Here’s how the capital will be celebrating the holiday season this year…

Ice skating at the Natural History Museum

Set against the backdrop of the Waterhouse building, the Ice Rink at the Natural History Museum is one of the most magical places to be this winter.

Experience the thrill of skating surrounded by fairy lights nestled in frost-covered trees, with the smell of mulled wine and toasted marshmallows in the air.

The Ice Rink's main operating hours are 10am to 10pm on most days, but may open earlier or close later on weekends and during the holiday period.

There are special skating sessions available for parents and toddlers and those with special access needs.

Tickets cost from £12.65 for adults, from £8.80 for children, and families will pay from £39.60.

Natural History Museum members save 10 per cent on admission rates, and transaction fees will apply.

The ice skating rink opened on October 25 and will close on January 20 2019 – the rink is closed on Christmas Day.

Santa’s Grotto in Leicester Square

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s set up shop slap-bang in the middle of Leicester Square.

As well as the big man’s grotto, there will be stalls, food and drink, and festive entertainment courtesy of Udderbelly; complete with cabaret, burlesque and drag shows.

Christmas in Leicester Square opened on November 9 2018 and will run until January 6 2019.

The nearest tube stations are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, and the nearest rail station is Charing Cross.

Entry to Christmas in Leicester Square is free, but tickets must be bought for selected events, including Santa's Grotto and some performances.

Christmas at Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens in west London will bring that magical feel to your festive adventures.

The Gardens are light up for an unforgettable after-dark festive trail of lights, opening on November 22, 2018, and closing on January 5, 2019.

Now in its sixth year, the 2018 winter trail will be bigger than ever before, with over a million twinkling pea-lights and thousands of laser beams.

Explorers will be able to walk under welcoming arches into a world festooned with seasonal cheer and wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in Christmas colour.

New for 2018, visitors will be able to enter the moonlit woods and step into a Laser Garden where refracting lines of light playfully bounce across the branches.

They will then be able to stroll towards the Lake to take in the waterside reflections made by a festive flotilla of hundreds of glowing boats gently bobbing on the shimmering surface.

Head towards the Fire Garden, where last year’s much-loved pea-lit tunnel has been transformed into a vast Canopy of Light.

Finally head to the Palm House Pond to watch an array of criss-crossing colours, water screen projections and jumping light jets that dance to seasonal classics.

Christmas at Kew is open 5pm–10pm and you choose a time slot for entry (last entry 7.40pm).

The main entrance is via Victoria Gate, or Brentford Gate if you book a ticket with reserved parking.

Brentford Gate will close promptly at 7.40pm and Victoria Gate at 8pm, there will be no admittance after these times.

Advance tickets are cheaper than buying on the day.

Depending on the date you choose, a peak, off peak or super peak rate will apply.

Adult tickets from £16.50, from £13.50 for Friends at Kew.

Family tickets are available. Disabled ticket holders are entitled to one free ticket for an essential carer/companion.

All patrons must show a ticket to enter, including children under 4 (free).

Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Labyrinth

Backyard Cinema in Clapham Common takes on a festive vibe for the holidays, with secret enchanted tunnels leading to a beautiful indoor cinema set in a magical woodland.

The whole scene is part of the attraction’s Winterville Festival.

Visitors will be able to snuggle on giant beanbags with cosy blankets, while enjoying mulled wine and a mince pie.

Genres on offer include Christmas Classics, comedies, family and kids films, musicals and romances.

Films scheduled to show include Love Actually, Elf, The Greatest Showman, Home Alone, The Muppets Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life, and many more.

Both Clapham South and Clapham Common underground stations are based on the edges of Clapham Common, and are a short walk to Winterville.

Tickets start at £18.98, and film times vary – kids are welcome and there is adequate disabled access.

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park

Winter Wonderland returns to London for the 12th year on November 22, when it opens its doors at 4pm.

The spectacular attraction runs daily for six weeks, until January 6, 2019 but will be closed on Christmas Day.

The park will be open from 10am-10pm daily from November 23 and is free to enter – but you will need to buy tickets for some of the extra activities.

The nearest tube stations are Bond Street, Green Park, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Paddington and Victoria.

There are also many bus routes that serve the park.

Winter Wonderland boasts the UK's largest outdoor ice rink – which stretches over 1,600 square metres at the park's Victorian bandstand.

There's also a Magical Ice Kingdom, which this year has a Secret Forest theme.

Zippo's circus returns to Winter Wonderland this year, as do the action-packed rollercoasters, freezing cold Ice Bar, Bavarian Village, Santa Land and giant observation wheel.

Among this year's new attractions is the Peter Pan on Ice skating show.

Guests can also browse the craft stands at the Angels Christmas Market, warm up with mulled wine and fill their bellies with a delicious hog roast.

The Great Christmas Pudding Race

The Great Christmas Pudding Race is organised by the Cancer Research Aid Committee (CRAC) in aid of Cancer Research UK.

The relay race will be held on December 8, 2018 at the Covent Garden Piazza.

The Race is a test of skill rather than endurance – participants have to complete an obstacle course with each heat lasts approximately 5 minutes and the winning team and runners up from each Race then compete in the Grand Final.

Runners will be dressed as your favourite Christmas characters as they make their way through foam slaloms and other inflatable hazards whilst balancing a plate of Christmas pudding.

It’s one of the most exciting events of the Christmas season, and participants must be aged 14 and over to give the course a go.

The race takes place in the west Piazza of Covent Garden market, between King Street and Henrietta Street.

The nearest tube stations are Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line) or Leicester Square station.

Entering a team of six costs £75, and each group is asked to raise a minimum amount in sponsorship of £600 (£100 per person).

Christmas markets on South Bank

Dazzling family shows, yuletide markets, sparkly lights and a giant dollop of festive fun make up the Southbank’s annual “Wintertime” celebrations.

Big shows for 2018 include a madcap retelling of Rumplestiltskin and Circus 1903, a show featuring incredible life-sized elephant puppets alongside acrobats, contortionists, jugglers and trapeze artists whizzing through the air.

Cabaret trio Glittery Clittery will be serving up fierce, feminist and sequin drenched comedy, alongside a day-long celebration of London’s best drag kings and queens.

Little ones can get their groove on at Caribbean Christmas featuring performances, storytelling and a party, or at the Snow Ball where those in fancy dress can strut it down the People’s Catwalk.

Wintertime is open from November 9 2018 and runs until January 6 2019.

The majority of the Southbank Centre's outdoor attractions are open from 10am-10pm daily.

The Southbank Centre is normally entirely closed on Christmas Day, with outdoor attractions staying closed on New Year's Eve.

The nearest train and tube station is Waterloo (Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee and Waterloo and City Underground lines) but Embankment (Circle and District) and Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo) are just a short walk away.

Many bus routes stop nearby or you can even arrive by boat to Festival Pier.

The Wintertime market is completely free to wander around, and many of Southbank Centre’s festive events are too but some events are ticketed.

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