Guide to what’s on in London in December 2014
December is the season to be jolly! With Christmas and New Year’s, this month is always a busy one – lots of socialising, shopping, eating and drinking. So it’s just as well there’s plenty of festive events on in town to get you in the mood. As well as the various events on around the city, there will be lots of festive entertainment, including ballets and pantomimes.
For Metro Girl’s guide to Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
To find out where all London’s hottest New Year’s Eve parties are, click here.
Or for listings of open-air ice rinks in London, click here.
- 2 – 6 December : Pig’s Ear Beer Festival
Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA at the Round Chapel in Hackney. Over 200 beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Admission £3 for CAMRA members, £5 for non-members. Open from noon until 11pm. Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU. Nearest rail station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. Visit the Pig’s Ear website for more information.
- 2 – 18 December : Ho-Ho-Hot Tub Christmas
Pop-up screenings while sitting in a hot tub, including Frozen, Love Actually, Aladdin, Home Alone and Elf. Tickets: £35 individual, £190 for the whole tub for up to six persons. Former Shoreditch Underground station, Pedley Street (off Brick Lane), Shoreditch, E1 5ER. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Hot Tub Cinema website.
- 2 December – 1 January 2015 : Winterville
An alternative winter wonderland in East London, featuring fairground, market, pantomime, ice skating, roller disco, entertainment at the Spiegeltent, gravity-defying motordrome, horse-drawn carriage and live music and DJs. Open from 10am-10pm. Free entry. Victoria Park, Grove Road, Bow, E9 7DD. Nearest tube/train: Hackney Wick, Mile End or Cambridge Heath. For more information, visit the Winterville website
- 4 December : Seven Dials and St Martin’s Courtyard Christmas Shopping Event
Over 120 shops in the Seven Dials and St Martin’s Courtyard area will be taking place in a special shopping event, featuring makeovers, treatments, live music, in-store activities and performances, festive food and drinks and 20% off in store. Register on the website for your free discount ticket. Takes place between 5-9pm. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.
- 4 – 7 December : East London Design Show
Showcasing the best in UK contemporary design, including homewares, ceramics, furniture, jewellery, lighting and fashion. Admission £5 adults, £3 concessions, Free for under 15s. The Old Truman Brewery (Hanbury Street entrance), Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest tube: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit the East London Design Show website.
- 4 – 23 December : Christmas at Trafalgar Square
After the lighting of the Christmas Tree on 4 December (a gift from Norway), there is the ‘Blessing of the Crib’ procession on 7 December, before carol singing nightly from 8 – 23 December in the Square. Free. Carol singing weekdays 4-8pm, weekends 2-6pm. Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Nearest tube/train: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- 5 – 7 December : The London Illustration Fair
Three day event celebrating illustration, featuring artist-led stands, workshops, DJs and pop-up food stalls. Entry: £5. Open Fri-Sat 12-8pm, Sun 12-6pm. Arch 402 Gallery, Cremer Street, E2 8HD. Nearest tube/train: Hoxton or Old Street. For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.
- 5 – 16 December : Spitalfields Winter Festival
Music festival in the Spitalfields area of the East End featuring music old and new, including This Year’s Midnight by actor Simon Callow and mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson. For listings and more information, visit the Spitalfields Music website.
- 5 December – 3 January 2015 : Monumental Masonry
Sir John Soane’s Museum have teamed up with Bompas & Parr to create a month-long exhibition to explore funerary architecture. On display will be 3D prints of the ‘perfect tombs’ from entries submitted in a competition, which were inspired by the museum’s sarcophagus. Free entry. Sir John’s Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP. Nearest tube: Holborn. For more information, visit the Sir John Soane website.
- 6 December : Great Christmas Pudding Race
Watch or take part in the annual Great Christmas Pudding Race in Covent Garden, which sees participants dressing up and raising money for Cancer Research UK. Covent Garden Piazza, WC1. Nearest tube: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information and details on entering, visit the Xmas Pudding Race website.
- 6 December : Santacon
A parade of Santa’s through various locations in central London, where people dress up as Father Christmas, sing songs and give out presents. Starts at midday and is free to take part. Check the website nearer the time for further information about locations.
- 6 December : Woolwich Winter Warmer
A day of festive fun and shopping, including live music stage, roving entertainers, reindeer, owl displays, food stalls, children’s lantern parade, ice sculpting, fairground rides, a craft market and a firework finale. Free. 12-5.15pm. General Gordon Square, Woolwich, SE18 6PW. Nearest stations: Woolwich Arsenal (DLR) or Woolwich Dockyard (overland). For more information, visit the Royal Greenwich website.
- 6 – 7 December : Santa and his huskies come to the London Wetland Centre
Special Christmas weekend event at the London Wetland Centre, where families can meet Santa and the reindeers and enjoy a sleigh ride with the huskies. Normal admission prices to LWC apply, with £5 to visit Santa (includes gift). Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes. For more information, visit the WWT London Wetland Centre website.
- 6, 12-14 and 21 December : Nomad Cinema’s Magical Christmas Pop-Up Cinema
Nomad Cinema will be coming to various locations in December, including Belgrave Square, Hyde Park, Hoxton Hotel and Hippodrome Casino. Screenings of Frozen, Edward Scissorhands, Gremlins, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Bad Santa and Elf. Tickets: £25 (include a hot meal and a glass of mulled wine). For more information, visit the Nomad Cinema website.
- 6 December – 5 January 2015 : Winter Sun @ Granary Square
For those who suffer from the winter blues, head to the temporary ‘hearth’-like artwork and public space in Granary Square. On site will be an art installation featuring 12 glowing suns with ever-changing light. There will also be a series of free events during the period. Free. Granary Square, 4 Stable Street, Kings Cross, N1C. Nearest tube: Kings Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Kings Cross website.
- Now until 7 December : Enchanted Woodland
Syon Park in South West London is open after hours, with an illuminated trail through the gardens and arboretum. Exciting lighting effects will transform the trees, plants and lake into a magical place. Hot food and drinks also available. Open 5-9pm Friday to Sunday only, last entry 8pm. Tickets: Adults £7, Children £3. Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest train station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website.
- Now until 7 December : Nordic Film Festival
A celebration of the best films to come out of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden at various locations across London, including Arthouse Crouch End, Hackney Picturehouse, Institute of Contemporary Arts and The Proud Archivist. For more information, visit the Nordic Film Festival website.
- 12 – 14 December : Chocolate Festival
A celebration of all things chocolate, with tastings, lessons on how to make your own chocolate, recipes, masterclasses and plenty of opportunity to purchase chocolate. Friday: 1-8pm, Saturday 10am–7pm, Sunday 10am–3pm. Tickets: £7 in advance, £8 on the door. Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest tube: Angel. For more information, visit the Chocolate Festival website.
- 12 December – 9 January 2015 : Plywood Transmission
Acclaimed street and gallery artist Cedar Lewisohn’s new show Plywood Transmission is on display at Cock ‘N’ Bull Gallery featuring his massive woodblock artworks. Free entry. Open daily except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Cock ‘N’ Bull Gallery, located in the basement of Tramshed, 32 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 3LX. Nearest tube/Overground: Old Street or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit the Cock ‘N’ Bull gallery website.
- 13 December : OSS December Dip
This is not for the faint-hearted! The Outdoor Swimming Society host their annual December Dip – inviting swimmers to plunge into the Parliament Hill Lido, where temperatures will be between 0.1 and 6 degrees!!! All swimmers will receive a swimming hat, hot drinks, carols mince pies and a warming tipple for after. 11am-1pm. Parliament Hill Lido, Gordon House Road, NW5 1NB. Nearest tube: Gospel Oak. For more information, visit the OSS website.
- 17 December : London’s Highest Cinema Screening
A screening of Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life at The View From The Shard. Tickets: £35 include a glass of champagne and a Penguin Books paperback. The View From The Shard, Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. Nearest tube/train: London Bridge. For more information, visit the View From The Shard website. For Metro Girl’s review of a late night event at The Shard, click here.
- Now until 30 December : The Paddington Trail
Fifty Paddington statues hidden around London to mark the release of the film adaptation. Each statue has been customised by a different celebrity. Free. For more information and trails, check out the Visit London site.
- Now until 3 January 2015 : Christmas At Kew
A new evening experience for 2014, featuring a one mile glittering trail which weaves its way through Kew Gardens with stunning sights lit up upon the way. There will also be vintage rides, festive food and Santa’s Snowflake Grotto. 5-10pm. Tickets – Adults: £15 in advance £17 on the day, Children: £10 in advance, £12 on the day. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Tube: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- Now until 4 January 2015 : Hidden House
Take a break from shopping and enjoy an immersive fairy tale experience at Hidden House, which will transport you to another land. Tickets: Children £5, Adults 16 and over: £10. Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-8pm. Stratford Westfield, City, Stratford, E20 1EJ. Nearest tube/train: Stratford. For more information, visit the Westfield Stratford website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the Hidden House for further details.
- Now until 4 January 2015 : Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland does exactly what is say on the tin – the south east corner of the park is transformed into a Christmas fair with rides, food and lots of mulled wine, as well as Christmas gifts. It’s free to enter, but of course the aforementioned will cost. There is also an open air ice rink for those who fancy a twirl and Zippos Cirque Berserk – an alternative circus show. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Read about Metro Girl’s previous visit to Winter Wonderland.
- Now until 18 January 2015 : God’s Own Junkyard Pop-Up
An exhibition celebrating 40 year of neon artist and designer Chris Bracey, who sadly lost his battle with cancer in November. Features a collection of his neon light creations in pop-up gallery Lights Of Soho, in the same area he lit up with his iconic signs on the strip clubs of W1. Free entry. 10am-8pm. Lights of Soho, 35 Brewer Street, Soho, W1F 0RX. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Lights Of Soho website. For Metro Girl’s blog post on Gods Own Junkyard, click here.
- Now until 1 February 2015 : Hogwarts at Christmas
A must for all Harry Potter fans. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has been given a festive makeover with props and decorations from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Featuring Christmas-themed gifts and costumes from the film franchise. Tickets: Adults £31.00, Children £23.50. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. For more information, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website.
- Now until March 2015 : Bond In Motion
An exhibition of over 50 James Bond vehicles, including the Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me and Aston Martin DB5 from Goldeneye. Tickets – Adults: £14.50, Children: £9.50. Booking in advance highly recommended. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the London Film Museum website.
- Now until 12 April 2015 : The Art Of The Brick
Nathan Sawaya’s Art Of The Brick exhibition features a range of sculptures made from millions of Lego building blocks, from recreations of iconic artwork to new contemporary pieces. Tickets – Adults: £14.50-£16.50, Children under 12: £8-£9.50. Open daily, hours vary. Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For more information, visit The Art Of The Brick website. For Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition, click here.
- Now until April 2015 : Sherlock Holmes exhibition @ Museum Of London
An exhibition of the world’s favourite fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, featuring historic artefacts from Victorian London and author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Tickets: £12 adults, £10 concession. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest tube: Barbican or St Paul’s. For more information and tickets, visit Museum Of London website.
- Now until 30 August 2015 : Wildlife Photographer Of The Year 2014 @ Natural History Museum
An exhibition of the annual Wildlife Photographer Of The Year – the 50th year of the competition. Although entrance to the museum is free, this exhibition is ticketed. Adults: £12.60, Children & Concessions: £6.30. Open 10am-5.50pm daily. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the NHM website.
- 2 December – 11 January 2015 : Edward Scissorhands
Matthew Bourne’s dance adaptation of classic film Edward Scissorhands is on this Christmas at Sadler’s Wells. Tickets: Adults range from £24 to £55. Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1R. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the Sadler’s Wells Theatre website.
- 6 December – 15 January 2015 : Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland
The Royal Ballet and Christopher Wheeldon’s production this Christmas is an adaptation of the Lewis Carroll classic tale. Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD. Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Holborn, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the Royal Opera House website.
- 11 December – 4 January 2015 : Nutcracker
The English National Ballet’s production of the iconic Nutcracker comes to the London Coliseum. Tickets from £29 to £79. St. Martin’s Lane, Charing Cross, WC2N 4ES. Nearest stations: Leicester Square, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information and booking, visit the English National Ballet’s website.
20 November – 11 January 2015 : Jack And The Beanstalk at the Greenwich Theatre. Croom’s Hill, Greenwich, SE10 8ES. For tickets, visit the Greenwich Theatre website.
22 November – 3 January 2015 : Dick Whittington And His Cat at The Lyric Hammersmith. Lyric Square, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 0QL. For tickets, visit the Lyric website.
22 November – 4 January 2015 : Mother Goose at the Hackney Empire. 291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ. For tickets, visit the Hackney Empire website.
29 November – 4 January 2015 : Sleeping Beauty at The Churchill Theatre. High Street, Bromley, Kent BR1 1HA. For tickets, visit the ATG website.
29 November – 17 January 2015 : Beauty & The Beast at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Gerry Raffles Square, E15 1BN. For tickets, visit the Stratford East website.
5 December – 4 January 2015 : Snow White & The Seven Dwarves at Fairfield Halls. Park Lane, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1DG. For tickets, visit the Fairfield Halls website.
5 December – 11 January 2015 : Cinderella at the New Wimbledon Theatre. 93 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1QG. For tickets, visit the ATG website.
6 – 31 December : Robin Hood at Winterville (see above for more information about Winterville). Victoria Park, Grove Road, Bow, E9 7DD. For tickets, visit the Winterville website.
11 December – 3 January 2015 : Aladdin at The Shaw Theatre. 100-110 Euston Road, Somers Town, NW1 2AJ. For tickets, visit the Shaw Theatre website.
13 – 31 December : Cinderella at The Broadway Theatre. Catford Road, Catford, SE6 4RU. For tickets, visit the Broadway Theatre website.
13 December – 4 January 2015 : Snow White & The Seven Dwarves at The Beck Theatre. Grange Road, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 2UE. For tickets, visit the Beck Theatre website.
Or for strictly adults only…
28 November – 17 January 2015 : Sleeping Booty!, an adults-only panto. Tickets £22. The Lounge, Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX. Nearest tube: Leicester Square. For more information and tickets, visit the Leicester Square Theatre website.