Things to do in London with kids in the Christmas holidays
We're rockin' around our Christmas tree with excitement because The Big Day is only a few mince pies away, but aside from Xmas day itself, there's also the whole of the Christmas holidays to have fun in. To kickstart the activity schedule, here's a guide to things to do in London with kids all through the festive season...
Starting with the obvious: is it even Xmas with kids at all without at least one obligatory meet and greet with Father Christmas? We've got a whole guide on where to find him in and around London right here.
Check out HMS Belfast
For a few hours of exploration, tinkering and an interactive history lesson the whole family will love, HMS Belfast always scores high with the London for Kidz crew. Read our review on this floating museum here and then walk the plank over to Imperial War Museum to book your tix.
The Queen's Walk, London SE1 2JH; www.iwm.org.uk/visits/hms-belfast
View London from the top of Tottenham Hotspur FC Stadium
For the daredevils amongst you (age 8 and above) why not scale the lofty heights of Tottenham Hotspur and catch views of London from 46m up in the sky? Choose from either The Dare Skywalk where you'll scale this world-famous landmark for amazing views or go one step further and choose The Skywalk & Edge (age 12 and up) which will not only include the climb but will see you descend down the quickest route possible: yep, off the side! Either way combine with a Stadium Tour and, if you're there before Xmas, Santa's Grotto. 782 High Road. London. N17 0BX; ww.experience.tottenhamhotspur.com/the-dare-skywalk
Visit a Gingerbread City
We had a sweet time recently checking out The Gingerbread City and its display of edible continents before getting busy with a Gingerbread House Workshop. The festive family workshops are running all through the Christmas holidays and the display itself has challenged architects on a global scale to design and build five different climate zones: it's pretty impressive! A must for any and all gingerbread fans! 6-7 Motcomb Street, SW1X 8JU; www.thegingerbreadcity.com
Hang out with dinos: VR style
Newly opened DIVR Labs over in Westfield (Shepherds Bush) is most definitely a roarsome adventure you need on your Christmas holiday radar. Suitable for kiddos age around 7 and up, this Virtual Reality experience will take you on a mission around prehistoric terrain that features not just mindbogglingly real swamps, volcanoes and landscapes, but also a life-sized T-rex amongst other dinos. A huge hit here for Team London for Kidz and, if you're game, we happen to have a 15% saving for you. Just pop the code TRACY15 in at checkout and voila: an activity the kids (and you!) will love and a saving to boot. All the wins. Westfield London Shopping Centre Ariel Way, London W12 7GF; www.divrlabs.com/global
Discover London's Wetlands
Who'd a thunk it? Wetlands in London you say? Totally yes! And they're amazing! Head on over before the New Year and you will not only discover a side to London you probably didn't know existed, but also catch its enchanting Illuminature Light Trail. Meet giant light-up otters and explore the phases of the ever-watching moon in owl woods before donning some night vision glasses to discover what the wetland's residents are up to. Interactive lily pads, fireflies, neon birds, glowing animals, toasted marshmallows and great big mugs of hot chocolate: London Wetland Centre has it all.
Queen Elizabeth's Walk, Barnes, London SW13 9WT; www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/london/whats-on/illuminature-light-trail
Blast down the river on a Thames Rockets speedboat
This year seems to have whizzed by at full pelt, so why not end 2022 with a highspeed activity that's guaranteed to thrill? Revved up and raring to fly, the Thames Rockets team will take you on a sightseeing tour like no other and one packed not just with high speeds, but with lots of humour and banter too. The perfect combo! There are all kinds of tour options happening, so take a look at our review here, pick the adventure you fancy the most (you can't go wrong with any of them) and then pop in the discount code TRInsta20 at checkout for a 20% saving. Boarding Gate One, The, London Eye Millennium Pier, London SE1 7PB; www.thamesrockets.com/ultimate-london-adventure/?offer=londonforkidz
Book tickets for a Thames Explorer Trust two hour guided archaeology tour in which you'll get busy with lots of mudlarking along the bank of the river. Experienced staff will help you find and identify artefacts you find on the foreshore in this unique chance to discover London's history firsthand. Suitable for children and their grownups age 8 and above, all money raised from these expeditions goes into supporting Thames Explorer Trust's projects with schools.
Various locations along the Thames; www.thames-explorer.org.uk/guided-tours/
Go for a festive afternoon tea: on a bus!
With tours designed with Christmas in mind, there are lots of fun picks for a decadently delish afternoon tea adventure on board a Brigit's Bakery bus. As well as the year-round themes, this December the kids will love being treated to special festive themes including the Paddington Christmas Lights Tour, Grinchmas Afternoon Tea or Peppa Pig Christmas Bus Tour. We're talking onboard sandwiches, cakes, mini cupcakes, freshly made scones with clotted cream and a huge side menu of fun. Come hungry!
Various departure points; www.b-bakery.com/london/bus-tours/
Enjoy Westminster Abbey's Christmas Concert
Mark 20th December, 7pm in your diaries for a feast of seasonal music from the Choir of Westminster Abbey. Get in an Xmas mood with a concert that includes the traditional Nativity, carol singing and readings.
20 Dean's Yard, London SW1P 3PA; www.westminster-abbey.org
Buy tix for an Xmas show or panto
There are sooo many wonderful picks to choose from when it comes to London shows and pantos, so we've put together a whole guide to help you whittle your options down. Oh yes we have! www.londonforkidz.com/post
Hang out with Shrek
For kids and grown-ups looking for some much-needed yuletide cheer, the big green ogre has teamed-up with Santa to create a festive misadventure the whole family will love. Guests who visit Shrek’s Adventure! London on selected days between now and 24 December 2022 will get the chance to meet Shrek Santa and pose for a picture with him to mark the special occasion.
Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB; www.shreksadventure.com
Visit Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
Sound the trumpets and grab your hat and scarves because Winter Wonderland is back this year and with it comes the chance to not only meet Santa in London, but also to snag a small gift from him (so long as you're on the nice list!) A festive destination designed for the whole family to enjoy and escape from the hustle and bustle of the main event, expect plenty of kids’ rides, Xmas eateries as well as the Main Man in Red. Hyde Park, London; www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/things-to-do/santaland/
Make your own magic wand
We've long been fans of the magical Wizard Exploratorium over on Greek Street, and can highly recommend its Magic Wand Experience. Check out our review then take a broomstick ride over to its website to make a booking for the Christmas holidays.
26 Greek Street, London W1D 5DE; www.wizardexploratorium.io/
Celebrate Xmas at Shakespeare's Globe
Celebrate the holiday season on a Festive Family Tour of the magical Globe Theatre and hear how Christmas was celebrated during Shakespeare’s time. From wassailing to the winter solstice, ‘kissing boughs’ to proper mince pyes, this family-friendly guided tour will enchant, fascinate and warm even in the frostiest of weather. There's also a rather lovely family craft and puppetry workshop happening involving the Christmas show, The Fir Tree. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT; www.shakespearesglobe.com/whats-on/the-fir-tree-2022/
Discover a love of art at Tate Modern
Entry to the gallery remains free for everyone, with a charge for some exhibitions, and we love that Tate Modern has a whole programme for families. Booking is needed for exhibitions, but tickets are available on the door, and we think Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms will definitely score big with the family. You don’t need to be an expert to look at or talk about art and Tate encourages this for kids with plenty of activity ideas designed with them in mind. It's ok to talk at Tate and noise is encouraged! Check out its website before you go for the family fun that includes workshops, tactile activities and plenty more.
53 Bankside, Bankside SE1 9TG; www.tate.org.uk
Need some more inspo for Christmas and the holidays? How about: