The Stashbee Guide to Celebrating Christmas in London
Autumn always seems to go by as quickly as the leaves change and drop, and it won’t be long now before Christmas is knocking on our doors. This is the time of year when we’re invited to get into the spirit of the season and London knows just how to do it.
Making plans with friends and family to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year adds so much excitement to the air that it glows like Christmas lights. As you make your way across town, ticking off Christmas events from light shows to markets, the last thing you want to do is waste your time finding a good place to park at each stop along the way.
The good news is, the perfect London parking space for rent is waiting for you, courtesy of Stashbee! Guarantee yourself a parking spot this Christmas season so you can get parked and get on with the merriment in two shakes of a sleigh bell.
In the meantime, explore our guide to some of the most magical ways to spend Christmas in London with your friends and family.
Christmas Markets in London
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year and London’s array of Christmas markets never fail to add to the charm.
All across the city, lights are strung, wine is mulled, and artists are finally able to showcase their crafts for cheery Christmas shoppers. To get into the Christmas spirit this year, be sure to stop by these markets, all of which are sure to dazzle and delight.
1) Leicester Square Christmas Market
Set to open in early November, the Leicester Square Christmas Market is known for its assortment of handmade crafts and tasty treats. Turning one of London’s top film premiere venues into a playful market for the festive season, it’s sure to delight holiday enthusiasts of all ages.
Meander through stalls selling handmade goods while sipping cosy drinks under twinkling lights. Once you’ve stopped at all of the stalls, make your way into the Belgian spiegeltent to catch an amusing Christmas show.
The roads surrounding Leicester Square are marked with double red and yellow lines and Central London’s multi-storey car parks are notoriously expensive, giving you pretty limited options when it comes to parking.
You can still guarantee yourself a spot nearby by booking parking in Piccadilly with us. Our convenient alternative to on-street parking means you know exactly where you’ll park when you approach the market, without the hassle of navigating confusing double lines.
2) Southbank Centre Winter Market
The Winter Market at the Southbank Centre offers a fun time for families and festivity-lovers alike. From stunning lights to delicious street food, there’s plenty to explore over a mulled wine, with an incredible view of the Thames. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds but still want to score some Christmas gifts made by local artists, this is the place for you.
While the dates for this year’s market have yet to be released, it is typically open from early November, running into January. There is free parking available in the National Theatre car park, but those spaces are extremely limited, especially since there’ll be productions running there throughout winter.
There’s an easier way to get your car parked and go to the market - book parking in Waterloo with us. Our verified Hosts have private parking spaces ready and waiting to be booked before you make your way to the market.
3) Kingston Christmas Market
Perhaps one of the more unique markets in Greater London, Kingston’s Christmas Market boasts a traditional setting of over 40 wooden stalls for patrons to meander through under the warm glow of twinkling lights. You’re sure to find the most magical stocking stuffers here while your children take a spin on the vintage carousel.
With an opening date set for the 18th of November 2021, the Kingston Christmas Market will be open daily until Christmas Eve. There are a few car parks located nearby, but the streets surrounding the area are notoriously packed with traffic during the Christmas season.
Beat the competition in packed car parks and add some ease to your shopping plans by guaranteeing yourself a parking spot in Kingston upon Thames at an affordable hourly rate.
4) Greenwich Christmas Market
While the dates for the 2021 Greenwich Christmas Market have yet to be announced, it holds firm on the list of must-sees this winter. Christmas lights illuminate over 100 vendors, each serving up the most charming Christmas crafts and delicious holiday treats.
This market could be considered one of London’s best kept secrets, as it’s a ways away from the city centre. With a smaller crowd perusing a wide variety of vendors, you’re sure to have a more intimate shopping experience this season.
There are pay and display parking options surrounding Greenwich Park - which is well worth exploring if you fancy spending the entire day in the area. However, if you’re lucky enough to score one of these parking spots among the Christmas crowd, there’s still the chance of getting subjected to a dreadful PCN, which is enough to dull anyone’s Christmas cheer.
A better bet would be to peruse our offerings for affordable Greenwich parking and secure a short-term space for yourself before heading to the market. This way you know just where you’re parking without the hassle.
Christmas Lights in London
What would the Christmas season be without a winter wonderland of lights, anyway? As the days get shorter and a fair bit colder, the colourful lights of London seem to work their magic to keep the spirit of Christmas alive and well. Here are some of the best displays you’re likely to find in the capital this season.
1) Northbank and the Strand
For those looking for a beautiful show of lights without the crowded streets, you’ll want to stay tuned for when the Northbank Christmas lights are set to turn on.
Compared to other attention-grabbing ceremonies throughout London, the lighting of the Strand and Villiers Street is rather low-key - yet just as stunning. What’s more, you’ll have plenty of wiggle room within the smaller crowd.
The parking surrounding these streets is a different story. You never know what kind of situation you’ll be driving into, especially over the festive period.
Give yourself peace of mind this season by avoiding crowded public car parks and packed streets. Check out our options for private parking in Charing Cross so you can get from point A to point B without fuss.
2) Oxford Street, Regent Street and Covent Garden
We’re on the edge of our seats to find out when the Oxford Street lights are set to be illuminated. In 2020, Europe’s busiest shopping street was decked in a canopy of over 200,000 lights, with curtains spelling out a poem dedicated to the citizens who kept London going during such difficult times.
We do know that Regent Street is set to light up on the 12th of November, a show that’s sure to please if it’s anything like last year’s display. Over 300,000 LED lights took the shape of angels and spirits, casting an enchanting glow over the street below.
And, of course, we have to mention Covent Garden, which hosts one of the more dazzling lighting ceremonies of London. Over 100,000 lights adorn the market canopy while a massive Christmas tree stands over 18 metres high and is dressed in 30,000 lights.
The illumination of these festive lights is usually accompanied by special performances, holiday promotions and sales, Christmas carols and a crowd of up to one million people. With that being said, we’re sure navigating packed car parks is not on your Christmas wish list.
Save yourself the added stress of searching for an affordable parking spot among thousands of cars by booking a private parking spot ahead of time near Covent Garden or Carnaby Street. That way, you’ll only be a stone’s throw from the top lighting ceremonies on your list and your car will be safe and secure.
3) Kings Road, Chelsea
Kings Road was originally built for King Charles II, so it’s no surprise that the Christmas lights adorning this road are the crown jewel of London’s festivities.
The lighting ceremony commonly hosts a sleigh of entertainers, carol singers spreading Christmas cheer and a particularly rosy-cheeked, jolly fellow in a red suit to do the honours of turning on the lights.
The official lighting date has yet to be announced, but stay tuned so you know when to book hourly parking in Chelsea as a cost- and time-effective solution to holiday parking.
Christmas Things to Do in London
Just when you thought Christmas in London couldn’t get any merrier, the Big Smoke comes through with even more to offer.
Wondering how to spend Christmas in London with the kids? Oh yes you are! And surely you’ll want to check out these fun shows set to hit the stage this holiday season.
This is a feel-good show with flashy show-stopping numbers and stockingfuls of hilarity. Colourful costumes and comedy hit the stage at the London Palladium this December running through to the start of January.
Tickets prices begin at £29. The Palladium sits within London’s Congestion Charge Zone, meaning it’s going to be tricky finding an affordable parking spot. For the most affordable option, peruse our listings for short-term parking near the London Palladium.
Jack and the Beanstalk
A family show filled with magic, wit and a galumphing giant. Get in on the fun starting 20 November through 2 January.
Catch this affordable evening of theatre with tickets starting at £10. For a simple solution to parking your car, peruse our listings in Hackney.
Dubbed ‘The Fairy Godmother of All Pantos’, this is just the delightful show families have wished for after last year’s rather quiet Christmas season. Cinderella is complete with all of the panto must haves: comedy, masterfully crafted costumes and impressive sets.
Tickets are starting at just £13 and the show is set to run from 3 December to 2 January at the Richmond Theatre. It’s recommended that ticket holders check out the NCP Richmond Station Car Park, where parking starts at £7.
Alternatively, book a spot in the heart of Richmond for a simple way to guarantee yourself a place to stow your car while you’re enjoying the show.
2) Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
London’s festive focal point is a wintertime attraction you simply cannot miss. Winter Wonderland has to be our favourite thing to do in London over Christmas. Here’s a preview of some of the delights in store at this annual attraction.
- A slide made of ice is sure to chill and thrill, along with a giant wheel, looping rollercoaster and, for those seeking a rush of adrenaline with their hot cocoa, an 85-metre drop tower with free views of the city below.
- An open-air bar and toasty fire pit invite you to sit, but live music and DJs slinging their favourite Christmas tunes invite you to stay.
- The street food market will keep you satisfied all day long so you won’t have to miss a beat while in Winter Wonderland.
- Games and attractions are enough to keep you and your family entertained for hours.
To guarantee a festive welcome from this year’s Winter Wonderland, be sure to book your tickets ahead of time. This is a new mandate for 2021 so whatever you do, don’t skip this step.
You could still score tickets for free, depending on what time you choose to go. Standard tickets are starting at £5 while peak times are up to £7.50. If you know you want to get the most out of Winter Wonderland this year go ahead and book games and rides when you schedule your visit. By spending at least £20 on the attractions, your entry to the park itself is on the house!
Okay, so now that you know you definitely want to add Winter Wonderland to your list of to-dos this Christmas, where is the best place to park once you get to Hyde Park?
Well, there’s Q-Park, a large car park near Winter Wonderland that hosts over 980 standard parking spots - but with prices starting at a steep £7.50 per hour, you may want to consider alternatives.
If you’re looking for an affordable place to park your car, book a spot ahead of time with one of our reputable Hosts near Hyde Park for nearly half the cost.
3) Kew Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens know just how to deck the halls for Christmas at Kew. Dawning the trails in lights and impressing each guest with an extraordinary feast for the eyes via projections and immersive experiences, it’s no wonder that Kew Gardens Christmas tickets sell out so fast. This is one Christmas to-do you won’t want to miss. It’s magical and enchanting, and it’s a favourite Christmas excursion for many Londoners.
Entering at the Brentford Gate is recommended to those driving to Kew. Parking at Kew’s Ferry Lane car park starts at £10, but there are cheaper solutions. Park nearby with us for a fraction of the cost, with hourly parking rates starting at just £1.90.
4) Ice Skate at the Natural History Museum
Appearing for the last time this year before its gardens make way for “a hub for urban wildlife”, the Natural History Museum in South Kensington will host its open-air ice rink. The ice rink is set to open on 22 October and run for the better part of December.
When you’ve had enough of gliding over the ice, wrap up warm with a wintery drink and watch ice skaters from the museum’s café balcony.
To make life simpler, book a private parking spot nearby ahead of your visit so you know you have a secure place to park your car when you arrive.
And there you have it! We’ve well and truly spoiled you for choice, but there’s really no wrong decision here - all you have to do is pick a destination and begin your celebrations!
For family fun, we’d recommend prioritising Winter Wonderland, while those looking for a bit of romance will find nothing like a magical stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
You could make it a point to get your Christmas shopping done before we even greet December, as many of the Christmas markets throughout London are slated to open in mid-November. Just remember to bring your Christmas list and check it twice!
Whichever attraction you choose to stop at first, guarantee yourself a parking space when you book with Stashbee. Avoid the bother of parking restrictions and crowded car parks, and simply secure hourly or short-term parking for the duration of your holiday entertainment.
22nd Oct 2021