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Fun & Free Things to Do this Christmas and New Year

Days Out

Fun & Free Things to Do this Christmas and New Year

Winter Wonderland


Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Nov 18th – Jan 3rd

London creates its own wonderland, right in the centre of our most famed park. The various rides, ice rink and the two circus offerings from family friendly Zippo’s Circus are all ticketed, but it’s still free to wander around the Park, and it is surprisingly atmospheric in the dark. Little ones too (young?) to ride the Giant Observational Wheel will still enjoy pointing at the lovely colours. You can also watch the skaters on the ice rink, or join in! (There is no age minimum but the smallest skates for hire are a children’s size 9).

Reindeer Petting, Nov 12th – Dec 24th, every Saturday 12pm – 5pm, FREE

On Saturdays, head down to Covent Garden for the ever-popular tradition of petting Father Christmas’ trusty sleigh-pullers. Make sure you visit before Christmas day, though, as they’ll be too exhausted after the big day to reappear in London! Covent Garden is also hosting other child-friendly events such as gingerbread & cookie making, Christmas decoration making like snowflakes and bunting, and Christmas story-reading by candlelight.

Christmas Lights, London wide, FREE

It’s a lovely family tradition to visit the Christmas lights on some of London’s main shopping streets, such as Oxford Street, Regent’s Street, and St Christopher’s Place.  Make a day of it by combining the lights with visiting the Covent Garden reindeer, and a carol service in Trafalgar Square.


Trafalgar Square, 2nd December lighting, 5th – 22nd December carols, 5pm – 9pm daily, FREE

Every year, Norway gifts London with a special Norwegian Christmas tree to place in the centre of Trafalgar Square. There are also a series of over fifty free carol services throughout the run up to Christmas, making this gorgeous part of London a musical must-visit in the late afternoons.


Southbank Christmas Market, Nov 18th – Dec 24th, FREE

Based on the traditional German Christmas market, there are wooden chalets set up along the river between the Southbank Centre and the London Eye selling everything from jewellery and handmade toys to ornaments, lace and candles. The children’s carousel is a good place to stop and enjoy a bratwurst and glass of mulled wine, while the children can munch on a delicious salted pretzel, a sweet crepe or a bag of roasted almond.


The Great Christmas Pudding Race, Sat 3rd December, 11am, Covent Garden, FREE

Head down to Covent Garden if you think you’d enjoy watching grownups racing each other, wearing silly costumes and carrying Christmas puds. The Pudding Race is held each year to raise money for Cancer Research UK, and is guaranteed to make the audience laugh.


The Museum of Childhood, Mrs Santa’s Craft Corner, 26th & 27th November, 3rd & 4th December, 12-4pm

Mrs Santa invites you to her craft corner, where all manner of festive treats are being created. Pay her a visit in the afternoon and learn how to make pompoms, Christmas crackers and fairy pictures. There are craft tables with knitted toys and gifts in case you feel like doing a little shopping. All donations go towards CSV – the RSVP's charitable campaigns for children in need.


The Museum of Childhood, Grand Explorers, Tuesdays from 8th Nov – 13th Dec, 3.30pm-5pm

Here’s an activity exclusively for grandparents! Send granny, granddad and grandchild off to the Grand Explorers workshop, where they will spend 90 minutes with Magic Me artists, creating storybooks and film animation to tell their own made up stories about childhood, growing up or whatever they fancy! At the end of the workshop series, all the mums and dads are invited to watch a showcase featuring all their families hard work. (5-11yrs).

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