The Christmas countdown is on, and Greenwich is embracing everything twinkly and festive, and this November and December it is the place to be to feel all merry and full of joy and have the most festive fun in London.

A group take a walk in Greenwich Park

Avoid the crowds and busy high streets of the city and head to Greenwich for that extra sparkle. You can enjoy walks though this beautiful borough in the fresh, crisp open air, take in the glorious autumn colours and the glittering sights.

The lantern parade procession through Greenwich Town Centre

Starting off the proceedings is Greenwich Market with its Christmas Light Switch On and Lantern Parade on 17 November, which is sure to get you feeling joyful. Starting at the Old Royal Naval College, children from five local schools, led by a jazz band, will parade their handmade colourful lanterns through the grounds, round past Cutty Sark and into the Market for the big Christmas Countdown and Lights On. Father Christmas will be there to welcome visitors in his Greenwich Grotto, and open for bookings throughout the festive period.

People skating at the Queen's House Ice Rink

From 18 November, the magical open-air Queen’s House Ice Rink takes centre stage once again in the beautiful grounds of Royal Museums Greenwich. Set in the heart of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, the rink is surrounded by wonderful architecture, with views of Greenwich Park to the south and the glittering lights of Canary Wharf to the north, providing a backdrop of some of the best views in London. Open throughout the Christmas season until 9 January. So grab your skates, bring your friends and have fun gliding and wobbling on the ice!

A Christmassy stall at Greenwich Market

Christmas shopping can sometimes be challenging, finding the perfect gift for that special someone. Greenwich Market is a brilliant solution for finding a unique gift. You'll be spoilt for choice with British designer-makers with many different shops and stalls from original artworks, antiques, handcrafted toys, fashion, jewellery, handmade gifts and more. There is also the food court with culinary delights from all over the world to keep you going. 

Christmas display at ICON Outlet shopping centre on Greenwich Peninsula

For another kind of designer shopping, head to ICON Outlet at The O2, which has over 60 well-known brands such as adidas, Calvin Klein, Jack Wills, Next and many more. Offering up to 70% off, you can treat yourself as well as find gorgeous gifts. Tip: The O2 has free car parking for 4hrs if you spend over £35.

Whilst you are at ICON Outlet, leave your purchases at the bag drop and treat yourself to an early Christmas gift to go for a sky-high adventure at Up at The O2. Why not do it in the evening and take in the Christmas lights and sights!

Night view over the Emirates Air Line, Uber Boat by Thames Clippers and The O2.

You can also see the lights and sights from the river when you catch a ride on board Uber Boat by Thames Clippers. Not only is it a speedy way to travel between The O2 and Greenwich - just 8 minutes by the way! – it takes in glorious views of Greenwich, the Thames and the rest of London along the way. Choose from being out on deck feeling the rush of the air or be cosy with a coffee inside.

Poster for A Christmas Carol in the Painted Hall

For a Christmas show to enjoy with the family, don’t miss A Christmas Carol, the classic Dickens tale, brought to life in the stunning surroundings of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, 3 to 23 December. It will be a thrilling musical adventure to Christmas past, present and future.

A couple enjoy the pretty lights at Enchanted Eltham Palace

Another Christmas celebration to make a family Christmas tradition is Enchanted Eltham Palace, between 9 and 30 December. It is a magical evening of illumination, sound and colour whilst exploring the spectacular grounds and gardens of historic Eltham Palace. This will surely make even the Grinch feel festive.

An Advent Window at Cutty Sark

Truly unique to Greenwich and a delightful way to explore the town centre is to look out for the Advent Windows, organised by St Alfege Church. Now in its 15th year, in December the town centre is brought alive with shops, homes, schools and pubs using their imagination and artistry to decorate their windows to create a living Advent Calendar. On each day of Advent (1 to 24 December) a newly decorated window is revealed (or ‘opened’) and will remain on display until 3 January.

People wearing Santa hats on City Cruises

Sit back and relax on board City Cruises and watch the world go by as you take a scenic trip on the majestic river Thames. Cruise and party your way into merry winter celebrations, like Christmas Day cruises and New Year’s Eve sailings that are sure to leave you with a twinkle in your eye.

So, let’s recap on why Greenwich means Christmas time – there are festive markets, live shows, seasonal drinks, and tasty street food. Designer shopping, river trips, enchanted light trails, ice-skating and sky-high adventure, all in one beautiful riverside setting.  Easy to get to by river and rail. Everything on your Christmas wish list for the perfect countdown to Christmas.

Get your friends and family together and start making some Greenwich Christmas traditions of your own.

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Lantern Parade and Christmas Lights On
Christmas Lights Switch-On
A spectacular Greenwich lantern procession and Greenwich Market's Christmas tree lights switch ON

A spectacular Greenwich lantern procession and the switching on of the Greenwich Market’s Christmas sparkly lights.

The Queen's House Ice Rink
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Two children laughing as they hold onto model penguins to steady themselves on the ice at the Queen's House Ice Rink in Greenwich.

Discover the Queen's House Ice Rink, the most beautiful outdoor ice skating location in London.

Greenwich Market
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A couple admire the jewellery on a stand at Greenwich Market with some fresh street food in-hand.

London’s favourite market was established by Royal Charter in 1700 and originally sold fruit, vegetables and livestock. Nowadays it’s the centre of Greenwich shopping life, with shops and stalls all undercover, packed with art, antiques, fashion, jewellery, handmade gifts and more.

ICON Outlet at The O2
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The icon outlet, an architectural masterpiece, filled with happy shoppers. With lifts escalators and stairs to suit everyone.

Premium brands at outlet prices

Up at The O2
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A couple climb the blue walkway of Up at The O2 on Greenwich Peninsula on a sunny, blue-skied day.

Up at The O2 takes you on an exhilarating 90-minute climb over the roof of the world’s most popular entertainment venue. See a different side of the city, by day, at twilight or sunset.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers
Boat Hire
Speeding down the Thames past Canary Wharf on Uber Boat by Thames Clippers.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers makes an exception to the rule of river travel on the Thames providing a speedy service for both commuters and sightseers alike with a unique way to travel around the capital. Getting to your destination with plenty of time to explore while enjoying the amazing views on the way to Greenwich, North Greenwich and Woolwich from Embankment Pier, Tower Pier, Canary Wharf and all the major London piers in between.

A Christmas Carol in the Painted Hall
Christmas - Family
It’s midnight on Christmas Eve, a time when the spirits of Christmas come out to play.

A thrilling musical adventure to the past, present and future! Charles Dickens’ spooky festive tale is brought to life in the incredible surroundings of the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. This vibrant new adaptation is great fun for all the family with original songs and music performed live by a cast of talented actor-musicians.

Enchanted Eltham Palace
Christmas - Family
Explore the grounds and gardens to discover a magical world of illumination, sound and colour.

Gather your friends and family to banish the dark winter nights and experience the past in a spectacular new light this December. Explore the grounds and gardens to discover a magical world of illumination, sound and colour, and see the outside of the Great Hall bathed in light.   Warm up with a glass of mulled wine, toast a marshmallow under the night sky or hop on a traditional fairground ride. The shop will be open for you to stock up on a range of Christmas gifts, from traditional toys to award-winning food and drink.

Advent Windows 2021
Christmas - Family
Celebrating Christmas on the streets of Greenwich through Advent Calendar

Every year St Alfege Church, in the heart of Greenwich, London, runs an “Advent Windows” event whereby the town centre is brought alive by 24 unique offerings in the lead up to Christmas.

City Cruises
Indoor
City Cruises boat in front of the Old Royal Naval College famous domes, with a seagull flying past.

City Cruises depart every 30 minutes, every day of the week, all year round from four fantastic piers near Westminster, London Eye, Tower of London and Greenwich. Boats are designed to give you the best vantage point of river life. Enjoy the views from the open air upper deck or comfortable saloon while listening to an entertaining recorded commentary telling you what you’re looking at on the banks at either side of the river. It’s a story full of scientific discovery, naval innovation, dark deeds and regular London life through the ages.

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