December may be a costly month, particularly in London. So, if you're searching for ways to save money and spend Christmas on a shoestring in London, check out these inexpensive and festive activities to do during Christmas. You won't have to spend a dime; however, there are plenty of methods for disposing of your cash if you so choose. Are you feeling festive? You're absolutely correct. Indulge yourself in all things ornaments and liquor at one of the city's many festive pop-ups or activities to do this winter. There's plenty for everyone at these Christmas events in London, from snowy drinks and merry immersive experiences to themed brunches.
See the London Christmas lights
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The numerous Christmas light displays in London are free to see and will be turned on in early December (see the specific switch-on dates). Explore Regent Street, Oxford Street, Covent Garden, Carnaby, and other districts in the dark to see London at its twinkly, festive best - we've put together a guide to when, where, and how to see them, as well as a helpful map. If you have a few more pounds, take the bus for an even better view of the lights.
Wander around London's Christmas markets
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There are various Christmas markets and fairs to attend in London, and many of them are free to enter — but you will have to part with your money if something entices you, or if you want to warm up with a mulled wine. The Southbank Centre's Winter Market (3 December-26 December 2023) is at the top of the list, with a lovely collection of wooden chalets decked up in shimmering lights right next to the river. It's free to walk along and enjoy the festive atmosphere, however it may get rather crowded on weekends.
Admire the Ever After Garden
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The Ever After Garden returns to Mayfair this winter, with over 20,000 luminous roses lighting up Grosvenor Square. It offers a place for Londoners to commemorate loved ones who are no longer with them in the run-up to Christmas, and there is the opportunity to donate a rose for a minimum payment of £10 to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. It's free to come, but because it's for charity, consider contributing a few pounds if you can. It will be open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 23, 2023.
Sing your heart out at a carol concert
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You could attend a carol performance every evening in December and yet only touch the surface of London's Christmas services. They aren't all free — many are for charitable purposes, so that's acceptable — but why not check out what's going on at your local church?
Sparkle in the Park
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This time of year, London is brimming with light festivals, but some of them may be pricey. Not so at Sparkle in the Park, a free light trail for residents of the Royal Borough of Greenwich held over four evenings in Well Hall Pleasaunce Park in Eltham. Though the event is free, tickets are required and will be available beginning December 1. It should be noted that the event is exclusively open to inhabitants of the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The doors will be open from 4 pm to 8 pm on December 1st to 4th, 2023.
Enjoy the Aldgate in Winter Festival
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During the Winter Festival 2023, lanterns will march through east London at the Aldgate. Local Heroes is this year's theme, with market stalls, live performances, and other festivities taking place alongside the lantern festival on Friday, December 2nd. Following that, on Monday, December 5, an exhibition of the lanterns used in the procession, created by local artists, schools, and community groups, will open. Feeling the holiday spirit? If you're planning to travel soon, check out our blog on Ready, Set, Travel for some travel inspiration. link - https://www.truvaiglobal.com/post/ready-set-travel
See the snow fall in Covent Garden
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A white Christmas is becoming increasingly unusual in London these days, with the exception of Covent Garden, where snow showers are a regular occurrence in the run-up to the big day. It's part of the Christmas in Covent Garden festivities, which begin with the lighting of the Christmas tree on December 8th (though those giant bauble and mistletoe decorations have already been in situ since mid-October). The exact date of the snowfall is unknown, but it will be free to enjoy.
Watch one of London's wackiest races
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If you happen to be in Covent Garden on Saturday, December 10, you may catch The Great Christmas Pudding Race 2023. Teams dressed in festive costumes (elves, reindeer, and so on) race around an obstacle course in the Piazza and compete in obstacles while balancing a Christmas pudding on a plate. Basically, it's more festive than elves munching candy canes. It is absolutely free to watch; however, it is a charity event for Cancer Research UK, so please consider contributing a few pounds if you are able.
Visit Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
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Since the introduction of entrance fees to Hyde Park Winter Wonderland last year, the massive holiday funfair has become more difficult to visit for free. However, if you can travel off-peak (an early weekday morning in December), admittance is free, albeit you must still reserve ahead of time. Once inside Winter Wonderland, there are several options to spend your money (particularly if you have children with you), ranging from funfair rides and theatre plays to food and drink and Christmas market booths. But wandering about and taking in the atmosphere? Off-peak, that's free. Opening on December 18, 2023. Free off-peak entrance tickets are available on certain dates from December 18 to December 28, and from December 31 to January 2.
Watch the Peter Pan Cup
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What are you going to do at 9 a.m. on Christmas Day? The Peter Pan Cup, a historic event going back to 1903, attracts a brave group of swimmers to the waters of The Serpentine in Hyde Park. The race isn't available to the general public, so you won't be able to have a freezing holiday swim, but it is free to watch, with onlookers allowed along the lake's edge. Just keep in mind that there will be no public transportation in London on Christmas Day. It's the most delightful time of year, and while London, which is now ranked first in the QS Best Student Cities ranking, is notorious for being pricey, it's also jam-packed with things to do. London is no exception around Christmas, when the city comes alive with a plethora of events intended to make you feel merry. FAQs
Q: Are the Christmas markets in London free to enter?
A: Yes, many Christmas markets in London are free to enter, allowing you to soak in the festive atmosphere. The Southbank Centre's Winter Market, for example, offers a delightful experience along the river.
Q: Is there an admission fee for Hyde Park Winter Wonderland?
A: While Hyde Park Winter Wonderland introduced entrance fees last year, there are opportunities for free off-peak entrance on certain dates. Plan an early weekday morning visit in November or December to enjoy the atmosphere without admission fees.
Q: Can I contribute to the Ever After Garden charity initiative?
A: Yes, you can contribute to the Ever After Garden charity initiative by donating a minimum of £10 for a rose. The luminous roses lighting up Grosvenor Square provide a beautiful way to commemorate loved ones, with proceeds benefiting The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.