Affordable fun in London at Christmas

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You can bet on a few different things to happen at Christmas in London. First, you’ll find glistening Christmas lights all around the city, along with the bustle and magic of the Christmas markets and the spending of lots and lots of money. But the only thing less festive than the Grinch is seeing your bank balance drop the closer it gets to Christmas day. 

Fortunately, we’ve made a list of all the places to visit and activities to try during Christmas in the city that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. 

From Christmas displays to cheap and cheerful eats, the community at Grabbd (the #1 global food and travel social app that foodies & adventurers love) have got you covered. 

Here are eight affordable things to do in London at Christmas.

Enjoy Christmas festivals with friends
Enjoy Christmas festivals with friends

1. The Hawk’s Nest

The Hawk’s Nest is a great festive find decorated with twinkling lights in Shepherds Bush. It’s a cosy floral heated garden hidden inside a converted railway arch that offers affordable gourmet sourdough pizza, cocktails and bacon baps and Bloody Mary’s for £10 every Saturday and Sunday.

This location makes for a great weekend lunch with your other half.

Whether you want to stroll through enchanting Christmas markets, enjoy stunning light displays or sip on a  cozy holiday cocktail, London has plenty of affordable fun.

2. Leicester Square Festival

One of the most magical things about London at Christmas is the stunning Christmas markets dotted all over the city. Unlike Winter Wonderland, Leicester Square’s Christmas market is free to enter, and has everything one would need to enjoy some festive cheer during December. 

Mulled wine, mini pancakes, chocolate-covered strawberries and Christmas gift stalls, there’s something for everyone. And if you’re feeling the urge to splurge a little, the multi-award-winning cabaret extravaganza, La Clique, returns to London’s Leicester Square until the 8th January 2022, from £21.

3. London’s Backyard Cinema at Christmas

This Christmas season you’re able to rejoice in Backyard Cinema’s immersive cinema experience at their Winter Night Garden theatre to view classic Christmas films such as Elf and Home Alone. You’ll be whisked away to their ‘enchanted forest’ with magic and wonder around every corner.

Tickets start from £10, depending on the film you want to watch and where you sit. Whilst you’re there, you can enjoy Backyard pizza, nachos, cocktails and even boozy hot chocolate. 

Ice rink at the National History Museum
Ice rink at the National History Museum

4. Natural History Museum Ice Rink

Third on our list of things to do in London at Christmas is the Natural History Museum ice rink. After an incredible 16 years, this will be the final year of the ice rink so now is the best time to take advantage of the magical ice rink in South Kensington.

Tickets for adults start from £12.65 and £8.80 for children. Don’t miss out – get your skates on, admire the 30ft Christmas tree & enjoy some hot food from their cafe bar. 

5. London Christmas light displays

If you live in London, you’ll know that seeing the lights every year is something of a Christmas tradition. From the cool and colourful lights in Carnaby Street to the sensational, sparkling and seasonal angels that light up on Regent Street, there’s plenty of locations to visit for free that will provide you with a much-needed dose of Christmas cheer, celebration and warmth.

You can see a full list here.

Carnaby Street Kaleidoscope Christmas lights theme
Carnaby Street Kaleidoscope Christmas lights theme

6. Duke of York Square

Situated right in the heart of Chelsea, the square offers culture, shopping and food, making it a great location to enjoy a winter day out. What’s more, they’ve recently set up a magical Christmas tunnel so if you’re taking a walk along the King’s Road, make sure to check out the colourful decor. 

7. Hay’s Galleria

One of the best views in all of London is from London Bridge pier and there’s no better time to admire the view than during the Christmas season when there’s festive stalls right by the river.

A 5-minute walk from the pier you will also find Hay’s Galleria; a stunning arcade full of cafes, eateries, stalls, picture opportunities and all done up with Christmas lights and decorations. 

Hay's Galleria decorated for the holidays
Hay’s Galleria decorated for the holidays

8. London’s Floral Street at Christmas

If you enjoy taking pictures, fancy yourself an influencer or are particularly OBSESSED with Frozen, then you’ll want to check out the beautiful and awe-inspiring Frozen installation near Floral street. It even doubles as a great place to take your children after enjoying a day out in Covent Garden or Leicester Square. 

Now that you have a list of affordable things to do in London at Christmas, you can rest assured that you’re enjoying everything that the best city in the world has to offer during Christmas, on a budget. 

At Grabbd, we take pride in making it easy for you to discover, save and share restaurants, bars, museums, landmarks & so much more. (They don’t call us the #1 global foodie and travel app for no reason).

Download the app to save these recommendations to your own list and discover your favourite places and spots all around the world. 

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