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Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

Looking to take a trip to London over Christmas as our adult kids only have this time away from school and work. Any suggestions for especially fun and seasonal things to do Panto, etc) We have been to London before but never in the winter or at Christmas. We are also look for a flat rental company as that would be more economical than a multiple hotel rooms.

Thank you!

14 replies to this topic
Epsom, United...
Level Contributor
170 posts
71 reviews
51 helpful votes
1. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

This is a list of ideas

Art gallery



London eye

Leicester Square

Riverboat tour

London Dungeons

Tower of London

Picnic somewhere at a park


Jack the Ripper tour

North Yorkshire...
Destination Expert
for Wiltshire, London
Level Contributor
23,834 posts
633 reviews
266 helpful votes
2. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

What exact dates are “over Christmas”?

25th December has no public transport, no shops, no Attractions and limited dining. This year 26 December will be only marginally better. 27/28 are public holidays so reduced transport …. You can have a great time but research will be essential.

Antwerp, Belgium
Level Contributor
104 posts
9 reviews
4 helpful votes
3. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

I love Christmas day in London; quiet, great time for cycling or long walks. Getting a flat is a good idea; restaurants that are open often have a limited Christmas menu. Best to arrive a few days before Christmas to get your shopping done, or book a slot with a food delivery company in advance. We always order from the butcher in advance too.

I would rent in an area that is central yet has plenty of local shops; maybe South Kensington, Notting Hill, Marylebone.

In the past tourist areas and museums have been very busy between Christmas and NY. Don't know what it will be like this year. Book in advance for exhibitions.

Destination Expert
for London
Level Contributor
26,562 posts
80 reviews
131 helpful votes
4. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

Bear in mind that most sites and attractions are closed some or all of the period 24 to 26 Dec with possible further closure on the 27th and 28th due to bank hols. Theatre shops and restaurants should be less affected. I always say this but if you can arrive from the 26th or depart by then it minimises the damage.

Level Contributor
14,550 posts
24 reviews
41 helpful votes
5. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

Yes, those Bank Holidays...

Pretty much everywhere else in the world if Christmas falls on a week-end it's just tough, you still go back to work on Monday.

In the UK if Christmas falls on a week-end it gets extended, so this year we'll have a Bank Holiday on the 27th (in lieu of Christmas Day) and another one on the 28th (in lieu of Boxing Day). Shops will be open, though.

As for Christmas Day - yes, pretty much everything will be shut. No public transport, no shops (except for a few conveience stores, if you're lucky), no attractions. Everybody will be cooped up at home eating turkey (or not this year) , watching TV and arguing with the inlaws. But I remember reading in previous years that there will be some walking tours available in London (I don't have the details, just remember reading about them)

If you want to eat out on Christmas Day you need to prebook round about now, and note that most restaurants will be closed in the evening..

San Francisco, Ca
Level Contributor
28,756 posts
95 reviews
72 helpful votes
6. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

Yes, in the past London Walks have had a couple of offerings on Christmas Day, which were massively popular. They had to add extra guides to handle the volume of people who turned up.

There was also a very nice trip report a couple of years back by someone who did their own walk (along the Embankment, if I remember). But really, any walk where you're primarily viewing things from outside would work, as long as you can walk from your accommodation to and from the tour. (Car services like Addison Lee still run on the holidays (even within town), but you'll need to book in advance and I assume they charge a premium.)

If you're American, the idea that 'everything' will be closed seems exaggerated, but it's not. I think it's a marvelous time to visit London, but you need to research and plan in advance. (I really like the way that Christmas is a widely-embraced holiday in England and celebrated in a secular way by those who don't necessarily honor it as a religious holiday.)

Specific Christmas-y things to do include the pantos (this year's one at the Palladium is a 'best-of' compilation called Pantoland, which I've heard isn't selling well so look for discounts), Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park (it's a fair with rides and attractions and a very small Christmas market). There is usually a Christmas market on the Southbank and ice skating at Somerset House. Google "London Christmas lights" for ideas of the best streets, but generally Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Bond Street and others in the area are good. Some of the covered arcades are quite pretty, too.

If you're looking for a Dickens Christmas feast, be aware that turkey is now the common festive main dish, as well as roast beef. Sadly, no roast goose.

Level Contributor
175 posts
26 reviews
13 helpful votes
7. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

We really enjoy Christmas at Kew (night time light display in Kew Gardens), light displays on Bond Street and Oxford Street and always a visit to Fortnum & Mason. We plan to walk to Somerset House as well this year to see their tree/decor as I've heard its nice as well.

Level Contributor
269 posts
16 reviews
12 helpful votes
8. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

Here is something I posted for a similar question 😊

“A really atmospheric place to visit in the winter is Wilton’s Music Hall (www.wiltons.org.uk)

It is the oldest surviving music hall and is Grade 2 listed -instead of it being painted brightly, it has been stripped back to the original plaster and wood - a beautiful place. During your stay, they are performing a ghost story play (The Child in the Snow) - I can’t imagine a better place to stage such a play. They do serve a small range of snacks and pizzas in the bar but do get there early if you decide to go as you cannot book for food and it does get busy.”

Level Contributor
35,904 posts
62 reviews
198 helpful votes
9. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

In recent (pre COVID) years, more and more restaurants, cafes and bars were opening on Christmas Day in central London, and lots more people were finding food and 'somewhere cosy' on spec than used to be the case.

Last Christmas was in Lockdown, so nothing was open. Who knows what this Christmas will bring.


"Everything is closed on Christmas Day" no longer rings true, but most attractions are closed (Ripley's Believe it or not was open on Christmas Day but that no longer exists!).

I do understand that if you are travelling, you want things to see/do, but if you are UK folk you want to not be at work and to be with your family, for whatever the good or bad of that will bring!

Edited: 23 September 2021, 03:55
Rutland, United...
Level Contributor
10,323 posts
81 reviews
142 helpful votes
10. Re: Christmas in London for family of 5 adults

Regarding post 1, we all have different likes but I could not endorse your recommendations of Chinatown, Leicester Square, a picnic in the park in December!, the London Dungeons or the dull Jack the Ripper tour.

I would suggest something else - anything else - from the London Walks portfolio, a performance at Wilton’s Music Hall, a backstage tour of the Theatre Royal or the Royal Opera House, the ceremony of the keys if you can get tickets, and a cockney singalong at Mr Foggs. You’ll need to check if these are all still functioning.

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