The best Christmas events in London to get you in the festive spirit

From rousing renditions of carols to stellar Christmas shows, these are capital’s yuletide events that are not to be missed

The next few weeks sees a host of Christmas events in London that promise to transform the capital into a winter wonderland. Aside from the glittering light trails and magical Christmas trees, there are pop-up events, limited-run shows, carol concerts and more, all designed to get you in a thoroughly Christmassy mood. Here’s our edit of the best Christmas events in London to bring festive cheer.

A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic

Until 6 January 2024

When it comes to Christmas events in London, nothing delivers like the Old Vic’s annual staging of this Charles Dickens classic, which has become one of the capital’s must-see shows. Every year a new actor takes on the role of Scrooge, with Christopher Ecclestone, who you’ll recognise from Doctor Who and Shallow Grave, stepping into the miser’s shoes for 2023. 

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Frances McNamee as Belle, Alastair Parker as Fezziwig, Gemma Knight Jones as Ghost of Christmas Present, Julie Jupp as Ghost of Christmas Past and Samuel Townsend as Fred in A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic (2023), photo by Manuel Harlan

The joyous production – adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne – fully immerses the audience in the action, with mince pies, music and merriment galore. This year, the Old Vic will also be raising money in aid of food charity City Harvest during the show’s run, with donations taken at the end of every performance. 

The Cut, Southwark, London SE1 8NB

Carols at the Royal Albert Hall

16 – 24 December

If you’re looking for a hearty Christmas singalong in one of London’s most spectacular venues, look no further. Over the years, Carols at the Royal Albert Hall has come to be known as one of the most festive tickets in town, and with good reason.

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Presented by Greg Beardsell and Jess Gillam, this year the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Choral Society and the National Youth Choir will be on hand to perform some of our best-loved carols. Come to sing along with the 5,000-strong audience and experience a taste of pure Christmas joy. 

Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP

The Prince Charles Cinema’s Christmas Season

Until 28 December

Watching a classic Christmas film never fails to get us in the festive spirit, and it’s even better if you can watch it in one of London’s loveliest independent cinemas. Since opening over 60 years ago in the heart of the West End, the Prince Charles Cinema has been home to a rotating programme of cult, arthouse and classic films, with the odd singalong viewing thrown in for good measure.

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Their Christmas line-up is a festive delight, packed full of screenings of gems like It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf and Love Actually. Can’t decide what to watch? Why not go along to their Christmas Pyjama Party on Saturday 2 December, where you can pull an all-nighter and watch back-to-back screenings of The Muppets Christmas Carol, Home Alone, Gremlins and Die Hard

7 Leicester Place, West End, London WC2H 7BY

The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House

6 December – 13 January 2024

For a truly magical evening out for the whole family this Christmas, do whatever you can to nab a ticket for The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House. While the majority of the run is already sold out, there are still a few tickets available on select dates. Trust us when we say that watching Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet in the world-famous opera house is an experience like no other. 

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This festive season, the ROH is also offering a behind-the-scenes tour of the show, which delves deep into the making of the timeless tale, revealing the hidden secrets and intricate craftsmanship that goes into bringing it to life. You’ll get to explore backstage before ending up with a festive drink on the cosy roof terrace, overlooking the bustling Covent Garden Piazza, which is currently decked out in all its Christmas finery.  

Bow Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD

Christmas at Dennis Severs’ House

Until 7 January 2024

Hidden down a backstreet in Spitalfields sits Dennis Severs’ House, an ornate real-life time capsule offering a fascinating insight into life in 18th and 19th century London. The Grade II-listed terrace was rescued from dereliction in 1979 by antiques lover Dennis Severs, who set about reconfiguring the house to tell the story of an imaginary Huguenot family, packing each room full of historical detail and drama. 

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Though Severs passed away in 2000, the house remains open for guided tours, with numbers limited to six at a time making it wonderfully atmospheric. At Christmas the house gets a seasonal makeover; expect trees covered in vintage decorations, figgy pudding mix laid out in the kitchen and a lavish feast on the dining table. Sign up for the Silent Night candlelight tour for added magic.

18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields, London E1 6BX

Carols by Candlelight at St Martin-in-the-Fields

2 – 23 December

Located in the heart of London, St Martin-in-the-Fields is known for being one of the capital’s loveliest venues for Christmas events. They host everything from gingerbread decorating workshops to carols for kids here, but the most enchanting of their festive events has to be their Carols by Candlelight, when the church is illuminated by hundreds of flickering candles.

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Come to hear a full evening of music, carol singing, and festive readings, with plenty of the old favourites for you to join in with, including Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, In the Bleak Midwinter and Once in Royal David’s City. We defy anyone to leave without feeling thoroughly festive and ready for all the delights of Christmas. 

St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 4JJ

The Goring’s Giant Snow Globe

Until 8 December

The Goring has long been known for conjuring up a certain type of London magic – the hotel is a firm favourite with the royals (this is, after all, where the Princess of Wales spent the night before her wedding) and is home to the much-Instagrammed Teddy the Shetland pony, who can often be spotted wandering around the gardens. But the hotel takes on a wholly different charm during the festive season.

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That’s doubly true this year, as they’ve launched a new Christmas activation that’s sure to be one of the most talked about in London. In the garden you’ll find a giant snow globe, which has been designed and scented by British scent mavericks Jo Loves. Big enough for two people to step inside and complete with vintage polaroid cameras, it’s the ultimate place to take your Christmas snaps this year. 

15 Beeston Place, Belgravia, London SW1W 0JW

Raymond Gubbay Christmas Festival at the Barbican

16 December – 1 January 2024

Every year, British classical music impresario Raymond Gubbay presents his hand-picked selection of music for Christmas. This festive season, he’s bringing his festive fun to the Barbican, with a packed line-up of yuletide treats throughout December.

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Kicking off with the London Concert Orchestra playing the music from some of the best festive films of all time – including White Christmas, Frozen and Home Alone – highlights include a night with the world-renowned Choir of King’s College on Wednesday 20 December, a screening of Love Actually with a live orchestra on Thursday 21 December and Candlelit Carols on Friday 22 December. 

Silk Street, The City, London EC2Y 8DS

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