It may be cold outside but the festive buzz in London makes winter one of the best times to visit. Keeping everyone warm when the frost bites is a busy schedule of events and festivals, from Christmas activities such as the Southbank Centre Winter Market and the Royal Albert Hall Christmas Festival, to cultural events like the Chinese Magical Lantern Festival. With so much going on, here’s our pick of the best winter events in London.
Each year, performing arts venue Southbank Centre hosts a picturesque winter market on the banks of the River Thames. Lining the river are a collection of European-style wooden chalets filled with festive food, drink and handcrafted gifts. Southbank Centre also hosts a series of Christmas-themed shows and performances throughout the festive season.
With a magical Ice Kingdom, a wide variety of exhilarating rides and jaw-dropping performances, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is one of the biggest winter events in London. Taking place over six weeks, there’s plenty of time to explore the vast event space. Don’t miss the giant Bavarian village filled with beer gardens and wooden chalets offering German food, handmade souvenirs and hot gluhwein (mulled wine).
If you’re a horse lover, don’t miss The London International Horse Show at Olympia. Attracting equestrian enthusiasts from around the world, the seven-day event presents a busy schedule of captivating international displays, dressage and jumping competitions, and the long-awaited Olympia Grand Prix. Book a private hospitality package to watch the show in style.
"Keeping everyone warm when the frost bites is a busy schedule of events and festivals"
Get in the Christmas spirit with a festive show at the Royal Albert Hall. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the iconic concert hall presents a series of carol concerts, musical performances, sing-alongs and all-singing all-dancing shows, guaranteed to get the whole family excited for the festive season.
While there are many fireworks displays across England, the New Year’s Eve show in central London is unrivalled. Taking place at the London Eye, the display is one of the biggest, and most famous, annual winter events in London. Fireworks light up the city’s skyline in dramatic fashion as music plays in time to the colourful explosions. Tickets sell fast so it’s worth booking in advance, tube travel is usually free from around 11:30pm – 4:30am, too.
London Art Fair is the UK’s premiere modern British and contemporary art fair. The event offers collectors and curators an excellent opportunity to browse and pick up pieces by leading international artists and up-and-coming talents from the early 20th century to the present day.
Chinese New Year is a major celebration in the city, particularly within the Chinese community. One of the most exciting events of the season is the Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House Gardens. Bringing art and culture together in magnificent fashion, the festival showcases a beautiful trail of lanterns and illuminations, as well as entertainment, rides and attractions.