Guide to what’s on in London this Christmas and December 2015
It’s one of the busiest months of the year with all the preparing, shopping and partying in the run up to Christmas. The end of the month is one of the rare times the capital appears to turn into somewhat of a ghost town, with the streets and bars of London quieter than usual. Then of course, come New Year’s Eve, the city is packed with revellers preparing to say goodbye to 2015. Whether you like your festive fun or not, there’s plenty of activities and festivals on around the capital this month.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
For a guide to what’s on in London this New Year’s Eve, click here.
To read about London’s best festive cocktails, click here.
For a guide to London’s open-air ice rinks, click here.
- 30 November – 2 December : London Lift-Off Film Festival
The London branch of the international Lift-Off Film Festival, which gives a platform to independent filmmakers. Screenings taking place nightly. Charlotte Street Hotel, Fitzrovia, W1T 1RJ. Nearest station: Tottenham Court Road or Goodge Street. For more information, visit the Lift-Off Film Festival website.
- 1 December : Trader Vic’s Tiki Cinema
Monthly film screenings at tiki bar in Park Lane, with December’s movie Home Alone. Film starts at 7.30pm, food is served from 6pm. Tickets: £13 (including screening and a cocktail). Trader Vic’s, 22 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1BE. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Trader Vic’s London website.
- 1 – 5 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. Open from noon until 11pm. Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website.
- 1 – 22 December : Christmas @ Devonshire Square
Over Christmas, the historic and relaxing setting of Devonshire Square in the City will be hosting free live entertainment by the Christmas Wishing Tree, offering you the chance to make wishes come true for those less fortunate. Devonshire Square, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street, Aldgate or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post to find out more.
- 3 December : Shepherd Market Christmas Party
Christmas Party at Shepherd Market and Piazza, featuring Michael Palin switching on the lights. Featuring Christmas shopping, live music, carol singers, food and drink, treasure hunt and Santa’s Grotto Dress Up Photobooth. Free entry. 6-10pm. Shepherd Market, Mayfair, W1J 7QU. Nearest station: Green Park. For more information, visit the Shepherd Market Guide.
- 3 December : Seven Dials & St Martin’s Courtyard Christmas Shopping Party
Over 100 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. 5-9pm. Register on the website for your free discount ticket. Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.
- 3 December – 3 January 2016 : Christmas at Trafalgar Square
After the lighting of the Christmas Tree on 3 December (a gift from Norway), there is daily carol singing in the Square between 7 – 23 December and the Blessing of the Crib on 8 December. Carol singing between 4-8pm weekdays and 2-6pm weekends. Free. Trafalgar Square. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- 4 – 6 December : 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. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bankside, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Waterloo . For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.
- 4 – 6 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.
- 4 – 6 December : BBC Good Food Festive Fayre
BBC Good Food Show brings a new festive event to the historic surroundings of Hampton Court Palace. As well as food and drink exhibitors, there will also be a chef’s kitchen and the chance to find out the history of the palace. Tickets (include Fayre and Palace): Adults £15.50, Children £7.75. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the BBC Good Food Festive Fayre website.
- 4 – 13 December – London International Animation Festival
Showcase of animation from around the world featuring gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmakers Q&As, workshops, audience voting and screenings. Tickets start from £11.50 (Barbican session tickets) to £95 for full pass. At the Barbican and other venues around London. For more information and tickets, visit the LIAF website.
- 4 – 15 December : Spitalfields Winter Festival
Festival in the Spitalfields area of the East End featuring performances, workshops and more. Including The Riot Ensemble, Edmund de Waal, B’Rock and the Disappearing Dining Club. Ticket prices start from £5. For listings and more information, visit the Spitalfields Music website. For Metro Girl’s post on the Winter Music Festival, click here.
- 4 – 22 December : Pillow Cinema
Pop-up indoor cinema club returns to National Trust, Tudor property Sutton House. Films include Love Actually, Bad Santa, It’s A Wonderful Life, Frozen, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Elf and Gremlins. Tickets: £7.50 (chair), £27.50 (beanbag for two). Sutton House, Hackney, E9 6JQ. Nearest station: Hackney Central or Homerton. For booking, visit Pillow Cinema.
- 5 December : The 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 station: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information and details on entering, visit the Xmas Pudding Race website.
- 5 – 6 December : Santa and his huskies come to the London Wetland Centre
Special Christmas weekend event at the London Wetland Centre, where families can visit Santa’s Grotto, enjoy a sleigh ride with the huskies or donkey ride. Normal admission prices to LWC apply. Santa visit £6 per child (includes gift). Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes. For more information, visit the WWT London Wetland Centre website.
- 5 – 6 December : Chelsea Christmas Shopping
Gourmet gifts market, Santa’s Grotto, gift-wrapping station, carol singers, entertainment and refreshments. Free entry. Duke Of York Square, Kings Road, Chelsea, SW3 4LY. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For more information, visit Duke Of York Website.
- 5 – 6 December : Let’s Celebrate Family Festival @ Museum Of London Docklands
Family festival at the Museum, featuring mask-making, lantern-making, dance workshop, Afro/soul/fusion music performances and workshops, music and dance perfomers, henna tattoo, craft and drawing activities. Free entry. 12-4pm. Museum Of London, No.1 Warehouse, West India Dock Road, Docklands, E14 4AL. Nearest station: West India Quay (DLR). For more information, visit the Museum Of London website.
- Now until 6 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 Fri-Sun 5-9pm, last entry 8pm. Tickets: Adults £7, Children £3. Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website.
- 6 – 14 December : Chanukah In The Square
A giant Menorah will be on display in Trafalgar Square with a light lit every day. On 10 December (5.30-7.30pm), there will be a family and lighting ceremony with hot food and live music, including acapella group The Maccabeats, Neshama band, and the ever-spinning Dreidleman. Free. Trafalgar Square. Nearest station: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- 10 – 13 December : Nomad Cinema Christmas Pop-up
Travelling cinema company sets up shop in Eccleston Place Courtyard in Belgravia. Films include Elf, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Gremlins, Die Hard, It’s A Wonderful Life and Love Actually. Tickets: Adult £25 (includes hot food and glass of mulled wine), Children £10 (film only), £15 (includes meal and soft drink). 27 Eccleston Place, Belgravia, SW1W 9NF. Nearest station: Victoria. For tickets, visit the Nomad website.
- 11 -13 December : Brick London
A festival of Lego, featuring games, construction zones and displays. Featuring models and a huge store selling Lego. Tickets: £21.75-23.75. ExCel, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest tube: Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the Brick London website.
- 15 – 21 December : International Horse Show
The world’s biggest equestrian party, featuring displays, dressage, extreme diving and more. Tickets range from £10 to £1,500 (private box). Kensington Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Olympia Horse Show website.
- 18 – 19 December : Evening With Stars
Late night opening at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, including a planetarium show, opportunity to look through the Victorian telescope and a hot drink in the Meridian courtyard. Two hour slots at 3.25pm, 5.30pm, 6.45pm and 6.50pm. Tickets: Adults £18, Children (over 7s) £14. Royal Observatory Greenwich, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, SE10 8XJ. Nearest station: Greenwich, Maze Hill or Cutty Sark (DLR). For more information and booking, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website.
- 22 December – 3 January 2016 : Disney On Ice
Your favourite Disney characters take to the ice in a show for all the family. Show times vary. Tickets: £29.50-54.30. The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich, SE10 0DX. Nearest tube: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Disney UK website.
- Now until 23 December : Winterville
An alternative festive wonderland in East London, featuring Christmas markets, ice rink, pantomime, cinema, circus, crazy golf, fairground and Spiegeltent. Free entry. Victoria Park, Grove Road, Bow, E9 7DD. Nearest station: Hackney Wick, Mile End or Cambridge Heath. For more information, visit the Winterville website.
- Now until 24 December : Eat Your Drink Pop-Up Store
The world’s first edible alcohol store is coming to London for a few weeks only selling cocktail-flavour sweets and boozy candy floss. Located downstairs at Benefit, 10 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9PF. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Smith & Sinclair website. Read Metro Girl’s blog on the store for more information. To receive 10% off any product between 13-24 December, say ‘put a jelly in Santa’s belly’ at the till.
- Now until 24 December : Adventure to Santa’s Grotto
Go on a magical, 4D cinematic sleigh journey to visit Santa with the help of Shrek and Donkey. At the end of the ride, children will get to meet Santa and receive a gift. Photo packages also available. Opening hours vary. Tickets: £8/£10 per person. Westfield London, Ariel Way, White City, W12 7GF. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush, White City or Shepherd’s Bush Market. For more information, visit the Westfield London website.
- Now until 2 January 2016 : Christmas at Kew
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 £16, Children £10. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- Now until 2/3 January 2016 : Frostival @ London Eye
The Coca-Cola London Eye has a festive makeover for their Frostival celebrations, featuring the Eyeskate ice rink and special Winter experiences on the Eye, including cocktails and other treats. Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the London Eye website. For Metro Girl’s blog post on the Frostival, click here.
- Now until 3 January 2016 : Dressed By Angels
An exhibition of over 100 costumes from Angels’ archives, worn by Fred Astaire, Noel Coward, Laurence Olivier, Tom Baker, Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep, among others, Opening hours vary. Tickets: Adults £16, Children £9. Old Truman Brewery, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, Shoreditch, E1 6QR. Nearest station: Aldgate or Shoreditch High Street. For booking, visit the Dressed By Angels website.
- Now until 3 January 2016 : Winter Wonderland
The south east corner of Hyde Park is transformed into a Christmas fair with rides, food and drink stalls, ice rink, Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk – an alternative circus show. It’s free to enter, but of course the aforementioned will cost. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Victoria, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Read about Metro Girl’s previous visit to Winter Wonderland.
- Now until 3 January 2016 : Winter Dream pop-up bar
From the team behind last summer’s London Riviera is a new winter pop-up bar, overlooking the River Thames and Tower Bridge. The marquee will be fully heated with a festive photobooth, live entertainment, film screenings and a bar serving Christmas cocktails, mulled wine, hot cider and more. Queen’s Walk, More London (next to City Hall), SE1 2DB. Nearest station:London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the Winter Dream Facebook page.
- Now until 3 January 2016 : States Of Mind – yellowbluepink
A new art installation by artist Ann Veronica Janssens sees visitors travel through a room of coloured mist. Opening hours vary. Free entry, but queues likely. Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, NW1 2BE. Nearest station: Euston or Euston Square. For more information, visit the Wellcome Collection website. Check out Metro Girl’s visit to yellowbluepink here.
- Now until 17 January 2016 : Bump Rollerdisco
Mobile rollerdisco comes to London’s Southbank for the festive season. 11am-11pm. Tickets: Adults £10, Children £7.50, Fri & Sat Club Nights: £12-£16. Under Hungerford Bridge, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- Now until 17 January 2016 : Rekordelig Cider Lodge
Swedish firm Rekordelig are bringing a taste of Scandinavia to the South Bank with a pop-up cider lodge serving hot and cold drinks. Free entry. Open Sun–Thur 11am–11pm, Fri-Sat 11am–12am. Hungerford Car Park, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- Now until 28 January 2016 : Jimmy Cauty’s Aftermath Dislocation Principle
Jimmy Cauty’s alternative model village from Banksy’s Dismaland comes to London for two months. A quintessential English chocolate box village it is not! The artist and his team have created a Dystopian city scene of what looks like a post-riot housing estate full of destruction and police cars. Open Wed-Fr- 12-7pm, Sat-Sun 12-6pm. Tickets £4. America Street, Southwark, SE1 0NJ. Nearest station: London Bridge or Southwark. For more information, visit L-13 website.
- Now until January 2016 : Alcoholic Architecture
Food wizards Bompas & Parr have created a unique experience allowing people to walk through clouds of alcohol, inhaling cocktails. Tickets for hourly slots: £10 off peak (Mon, Tues and Wed all day, Thurs & Fri before 5pm), £12.50 peak (Thurs post-5pm, Fri post-4pm and Sat all day). One Cathedral Street, Borough Market, Borough, SE1 9DE. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit Bompas And Parr’s official website. For Metro Girl’s post on Alcoholic Architecture, click here.
- Now until January 2016 : British Museum Of Food
Food wizards Bompas & Parr are opening a new British Museum Of Food, celebrating the history, evolution, science, sociology and art of food. Open Wed-Fri 12-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £5, Children £4. One Cathedral Street, Borough Market, SE1 9DE. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the British Museum Of Food website. For Metro Girl’s post on the British Museum Of Food, click here.
- Now until 31 January 2016 : Hogwarts In The Snow
A must for all Harry Potter fans. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has been given a festive makeover. Featuring Christmas-themed gifts and costumes from the film franchise. Tickets: Adults £33, Children £25.50. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. For more information, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website.
- Now until 31 January 2016 : The Height Of Winter @ View From The Shard
View From The Shard has a special festive makeover, with wizards Bompas & Parr transforming the viewing gallery into an immersive sensory experience, with ice crystals, frost, snow dunes, glowing crystal benches, grotto and carolling plants. Drinks include Snow White Hot Chocolate, Mulled Champagne and Christmas Candy Floss. Tickets: Adults £25.95. Child: £19.95. The View From The Shard, Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. Nearest tube/train: London Bridge. For more information, visit View From The Shard website. For Metro Girl’s review on a trip up The Shard, click here.
- Now until 31 January 2016 : Time Run
A new live quest meets immersive theatre in a new twist on the ‘escape the room’ games. For groups of three to five people, you will join Edwardian inventor Luna Fox on a journey through time. Tickets: £24 (off-peak), £29 (peak). 9-15 Helmsley Place, London Fields, E8 3SB. Nearest station: London Fields. For booking, visit the Time Run website. Read Metro Girl’s post on Time Run for more information and to see the trailer.
- Now until 7 February 2016 : Take A View exhibition
Exhibition of the winning and shortlisted images from this year’s Landscape Photographer Of The Year are on display on the balcony at Waterloo station. Open during station hours. Free. Mezzanine level, Waterloo Station, SE1 8SW. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Take A View website.
- Now until 17 April 2016 : Alice In Wonderland exhibition @ British Library
Exhibition to mark the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice In Wonderland, including his original manuscript, hand-drawn illustrations, and an Alice In Wonderland pop-up shop. Opening hours vary. Free entry. The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest station: Euston, King’s Cross or St Pancras. To find out more, visit the British Library website.
- 25 November – 3 January 2016 : The Snowman
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production of The Snowman comes to the Peacock Theatre. Performances at 11am, 2.30pm and 7pm. Tickets: £15-£35. Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, Holborn, WC2A 2HT. Nearest station: Temple or Holborn. For booking, visit the Sadlers Wells website.
- 1 December – 24 January 2015: Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty
Matthew Bourne’s dance adaptation of Sleeping Beauty is on this Christmas at Sadler’s Wells. Shows at 2/2.30pm and 7/7.30pm. Tickets range from £12 to £65. Sadler’s Wells, Rosebery Avenue, EC1R. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the Sadler’s Wells Theatre website.
- 8 December – 14 January 2016 : The Nutcracker
The Royal Ballet’s production of the iconic Nutcracker comes to the Royal Opera House. Tickets range from £25-£117. 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.
- 16 December – 10 January 2016 : The Nutcracker
Over 100 dancers from the English National Ballet bring The Nutcracker to the London Coliseum. Tickets prices vary. Coliseum, 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 – 10 January 2016 : Red Riding House @ Greenwich Theatre. Croom’s Hill, Greenwich, SE10 8ES. For tickets, visit the Greenwich Theatre website.
21 November – 3 January 2016 : Cinderella @ Lyric Hammersmith. Lyric Square, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 0QL. For tickets, visit the Lyric website.
21 November – 3 January 2016 : Jack And The Beanstalk @ Hackney Empire. 291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ. For tickets, visit the Hackney Empire website.
27 November – 3 January 2016 : Aladdin @ Churchill Theatre. High Street, Bromley, Kent BR1 1HA. For tickets, visit the ATG website.
4 December – 3 January 2016 : Cinderella @ Fairfield Halls. Park Lane, Croydon, Surrey, CR9 1DG. For tickets, visit the Fairfield Halls website.
5 December – 10 January 2016 : Peter Pan @ New Wimbledon Theatre. 93 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1QG. For tickets, visit the ATG website.
5 December – 23 January 2016 : Robin Hood @ Stratford East. Gerry Raffles Square, E15 1BN. For tickets, visit the Stratford East website.
11 December – 2 January 2016 : Jack And The Beanstalk @ The Beck Theatre. Grange Road, Hayes, Middlesex, UB3 2UE. For tickets, visit the Beck Theatre website.
12 – 30 December : Wizard Of Oz @ Shaw Theatre. 100-110 Euston Road, Somers Town, NW1 2AJ. For tickets, visit the Shaw Theatre website.
Or for strictly adults only…
15 – 30 December : Dick! @ Leicester Square Theatre, an adults-only panto. The Lounge, Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BX. Nearest tube: Leicester Square. For tickets, visit the Leicester Square Theatre website.