With regular events, alfresco dining and a thoroughly atmospheric market, Christmas at Covent Garden is a wonderful way to experience the best festive hubbub in the capital. Here’s what’s on for Christmas 2023.

By: Paul Healy | Published: 8 Dec 2023 | Last update: 8 Dec 2023

If Christmas had a commercial, culinary, and intoxicating home in London it would be Covent Garden.

As the capital’s festive hot spot, a Covent Garden Christmas is packed with uplifting events in central London.   

Covent Garden was originally devoted to selling fresh fruit and vegetables. Today, the 180-year-old central market is one of the best specialty shopping locations in London. It’s also a great place to hang out at Christmas, and the perfect end to our London Christmas lights walking route.

Enjoy retail pop-ups, over-the-top decorations, and charming Christmas markets. Eat in some of the best London restaurants. Amble past boozy stalls serving festive cocktails.

For more ideas, read our guide to Christmas in London.

The Christmas decorations at Covent Garden

1. THE 2023 CHRISTMAS INSTALLATION

The giant Christmas baubles have been the feature of Covent Garden for the last decade.

For the first time in many years, a new Christmas installation has been unveiled at Covent Garden, inspired by traditional golden bells.

For 2023, the iconic Market Building is decorated with 40 gigantic bells, 12 giant baubles, and spinning mirror balls. It’s a fantastic installation, enhanced by the world-class opera singers who often perform free of charge in the halls.

covent garden christmas baubles

2. CHRISTMAS MARKETS

The Covent Garden Christmas markets are set up under the portico of the Market Building in the middle of the piazza.

It’s one of the best Christmas Markets in London for quality crafts, jewellery, and collectibles.

In true Covent Garden style, you can also find several London-inspired souvenirs to take home as gifts.

There’s no better way to enjoy the market than by grabbing a mulled wine and wandering around the small collection of very festive pop-ups.

3. ALFRESCO DINING

You’re never far from a top restaurant in this part of London but this year, the heated alfresco dining in the piazza offers a festive way to experience Christmas in Covent Garden.

Several restaurants and bars have outdoor terraces which fill the piazza with both an entertaining winter vibe, and Christmas-inspired cocktails.

Dirty Martini has a small outdoor bar behind a white picket fence which serves their regular cocktails with a Christmas twist, which are best enjoyed with one of their burgers or hot dogs.

al fresco dining in covent garden at christmas

4. COVENT GARDEN CHRISTMAS SLEIGH

Grab a quick photo opportunity with the kids on the Christmas Sleigh. The lush red sleigh is a reconditioned 1884 carriage which has been beautifully restored and hand-painted back to its former glory.

Unfortunately, there will be no Santa or reindeer this year, so you’ll have to make your own fun.

The sleigh is available for Instagram moments from 9 am to 9 pm.

5. COVENT GARDEN CHRISTMAS TREE

The Christmas tree at Covent Garden is one of the most spectacular in London. Set in the historic piazza beside the South Market, the tree is a whopping 60-foot display, handpicked and grown in Britain. With over 30,000 lights it’s a dazzling display for your Christmas photos.

For more dazzling displays, read our guide to the best Christmas Lights in London.

covent garden christmas tree 2023
COVENT GARDEN CHRISTMAS TREE 2023

6. JUBILEE MARKET

The Jubilee Market is the perfect place to snap up a quirky Christmas gift in Covent Garden. The historic market was built in 1904 and has been housing market stalls in the Grade 2 listed building ever since.

  • Antiques & Collectables (Mon 5 am to 5 pm) – Shop for Edwardian, Art Deco, and Georgian pieces including fine art, sterling silver, and used books.
  • General Market (Thu to Fri 10:30 am to 6 pm) – With everything from fashion to handmade pens, art, and puppets, the general market is perfect for unusual Christmas gifts.
  • Arts & Craft Market (Sat & Sun 10 am to 6 pm) – Pick up handcrafted items including jewellery, candles, paintings, and clothing.

7. HENRIETTA STREET RESTAURANTS

Take a break from the Covent Garden Christmas activities by trying the restaurants on Henrietta Street.

Ivy Market Grill // Overlooking the piazza, Ivy Market Grill serves British classics in an elegant space with contemporary and classic cocktails.

Din Tai Fung // An excellent Taiwanese/Chinese restaurant in a refurbished building with oriental stylings and traditional character. Don’t leave without trying their famous Xiao Long Bao – the delicious, steamed bun.  

Pivot Bar & Bistro // A modern British restaurant over two floors of 3 Henrietta Street with an innovative seasonal menu from Scottish chef Mark Greenaway.

El Ta’Koy // A cool subterranean bar serving Hawaiian/Asian fusion dishes. Their cocktail bar is one of the hottest spots in Covent Garden – happy hour is from 5pm to 7pm Monday to Thursday.

3 henrietta street covent garden

8. PETERSHAM NURSERIES CAFÉ

Located in a beautiful corner of Covent Garden, Petersham Nurseries Café is a tasty break from your Covent Garden Christmas experience.

Over several beautifully decorated spaces enjoy delicious Italian food, tempting cocktails and workshops from the masters of artisanal produce.

The Petersham serves lunch, dinner and afternoon tea using Italian flavours and seasonal produce. La Goccia is a cosy wood-fired space with botanical-enriched cocktails and The Deli serves organic coffee and freshly baked pastries.

If you’re feeling particularly festive, try a wreath-making workshop, a pasta masterclass or a wine-tasting event. All details are on petershamnurseries.com.

9. CHRISTMAS SHOWS NEAR COVENT GARDEN

Located in London’s West End, there’s no better way to finish a day exploring Christmas at Covent Garden than by catching a festive production. Here are some great shows taking place for Christmas 2022.  

  • Peter Pan Goes Wrong is causing pan-demonium at Lyric Theatre from 23 November 2023 to 14 December 2023 – book tickets.
  • A Musical Theatre Christmas at St Paul’s Church Covent Garden brings together an all-star cast performing Christmas songs on 3 December 2023 – book tickets.
  • The Snowman returns to the Peacock Theatre from 18 November 2023 to 30 December 2023, cementing its place as an unmissable Covent Garden Christmas activity for families – book tickets.
  • The Royal Opera House has several Christmas productions including The Nutcracker, Wolf Witch Giant Fairy, and Hansel and Gretel.  – book tickets.
covent garden christmas 14

10. MIRACLE AT HENRIETTA

The best way to finish up your Covent Garden Christmas experience is by having a cocktail or two at Miracle at Henrietta.

This hidden pop-up bar is located in Da Henrietta on a secluded mezzanine floor. The nostalgic festive décor is inspired by the 1970’s with retro decorations and Christmas-inspired cocktails to match.

The very reasonably priced cocktails are paired with a good selection of tasty bar snacks.

Booking in advance is required.

Location: 14-15 Henrietta Street, WC2% 8QH // Website: miracleathenrietta.com

henrietta hotel covent garden
DA HENRIETTA

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