Christmas in Kensington

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This Christmas, London’s stylish neighbourhood Kensington, is the perfect spot for a fabulous festive day out or short break. There’s plenty of places to shop for indulgent, unusual and memorable gifts, the UK’s largest-ever single ice rink and delicious yuletide treats aplenty. 

Plus, the chance to indulge in some culture at Kensington Palace, Japan House and the Design Museum. 

Christmas in Kensington: Kensington Palace
Christmas in Kensington: Kensington Palace

Festive highlights to look out for in the area include: 

The UK’s newest and largest ice rink ICE at Kensington Palace 

In the royal setting of the grounds of Kensington Palace, a magical and sustainability-led winter event is popping up from 30 November to 7 January 2024. Ice at Kensington Palace will feature the UK’s largest-ever single ice rink with plenty of space for perfecting skating moves and a huge Christmas tree twinkling at its centre. The rink will have capacity for 750 skaters and this magical winter experience will also feature a funfair and a food hall for some warming mulled wine and festive feasting. Adult tickets are priced from £19 and child tickets (under 14) from £16. 

Stop by the Design Museum and Japan House for quirky and unusual Christmas gifts  

For a choice of original and quirky Christmas gifts, visit the stylish Design Museum and Japan House London. Exclusive to the Design Museum is the fascinating book by Deyan Sudjic, Terence Conran: Making Modern Britain (£20). Plus, a selection of great value stocking fillers are on offer including sleek sustainable steel straws complete with wire cleaner and bag (£5). There’s also the chance to make small Christmas decorations from pewter in a hands on workshop on 2 December (10am to midday), from £50 per person. 

Japan House’s collection of innovative products includes the ideal gift for those with a sweet tooth; the famous and traditional sweets from Tokyo, Assorted Ariheito Candies (£33) as well as a range of gift boxes. 

Celebrate a quintessential Christmas at The Milestone Hotel & Residences 

Conveniently situated overlooking the beautiful Royal Kensington Palace & Gardens, The Milestone Hotel & Residences is celebrating the holiday season with live music, carefully created festive menus, events and stylish decorations. The choice includes a Festive Afternoon Tea from £85 (including children’s, vegetarian and vegan options), a fabulous six course Christmas Eve Dinner accompanied by carol singers (£215 pp), an indulgent five-course Christmas Day Feast with a glass of champagne (£295pp) and a spectacular New Year’s Eve (£275pp) tasting menu.

Stylish cocktails at Hux Hotel’s Lounge and Bar  

Just off the High Street is the decadent Hux Hotel’s Lounge and Bar. This coolest of cocktail bars with its low lighting, eclectic design and super-bold colours serves a wide choice of yuletide cocktails to revive tired shoppers. From the traditional mulled wine cocktails to the fabulous-sounding Pingu’s Pride, The Parrot One and Pout with Patrick. 

Enjoy a magical holiday season at The Royal Garden Hotel, 

Situated in the heart of historic Kensington, The Royal Garden Hotel provides the perfect backdrop for a memorable Christmas with luxurious accommodation, festive dining, and easy access to a range of iconic attractions, stylish shops and galleries. With stunning views of the Royal Park, the hotel’s elegant restaurant ‘Origin Kensington’ and acclaimed top-floor Asian restaurant, Min Jiang feature unforgettable dining experiences. Origin Kensington’s six-course Christmas Dinner showcases the finest British cuisine and costs £99 per person. For friends and family gatherings of ten or more, a special festive group menu is available at £75 per person (includes a glass of English sparkling wine on arrival and ½ of house red/white wine per person).  A dedicated children’s menu is available too. 

Evoke the spirit of Christmas at The Ivy Kensington 

Beautifully decorated for Christmas, the Ivy Kensington offers a magical festive backdrop for any seasonal get together. Available from 14 November to 3 January, the modern British festive menus include two courses (from £50) and three courses (from £55). Dishes at the Brasserie-style restaurant include the mouth-watering Goose & Turkey Shepherd’s Pie followed by a delicious dessert of Winter Spice Snowball with clementine, orange sorbet, white chocolate and festive spiced sauce. A range of festive cocktails crafted with seasonal flavours and a fine wine selection complements the menu. 

Kensington High Street set to sparkle this Christmas   

This year, the Kensington High Street Christmas lights are set to shine with an extra dose of festive charm. Residents and visitors will enjoy the twinkle of the elegant Christmas lights which have been given a makeover this year. There will also be charming decorations in 26 trees lining Kensington High Street as well as three statement trees to bring sparkle and magic to the area. These improvements are part of Opportunity Kensington’s long-term programme to make Kensington’s Christmas lighting an unforgettable component of the magical experience in Kensington during the festive season. 

Explore Kensington on foot this Christmas 

Discover the delights of the famous Kensington High Street area on foot with a downloadable map produced by the Opportunity Kensington Business Improvement District. The handy map highlights the area’s iconic museums and galleries, village-feel neighbourhoods with boutique shops, galleries, cafes, plus traditional English pubs, royal palace, blue plaques to explore the area’s unique history as well as green spaces. In the run up to Christmas, the decorated streets, shop windows, cafes and restaurants will be at their sparkling best. 

Visit to download. 

Festive Victorian Family Fun at the historic Leighton House 

Celebrate Christmas at art museum and historic home Leighton House on 16th December, where children and adults alike, can create festive crafts and decorations, with links to the museum’s Victorian heritage. Tickets are £5 per child; free access for one accompanying adult. 

A Christmas Shopping Lunch Stop Kensington’s The Builders Arms

Tucked down one of Kensington’s pretty side streets on Kensington Court Place, the Builders Arms’ makes the ideal pit stop after a busy shopping spree. Its Christmas offering features freshly prepared seasonal dishes and a great value three-course festive menu (from £37.95pp) including Duck Parfait and hedgerow chutney, hand-carved turkey breast with all the trimmings and spiced sticky toffee pudding.