Reindeer Lodge at London Zoo

The Reindeer Lodge is open for a limited time this holiday season at the London Zoo. The fairytale setting is home to Santa’s herd of reindeer, so buy a ticket (they’re selling out fast!) and que up to see Rudolph’s nose for yourself.

Nov 26 – Dec 24
FREE for adults, £5 for children (book ahead online!)
Tube: Camden Town

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Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

It’s not Christmas until Winter Wonderland has set up camp in Hyde Park. Strap on some ice skates and whiz around Europe’s largest skating rink, or stay on the sidelines with some mulled wine. Christmas shops and boutiques will be open selling wares, and attractions as well as Santa will be at the park for added fun.

until 3 Jan 2012
FREE entry
Tube: Hyde Park Corner

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The Enchanted Woodland
In Syon Park

Over a thousand lights illuminate the beautiful gardens, forming a kaleidoscope of colour. The latest lighting effects are used to create sublte as well as dramatic visual effects in the natural landscape.

Nov 18 – Dec 4
Tube: Gunnersbury

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Christmas at Covent Garden

Christmas displays have popped up in Covent Garden, highlighted by a 15-foot topiary reindeer and a British-grown Christmas tree. The festive themed decor in the market is the setting of an animated nativity scene which slowly changes throughout the course of the day. London choirs sing Christmas carols on Saturdays, noon to five. On Saturdays until 24 December you can also pet real live reindeer (for free!) as part of the popular Covent Garden Christmas tradition.

until 4 Jan 2012
Tube: Covent Garden

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Ice Skating at Natural History Museum

A Christmas season highlight, this temporary holiday 1,000-metre-square outdoor rink with nearby fairground carousel is set against the stunning backdrop of the Natural History Museum. Surrounding trees boast twinkling fairy lights and a balcony cafe/bar provides warm wintry drinks to add to the cheery atmosphere.

until 8 Jan 2012
£13 peak; £11.50 off-peak
Tube: South Kensington

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Zippo’s Cirque Extreme
At Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland

Skip the company’s family circus show for the Ciruqe Extreme, a thrilling but festive performance headlined this year by a group of alarming motorcycling Brazilians.

until 3 Jan 2012
£8.50 – £9.50
Tube: Hyde Park Corner

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Southbank Centre Christmas Market

Wooden chalets sit along the riverside, between the Southbank Centre and the London Eye, selling hand-crafted gifts like toys, jewellery and ornaments. This German-style Christmas market sports traditional food as well, so sip on some Gluhwein and get your hands on some bratwurst as you enjoy the festive atmosphere. Don’t forget the gingerbread!

until 24 Dec
Tube: Waterloo

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Trafalgar Square Christmas Carols

Enjoy Christmas carols sung by choirs from all over London as well as the surrounding areas every night from five to nine. Let the cheer wash over you as you sit beneath the lights of the massive Christmas Tree (donated each year from the country of Norway in a historic exchange).

Dec 5 – Dec 22 (5pm – 9pm)
Tube: Charring Cross

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Christmas Pantomime
Cinderella at Theatre Royal Stratford East

One of the best parts of the holiday season is the rowdy and inappropriate pantomimes that pop up all over the capital. This year’s pick seems to be Cinderella which is playing in multiple theatres. Check out the Theatre Royal Stratford East’s production for laughs.

Dec 3 – Jan 21 2012
£6 – £22
Tube: Stratford

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Christmas Lights and Shopping

What would Christmas be without the hustle and bustle of stores on high street, bumping against crowds while walking beneath elaborate light displays in a mad dash to get the perfect gift? Check out Regent Street off Piccadilly Circus for the “mile of lights” featuring giant shimmering white stars and characters from this year’s holiday animated film Arthur Christmas. Then head over to Oxford Street for twinkling snowflakes. Haven’t had your fill? The South Molton Street Lights feature lit snowy archways for passerby to stroll under.

Until 3 & 4 Jan 2012

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