affordable gifts.

20. From 1979 to 1999, Dennis Seversset about to turn his house into a “still-life drama” recreating what it might have been like for a family of Huguenot silk weavers. For an entire month (December 1st to January 3rd), the house will transformed for the holidays and guests will be allowed to wander through the house’s ten rooms and sit by a warming fire. The daytime visit lasts roughly 45 minute, while the Silent Night tours last an hour and a half.

  1. This year, the Menorah in Trafalgar Square was lit by the Mayor of London on November 28th at 18:00. An additional candle will be lit each night following. “The event is London’s brightest lighting of the biggest Menorah in Europe, and will include a fantastic variety of live performances, appearances by ‘Dreidleman’, and the distribution of thousands of doughnuts and Chanukah gelt to attendees.”

  2. A Vintage Christmas market? A roller derby disco? A real ale festival? What could be better?! During the weekend of December 6th, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be decorated in vintage fashion with Victorian funfair rides, DJs, and bands galore. The event is free with only small charges for fairground activities.

  3. From November 28th to January 4th, Kew Gardens will be opening their doors after dark to show off an illuminated trail over a dazzling winter landscape. The gardens open at 16:30 and close at 22:00. Adult tickets are £12.50 and kids are £8.00. You also have the option of buying a family ticket for £38. There’s even a free Christmas village open during the illuminated trail visits.

  4. Ebenezer Scrooge is back at it. Hidden City’s Scrooge’s Cryptic Christmas Trail will test your Christmas spirit in the form of a treasure hunt. Scrooge’s ghost fears that London has, once again, lost its Christmas spirit. Clues are sent out via text message, and teams are rewarded with festive treats along the way. That is, if they prove they are keeping the Christmas spirit alive.

  5. Last but not least, if you’re in a bind to host a Christmas Party, why not let Insider London take some of the stress off your shoulders? Insider London has years of experience in organising and delivering Christmas tours and events that are actually worth getting excited about. Far from the dull cliches of the office party, our Christmas tours are unique and memorable.

You could also host a Crisis Christmas Party and help raise money for the homeless or participate in the Christmas Pudding Race and help raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Think we’re still missing something or have something else to recommend? Shoot us a tweet at @insiderlondon or leave a comment below and let us know!