I have a bit of a love hate relationship with London having been here on and off for the last thirteen years. I detest the colder months and generally crave warmer climates. The days are short with it getting dark at around 4pm. However despite all of my qualms with London, there is something so magical and special about Christmas here. This is something I have realised even more this year with having a two year old that is taking in all of the festivities. From an abundance of markets to ice-skating, there is so much going on at Christmas in London with kids.
Here is my Pearlshare guide to:
Christmas in London with Kids
Visit Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland was by far our favourite activity at Christmas pre-baby. We loved the German bars with stein beers, festive music and wood burning fires. It’s still really nice to be able to go with Esmé. There are lots of rides, santa’s grotto, an ice kingdom as well as a circus. Not to mention ice-skating and the Christmas markets. Everything Christmasy is covered! The drinking and dining area is absolutely fine during the day with little ones. Grab some skewers to roast marshmallows on one of the several fire pits.
I love ice-skating! We took Esmé this year to a skating rink. In truth, she was probably too young for it. I think close to three years old is a good age. However if you like to start them young, many places have penguin helpers for little ones to keep their balance. Equally they do not wear the ordinary ice-skating boots. Instead they wear double blades strapped onto their own shoes. Make sure to check if your rink of choice provides both and book them in advance. There are so many places to choose from. Winter Wonderland, The Natural History Museum and Somerset House are a few examples.
Go to a Christmas pantomime
There are so many Christmas pantomimes and theatre performances happening around London at the moment. The most popular this year seems to be Peter Pan. In our family, growing up, my grandmother took all of the grandchildren to a Christmas pantomime in Dublin where we lived. I loved that tradition and it’s something I hope to carry on with Esmé. She is going with her aunt this weekend for a surprise Christmas gift. A few examples of shows include: The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre, Cinderella at the Palladium and Peter Pan at the Royal Festival Hall. There are many other shows in suburban London which are less expensive and probably easier to secure later tickets.
Visit Christmas markets
There are many Christmas markets oozing with festive smells of fir trees, cinnamon, cardamon and mulled wine. Mix it in with a fresh dose of cold air and you have a true Christmas market experience. I love sipping on the mulled wine as I wander around looking at little handmade gifts, winter woollies and all the festive foods. Esmé enjoys tasting the samples and always seems content taking in the new sites and smells. We have tried a few out this year. Winter Wonderland, South Bank and Leicester Square.
Trail around a festive light display
We have not managed to make it to Kew Gardens yet but we are hoping to go this week. They are putting on a magical illumination of their gardens after dark. Trail around the grounds and see all the beautiful tunnels of lights and lasers dancing over water. They also have a Santa at the ‘North Pole’.
Visit Santa’s grotto
There are many Santa’s grotto’s around the city. Esmé has seen three Santa’s in total. The first was a total disaster because she was incredibly scared. The second she was a wary and the third time pictured here she knew she was getting a little present so she was pretty happy. Some Santa experiences can be extortionately priced. However this one who you can see looks quite authentic is completely free in Covent Garden!
For some more inspiration on what to do in London at Christmas with kids, checkout the rest of my Pearlshare guide.
Have you got involved in any other festive activities this year? Make sure to share with us all in the comments.