Find the best Christmas activities with SWR

Top Christmas attractions for kids in the south west

15 December 2021

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and if you’re looking to get the whole family in the festive spirit, then why not check out one of the many Christmas attractions around the south west? From ice skating and Christmas performances to colourful light shows and fun-filled theme parks, there’s so many ways to keep the kids entertained this festive season.

Our handy guide is perfect for those searching for fun things to do with the kids this Christmas in London and the south west – read on to get inspired!

Christmas lights

Nothing says Christmas magic like sparkling, twinkling lights - especially if you have little ones in tow. Kick-start the festive season the right way by attending a Christmas lights switch-on event, or why not embark on a trail that will take you through hundreds of colourful festive-themed illuminations? Here are some of the best that London and the south west have to offer:

Central London Lights

If you’re looking for cheap and easy things to do in London with the kids at Christmas, then why not check out central London’s illuminations? The Christmas light displays in London are truly one of a kind - and even if you’ve missed the lights switch on, you can still pay a visit throughout the winter months to marvel at over 1700 installations.

Christmas lights on Regent Street

Regent Street and Oxford Street have some of the most impressive displays – simply catch a train to London Waterloo then hop on the Bakerloo line to Oxford Circus to embark on this dazzling experience.

Christmas Tree Wonderland, Bournemouth

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped straight into the North Pole on your trip to Bournemouth’s Christmas Tree Wonderland. Complete with a 60-foot feature tree, 100 festive themed illuminations and a storybook-esque trail that winds in and out of the decorated trees, this fun Christmas-themed activity is bound to be a hit with the kids.

Bournemouth Christmas Market

To get here, catch the train to Bournemouth station, before hopping on the 5a bus towards Bournemouth town centre.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is known for its spectacular themed displays throughout the year, and it comes as no surprise that its Christmas display is particularly breath-taking. Round up your family and take a magical trip along the garden’s one-mile route through trees adorned with lights, before stopping to witness the fascinating laser projections that light up the night sky.

Christmas lights against the Temperate House at Kew Gardens

The nearest station to Kew Gardens is Kew Bridge.

Windsor on Ice, Windsor

For a great value family day out, head to Windsor on Ice. This fully covered ice rink promises fun no matter the weather, making it a wonderful rainy day activity. All levels of experience are welcome, and the skating rink even offers a special day for little ones called Tiny Tuesdays where there are no minimum age restrictions—perfect for the toddlers and beginners.

Windsor on ice is just a five-minute walk from Windsor and Eton Riverside station.

Natural History Museum, London

As one of London’s most iconic ice skating spots, the Natural History Museum’s skating rink is a popular choice for both locals and tourists alike. This huge outdoor skating rink is set against the backdrop of the magnificent Waterhouse building, and is decorated with strings of glittering fairy lights and a huge Christmas tree which makes for a great family photo opportunity.

Ice skaters at the Natural History Museum

The nearest SWR station to the Natural History Museum is Clapham Junction. From there, hop on the 345 bus towards South Kensington and ride for 20 minutes.

Christmas shows

Christmas shows really help to capture the true essence of the festive season, and with plenty of family-friendly shows to choose from, this is a great activity to enjoy this Christmas time.

A Christmas Carol, Old Vic Theatre

The tale of Ebenezer Scrooge is a Christmas classic, so for something extra special, why not take the whole family along to see the live theatre production? The show is recommended for children over eight, so it’s the perfect activity if you’re looking for things to do this Christmas with older children!

A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic theatre

The Old Vic Theatre is handily located just two-minutes’ walk from London Waterloo.

Beauty and the Beast, Reading

For some lighthearted, family-friendly fun this Christmas, nothing beats a pantomime. Taking place at The Hexagon in Reading, Beauty and the Beast features a star-studded cast and a script that is jam-packed with hilarious slapstick humour that promises to leave audience members of every age in stitches.

Paul Morse and Justin Fletcher in Beauty and the Beast at the Reading Hexagon

The Hexagon is just a 10-minute walk from Reading station.

The Nutcracker, London Coliseum

With 100 extraordinarily talented dancers and musicians, the live performance of The Nutcracker at London Coliseum will leave you with goosebumps. The show, which is recommended for all ages, runs in both the daytime and evening, and prices range from £15 – £95.

The Nutcracker Suite at the London Coliseum

London Coliseum is just a 15-minute walk from London Waterloo. You can also catch the Northern tube towards Edgware or High Barnet, which will take around seven minutes.

Christmas events/experiences

If you truly want to push the boat out this Christmas, then consider one of the extra-special events that the south west has to offer.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland has soared in popularity over the last few years and has fast become one of the liveliest Christmas events in London. This gigantic fairground is every kid’s dream, and the thrilling rides are just the tip of the iceberg. During your trip to Winter Wonderland you can enjoy delicious food and drink, ice skating, live music and even a visit from Santa.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

The nearest station to Hyde Park is London Waterloo. From here, it’s just a short tube journey on the Jubilee towards Willesden Green, or a half hour walk.

Christmas at Paultons Park

For the younger ones, Paultons Park is the ideal activity this Christmas. The festivities are held at Peppa Pig World, where you and the little ones can get involved in a range of Christmas activities from storytimes to festive shows. A selection of rides and attractions will also be open throughout the day, and Father Christmas himself will be available for a meet and greet.

Christmas performance at Paulton's Park

To get here, catch the train to Southampton Central before continuing with a short 20-minute ride on the Salisbury Reds X7 bus.

Make the most of our South Western Railway service and whisk the family away for some Christmas fun in the south west. Explore our flexible range of ticket types to find the right one for your journey. Make the most of cheap train tickets by going off-peak, and those with a Railcard could save even more.