The best things to do this Christmas

Tis the season to be jolly, merry and all the Christmassy things

Glow Wild at Wakeurst

by Marianna Manson and Jessica Whitham |

Keep the kids and the whole family entertained (including yourself, of course) this Christmas and New Year with the plethora of seasonal activities that descend on the UK capital and beyond.

While the big day keeps kids amused, there’s the rest of the holidays to get through. We’ve rounded up some of the best things to do with the family, for free or with some much-deserved "me" time.

Check out: the best things to do this festive period in the UK


21 fun things to do at Christmas

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CREDIT: Stephen Frak

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland is a must see festive attraction to do in London. There's a new Magical Ice Kingdom with a 45m ice slide, the UK's largest outdoor ice rink, ice sculpting workshops and of course, the giant observation wheel are all returning.

When? You can visit Winter Wonderland from Friday 17 November until Monday 1 January between 10am and 10pm.

Where? Hyde Park, London

How much? Off-peak tickets are free but during peak hours they'll cost between £5 and £7.50. You can buy tickets on their website.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Make a Christmas Eve box

Why not have a night in and make your little ones a Christmas Eve box? It'll definitely get them excited for Christmas day too.

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CREDIT: Richard Haughton RBG Kew

Christmas at Kew Gardens

Visiting Kew Gardens at Christmas is an absolute must with their immersive light trail - you'll be amazed. From 4:20pm expect food, festivities and fairground rides.

When? From Wednesday 15 November 2023 to Sunday 7 January 2024.

Where? Kew Gardens.

How much? Adults £22.50 off peak and £29 during peak time. Children (aged four to 15) cost £19.50 off peak and £24 during peak time. Kids under four are free. Family tickets (two adults and two children aged four to 15) cost £82.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Christmas movie marathon

Have a Christmas movie marathon. From 90s fabulous The Santa Clause to the Muppet's A Christmas Carol – introduce your kids to the best festive films.

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CREDIT: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

If you're a Harry Potter fan then Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is definitely one to visit especially during Christmas time. The Warner Bros. Studio tour undergoes a magical makeover for Hogwarts in the Snow so you'll get to see their iconic set decorated for festive scenes.

When? Hogwarts in the Snow runs from now until Sunday 14 January 2024.

Where? Studio Tour Drive, Watford, WD25 7LR

How much? Adults are £51.50, kids (aged five to 15) are £40 and children four and under are free.

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Monopoly Lifesized

Fed up of getting the same old board game out at Christmas? Upgrade your Monopoly playing by booking a trip to Monopoly Lifesized in London.

When? All day, every day.

Where? London.

How much? Tickets are available from £59. You can get your tickets.

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Peppa Pig World

If your kids are a fan of Peppa Pig then they'll absolutely love Paultons Park, a family theme park that's the home of Peppa Pig World. During your time there, your little ones can visit Santa's Grotto, meet some magical characters including the Snow Princess and go on some brand new rides in Lost Kingdom, Critter Creek and Little Africa.

When? From Saturday 2 December until Saturday 23 December.

Where? New Forest in Hampshire.

How much? Tickets cost £37 but kids under one metre are free.

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Shrek's Santa Grotto

If you're a fan of the famous green ogre then Shrek's Adventure! London is definitely one to visit this Christmas. You'll step into Far Far Away, journey through Shrek's swamp and all children get to meet Santa, get a photo with him and receive a candy treat from the elves.

When? From Saturday 2 December until Saturday 24 December.

Where? South Bank. The closest stations are Waterloo and Westminster.

How much? Adult prices start from £24 (online) and kids under two go for free.

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CREDIT: Bath on Ice

Royal Victoria Park in Bath

Everyone loves a round of mini golf, but how about glow in the dark mini golf?

When? Friday 17 November 2023 until Wednesday 3 January 2024

Where? Head to Royal Victoria Park in Bath for a round with a difference.

How much? Adults £14.50, students/seniors £13.50 and kids £12.50.

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Watch EastEnders

It's a Christmas tradition for many so why not sit down around the TV and watch the EastEnders Christmas Day 2022 episode. Fans will finally discover who dies in The Vic.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Indoor activities for kids - puzzles

Rainy afternoon? No problem. Download a free Christmas activity pack full of puzzles and mazes – it'll keep kids amused for an afternoon.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Indoor activities for kids - colouring pages

Who doesn't love a spot of colouring in? Download a series of Christmas themed colouring pages and print them out for an afternoon's peace and quiet. Offer a prize for the best colouring.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Indoor activities for kids - puzzles - arts and crafts

Get crafty. From making penguins out of egg boxes to toilet roll snowmen. Start saving bits now and have a day that would make Blue Peter proud. For free crafty ideas head to Net Mums.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Bake with the kids

Amuse older kids with a competition to see who can bake the most delicious Christmas biscuits or cake. Give them bottles of food colouring and edible decorations and let their imagination run wild.

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CREDIT: Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice

Disney on Ice is back across the UK and kids (and adults) can see their favourite characters whizzing around the ice. At Christmas it's even more special than usual too.

When? From Thursday 16 November until Sunday 31 December.

Where? Belfast, Exeter, Sheffield, Newcastle, Manchester and London.

How much? Tickets start from £25.95.

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CREDIT: Dylan Booth

The Curling Club

Forget getting competitive over Monopoly this Christmas and spice up the festive season with a trip to The Curling Club on London's Southbank. They've got shuffleboard, live performers and all the booze and food you could desire. What's not to love?

When? The Curling Club is open daily from 11am-11pm until 11 February 2024.

Where? London's Southbank as part of Southbank's Winter Festival

How much? Prices start at £24pp. You can check out all of The Curling Club's available packages here.

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CREDIT: Shutterstock

Hit the sales

Okay so shopping during Christmas isn't the best thing in the world and things can definitely get hectic but you'll definitely bag a bargain in the Boxing Day sales and in the dead space between Christmas and New Year when you've got nothing else to do except digest food.

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Baker Street Quarter Christmas lights

This quaint corner of London's Marylebone has a gorgeous Christmas light display that's befitting of the neighbourhood's history and culture. Follow the trail with the kids to learn about prominent figures who lived in the area and take in the twinkly, Christmassy vibes.

When? Up until Monday 1 January

Where? London's Bakers Street and Marylebone.

How much? It's free to explore.

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CREDIT: Jordan Laboucane

Winterfest, Wembley

This inaugural light festival in the increasingly trendy Wembley Park is free and a fun alternative to traditional Christmas markets. With light installations direct from Burning Man Festival in Nevada, the tallest LED Christmas tree in the world and the Wembley BOXPARK just a stone's throw away, this will make a great evening out for the whole family.

When? Sunday 26 November until early next year.

Where? Wembley Park, North West London.

How much? It's free.

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CREDIT: Jim Holden

Glow Wild at Wakehurst

Love the idea of Christmas at Kew but can't make it to the capital? The Royal Botanical Gardens own another site, Wakehurst in Sussex, and the grounds are equally spectacular with ginormous light installations and the prettiest light show on the house itself. Awe-inspiring for the kids and the grown ups alike.

When? Selected evenings from Thursday 23 November until Monday 1 January.

Where? Wakehurst.

How much? Prices start from £11.50 and kids under four are free.

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Really get into art with Frameless, the immersive art exhibition in London that features work from Monet, Van Gogh and Delaunay.

When? Every day from 10am to 9pm

Where? Marble Arch, London

How much? Tickets start at £25. Book them here.

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CREDIT: Instagram @editedbyemilyrosevee

Boom Battle Bar

Boom Battle Bar is the ideal place for a mate date, an ACTUAL date or even a Christmas work social (we know, we gave it a whirl ourselves.)
From darts and beer pong-or prosecco pong if ya feeling fancy- to karaoke and shuffleboard, Boom Battle Bar is brimming with fun activities for you and your crew to enjoy.
It IS for strictly over 18s and is therefore the perfect place for adults to take a break during the chaos of Christmas season. 

When? Whenever. Although perfect for a festive outing it’s also ideal for stag birthdays, dates and everything in between. 

Where? There are a few dotted around the country but we had the best time at the Oxford Street branch.

How much? Prices vary with different packages available. You can check it out here.

Christmas can be expensive enough without the added cost of entertaining little ones, so you'll notice plenty of the things on our list don't cost a penny.

Whether you want to stay home and get crafty, head out and about on a frosty Christmas walk or enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy Christmas market, we know it's spending quality time with loved ones that's most important this festive season.


But for those of us who do want to splash the cash, you can't go far wrong with magical Disney on Ice, Winter Wonderland or Christmas at Kew Gardens.

Not feeling festive just yet?

Then this selection of FABULOUSLY festive beauty advent calendars are sure to keep you looking beautiful all the way up until December 25th.

Take the stress out of present shopping and inject some individuality by making your own with the kids (and if your skills don't stretch quite that far, you can always just give home-made greetings cards instead).

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