Christmas in London 2020: things to do with kids

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Updated 19 December 2020 with Tier 3 openings and closures.

Wondering what there is do in London with kids this covid Christmas? Many of London’s high profile Christmas events are cancelled, like Winter Wonderland. But with London remaining in Tier 2, there’s still plenty of festive things to do both indoors (with your bubble), and out (following the rule of six). Since writing this article, London is now subject to Tier 3 restrictions. Indoor entertainment, including museums, have to close. Many outdoor activities however can still go ahead. I have updated each listing to indicate whether it is open or closed in Tier 3. 

Perhaps you’re looking for something in the lead up to the big day to get you and your family in the Christmas spirit. Or maybe you’re wondering how you’ll fill ‘Twixmas’, those seemingly endless days between Christmas and, let’s be honest, the new school term.

Fear not – London’s cultural destinations have put on a fantastic range of special family events. Limited numbers and extra hygiene measures to make them safe, as well as fun. I’ve picked the most promising – grottos, festive lights, winter light trails, theatre, Christmas markets, ice skating, and much more besides. And there’s some at home suggestions for when you can’t (or won’t) leave the house. And best of all – all of these had some availability at the time of writing, so you haven’t left it too late at all.

So here’s some cultural, covid-secure Christmas fun for your London bubble. Be quick though – some of these will book out quicker than your kids rip the paper off their presents.


Father Christmas in London 2020

Let’s start with the bad news. Almost every Christmas grotto in or near London is cancelled or fully booked. Now to the good news – there’s still a few places in this city your little ones can still see Father Christmas. And more are being released – I’ll update this list as they are announced.

Tier 3 update: London Transport Museum is now closed.
Santa will stop his sleigh at London Transport Museum to meet families. Take their festive winter trail to find roundels hidden amongst their historic vehicles for the chance to win a prize, visit the twinkling winter forest, or take the perfect wintery snap in a life-sized vintage poster.
When: Meet Santa in the galleries 11:00-15:00, 5-6, 12-13 and 19-23 December 2020. Rest of festive activities run daily from 3 December 2020.
Cost: £18.50 for an adult annual pass, FREE children (0-17).
More information:
Plus: Early Explorer Morning, for families with children with special educational needs, 08:30-10:00 Saturday 12 December 2020.
Read more about our visits to London Transport Museum at Christmas in 2019 and in 2018.

Tier 3 update: Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands are now closed.
There’s several ways to see Father Christmas at Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands this year. On Santa’s magical mornings he’ll be throwing open the museum doors whilst ringing his bell. Take a stroll through Santa’s winter walk and wave at him – you might even snap a snow-cially distanced selfie. And if you’re quick, you can hear Storytime with Santa – there’s currently availability for Friday 11 and 18 December 2020, and new dates are being added all the time. 
When: Storytime with Santa, tickets available 11 and 18 December 2020; Santa’s Winter Walk 19-23 December 2020.
Cost: FREE
More information: Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands
Note: There are two sites, Museum of London at London Wall in the City of London, and Museum of London Docklands near Canary Wharf. Make sure you check which site you have booked for!

Tier 3 update: National Gallery is now closed, refunds issued automatically
Meet Father Christmas and his elves at National Gallery, and take home a gift. Tickets booked for visits before 5pm include free access to the National Gallery Collection. Step inside a life-sized Avercamp ‘Winter Scene’ and get to know the characters having fun in this wintery scene. Adult tickets include a mince pie and tea, coffee or a soft drink. You can buy children’s refreshments in the Christmas café.
When: 12–13 and 17–23 December 2020, 10:15-20:00. 
Cost: £20 child, £10 adults
More information:

Tier 3 update: Thames Rockets can continue to operate in Tier 3 for London visitors
Forget a one horse open sleigh – Santa is riding a Thames Rocket RIB speedboat this Christmas. On their Jingle Bell Blast Meet Santa trip you carol sing your way past London’s iconic sights and then whoosh through London’s docklands to a festive music medley. We all whooped with joy on our trip – it’s one that’ll work brilliantly with older kids too.
When: dates through 3-24 December 2020
Cost: £44.95 adults, £20.97 children (14 and under)
More information:


London’s FREE Christmas lights 2020

London is famed for its Christmas lights, and every year more areas get in on the act. Finding them is half the fun, and there’s plenty of takeaway places selling hot drinks and food treats. Even better, all these are FREE, no booking required.

Tier 3 update: All of these Christmas lights are still on and open for visitors in Tier 3



Oxford Street’s shimmering LED curtains feature festive messages and the name of an everyday hero, from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch. You can find Santa dressing a tree with oversized decoration in Selfridges window displays. Until 6 January 2021.

The pink lightboxes of Carnaby Street‘s Christmas Light Installation feature positive words paying tribute to the strength, courage and kindness of Londoners. And in true 2020 style, you can even visit them virtually with this 360 degree tour. Whilst they lack the wit of previous years, they’re still worth seeing whilst you’re in the area. Until 5 January 2021.

Regent Street kickstarted London’s Christmas lights, all the way back in the 1950s. A homage to their earliest displays, in the Spirit of Christmas angels soar above the street and make for London’s largest Christmas light display. St James’s has smaller versions of Christmas spirits too. Until 3 January 2021.

Also just off Oxford Street, Bond Street‘s peacock-inspired lights are back, with dazzling birds and feathers made from 250,000 lights. It’s a nod to the dapper Bond Street Loungers of the 18th century, nicknamed ‘peacocks’ for parading down the street. Don’t miss Cartier‘s scarlet ribbon facade and Tiffany & Co‘s illuminated shop front. Head to Bond Street Square for an elegant Christmas tree or step inside Royal Arcade with its opulent golden baubles and bows.

Mayfair and Belgravia boast a selection of festive lights, including Motcomb Street‘s rainbow banners which change in front of your eyes. The rainbow theme continues in nearby Halkin Arcade, with kaleidoscopic, colour-changing Christmas tree and angel wings. Battle the crowds for a peek at South Molton Street, with its giant light-up arches and colour changing Christmas trees. Our favourite is the much quieter Connaught’s famed Christmas tree on Mount Street. The 15 minute mists which rise from nearby water feature ‘Silence’ had Museum Girl squealing with joy.

At Covent Garden, giant baubles, mistletoe lights and disco balls bring cheer to the inside of the historic market. Outside, feast your eyes on the whopping 60ft British-grown Christmas tree, decked with 300 baubles and 30,000 red lights. And whilst its available all year round, the lights and mirrors of the Infinity Chamber in Conduit Court still make for an excellent festive selfie. Until 5 January 2021.  

Harvey Nichols win at festive window displays this year. Their giant neon ‘BAH HUMBUG’ and ‘BRING ON 2021’ sum up how we all feel.



If you venture a bit further afield, there are plenty more festive lights to see, including some quirky and artist led-in installations. It’s a great way to see different parts of London, and hopefully escape the crowds. Again, all are FREE, and there’s no need to book.

Tier 3 update: All of the Christmas lights are still on and open for visitors in Tier 3

For this year’s winter commission, Chila Kumari Singh Burman brings a neon feast to Tate Britains facade with remembering a brave new world. Think Bollywood meets Blackpool, with a sprinkling of anti-colonial heroines and childhood memories. Kids will love the neon tiger and ice cream van. Until 31 January 2021. Read my full review here.

Winter Light brings 17 illuminated works to Southbank Centre‘s facades and riverfront. Think projection mapping, neon-lit tree canopies, colour-changing pyramid rooflights, giant mirror balls, animations and videos. Some are already in place, with more being installed up until the new year. Until 28 February 2021.

Connected by Light sees nine new illuminated installations in Canary Wharf, including a pathway of colour changing stars, a shadow poetry trail, a giant kaleidoscopic cube light and a flouro Alice in Wonderland installation. Dusk-22:00, 2 December 2020-27 February 2021.

If you’re in Central London one evening, it’ll be pretty hard to miss Shard Lights, the highest light show in Europe. The top 20 storeys of the Shard are lit up in blue and white, with a morse code message spelling out ‘Thank You’, in gratitude to all NHS staff and key workers for keeping us safe during the pandemic.

There’s not one but three alternative Christmas trees to find in Kings Cross. Power the People’s Tree in Battle Bridge Place with a wave or a stomp. Seventy living, miniature illuminated gardens make up the Terrarium Tree in Coal Drops Yard. Floating above the fountains in Granary Square, the Electric Nemeton Tree merges a fairy-tale forest with modern architecture.

Uncover the hidden words in the JOY tree at Television Centre, and discover the meaning behind them. The words are chosen by local children, and there’s a festive playlist to unlock.

King’s Road’s shimmering Christmas lights are inspired by the crown of King Charles II, who restored Christmas to the nation after Oliver Cromwell’s ban on such festivities. Elsewhere in Chelsea, Duke of York Square, Sloane Square and Pavilion Road are also decorated for the season.


Light Trails in and near London 2020

Dark nights call for bright lights – and the best way to see them, in my opinion, is with a light trail. The installations tend to be bigger, more impressive and more interactive than free displays, creating a magical experience. Plus they have toilets! These paid light trails still have tickets available, and are open to visitors. Check each listing to see which Tier they now fall under.

Tier 3 update: Waddesdon Manor is now in Tier 3. The Winter Light trail will remain open for local visitors
Waddesdon Manor
transforms its Pleasure Gardens into a Winter Light trail. The valley of flickering flames creates a sea of fire, and dozens of suspended orbs make for a walk-through musical light show. The facade of the fairytale manor is a backdrop for a festive light and music show. We enjoyed the tranquil walk down Miss Alice’s Drive, with colourful lanterns adorning trees. Inside the Stables you’ll find Encounter Parallels, a light in motion creation of colourful pipes that twist and turn in an immersive performance set to a soundscape.
When: Selected evenings, 3 December 2020-31 January 2021
Cost: Weekdays: £16 adult / £8 child / £40 family (2+3). National Trust members £5 adult / £2.50 child. Weekends: £18.50 adult / £9.25 child / £46.25 family (2+3). National Trust members £7.50 adult / £3.75 child.
Note: all visitors receive a £5 adult/£2.50 child/£12.50 family voucher to redeem at catering or retail outlets on the day of their visit.
More information:
Read about our visit to Waddesdon at Christmas last year here.

Tier 3 update: Kew Gardens is in Tier 3. Open for London visitors, extended dates
If you can hold out til January, there are some tickets left for the ever popular Christmas at Kew. The enchanting trail returns with a new route, leading you through the beautifully illuminated Rose Garden for the first time. Highlights include the twinkling Tunnel of Light and the flickering flames in the scented Fire Garden. The iconic Temperate House becomes a beautiful spectrum of Christmas colour, and the Palm House Pond finale returns with its impressive music and light show.
When: 4 December 2020–24 January 2021
Cost: Off peak £19.50 adult / £12 child / £57 family (2+2) / FREE under 4s. Peak £24.50 adult / £14.50 child / £68 family (2+2) / FREE under 4s.
NB – family tickets appear to have sold out, individual adult and child tickets still available.
More information:

Update: Wakehurst is in Tier 2, so remains open for visitors from Tier 1 and Tier 2, following Tier 2 rules. Extended dates
This year’s Glow Wild at Wakehurst, celebrates the hidden heroes of the plant and fungal world, with magical fungi-lanterns and gently sparkling dandelion speed heads. The giant canvas of Wakehurst’s Elizabethan Mansion reveals the secret life of fungi with digital projections. Barn owls swoop between the trees in the illuminated Pinetum.
When: Selected evenings, 3 December 2020 – 10 January 2021
Cost: £15 adult / £9 child / £46 family / FREE under 4s
NB – family tickets appear to have sold out, individual adult and child tickets still available.
More information:
Plus: ‘Quiet sessions’ available for visitors with disabilities such as autism, on 3, 10, 12, 13 and 17 December at 16:15.

Update: Blenheim Palace is in Tier 2, so remains open to visitors from Tier 1 and Tier 2, following Tier 2 rules. Extended dates
The Illuminated Night Trail at Blenheim Palace
has installations to rival Kew, but with much better availability. Walk through a twinkling tunnel of light towards dynamic, colour-changing neon tunnels, lakeside reflections and onto the soft glows of fairy-fire known as Will-o-the-Wisps. New for 2020, the Heart of the Stars scattering shards of light across the lawn and a scented fire garden adorns the Water Terrace.
When: 4 December 2020 – 10 January 2021
Cost: £21.50 adult / £15 child (2-15) / £71 family, plus £10 parking charge
More information:
Plus: the Palace will be open for you to come and enjoy the lavish state rooms dressed for Christmas. Additional entrance charges apply.
Read about our 2019 visit to Blenheim Palace at Christmas here.


London family theatre Christmas 2020

Oh yes it is! After months of uncertainty, London’s theatres can now go ahead with socially distanced performances. Many pantomimes have been postponed, but you can still enjoy other family friendly shows. With numbers capped at 50% capacity, they’ll definitely feel more intimate. Here’s all the family friendly festive shows still with tickets available:

Tier 3 update: Under Tier 3 rules, all indoor entertainment, including theatre, are now closed.


Dear Santa at Riverside Studios. 3-24 December 2020. Tickets from £16, ages 2-6.

A Christmas Carol by Nicholas Hytner at Bridge Theatre. 3 December 2020-16 January 2021. Tickets from £15. Ages 6+. Tickets

The Gruffalo’s Child adapted by Tall Stories at Alexandra Palace Theatre. 5 December 2020 – 3 January 2021. Tickets from £13, ages 3+.

Mr Stink Christmas at Chickenshed Theatre. 5 December 2020 – 5 January 2021. Tickets from £8, ages 5+.

Stick Man by Freckle Productions at Rose Theatre Kingston. 10 December 2020-3 January 2021. Tickets from £12, ages 3+

The Nutcracker by Peter Wright and the Royal Ballet at Royal Opera House. 11 December 2020-3 January 2021. Tickets from £5, ages 5+.

Dick Whittington by Jude Christian and Cariad Lloyd at National Theatre. 11 December 2020 – 23 January 2021. Tickets from £20, ages 6+.

Three Little Christmas Pigs by Story Storks at Twickenham Theatre. 17-22 December 2020. Tickets from £10, ages 2-7.

The Little Match Girl by Ballo Arthur Pita at Sadlers Wells. 17 – 27 December 2020. Tickets from £18, ages 5+.

The Little Match Girl by Toby Ingram & Molly Rose Barton at Old Royal Naval College. Outdoors. 18-21 December 2020. Tickets from £3, ages 7+.

Wolves of Willoughby Chase at Greenwich Theatre. 18 December 2020 – 10 January 2021. Tickets £20, ages 6+.

The Gruffalo and the Snowman at Cadogan Hall. 21-22 December 2020. Tickets £32.


London Christmas Markets 2020

Pop up markets are a great place to find small and independent makers, or warm up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine. Whilst the Southbank have cancelled theirs, these Christmas markets will go ahead and haven’t booked out:

Tier 3 update: Outdoor Christmas markets can continue to operate in Tier 3.

The Christmas Market on the Mews is Selfridges first ever outdoors Christmas market. Nine festive food trucks, a giant helter skelter and a tunnel of light. 2 December 2020-end of December, 16:00-21:00 weekdays, 12:00-21:00 weekends. FREE.

Christmas artisans at Chiswick House with Duck Pond Markets features local artisans producing eco-friendly, handmade products. Festive wreaths, potted plants and street food traders. 3-6 December 2020, 10:00-15:30. FREE, just turn up.

OSO Christmas Fair features live music and shopping. 4 December 2020 13:00-18:00 and 5 December 2020 10:00-15:00. FREE.

The Festive market at Old Royal Naval College features arts and crafts from local makers, as well as food and drink stalls. Admire the magnificent Christmas tree in Upper Grand Square and take in at the beautiful Wren architecture illuminated with colourful lights. 12-13 and 18-20 December 2020. FREE, just turn up.

Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre is a food lover’s paradise. Paid, includes include free entry to the palace and gardens. Book now for Friday 11 December 2020. 12 and 13 December 2020 are sold out.


London outdoor ice skating 2020

You know Christmas is on the way when outdoor ice rinks start to appear in front of London’s iconic buildings. Whilst Natural History Museum and Somerset House rinks are sadly postponed, you can still get your skates on here:

Tier 3 update: These ice rinks can continue to operate under Tier 3 rules, and remain open for visitors.

Located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Queen’s House Ice Rink is a magical place to skate. Enjoy unbeatable views of the River Thames and the elegant Queen’s House as you weave (or in my case, wobble) your way around the rink. And this year it’s 50% bigger.
When: 5 December 2020-24 January 2021.
Cost: From £14.50 adult, £7.25 child (3-15). Discount for Royal Museums Greenwich.
More information:
Read about our 2019 visit to Queen’s House ice rink here.

You won’t know which way to look at Hampton Court Palace ice rink. On one side you have spectacular views of Henry VIII’s sixteenth century palace – lit up after dark – and on the other, the River Thames. The rink is a sizeable 1,040 square metres. 
When: 5 December 2020-17 January 2021
Cost: From £16 adult, £11.50 child (3-15).
More information:

Tip: Don’t forget to pre-book your skating aids


Winter kids trails London 2020

Activity trails are another great way of getting the family moving, both indoors and out. 

Tier 3 update: Ham House and Osterley House and Gardens remain open (grounds only) for local visitors under Tier 3 rules, and their Peter Rabbit trails will go ahead. 
Help Peter Rabbit’s friends find to see them through the colder winter months in National Trust gardens across the country, including Ham House in South West London. The Peter Rabbit winter adventure activity trail includes nature-themed active challenges as well as a Peter Rabbit selfie station at the end of the trail. From 23 November 2020, £2 trail + entrance fees. Booking advised.

Tier 3 update: Eltham Palace (grounds only) remains open for local visitors under Tier 3 rules, and its adventure trail will go ahead. Audley End is under Tier 2 rules, so remains open for visitors from Tier 1 and Tier 2 only.
Hunt for clues and QR codes that will reveal quirky tales in English Heritage Festive adventure trails. Properties taking part in and near London include Eltham Palace and Audley End. A good excuse to get out the house during ‘twixmas’. 26 December 2020-3 January 2021. Trail free, entrance fees apply.

Tier 3 update: Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands are now closed.
Take a digital challenge through the cold streets of Victorian London. Your family are counting on you to earn enough shillings to buy Christmas dinner in Family mission: A Victorian Christmas. Choose from Museum of London or Museum of London Docklands. 9 December 2020-3 January 2021. FREE, booking required.

Tier 3 update: Selfridges remains open as a non-essential shop.
Help Santa find nine lost reindeer in Selfridges toy and kids department, to receive a chocolatey prize. Santa’s reindeer hut, 3-24 December 2020. FREE, just turn up and ask staff for a map.

Tier 3 update: Tower Bridge is now closed.
Venture back in time with Arthur’s Christmas at Tower Bridge. Poor Arthur Gaunt has to work this year, but his colleagues are inviting families to surprise Arthur with some festive cheer. Learn about the Bridge, solve clues to help find the gifts to give to Arthur and then visit the Engine Rooms to wish him a happy Christmas. 19-24 December 2020. £20 child / £15 adult / FREE under 1s. Best ages 6-12.


More festive family activities in London

Tier 3 update: The Dickens Museum is now closed.
Deck the halls! The Dickens Museum is reopening all dressed for the festive season. Museum Boy loved our tour of the famous Victorian writer so much, he’s excited to see a true Dickensian Christmas. And the closest he’s been to a Dickens novel is the Muppets Christmas Carol. From 3 December 2020. £9.50 adults / £4.50 children (6-16) / FREE under 6 and Art Pass members. Read about our family tour here.

Tier 3 update: Hampton Court Palace (grounds only) remains open for local visitors under Tier 3 rules, including its fairy trail. 
Can you find all the fairies hiding at Hampton Court Palace? Grab their Christmas garden fairy trail and discover ten magical installations throughout the gardens, along with stories of Christmas traditions from the past. 5 December 2020-3 January 2021. Included with admission, from £24.50 adult / £12.20 child (5-15) / FREE under 5s.

Tier 3 update: Harrods and its Wonder of Stories experience remain open as a non-essential shop. Tickets have sold out, but keep an eye out for returns.
Instead of their famed grotto, Harrods brings you The wonder of stories, in collaboration with Oliver Jeffers. Follow an exciting trail across land, sea, and stars – accomplishing activities along the way – and arrive at a whimsical destination. 3 December 2020-10 January 2021. £30 per bubble (up to 6 people). 
Psst: After your visit, you receive a £30 store voucher.

Tier 3 update: London Zoo remains open under Tier 3 rules for local visitors, including its Magic of Christmas trail. 
Help the animals at London Zoo get their perfect Christmas presents. Download the Magic of Christmas trail card before visiting, gather information along the way, and post him the finished trail in the special polar post box. You might even spot Santa taking a well deserved break at the zoo. 2 December 20203 January 2021. From £26 adults / £16.90 child / FREE under 3s, booking required.

Tier 3 update: Warner Bros Studio Tour is now closed.
Experience Christmas in the wizarding world with Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Bros Studio Tour. New for 2020, crunch your way through Diagon Alley and its layers of snow. See the Great Hall sest dressed for a seasonal feast, complete with flaming Christmas puddings. And of course, the Hogwarts castle model will be finished off with its own dusting of the white stuff. Limited availability 3 December 2020-17 January 2021. £47 adult / £38 child / £150 family (2+2 or 1+3) / FREE 0-4.

Tier 3 update: London Musuem of Water and Steam is now closed.
Take a snowman trail through the London Museum of Water and Steam galleries, and finish with a play in their outdoor courtyard. 5-20 December 2020, weekends only. £17 adult annual pass / FREE children, booking required.
Read about our visit to their (first!) re-opening.

Tier 3 update: Mail Rail and the Postal Museum are now closed.
For a limited time, Mail Rail at the Postal Museum gets a Christmas makeover. From wartime wives wish husbands Merry Christmas from afar, to the broadcast of the first King’s Speech on the BBC, there’s a seasonal take on the tiny underground train ride. Other festivities are planned. Selected dates, 5-30 December 2020.

Tier 3 update: the RAF Museum is now closed.
Find the Christmas items around the RAF Museum in their digital trail, and collect your virtual stamp. From 5 December 2020. FREE, booking required.



If all these festive activities leave you feeling a bit bah humbug, here’s some non-Christmas family activities in London this December. Unfortunately I can’t promise they won’t mention the other ‘C’ word:

Tier 3 update: The Natural History Museum is now closed.
Fantastic beasts: The wonder of nature at the Natural History Museum is the most eagerly anticipated exhibition of the year – well, in this muggle house at least. Discover where the real and wizarding worlds intertwine, and how the wonders of the natural world have inspired myths, legends and magical creatures for generations. 9 December 2020-August 2021. £22 adult, £13.25 child, family from £38.50.

Tier 3 update: Wander Art remains open to visitors.
Launching from December, Wander Art claims to be London’s largest outdoor gallery. Spanning Mayfair and Belgravia, it will feature art installations from 12 world renowned artists. FREE, just turn up.

Tier 3 update: The Foundling Museum is now closed.
The covid letters: A vital update at Foundling Museum brings together over 200 of Boris’s letters to the nation, decorated by kids to express their feelings – and fury – during the pandemic. Expect plenty of poo emojis. Until 11 April 2021. £9.50 adults, FREE under 25s.
Read my review here.

Tier 3 update: V&A Museum is now closed.
All will be well: Children’s rainbows from lockdown at V&A Museum. Step inside this large scale installation of over 100 rainbow artworks crafted by kids. 3 December 2020-21 February 2021. FREE, book here.


At Home festive family activities

I think we 2020 well enough by now to realise that, at any time, your family may have to stay home. So here’s some festive ideas from London’s culture sector to keep your entertained when you can’t (or won’t!) go out:

Make polar bear snowflakes with Natural History Museum. Anytime, FREE.

Make a fun bag design with V&A family workshop. 5 December 2020, 13:30-17:00, FREE, booking essential.

Mother Christmas with Little Angel Theatre. Anytime from 5 December 2020, FREE. 

Join a craft workshop with Santa and Selfridges. 5, 12 and 19 December 2020 at 14:00. FREE, booking essential.

A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic. 12-24 December 2020. £20, booking essential.

Pusscat’s First Christmas with Little Angel Theatre. Anytime from 16 December 2929, FREE. 

Sir Willoughby’s Challenge. Ages 6-12. 18 December 2020-2 January 2021. £15. 

A Christmas Carol with Polka Theatre. 19-27 December 2020. FREE to Polka newsletter subscribers. 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with Creation Theatre. 19 December 2020-3 January 2021, live via Zoom. £30, booking essential.

A Dickensian Christmas Live from the Barbican. 22 December 2020. £12.50, booking essential.

Carol services from the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul at Old Royal Naval College. Dates tbc. FREE.


I do hope this list helps you enjoy your family time in London this Christmas, wherever you go and whatever you do.

Spread a little cultural cheer, and please take a second to share this with your friends and followers, on whichever platform works for you. It’s a small thing but it really helps all the museums, theatres and other cultural producers out. It also lets me know you would like more guides like this in the future.

I love seeing what you get up to, so please do let me know if you make it to somewhere I’ve mentioned this Christmas. Either comment below, or tag me @museummum on Instagram or @museum_mum on Twitter. I’ll be posting our own festive adventures over on my Instagram Stories.


Disclosure: Just like a journalist, I have been gifted free entry to many of these museums for review purposes. I work at the Museum of London, although can’t take any credit for their family activities, and this blog is not associated with them.





  1. Hannah
    December 2, 2020 / 3:18 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is so totally amazing! I have booked several of the events you have flagged over the past few weeks and this post has highlighted a few more to add to the list! Thank you again so much for your tips, friendliness and for letting me know about lots of events I wouldn’t have known about otherwise! Let the festivities commence!

  2. December 7, 2020 / 5:42 pm

    Fabulous list! You can’t beat London for festive lighting. I’ll really miss seeing it this year! We did make it into the V and A before lockdown 2 and the timed entry system worked wonders with the crowds. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.

    I’m so glad that you can still go ice-skating – so Christmassy! #Culturedkids

  3. December 7, 2020 / 8:22 pm

    Great list, Christmas lights all the way for me this year #CulturedKids

  4. December 10, 2020 / 9:40 am

    What an extensive list. I’m so glad to hear there will still be some festive sparkle in London this Christmas!

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