Kids Christmas London

London is a hotspot for tourists and visitors in the lead-up to the festive season which means things book up in an instant. To avoid disappointing your little ones by missing out on a trip to Santa’s Grotto or a magical light show, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to keeping the kids entertained over Christmas.

From gingerbread workshops to Harry Potter escapades, here’s where to take the kids this Christmas.

N.b. We’ll update this guide in the run-up to Christmas so bookmark this page for updates on the best things to do with kids. 

Christmas at Kew 

Skip the Kew and grab your tickets now for the most enchanting light installation at Kew Gardens. Now in its tenth year, Christmas at Kew is littered with glittery spiral trees, wow-worthy laser projections and endless tunnels of fun. The kiddies can dive into buckets of moreish churros and hot chocolates while the parents enjoy a glass of mulled wine or two.

When: 16.11.2022 – 08.01.2023
Where:
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB
Website: www.kew.org

 

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Skate at Somerset House

Grab your skates and whizz on over to Somerset House to experience the capital’s most magical Christmassy experience. 

Perfect for budding ice skaters or for just making a fool out of yourself, the ice rink is arguably the best in London and is complete with a giant 40ft Christmas tree. You’ll find food and drink offerings waiting for you at the finish line too from the king of pop-ups, Jimmy Garcia, helping to warm you up with comforting favourites.

When: 16.11.2022 – 15.01.2023
Where: Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA
Website: www.somersethouse.org.uk

Hogwarts in the Snow

Hogwarts in the Snow

Harry Potter studio is transformed into Hogwarts in the Snow.

Whizz over on your Nimbus 2000 and fall in love with the epic Hogwarts castle model that’s been covered in a dusting of snow, before making your way through the Gryffindor common room and Boys’ dormitory. It’ll be as if Harry and his friends are still living in the space, with original props including handmade Christmas cards on display. 

The Yule Ball returns, offering you a chance to step in the footsteps of your favourite character moments. Prepare to be dazzled as you’re greeted with silver decorations, dripping icicles and sparkling snow. 

Expect fan-favourite sets to be transformed with red and gold ornaments, as well as snow falls across the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts castle model.

When: 12.11.2022 – 15.01.2022
Where:
Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR
Website: www.wbstudiotour.co.uk

Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas

Lyric Hammersmith, London

Make sure you head on over to Hammersmith this Christmas to catch Santa and all of his festive antics in a magical retelling of Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas. Follow along Mr C’s adventures as he prepares for his busiest day of the year: Christmas Eve!

The production, co-produced with the Olivier Award-nominated Pins & Needles Productions, returns to the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre for its 11th year. Don’t miss out on this family favourite.

When: 23.11.2022 – 31.12.2022 

Where: LYRIC HAMMERSMITH THEATRE, LYRIC SQUARE, KING STREET, W6 0QL

Website: www.lyric.co.uk

Harrods’ Christmas Shop

Harrods, Knightsbridge

Is there anywhere more Christmassy in London than Harrods? Bring your kids in tow this festive season and soak up the magic, from spotting the legendary Harrods Christmas bear to finding the perfect decorations to line your trees, stockings and generally just take in the magical essence of the space. 

Not forgetting Harrods’ notorious Santa’s Grotto – although it’s almost impossible to get tickets for this one unless you know someone in the know.

When: Across the festive season 

Where: Knightsbridge, SW1X

Website: www.harrods.com

Nutcracker

The Nutcracker, London

A London Christmas staple, the Nutcracker returns to the London Coliseum for a limited run of performances. See over 100 dancers and musicians perform in front of what’s set to be a sold-out audience. 

Expect stunning set design and Tchaikovsky’s score to be performed live as you follow Clara and her Nutcracker’s story unfold. Book your tickets early as the return of the Nutcracker is set to sell like hotcakes.

WHEN: 21.12.2022 – 07.01.2023

WHERE: LONDON COLISEUM, ST MARTIN’S LANE, WC2N 4ES

WEBSITE: WWW.THEATRETICKETSDIRECT.CO.UK

Queens London

Get ready to put your ice skating prowess to the test as you glide around Queens.

It’s the perfect place to get your icy kicks and entertain the kids as you whizz or gracefully fall flat on your face around the rink.

Where: 17 Queensway, Bayswater, W2 4QP

Website: www.queens.london

Backyard Cinema

Backyard Cinema, Wandsworth

Fall in love with the magic of cinema once again this Christmas. Backyard Cinema’s magical makeover has commenced. Hop onto the 1920s inspired steam train, before stepping through the constellation of stars toward the Northern Lights. You’ll find a giant bean bag waiting for you at the finish line, surrounded by snow topped trees and your favourite festive movies. 

Bookings are now open for the festive season – expect to find all of your favourites, from Elf to The Polar Express, The Grinch to Home Alone.

When: Over the festive period

Where: 2-4 Armoury Way, London, SW18 1SH

Website: WWW.BACKYARDCINEMA.CO.UK

The Magic of Christmas, London Zoo

Experience the magic of Christmas through animals this festive period when you book a spot at London Zoo’s The Magic of Christmas. From a family festive trail to a VIP breakfast meet Santa and animal gifting experience, watch as the kiddies’ faces light up at all of the festive fun.

When: 26.11.2022 – 03.01.2023

Where: LONDON ZOO, OUTER CIRcle, NW1 4RY

Website: www.zsl.org

Paddington Afternoon Tea Bus Tour

Let your little kiddies dreams come true at Brigit’s Bakery. The popular bakery-by-bus has just launched their latest tour and it’s centred around everyone’s favourite bear: Paddington.

Their chefs have created a Paddington-inspired afternoon tea, featuring the best marmalade sandwich in London.

Hop on the bus and you’ll be taken around all of the bear’s favourite London spots, from Big Ben to Downing Street. It’s the perfect way to see London’s Christmas lights while staying warm and tucking into a child-friendly afternoon tea.

Departing from: Trafalgar Square

Website: www.b-bakery.com

Lightopia

Lightopia returns this winter, bringing a magical instalment of mesmerising light displays, interesting trails and plenty of family-friendly fun. 

The light display takes over Crystal Palace Park every year, with a brilliant line-up of immersive installations and pretty lights to explore. Perfect for kids, teens and parents, this is the ultimate day out to book this season.

Looking for more light trails? Check out our guide here.

WHEN: 17.11.2022 – 02.01.2023

WHERE: CRYSTAL PALACE PARK, THICKET ROAD, CRYSTAL PALACE, SE19 2GA

Website: : www.london.lightopiafestival.com

Pinocchio

If the Netflix remake of your favourite childhood classic has got you itching for more, fear not as Pinocchio will be landing on the Weston Theatre stage this winter. 

Rediscover the beloved children’s tale as Pinocchio discovers why it’s best to always tell the truth. A magical beginning to Christmas, expect to enter worlds of gingerbread, snow-capped mountains and friendship. 

When: 04.11.2022 – 31.12.2022

Where: Weston Theatre at the Unicorn Theatre, 147 Tooley Street, SE1 2HZ

Website: www.unicorntheatre.com

The Snowman

The Snowman Winter Production

Who doesn’t love the heart-warming story of the boy who becomes friends with his snowman? This Christmas sees Raymond Briggs’ winter novel come to life on the big stage. Fall back in love with the festive classic thanks to Bill Alexander’s directorial magic, music and lyrics from Howard Blake, including everyone’s favourite ‘Walking in the Air’, and choreography by Robert North. 

Watch the magic unfold through beautiful storytelling, dance and live music. Perfect for children, adults and everyone in between, this is one magical snowy production you won’t want to miss.

Looking for more magical shows? Check out our guide here.

WHEN: 19.11.2022 – 31.12.2022

WHERE: PEACOCK THEATRE, PORTUGAL STREET, WC2A 2HT

WEBSITE: WWW.THEATRETICKETSDIRECT.CO.UK

London’s Christmas Lights

Twinkling lights, floating spirits and a kaleidoscope of butterflies can only mean one thing. London’s most iconic streets are about to light up for Christmas!

From Oxford Street to Carnaby Street, Marylebone Village to Covent Garden, London at Christmas time is truly magical, and there are endless wonderful spots to look forward to.

Click here to find out what you can expect…

Winter Igloos

Winter Igloos

Live out your Antarctic dreams when you book into Aviary’s iconic igloos or enjoy the riverside views at Coppa Club’s cosy igloos hubs this festive season. Igloos are the perfect place to soak up all of the festive spirit, enjoy delicious dining experiences with your loved ones and experience some of the best views in the city.

Gingerbread City

Need some inspiration for your festive gingerbread creation this Christmas? Look to the Gingerbread City, the annual exhibition that sees architects, designers and engineers build a city out of gingerbread. 

Running from 3rd December to 2nd January, head down to get inspired by the creations, from the adorable little houses to windmills, and skyscrapers to cars. 

WHEN: 03.12.2022 – 02.01.2023

WHERE: 6-7 MOTCOMB STREET, BELGRAVIA, SW1X 8JU

WEBSITE: ​​WWW.THEGINGERBREADCITY.COM

Pantomines to book

Pantomimes London

Bookings for London’s great pantomimes have opened and tickets are already on their way to being sold out.

Whether you’re an avid panto fan, fancy embarking on a little tongue-in-cheek nostalgia or just want to see what December has in store for us, we’ve rounded up the best pantomimes you can book already. 

Our favourite? Jack in the Beanstalk at the London Palladium. Comedy icons Dawn French and Julian Clary will be joining forces to lead the cast for this brand-new production, filled with singing, wit and plenty of tongue-in-cheek jokes that you can’t help but laugh at. Follow along as we watch Jack’s coming-of-age story unravel and see how well he fares as he’s given magic beans that sprout a rather strange beanstalk.

Lapland UK

Venture a little further afield and soak up the festive spirit at Lapland UK. Let your little elves fall in love with the magic of Christmas as you wander around, visiting Santa’s little helpers’ workshops, his grotto and the Enchanted Forest.

This books up super quickly so make sure to nab your space in advance.

Where: Whitmoor Forest, Swinley Road, Winkfield Row, Ascot, SL5 8BD

Website: www.laplanduk.co.uk

Jurassic World Exhibition

Let their dinosaur dreams come true at this giant new Jurassic World inspired exhibition.

Taking over ExCeL London, the exhibition will see your little ones get an up-close look at a Velociraptor, stand under a towering Brachiosaurus and even come into contact with a mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Find out more here. 

when: Until Jan 2023

WHERE: EXCEL LONDON, ROYAL VICTORIA DOCK, E16 1XL

WEBSITE: WWW.JURASSICWORLDEXHIBITION.COM

Biscuiteers

Biscuiteers will be hosting special kid-friendly classes in the run up to Christmas. The class will be begin with a quick five-minute tutorial and it’s up to you how you want to design your Christmas biscuit creations.

Decorate them in-store and enjoy them over the festive period or gift your creations to a loved one. 

Stick Man

If your little ones are obsessed with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man, make their Christmas magical with a trip to the theatre to see the chirpy little tale on the big stage. 

Follow the misadventure of Stick Man, as he goes on a rather wild journey to find his family again. From playing fetch with a dog to a swan using him to build a nest, will he ever get back to the family tree?

When: 22.10.2022 – 02.01.2023

Where: Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX

Website: www.seetickets.com

Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland returns this Christmas for another round of non-stop entertainment, spectacular shows, food and drink and Santa antics. 

Arriving on the scene in November, London’s biggest central park will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Expect ice skating rinks, giant wheels, ice kingdoms, ice sculpting workshops, cirque berserk, fairground rides and more.

Looking for more ice rinks? Check out these brilliant options here.

When: 18.11.2022 – 02.01.2023

Where: Hyde Park

Website: www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

Gingerbread Decorating at the Great Northern Hotel 

Sure to leave you and the family feeling extra festive, grab your pals and loved ones and visit Great Northern Hotel for a sweet experience that will see you decorate your very own gingerbread man.

For groups of six to eight, you’ll be given a semi-private space with all the tools you need to create an edible masterpiece, along with plenty of mulled wine too.

Priced at £35 per person, this is a surefire way to elevate any Christmas do’, or a unique way to celebrate the season with your nearest and dearest. To book, contact [email protected]

When: 14.12.2022 – 16.12.2022

Where: Great Northern Hotel 

Website: gnhlondon.com

Festive Afternoon Tea at Orchid Lounge

Taking inspiration from the “Sugar Plum Fairy” scene from the festive ballet The Nutcracker, enjoy our newest afternoon tea collection. Enjoy a glass of Nyetimber and let the story unfold on your plate and allow your tastebuds to dance as you take them on a magical journey.

When: 7.11.2022 – 2.01.2023

Where: Pan Pacific London

Website: www.panpacific.com

Wonderland at Westin London City

The Westin London City has decked the halls and transformed into an enchanted winter wonderland, inviting families to discover a world of snowy like-size animals, giant Christmas trees and fun-filled festive activities this Christmas.

A perfect festive break for the whole family, children will be transported to a magical land of festive by right by the River Thames. While adults can spend their days relaxing at the Heavenly Spa by Westin and discovering decadent Christmas menus.

On arrival, little ones will be gifted a special Christmas themed activity box. Santa’s letter box will be pitched up at the hotel throughout the festive season, ready and awaiting letters to flood in – and there is even a dedicated letter writing station for any last-minute wish lists.

Families will also be able to purchase a luxurious package to decorate their very own Christmas tree, which will see a full-size Christmas tree delivered to their room, alongside decorations, hot chocolates and a mince pie platter.

When: Running throughout the festive season

Where: The Westin London City

Website: www.marriott.co.uk


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