Watching Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean together on the couch after dinner is one thing, but take your family celebrations to the next level this year. There are plenty of creative ways to spend Christmas in London with kids during the festive season, no matter what your budget is. Read on to discover some top recommendations from travel experts and local insiders.
Discover Greenwich’s Christmastime Magic
The Christmas holidays are a great time to explore parts of London you might not take the time to really appreciate otherwise. Greenwich is home to lots of the city’s greatest treasures, like the Old Royal Naval College and its beautiful painted hall, and a trip here makes for a great family day out.
Combine that with special Christmas festivities at the College, a spellbinding view of London lit up with Christmas lights from Up at The O2, and unlimited hop-on and hop-off travel on the Uber Boats by Thames Clippers, and you’ve got the Greenwich Bundle. A perfect family day out with minimal hassle and maximum relaxation.
Step into a real-life fairy tale
Let the kids’ imaginations go into ogre-drive as they roam around a magical fairy tale kingdom and meet everyone’s favourite swamp dweller. Shrek’s Adventure is a wholesome and fun day out for the family, full of interactive performances featuring the all-star cast of the Shrek series.
Check out the special Christmas event in 2021, featuring some truly Shrektacular seasonal celebrations. Enjoy a fun range of live shows and transport your family into a world of magic, family-friendly life lessons and sassy donkeys. It’s one of the best family experiences in London. This year’s Christmas shows will run on selected dates: 4 & 5 December, 11 & 12 December, and 18 to 24 December.
Go hog-wild at a petting zoo
You don’t need to spend money for the kids to have an amazing time. Petting zoos have all the excitement of a real zoo (well, almost) and none of the cost. The only financial decision you’ll need to make is whether to splurge on some carrots for the goats, or if you’re content to have them nibble on your jacket instead.
Hug a hog, rendezvous with rabbits, or say hello to some sheep. Kids are going to love the experience, and it’s the perfect opportunity to get some cute photos of them interacting with the resident animals. There are plenty of places around London – Spitalfields City Farm, Deen City Farm, and the petting zoo in Queen’s Park are all local favourites. Don’t forget to say hi to the donkeys! They’re very social creatures.
Check out the illuminations at the London Eye
If there are two things capable of getting a kid’s attention, it’s pretty lights and ridiculously large spinning wheels. Here’s your chance to combine the two. The London Eye is already an iconic part of the London skyline, but the winter months are when it really shines. This giant attraction is covered in bright lights, making it even more spectacular than normal.
Stroll along South Bank and admire all of the beautiful illuminations, and if you’re really looking to make the day memorable, take the family up in one of the observation pods! The Christmas event at the Eye lasts for the entire month of December, so you’ve got plenty of time to make a trip out there.
Travel back in time at Warwick Castle
While it’s not technically in London, Warwick Castle is only two hours away, and it’s 100% worth the journey. Picture yourself as the wise King Arthur or legendary Queen Guinevere while your little knights roam around the castle walls. Young ones with an interest in medieval times or Game of Thrones-obsessed teenagers will find themselves right at home here.
It’s also not far away from Stratford-upon-Avon, home to William Shakespeare himself. It’s the perfect time to get the kids educated on their own cultural history, and you might even be able to avoid some of the London Christmas crowds by spending a day out of the big city. To make things easier, combine all of the above with return transport from London by booking a convenient tour.
Check out the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
This annual event is another one of the best ways to spend Christmas in London with the family. Glide around on the ice skating rink, watch performances, or just roam around one of the most atmospheric Christmas markets in the UK. If you’re really daring, ride the glow-in-the-dark observation wheel and take your Christmas adventure to soaring new heights. The event runs from 18 November 2021 to 3 January 2022, and is open every day except on Christmas Day.
Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is free to enter, meaning you’ll have money left over to spend on some seasonal snacks, special souvenirs, or Christmas gifts for everyone. For those wanting something a bit more exotic, check out the Bavarian Hall for a taste of authentic German festivities – oompah band included! Rumour has it Santa himself will also be in attendance, having relocated his grotto into the scenic surroundings of the park.
Looking to have an amazing family Christmas in London over the festive season? Check out some more of our top London recommendations below.
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