Kiddos at Christmas are undeniably excitable beings; never mind all the sugar from various sweet treats, but add on the fact that it’s Christmas (which means Santa, presents and various other terrific shenanigans), and you can pretty much nod in acceptance that’ll you be getting little if no sleep until at least the 27th. But, we’ve come up with a magical solution – take them out, and exhaust them! There are a range of incredibly Christmassy events going on across the city, for not only the kids to enjoy but for you too! So, just to make sure that you yourself are on the nice list, take the kids out and thank us later!
The Absolutely Bonkers Alice In Wonderland Lantern Festival
We all love Christmas lights don’t we? Whether it’s a smattering of fairy lights here and there, to full blown light displays in cul de sacs. Whichever display lights up your life, there’s no denying they’re awesome. Which is why we think you’re going to love this one. This winter, you can fall down the rabbit hole at a lantern display based around Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, for six weeks only! There’ll be full blown lantern replicas of the famed Wonderland characters, including the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, playing cards and, larger than life, Alice herself. Not short of stuff to do, there’ll be 29 interactive scenes in total alongside 16o giant lanterns to retell the classic. You’ll wander across a giant chess board, sashay through the looking glass and take part in a whole hoo-ha of immersive events, carefully twirling around lanterns up to six metres high and 16 metres wide! Set in the winter wonderland that is Southwark Park, the festival makes for marvellous photo opportunities.
To keep you warm whilst you wander, there’ll be steaming cups of mulled wine and food and drink galore, making this display definitely one for the family! There’ll also be the opportunity to see Father Christmas at the end – have you been naughty or nice? I guess we’ll find out won’t we…
The Alice in Wonderland lantern festival will run until the 5th of January 2019
Where: Southwark Park, Paradise Gate entrance, Jamaica Road
A new take on a classic is always fun, especially when it’s the whacky and conniving Rumplestiltskin! He will be played by cabaret star Paul Capsis at the Southbank Centre, allowing kids of all ages to have a good old chuckle and what unfolds. The sneaky little imp experiences a tumultuous set of events and the performance itself displays a magnitude of kaleidoscopic-style outfits and abstract sets.
Rumplestiltskin will run until the 31st of December
Where: Belvedere Road, Waterloo, SE1 8XX
Harry Up And Check Out Hogwarts In The Snow
Harry up and look at this! Hogwarts has had a festive makeover and we may just love it more than Ron does Hermione. The spellbinding occurrence is taking place at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter and features a festive gathering of glittering Christmas trees, flaming Christmas puddings set upon tables in a Great Hall replica and special effects galore. Instagram has already played host to thousands of #hogwartsinthesnow and we can vouch for it looking totes spectacular after having a scroll (and getting distracted from everything else we were meant to be doing!) The top section of the hall has been transformed into a Yule Ball; essentially one of the most magical places you’ve ever seen with icicles, magical instruments and more adorning the space.
You’ll be able to wander into Gryffindor common room and take in sights of Christmas treats. And there’ll also be a huge display of props from the films… whether or not you’ll wander into one of the stars themselves well, that would be Sirius-ly cool. Topping off the fun, you’ll drift past a Hogwarts castle model under a blanket of snow, making this an idyllic day-out and perfect spot to grab some snaps for the old Insta feed. For those who can’t get enough, and after the exhaustion of having so much fun, you can reload by diving into a two-course meal set amongst the magical surroundings. Dinner In The Great Hall features a dining experience like no other, allowing you to enjoy dessert served on Platform 9 and 3/4… running into the wall not advisable!
Where: Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR
Mary Poppins Returns
“Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like somethin’ is brewin’ and about to begin. Can’t put my finger on what lies in store, but I fear what’s to happen all happened before.” And that’s because it has. This Christmas sees the sequel to the 1964 classic, as Mary Poppins Returns hits our cinemas on the 21st December. This time Emily Blunt is stepping into the role as the nanny that everyone wished they had and whilst there was every chance that the sequel might not step up to Julie Andrew’s ‘practically perfect in every way’ original, the reviews are saying that this is a magical film that has captured the spirit of why we all love Mary Poppins. Brilliant for all the family, if you only see one new film this Christmas make it Mary Poppins.
Mary Poppins Returns is released in the UK on the 21st December 2018.
Where: Cinemas Across The UK
Matilda The Musical
In this vivid new imagining of Matilda, Tim Minchin jumps into the world of Matilda with genius and aplomb. Irresistible good fun for the whole family, Matilda will have you crying and laughing in a single breath as you take a new look at this timeless world. Marvelous in its musicality, Tim Minchen’s Trunchbull is magnificent- not to mention terrifying. Wicked fun, Matilda is hearty feel-good fun.
Where: Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, WC2H 9HU
Kew after dark sees over one million (yes one million) Christmas lights sparkling away, for a sixth year running. If you want to skip the kew, and get your hands on some tickets instead then you’ll enjoy an evening at The Botanical restaurant for a traditional Christmas dinner feast, with two sittings available either at 5 or 8pm. It’s kinda destined to be a good night with nothing being done in half measure, what with ONE MILLION lights and all. The display will be set across a two-kilometre trail with scented fire gardens and huge baubles along the way. For more dazzling spots to see the Christmas lights, click here
From Thursday the 22nd of November until Saturday the 5th of January, select a 6pm trail visit ticket for dinner at 8pm or select a 7pm trail visit ticket with dinner at 5pm
It’s the timeless Christmas perfomrance that whisks us away with its exquisitie dancing and popular score, and now as a Christmas treat like no other, you can indulge in The Nutcracker in London’s very own Coliseum. The English National Ballet will tippy-toe onto stages, dancing to a spellbinding orchestra as the re-tell the famed story of how, on a sparkling Christmas eve, Clara and her enchanted Nutcracker doll discover a magical world, where she battles with the Mouse King and meets a handsome stranger.
From the 13th-30th of December 2018
Where: London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, WC2N 4ES
The Luna Winter Cinema
Oh the great returneth of ye olde Luna Cinema has arrived in time for Christmas and we’re oh so jolly about the news. Luna Cinema is the unarguably popular film experience that pops up at pretty much all of the most elaborate buildings in the UK and, due to its namesake, there is always a darn good moon shining down as popcorn clutches enjoy their favourite flicks outdoors.
Now, Luna Cinema has returned for a few festive shenanigans, showing a bunch of Christmas films that we all know, love and want to watch again and again and again and… you get the picture. Spread across locations Kensington Palace, EartH Evolutionary Arts in Hackney and St. George’s Hall, the cinema is turning to the warm, heated spaces of the aforementioned to schmooze you into some film. So what can you expect:
18th December: Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, The Greatest Showman, Die Hard
19th December: The Muppets Christmas Carol, Elf, Home Alone, Die Hard, The Holiday (sold out)
20th December: Miracle on 34th Street, The Muppets Christmas Carol, Die Hard, Elf, Love Actually
21st December: The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Muppets Christmas Carol, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Holiday, Home Alone, Elf (sold out)
22nd December: The Greatest Showman, It’s A Wonderful life (twice), Love Actually (twice)
Winter at Southbank
Winter at Southbank isn’t just your average Christmas market, alongside buying stocking fillers and gifts you’ll also be eating fondue in a snow globe, sipping mulled wine in a bar, listening to choirs and concerts. Plus this year there will be some new pop-up bars and restaurants on site; Bar Under the Bridge will be serving cheese- based food and cocktails, alongside sizzling fire pits serving steaks and hot mulled wines and ciders. There will also be a daredevil entertainment of a turn-of-the-century circus with animal puppetry.
You can eggnog yourself at more Christmas markets here
Winter at Southbank runs until the 6th of January
Where: Southbank, Waterloo, SE1
Ice-Skate At The National History Museum
The Natural History Museum is the natural place to start any guide to London’s outdoor skating rinks. Whizz round and round under the gaze of this, one of London’s most majestic buildings, and afterwards grab a warming drink at the Café Bar.
Find more places to get your skates on here, including the dazzling Somerset House
Where: Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD
Crumbs! The Gingerbread City We’re Obsessing Over
Is London the food capital of the world? Or is it Paris? Or maybe somewhere in the far east, Tokyo perhaps? No, the food capital of the world is, in fact, inside the V&A. Because there’s an entire city made of actual food. If you’ve ever spent a an afternoon making Gingerbread houses, hours spent arduously trying to get the icing to stick that pitched roof together without collapsing the entire property, then spare a thought for the guys who came up with this; the The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City. The annual exhibition brings together architects, designers and engineers to create an entire metropolis constructed entirely of gingerbread. The RSJ-free zone is meant to connect the public with architecture, and the best way to do that is appealing to our innate love of gingerbread. The result is intricate designs, gingerbread houses, businesses and civic buildings, and in fact everything that the gingerbread men and women who will presumably populate this city will need. Now in its third year, the innovative exhibition will not only inspire any budding Bake Off Lutyens, but will also get you in the mood for Christmas. Partly through the overtly Christmassy feel to the whole endeavour, but also because of the sweet sweet whiff of gingerbread.
Where: The V&A, Cromwell Road, Knightsbridge, SW7 2RL
Coppa Club Tower Bridge
When is it officially winter? When the clocks change? When Slade comes on the radio? When Coca Cola’s ghastly ‘holidays are coming’ ads air? No, we measure the season of goodwill to the moment that Coppa Club open their infamous igloos. And you’d better grab some eggnog because bookings open tomorrow!
Thames-side Coppa Club launched the igloos two years ago and they’ve already become an institution. Come winter the plastic-covered domes sit alongside the river and provide the perfect respite from the biting cold outside. With table service to your little cocoon from Coppa Club’s extensive menu of European classics, the igloos are snug pockets of warmth and hospitality. Not only are they individually heated but in case you weren’t already sitting incredibly comfortably, drape a sheepskin rug over your lap, adjust the heat and order another glass of wine from your table.
Find more ways to igloose yourself here
Where: Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street, EC3R 6AH
The Sharky And George Christmas Grotto
It’s a given that seeing Santa is top of all the children’s Christmas lists. Knowing this, Sharky & George have launched a Father Christmas grotto experience that’s got us adults envious! The kids will be whisked off to the a magical, snow-filled “North Pole” were they’ll be greeted by a range of Christmas games, cosy reading with the big man, a variety of creative stations and, perhaps most magically, a pre-arranged Santa experience. Basically, he’ll refer to your little ones’ previous xmas gifts, alongside name dropping their teacher’s name. Pretty cool! Parents, your job will be to snap as many photos as you can of your favourite little people as their faces meet Santa’s perhaps even for the first time!
Find more of Santa’s grottos here
Where: Market Hall Fulham, SW6 1BY
Regent Street Christmas Lights
Why not jump on a double decker and grab yourself a window seat, as when it comes to Christmas lights Regent Street aren’t messing around. In fact, they’re kinda like that neighbour that puts their lights up around October and covers their house to the point of press and passers-by snapping photos of the oversized blow-up Santa wobbling awkwardly on their front garden. You get the gist. Regent Street go hard and most certainly haven’t gone home since it all began in 1954. This year, The Spirit of Christmas event will see the largest light installation in the capital returning once more. There’ll be food and drinks aplenty, oh and expect to see a few famous faces scattered about the place; last year’s special guests included the likes of Paloma Faith, Tom Odell and Clean Bandit.
Find more places to see the dazzling Christmas lights here