As the autumn days and dark nights draw in, there’s no reason your social life shouldn’t be as bountiful as summer’s park picnics, heady day festivals and rooftop tipples. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of events taking place now, right through to the Christmas period – and it’s longer than Santa’s naughty list. Here we’ve handpicked some of the best from festive film experiences to enchanted Christmas forests.
When: Wednesday 20th November 2019 – Sunday 5th January 2020
This will be Kew’s seventh year of putting on the most magical light display over the Christmas period. Make your way through the iconic London landmark’s winter trail – think glittering fairy tale trees, tunnels of light, singing holly bushes (yes, really) and a cascade of lasers projected over the famous Temperate House. Trust us, a night to warm even Ebenezer Scrooge’s heart. Last year’s tickets sold hotter than mince pies so book as early as possible.
When: Saturday19th October 2019 – Sunday 12th January 2020
London’s best-loved ice rink opens this weekend at the Natural History Museum. Book in for a unique date night or, for little ones, take advantage of the weekday sessions and enjoy free hot chocolate post-skate. There will of course be penguin skating aids for little Bambi legs – do they come in adult sizes, please? And if you’re not one to take to the ice, watch from the winter café balcony, mulled wine in hand, naturally.
When: Wednesday 13th November 2019– Sunday 12th January 2020
Is there anything more quintessentially ‘London Christmas’ than the pairing of Somerset House and Fortnum & Mason? Probably not. London’s finest department store will be taking over the House’s courtyard with everything from a Christmas arcade – ideal for picking up stocking fillers, to the Fortnum’s Lodge which will be serving up festive treats such as cheese fondue, baked camembert and a Bailey’s infused hot choc. Skate at Somerset House will also return for the 20th year. Get your Torvill on beneath the impressive 40ft tree, book in for a late-night DJ set on ice or, for the first time, London’s insomniacs can skate all night long in a 24/7 skate fest on the 7th and 8th December.
When: Friday 15th November – Tuesday 24th December 2019
Believe it or not, Harrods’ Christmas Grotto tickets are harder to get your hands on than Paris Fashion Week front row, well, almost. Rumour has it their Father Christmas is the best in the business and his identity is top secret for fear of other grottos snapping him up – we all know he’s from the North Pole, Harrods. Book NOW to avoid the Christmas tears.
When: Thursday 5th December – Sunday 22nd December 2019
Get out the thermals, bobble hats and gloves for a charming event sure to get you in the festive spirit. The enchanting experience of light, colour and sound takes place at the eccentric Art Deco mansion. The usual festive fodder will be on offer from mulled wine to mince pies and a Christmas shop.
When: Until Sunday 10th November
If you haven’t experienced Backyard Cinema yet book now – it’s arguably London’s coolest way to enjoy your favourite flicks and is selling out fast. This year’s pops up in Wandsworth, where guests enter through the ‘magical wardrobe’ to find an enchanted forest before squishing into giant bean bags to watch the screen above. The bill is jam packed and includes cult classics Grease (warning: it’s sing-a-long) and Pretty Women, to newish releases such as Rocketman and The Greatest Showman.
When: Saturday 30th November – Tuesday 24th December 2019
Marrying London’s furriest residents and its most festive, ZSL London Zoo are putting on a family event with a difference this year. Running throughout December up until the 24th, enjoy film screenings, themed talks and visits to Santa’s Grotto. What a way to spend Christmas Eve for animal fans big and small.
When: Wednesday 11th December - Sunday 5th January
Few ballet shows hold the same magic as Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. Set on a frost-dusted Christmas Eve, Clara receives an enchanted Nutcracker as a present. Adventure ensues as they take a trip that sees everything from a Mouse King to a hot air balloon ride over London, ending in the glistening Land of Snow where a puppet theatre comes to life with dancers from around the world. If you’ve never seen the iconic ballet, make this the year you do.