Published on: Thursday, 23 November 2017
Last updated: Monday, 19 December 2022
London is a magical place to be in the run-up to Christmas with festive markets, late night shopping and twinkly lights.
Most weekends between now and up to and including Sunday 17 December are engineering free on the Greater Anglia line between Norwich and London and Southend Victoria and London. The only exception is Sunday 3 December, when there will be a rail replacement service between Norwich and Ipswich due to Network Rail track maintenance work.
There’s some great value fares available including Advance Purchase, Group Save and Duo. For the guaranteed lowest fares, buy online via the Greater Anglia website and app. If you’re travelling with children, buy from a ticket office and take advantage of kids for £2. There’s also two for one deals on many London attractions.
To celebrate the countdown to Christmas, Greater Anglia has rounded up some of the best things to do in London over Christmas and New Year.
Rudolph comes to the city
At the weekend Covent Garden plays host to Santa’s reindeers and gives people a chance to pet and feed the most Christmassy of animals. Whilst in the area it is worth exploring Covent Garden spending a while watching one of the area’s famous street performers or marvelling at the extravagant Christmas decorations. This year’s decoration theme is mistletoe with over 40 mistletoe chandeliers hanging over the area’s streets and its famous show stopping reindeer decoration.
Pop up shops and restaurants
London is famous for its boutique pop up shops and restaurants that can’t be found anywhere else, for example head to Royal College of Art’s Christmas Fete, where shoppers can pick up ceramics, textiles, jewellery and art by former and current students. Floral Street in Covent Garden becomes a Christmas haven with artisan Christmas pop-up store Noël. Or head to famous pop up food markets Street Feast and Hawker House to sample the best delicacies from around the world.
London has hundreds of Christmas markets, but some of the best include the London Bridge City Christmas market or Southbank Centre’s winter festival where you can find independent traders selling handmade crafts or you can take part in their workshops. For a more mainstream, yet still exciting Christmas market, Winter Wonderland is a must. Revellers can visit a largescale Christmas village filled with market stalls, roller coaster rides, street food, festive bars, live music, shows and the UK’s largest outdoor ice rink.
Watch ‘Silent Light’ at Sketch
One of London’s most Instagrammable locations, Sketch, has had a Christmas makeover with a twist. Instead of covering the restaurant and tearoom in traditional decorations, they have created a series of light installations called ‘Silent Light’. The result is an immersive laser and sound experience that can come as a welcome relief to anyone who has had enough of Christmas shopping on nearby Oxford Street.
Afternoon tea with a Christmas twist
Afternoon tea is a classic London treat and many of the city’s top hotels put on special festive menus. The Christmas Afternoon Tea at The Ritz has a choir singing Christmas carols and as a festive treat, each adult will receive a glass of Champagne and each child a Ritz teddy bear. Intercontinental London Park Lane puts a Nordic twist on their Christmas afternoon tea, offering turkey and cranberry scotch eggs, mince pies and a cinnamon-infused eggnog panna cotta tart.
Carols in the city
During the Christmas season, concerts and carol services take place across London. Some of the best options include the traditional carol services held at St Paul’s Cathedral, or carols by candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall. For somewhere a little more jolly and to be able to sing a long, try the carol concerts that take place in Trafalgar Square throughout December, under London’s largest Christmas tree.