Join in the merry ‘Ding Dongs’ for a carol-singing session with a difference. Both Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace hold events in the run-up to Christmas. The Kensington Palace evenings also include a visit of the State Apartments, finishing around the 30-foot tall tree. You can buy tickets online, and expect a glass of mulled wine or a soft drink and mince pies on the night.
Catch a Christmas market
Embrace the festive mood with a little al fresco shopping in the Christmas markets that pop up all over London. Try Borough Market where the aroma of spicy mulled wine will have you in the mood in no time, or try the edgier Southbank Centre market for arts and crafts, street food and all things creative - as well as fairground rides from mid-November.
See the light
A major event in the London Christmas calendar, the switching on of the Oxford Street Christmas lights sees 1778 snowball-like decorations lit up (for the 56th year in 2015). Nearby Carnaby Street in Soho also comes alive with plenty of sparkle and giant disco balls, while Regent Street has an extra glow, with late shopping and extravagant lit garlands.
Window shop ‘til you drop
Even if you’re not actually buying, it’s worth heading to London’s biggest shopping parades to admire the windows. Harrods in Knightsbridge is famous the world over for its Christmas window displays, as its neighbour Harvey Nichols. It’s impossible not to be bewitched by the Christmas magic and the twinkling lights. On Oxford Street, don’t miss Selfridges’ intricate displays and in-store events.
Hit the ice
Head to Somerset House for a classic Christmas-is-London experience, skating in the most beautiful of settings. The rink is usually open from mid-November to early January, with tickets available online. And the fun doesn’t stop at night, as the rink holds special club nights with cocktails at the Skate Lounge. Worried about your skills on ice? Beginners and kids can join the Skate School and Polar Bear Cub Club. For more skating, try Broadgate or Canary Wharf, or even the dramatic Natural History Museum.