Things to Do & See in London in December

Things to Do & See in London in December
Looking to have some festive fun in London? There's no better time to go to the British capital than during the holiday season. Even though it's sure to be chilly in December, the city will warm your heart with its magical Yuletide glow. Here are six of the best things to see and do---from viewing the tree in Trafalgar Square to going ice skating at a palace---if you find yourself in London around Christmastime.

View the Christmas Decorations on Oxford Street

Oxford Street is one of London's busiest shopping areas, and it turns into a big street party in December. Similar to Fifth Avenue in New York City, you'll find canopies of lights strung overhead as well as enchanting window displays at many of the world-famous department stores that line this street. Keep an eye out for Selfridges, Debenhams, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and the House of Fraser. Plus, while you take in the captivating decorations, you can do your holiday shopping. On weekends, you may spot carolers and other street performers.

Go Ice Skating at a Palace

Ice skating is a holiday tradition, and there's no better place to enjoy the pastime than at a palace. You can take a spin at the outdoor rink set up in front of Hampton Court Palace, which was once the home of Henry VIII. The picturesque setting in southwest London makes for a unique skating experience that is fun no matter what your age is.

Hampton Court Palace
East Molesey
Surrey, KT8 9AU, United Kingdom
+44 (0) 20 8241 9818

Visit the Christmas Tree at Trafalgar Square

The most famous Christmas tree in London is the one displayed at Trafalgar Square. For the past 63 years, the city of Oslo has provided a towering spruce to show Norway's gratitude for Britain's support during World War II. It's decorated with 500 white lights that are switched on from noon to midnight throughout the month of December. The tree is also a focal site for carol singing, as many choirs and musical groups from across the country perform in front of it to raise money for charitable causes.

Go to the Frost Fair

One of London's most unique winter festivals is the Frost Fair, which takes place annually on the South Bank of the Thames between the Tate Modern Museum and Shakespeare's Globe Theater. It has a history that dates back several hundred years. Among the events is a lantern parade, dog sledding and a winter market featuring a variety of gift vendors. You'll see choirs, street entertainers, roasting chestnuts and ice sculptures. In the past, the Frost Fair has included a hog roast.

See "A Christmas Carol"

There's no better form of holiday entertainment than a production of Charles Dickens' classic tale "A Christmas Carol." You're sure to find seasonal performances of the heart-warming story throughout London's West End.

Arts Theatre
6-7 Great Newport St.
London, WC2H 7JB, United Kingdom
+44 (0) 844 847 1707

Listen to Carols at St. Paul's Cathedral

The historic cathedral will be full of the sounds of well-loved carols throughout December. It plays host to a variety of events, ranging from performances of Handel's "Messiah" to choral concerts. The carol service on Christmas Eve and the Midnight Eucharist are also touching ways to celebrate the holiday.

St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Churchyard
London, EC4M 8AD, United Kingdom
+44 (0) 20 7246 8357

Article Written By Yvonne Newman

Based in Las Vegas, Yvonne Newman spent 16 years writing for one of the city's popular visitors' guides. She has covered a variety of topics, including travel, shopping, sports and the arts. Newman is currently working on a book about tea houses. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Nevada and a master's degree in Anglo-Irish literature from Trinity College.

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