You are unlikely to find a single person in London, from Park Grand London Paddington all the way to Stratford and everywhere in between, who will tell you there is nothing to do in London at Christmas. The list is seemingly never ending, from ice skating to late night shopping and more. However, what may seem somewhat trickier question is what there is to do in London this Christmas that is free. The fact of the matter is, having fun in London does not need to break the bank – you just need to know where to look and what to do.
1. Christmas light hunting
There are pricey options when it comes to enjoying Christmas lights in London, like the magnificent light display at Kew Gardens. However, you don’t need to pay to view them when there are so many sparkling free options all over the city streets. There are beautiful Christmas lights all over London – as yuletide decoration rather than as a ticketed event. So, just visiting places like Oxford, Regent’s, and Carnaby Street will see you right. Kings Cross’ Coal Drops Yard is also dressed in its finest lights and the whole of Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus area and surrounds are glistening. Essentially, there are enough free twinkling light displays to really get you into the Christmas spirit no matter where you visit.
2. Christmas tree hunting
In the same way that there are Christmas lights scattered around London, there are also towering Christmas trees which demand both your attention and a selfie or two in front of them. The tree at Covent Garden, within the internationally beloved piazza, sits at 55 feet tall. The Christmas tree at Somerset House, though slightly smaller at 39ft, is just as spectacular and is located within the architectural majesty of Somerset House. The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square has a lot of cultural-historical significance, because every year it is a gift from Norway to London as a token of thanks for the support that Britain gave the country during World War Two. All are 100% free to admire, though we recommend you grab a drink nearby and view from the cosy side of a window!
3. Trafalgar Square carolling
Instead of going door to door, a number of carol-singing charity organisations will be performing melodious magic under the sparkling lights of Trafalgar Square. Though it is 100% free to enjoy, the harmony-makers are volunteers raising money for charity, so whatever you have spare is definitely heartily welcomed – perhaps part with your change before heading home. So wrap up warm and go take a seat in Trafalgar Square while the Christmas carols fill the brisk Winter air in the light of the Norwegian Christmas tree.
4. Carols at St Paul’s Cathedral
The carols that are performed for the public at St Paul’s Cathedral are not as all-inclusive as the carols in Trafalgar Square, in that singing along is not quite appropriate. However, the experience is one that is equally joyful, beautiful and the talent is breathtaking as the ones happening in Trafalgar Square throughout the season. So if you would rather listen and be amazed by carols rather than singing them yourself, then head along to one of London’s most beloved cathedrals, St Paul’s, to enjoy the beautiful choral singing that is angelically echoing around the room. The carol services are all free, with a few options to choose from, but they are very well-attended so be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
More details: https://www.stpauls.co.uk/christmas
5. Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland, the Christmas-extravaganza in Hyde Park, is free to enter. Though the stalls and games are not, exploring the area and feeling the festive buzz is still a wonderful activity to do with the whole family – admittedly, you will likely be tempted to start spending when you see the hot chocolate stands, tombola prizes available and beers being poured in the Bavarian Village. But the point is simple – if you don’t want to spend and just want to peruse the markets and enjoy the ambience, then that is also a perfectly acceptable option.
More details: https://hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/
6. V&A Museum of Childhood Christmas
One of the best parts about London are all the free museums, of which the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green is part. Year-round, the museum offers a selection of exhibits fascinating for both adults and children and Christmas-time is no different. In fact, of all the free museums in London, the V&A Museum of Childhood is probably the top pick considering that Christmas-time and childhood go hand in hand. There are free sing-along Saturdays as well as a Christmas designer market, all a part of the Make & Do Christmas theme, as well as all the usual lovely exhibitions that the museum has to offer, like their Extinction Rebellion display. From the pop-up performances to festive storytelling, there is something for all yuletide fans this year.
7. V&A Museum Christmas tree ‘Freedom’
The Christmas displays are not reserved for the Museum of Childhood, though, and the original V&A Museum have their own special festive fun going down. Until 6 January, their reinterpretation of a traditional Christmas tree is there for all to enjoy. This Christmas tree installation designed by Anna Huennerkopf, gifted by the City of Coburg, the birthplace of Prince Albert, is made of origami birds and is wonderfully peaceful and beautiful.
So do not worry in the slightest – even if you don’t have the option or desire to spend money on arguably overpriced drinks or gifts, you can still make the most of the festive season if you do these seven things. Though it is important to remember that if you are making the most of deals offered Premier Club Rewards like these, you may have more in the bank from savings than you thought you did!