Budget-Friendly Things to do in London this Christmas

Our top picks of things to do in London this winter...
London busses at christmas

Going out in London during the festive season can end up being expensive. The capital city undoubtedly comes alive at Christmas. Dazzling light displays, German markets and Christmas parties get everyone in the festive spirit. And if you know the right spots, you can enjoy the festivities without going over your Xmas budget.

Here’s our list of Christmas picks to keep you busy this winter…

Make the Most of Londons Christmas Lights

Christmas lights in Soho, London

London’s Christmas lights are impressive and give the city a magical feel. Heading to Oxford Street is an obvious choice; however, there’s a handful of less well-known displays to see in the city… And let’s not forget that walking around looking at the lights is usually free!

  • Christmas in Covent Garden: This year Covent Garden has been transformed into London’s very own Arendelle thanks to the Frozen theatre production. Visit the Frozen Forest and Infinity Chamber this Christmas with Elsa-style decorations and a neon lights installation… all for free!
  • Carnaby Christmas Kaleidoscope: Carnaby Street have created a neon display of hand decorated butterflies in partnership with Choose Love Charity. Walk under the Carnaby Arch this Christmas and see stilt walkers, live bands and the beautiful 3D butterfly display.
  • The Ever After Garden: Grosvenor Square is being lit up with over 25,000 white roses this Christmas to celebrate loved ones who are no longer with us. Donations are being taken to support The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.
  • Lightopia, Crystal Palace Park: London’s finest lights festival is currently taking place in Crystal Palace Park. This award winning display is the ideal family day out to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Check out the Best Christmas Markets

Waffle stall in a German Christmas Market

Is it really Christmas if you don’t visit at least one Christmas market? We’re spoilt for choice in London with an array of Christmas festivals and German Bavarian style markets. Unlike previous years, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is now charging a (small) entry fee, but not to worry… Here are some other free options in the city:

  • South Bank Centre Winter Market: Enjoy street food, mulled wine and twinkling lights all while strolling along the Thames.
  • Christmas by the River: Another Christmas Market right on the river is London Bride city’s Christmas by the River. If you want to mix London sight-seeing with festive fun this is the place to be.
  • Pasley Park Winter Wonderland: Southwarks Pasley Park and Walworth Garden is holding a Winter Wonderland theme market this Saturday (11th December) with a panto parade, Santas grotto and present stalls. Perfect for all ages!
  • Kingston Christmas Market: Head to Kingston this Christmas and visit one of Londons very own Alpine Villages! With over 40 market stalls, there’s food, drink and entertainment to please everyone.

See a Festive Film

Bags of popcorn

Last year we didn’t have much choice but to stay at home and watch Christmas flicks on the telly. But this year there’s plenty of options and lots of new films to see in the cinema!

  • Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Movie Spectacular: Backyard cinema have two festive venues this year! See a live choir and show narrated by George the Poet at the Troxy (E1). Or discover the enchanted winter night garden and watch a Christmas favourite at the Capital Studios in Wandsworth (SW18).
  • Peckhamplex Cinema: How does £4.99 cinema tickets all day, every day sound? Peckhamplex is showing two of this years newest Christmas films (A Boy Called Chirstmas and Boxing Day) for a fraction of the price of highstreet cinemas.

Have Some Family Christmas Fun in South London

Christmas gift with a label reading "Made in Santa's Workshop"

If you live in South London, you’ll be happy to know various workshops and family activities are going on throughout December.

  • The Blue Market Family Saturdays: The Blue Market (SE16) are hosting a programme of free family workshops every Satruday throughout December. See live music, learn circus skills and get ready to make some crafty Christmas decorations.
  • The Wonderful Workshop, Theatre Peckham: Theatre Peckham are holding two workshops in December for kids and teens aged 10-16. The workshops allow kids to get creative with their style, customising clothes and trainers then showcasing them in a performance at the end.

Please look at individual websites for booking information, more details, and key dates.

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