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  • Writer's pictureTracy Tristram

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...

See Santa

Things to do in London with kids in the Christmas holidays

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;

Take your board game skills to the next level at Monopoly Lifesized

things to do in london in the Christmas holidays
Photography: London for Kidz

If you’re looking for #thingstodoinlondon with your tricky tweens and teens then do not Pass Go until you have collected this information… We recently tried Monopoly Lifesized and its on site restaurant and bar, Top Hat, for an afternoon that really was a winner all round. This was a HUGE success with Mr.11 and Miss.15 and let us tell you this… pleasing both of them at the same time is a literal Christmas miracle. We tried the Luxury Board where we were pitted against three other teams in a series of interactive, 4D challenges in a quest to be Monopoly champs. We may not have won the game itself (boooo) but we did win in terms of family adventures.

Monopoly Lifesized, 213-215 Tottenham Ct Rd, London W1T 7PS;

Travel back in time to Ancient Egypt

things to do in London in the christmas holidays
Photography: London for Kidz

Brand new and located at Westfield Stratford City, Horizon of Khufu is a new virtual reality experience showcasing Ancient Egypt that features innovative VR technology developed in partnership with a leading Egyptologist and team from Harvard University. Voyage back in time 4,500 years ago to Ancient Egypt to the land of the Pharaohs in an Immersive Expeditions suitable for anyone age-8 and older. We tried it (and LOVED it) a few weeks ago so look out for our review, coming soon! London Stratford Westfield City, 157 Montfichet Road, London E20 1EJ;

View London from the top of Tottenham Hotspur FC Stadium

Things to do in London with kids in the Christmas holidays
Photography: Tottenham Hotspur FC

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. 782 High Road. London. N17 0BX;

Visit a Gingerbread City

things to do in London with kids in the Christmas holidays
Last year's gingerbread wizardry. Photography: London for Kidz

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! Westfield London in White City;

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;

Discover London's Wetlands

things to do in london with kids in the christmas holidays
Photography: London Wetland Centre

Who'd a thunk it? Wetlands in London you say? Totally yes! And they're amazing! Head on over before and discover a side to London you probably didn't know existed. Until 1st January you can also discover the magic of London's wetlands with Quentin Blake's illustrations as your guide. Quentin says "Visitors will be walking with me, and I like to think of myself walking with them. I shan't mind if I get my feet wet." Pick up one of our Drawn to Water illustrated trails and explore the seasonal natural highlights, from quiet spots with breathtaking views to close up wildlife encounters in a day out the whole fam will love.

Queen Elizabeth's Walk, Barnes, London SW13 9WT;

Blast down the river on a Thames Rockets speedboat

things to do in London with kids in the Christmas holidays
Photography: London for Kidz

This year seems to have whizzed by at full pelt, so why not end 2023 with a high speed 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;

Discover mudlarking

things to do in London with kids in the christmas holidays
Photography: Thames Explorer Trust

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;

Go for a festive afternoon tea: on a bus!

things to do in London with kids in the Christmas holidays
Photography: Brigit's Bakery

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;

Enjoy Westminster Abbey's Christmas Concert

things to do in London with kids in the Christmas holidays
Photography: Westminster Abbey

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;

Buy tix for an Xmas show or panto

things to do in london in the christmas holidays
We loved Charlie Cook's Favourite Book! Photography: London for Kidz

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!

Hang out with Shrek

things to do in london with kids in the christmas holidays
Photography: Shrek's Adventure! London

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 join in extra festive activities.

Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB;

Visit Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park

things to do in London in the christmas holidays
Photography: London for Kidz

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;

Make your own magic wand

things to do in London with kids in the Christmas holidays
Photography: London for Kidz

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;

Celebrate Xmas at Shakespeare's Globe

things to do in London in the christmas holidays
Photography: The 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. Don't forget to book a performance of Hansel and Gretel too! Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT;

Discover a love of art at Tate Modern

things to do in London with kids in the Christmas holidays
Photography: 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;

Get festive at the zoo

things to do in London in the christmas holidays
Photography: London for Kidz

Little ones will get a sprinkling of Christmas magic as they learn what it takes to become one of Santa’s helpers in London Zoo's elf school, before meeting Santa in his magical grotto at the heart of the Zoo. Every child will also receive a very special early Christmas gift to take home. We visited last weekend and had a thoroughly lovely time soaking up the festive feels while also exploring the sights of sounds of this epic London essential destination. Outer Circle, London NW1 4RY ;

Happy holidays, everyone! And don't forget to for more adventures and things to do in London with kids over on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest

Need some more inspo for Christmas and the holidays? How about:

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