Events in London this Christmas
Visiting London in the run-up to Christmas is a magical time to do so; although you may find it a little more wet than the picturesque Christmases shown in British film and TV scenes! That said, the advent excitement hangs heavy in the air through November and December, and in the absence of any interim celebrations such as Thanksgiving, you’ll find that the Christmas period starts early. Christmas is Christmas but the whole month of December tends to feel festive in London.
We understand that you’ll be studying or working throughout your stay in the capital but we also highly recommend you fit in some British culture during your downtime. The following are events happening in London to prepare us all for Christmas 2019. London is not a huge city and the tube makes it easy to traverse. So technically the events below could all be considered local to your homestay. Try and squeeze one in and maybe even invite your host family to come along with you?
Shop at the Southbank Centre’s Christmas Market
8th November – 5th January
The Southbank Centre lines the Thames banks with wooden market chalets for the build-up to Christmas – and it’s free! Market stalls offer everything from festive gifts to themed food and drinks, and there’s even private dining options in plastic igloos along the riverside. Decorations twinkle, there’s a giant tree, and there’s lot of accompanying festive events (both ticketed and non) happening in the same place; so you can plan in advance or just nip along when you’re free.
Admire a winter wonderland at Kew Gardens
20th November – 5th January
Kew Gardens is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world and can be enjoyed all year round – but gets extra special at Christmas. From 20th November, Kew lights up after-dark with a mile-long fairy lights trail around the gardens with on-the-spot performances, art installations and spectacular decoration displays. Kew’s evening events are very popular and so tickets ideally need to be booked in advance for a visit.
Ice skate at the Natural History Museum
End of November – 12th January
The Natural History Museum is worth visiting no matter what time of the year you’re in London. But at this time of year only, you’ll find a giant ice rink installed at the front of the building. Separate to your museum admission, you can visit the rink as a standalone attraction and indulge in an attempt at this classic winter leisure activity! A beautiful Christmas tree and tens of thousands of lights complement the stunning backdrop of the Natural History Museum. It makes for visually incredible skating experience. Once you’ve finished, head to the Museum’s balcony restaurant to warm up with a hot drink and watch everyone else give it a go.
Experience Hogwarts in the snow
16th November – 26th January
Fans of the Harry Potter films will know well the sight of the Great Hall adorned in glittery lights, floating decorations and a spectacular tree. December though is truly the time to see the magic come to life. Winter arrives in the wizarding world with a delicious traditional Xmas feast on the Hall’s long tables. You can also don something fancy for the infamous Yule Ball. Even if you’re not a HP fan, or have been before, snowy Hogwarts makes for a breath-taking visit. There’s even some (pre-bookable) opportunities to enjoy dinner in the Great Hall with dessert at Platform 9 ¾!
The festive season is truly a spectacular time to spend in London, so take advantage of any breaks in study time as and when you get them! And of course, if you’re still looking for somewhere to stay during your study or work placement in London, get in touch: HFS has host families based in all areas of the city willing to accommodate students for short and long term stays, through the festive period and beyond!
Book a homestay
Looking for an English family to join in on this year’s festivities with? There are still places available this December. Fill in the application form and let our team find you the perfect homestay.