12 of the best festive events this Christmas
It’s our favourite time of year, when you’ll find plenty of fun festive events happening in each of our exciting destinations. From London to LA, here’s our guide to the very best of the season. Happy holidays!
Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall
A prestigious hub of festive entertainment in London since 1871, the Royal Albert Hall puts on an extraordinary run of seasonal shows to celebrate Christmas this year. Its colourful programme of music, theatre and performance has something for everyone, whether traditionalist with a fondness for classic carols or jazz enthusiast seeking an evening of frothy improvisation.
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP
+44 (0)20 7589 8212
Image © Royal Albert Hall
Somerset House Ice Rink
Gliding across the courtyard of Somerset House is one of the capital’s most popular pastimes come winter. Not only does the arrival of the temporary ice rink mark the start of the festive season, it’s also an ideal opportunity to appreciate one of London’s most stunning historic venues as a beautifully illuminated backdrop. Book a session for an after-dark skate while a live DJ spins beats into the night.
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
+44 (0)20 7845 4600
Windsor Illuminations and Winter Festivities
Aside from the stunning festive decorations adorning Windsor Castle’s interiors, the town itself is beautifully illuminated during the festive season, with the Christmas Lights Switch On something of a seasonal fixture for locals. Elsewhere, there are festive farmers’ markets, an outdoor ice-skating rink and seasonal grottos to entertain younger visitors – not to mention plenty of traditional festive menus across town.
Various locations across Windsor
Windsor Reindeer Parade
One of Windsor’s most sought-after Christmas events, the Windsor Reindeer Parade welcomes Santa and his beloved herd into town in December. The parade starts at Windsor Castle’s historic Advance Gate and winds past several key locations, including the High Street and King Edward Court. The jubilant procession concludes in Windsor Yard—be sure to snap a photo with Santa on his sleigh before he returns to Lapland.
Various locations across Windsor
Disney’s Enchanted Christmas
Disneyland Paris undergoes a glittering makeover as Disney’s Enchanted Christmas arrives with reams of fairy lights, dazzling festive costumes and a special touch of magic. Expect sparkling street parades, live performances, everyone’s favourite characters dressed to impress, and a traditional festive market at Disney Village providing ample opportunity to tick off the gift list.
Disneyland Paris, Boulevard de Parc, 77700 Coupvray
+33 1 60 30 60 53
Paris Christmas Markets
The French are known for bringing a touch of chic to everything they do, and Christmas markets are no different. Come winter, Paris is peppered with festive villages selling beautiful, one-of-a-kind artisan crafts. Follow your nose to roasted chestnuts and seasonal crepes, and wash them down with aromatic spiced wine. Seek out Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Trocadero and the Tuileries Garden for some of Paris’ most sought-after Christmas markets.
Various locations across Paris
Christmas Markets in Piazza Navona
For an authentic flavour of Natale in the Eternal City, take a 20-minute stroll from Hotel Eden to the spectacular surrounds of the Piazza Navona, home to the capital’s annual Christmas market. It’s one of the most beautiful squares in Rome, enhanced by Bernini’s Fountain of the Four Rivers, and during December, its colonised by twinkling stalls selling stocking-fillers, toys and decorations alongside hot spiced wine and roast chestnuts.
Piazza Navona, 00186 Roma
A centuries-old tradition in the Italian capital, the Pope hosts a Midnight Mass at the Basilica of St Peter every Christmas Eve, with the proceedings starting at 9.15pm. It’s a ticketed event, but if you missed the chance to reserve a spot in the basilica, head to St Peter’s Square on the night. Thousands flock here to watch it broadcast on immense screens to ring in Christmas with the Pope.
St Peter’s Basilica, Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Vatican City
+39 06 6988 3114
Oh Bej! Oh Bej! Christmas Market and The Sant’Ambrogio Festivities
Translated as ‘How beautiful! How beautiful!’, Oh Bej! Oh Bej! is among Milan’s most anticipated festive events. Held annually around December 7, which is also a holiday celebrating Milanese patron Saint Ambrose, the festival brings with it a flurry of live entertainment as well as myriad shopping opportunities. It traces its roots back to the early 16th century, when a religious figure visited Milan and gifted the city’s children with presents.
Sforza Castle, Piazza Castello, 27029 Milano
+39 02 8846 3700
Christmas festivities in Duomo Square
A smorgasbord of festive food markets, live performances and family-friendly entertainment spills out across Duomo Square this month, culminating in Midnight Mass at the Duomo on December 24. Milan’s most famous square and a lively cultural hub, Piazza del Duomo sits at the heart of the city and is awash with merriment throughout the festive season.
Piazza del Duomo, 20122 Milan
Holiday Sing-A-Long at Walt Disney Concert Hall
Get into the holiday spirit with an evening of festive cheer that celebrates some of today’s most loved Christmas classics in the illustrious company of the LA Philharmonic. The venue’s powerful pipe organ, seasoned choir and a troupe of skilled jazz musicians raise the roof, while audience members are encouraged to sing along to popular favourites.
Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
+1 323 850 2000
Universal Studios Hollywood stages its popular Grinchmas in time for the festive season. One of the theme park’s most sought-after holiday highlights, the sparkling musical spirits audiences to Whoville, the setting for Doctor Seuss’ classic holiday tale. This live performance, starring everyone’s favourite Grinch, of course, features an original score guaranteed to get even the most ‘bah-humbug’ of visitors into the Christmas mood.
Universal Studios Hollywood, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
+1 800 86 8377
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