Guide to what’s on in London in December 2021
Find out what festive events and exhibitions are on in London over the Christmas 2021 period.
December is finally here! We’re sure many of us can’t wait for this difficult year to be over after another long struggle through pandemic and Brexit impacts. As usual, many festive events already started in November, but they really ramp up in the run-up to Christmas.
Among the events on in the capital this December include festive cinematic experiences, illumination and light trails, and many events celebrating food and drink on the most gluttonous time of the year.
As you would expect, there’s plenty of family-friendly activities as many relatives are reunited after spending last Christmas apart. Theatreland is well and truly back in action with a host of pantomimes, ballets and other Christmas shows to keep the whole family entertained. There’s also opportunities for alfresco ice skating or shopping at one of London’s many Christmas markets.
Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.
- 1 – 5 December 2021 : Sparkle in the Park
Follow a festive light trail around the park alongside fire art installations, before enjoying live music, children’s shows, a Christmas disco, market stalls and hot food and drink. From 4pm-9pm. Free entry. Maryon Park, Maryon Road, Charlton, SE7 8EN. Nearest stations: Charlton or Woolwich Dockyard. For more information, visit the Royal Greenwich website. 🐻
- 1 – 19 December 2021 : Cinema in the Snow
Pop Up Screens are bringing their festive, cinematic experience to south London. Step through a magical wardrobe into a winter wonderland, where you can watch classic Christmas films and newer festive releases on the big screen (indoors!). Licensed bar and snacks available. Tickets: Under 12s £12, Adults £22. Brockwell Park (Lido gate), Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, SE24 0PA. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For booking, visit the Pop Up Screens website. 🐻
- 1 – 30 December 2021 : Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Movie Spectacular
Cinematic experience experts Backyard Cinema are launching a third festive spectacular away from their permanent home in Wandsworth. Watch one of the three classic Christmas films (Love Actually, Home Alone or Elf) along with a live choir and performances by George The Poet in a stunning Art Deco setting. Times vary. Tickets start from £15. Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, Limehouse, E1 0HX. Nearest station: Limehouse. For tickets, visit the Backyard Cinema website. 🐻
- 2 December 2021 : Christmas Lights Walk @ Marylebone
Explore the light installations of the Baker Street Quarter, telling the story of famous people and places from the district. Starts at 6pm. Free. Starts at Punch Tavern, 55 Baker Street, Marylebone, W1U 7DA. Nearest station: Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Baker Street Quarter website. 🐻
- 3 – 5 December 2021 : Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre
A celebration of festive food in the grounds of historic Hampton Court Palace. Featuring street food, pop-up bars, artisanal producers, live music, and more. 10am-5pm. Tickets (inc entry to courtyard and gardens): Adults £25.30, Children 5-15yr £12.60, Under 5s free. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the HRP Food Festivals website. 🐻
- 4 December 2021 : Rumblin’ Cocktails Rum Education @ Museum of London Docklands
Rum cocktail experts Rumblin’ host a history and mixology workshop in the old Rum Store. Explore the heritage of the tipple, before mixing your own and take a bottle of rum punch home. Over 18s only. From 5.30pm. Tickets: £55. Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14 4AL. Nearest stations: West India Quay or Canary Wharf. For booking, visit the Museum of London website.
- Now until 4 December 2021 : Pigs Ear Festival 2021
Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA, featuring over 230 real ales plus ciders, perries and bottled beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Open 12pm-10.30pm. Tickets: £3 (CAMRA members), £5 (general). Round Chapel, Glenarm Road, Hackney, E5 0LY. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website.
- 4 December 2021 – 9 January 2022 : The Gingerbread City 2021
The Museum of Architecture returns with another Gingerbread City. Over 100 architects, artists and engineers create a mini city made entirely of gingerbread and icing. In addition to the exhibition of the final creation, there is also the opportunity to take part in gingerbread house-making workshops. Open daily 9am-9pm. Tickets (45 min sessions): Adults and over 12 yrs: £14, Children 3-12yrs £8.50. 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, SW1X 8JU. Nearest station: Knightsbridge or Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Gingerbread City website. 🐻
- Now until 5 December 2021 : Christmas Floating Film Festival
Cosy up on a sofa or deckchair on a floating pontoon to watch your favourite festive films against the backdrop of St Katharine Docks. Screenings at 7pm (weekday and weekends), 2pm (weekends). Tickets: £16.76-£32.93. St Katharine Docks, 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway. For more information, visit the St Kats website. 🐻
- 7 – 9 December 2021 : Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen
Get inspired for your festive food with live demonstrations, tastings, masterclasses, tips and tricks at Borough Market. Events from 11am-4pm. Free entry. Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.
- 8 December 2021 : Festive evening @ Leadenhall Market
Enjoy Christmas workshops, live music and late-night shopping at historic Leadenhall Market. Open 6pm-10pm. Free to attend, but register for a place on one of the workshops via Eventbrite. Leadenhall Market (access from Gracechurch Street, Lime Street and Whittington Avenue), City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website.
- 8 December 2021 – 3 January 2022 : Palace of Stardust @ Hampton Court Palace
A spectacular new light trail illuminates the historic Hampton Court Palace, as it winds around the gardens. Expect illuminations, projects and festive food and drink. Open daily 4pm-8pm (closed 11, 24-26 Dec). Tickets: Adults £12.50, Children £8, under 5s free. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). To book, visit the Hampton Court Palace website. 🐻
- 9 December 2021 : Miracle on Leake Street 2021
A one-off Christmas event comes to the colourful, graffiti-decorated tunnels of Leake Street. Featuring market stalls, free wreath-making workshops, face paint, activations, food and drink, comedy and cabaret teasers of the Vault Festival 2022 and a free screening of Home Alone. From 6pm-9pm. Free entry. Leake Street tunnels, Lambeth, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Lambeth North or Waterloo. For more information, visit the We Are Waterloo website.
- 9 December 2021 – 16 January 2022 : The Beatles exhibition @ Shapero Modern
Exhibition of newly-discovered photographs of The Beatles filming A Hard Day’s Night in 1964. Open Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm. Free entry. Shapero Modern, 41-43 Maddox Street, Mayfair, W1S 2PD. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Shapero Modern website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details.
- Now until 9 January 2022 : Wave @ Greenwich Peninsula
Squidsoup presents an interactive sculptural light installation, offering an audio-visual experience. Open 7pm-10pm. Free entry, but queues expected at busy times. Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0SQ. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Greenwich Peninsula website. 🐻
- 9 – 30 December 2021 : Enchanted Eltham
Late-night opening of Eltham Palace sees the Tudor and Art Deco buildings and gardens dazzle in a show of light, colour and sound. Follow the trail around the gardens. Also including fairground rides and hot food and drink on offer, including a roasting marshmallow pit. Open Thu-Sun 4.30pm-9pm (staggered entry times). Tickets: Adults £14/£16, Children 5-15 yrs £9.50/£11.50. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5QE. Nearest stations: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit the English Heritage website. 🐻
- 10 December 2021 : Paper Craft Masterclass – Christmas Card Making
Using images from the British Library’s collections, design and make your own Christmas cards under the guidance of expert Shelagh McCarthy. From 10:30am-4.30pm. Tickets: £65, seniors, students or young people (18-25yrs) £55. Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest stations: King’s Cross St Pancras or Euston. For booking, visit the British Library website.
- 11 December 2021 : Love Actually in Concert
Watch festive classic Love Actually accompanied by a live orchestra. Over 15yr only. Shows at 1.30pm and 6.30pm. Tickets: £42-£81. Eventim Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, W6 9QH. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For booking, visit the Eventim Apollo website.
- 11 and 18 December 2021 : Silent Disco @ View from the Shard
Dance to your favourite tunes while enjoying the view from the 72nd floor at London’s highest disco. Over 18s only. Open 10am-2pm. Tickets: £37.50. The View From The Shard, Joiner Street, SE1 9SP. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit the View from the Shard website. Check out Metro Girl’s review.
- 11 – 22 December 2021 : Borealis
Artist Dan Archer presents his striking immersive installation inspired by the Northern Lights. From 5.30pm-10pm. Entry: Free but ticketed (advance tickets are sold out, but there will be walk-up slots available on the day). Guildhall Yard (off Gresham Street), City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest stations: St Paul’s, Bank or Mansion House. For more information, visit the VisitLondon website. 🐻
- 12 – 23 December 2021 : The Luna Winter Cinema
Roaming cinema club hosts festive screenings in immersive wintry experiences at two venues in Battersea and Kensington. Times vary. Tickets: £17.50-£62.50 Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill, Battersea, SW11 5TN. Nearest station: Clapham Junction. Kensington Palace Pavilion (enter from Jubilee Square Gate from the Orme Square Gate, Kensington, W2 4RS. Nearest station: Queensway. For booking, visit the Luna Cinema website. 🐻
- 13 – 14, 20, 22 December 2021 : The Christmas Steam Express
Enjoy a vintage, festive steam train journey over the River Thames and through West London. Three-course meals and cocktails available. From 6.40pm-9.40pm. Tickets: Adults from £49, Children from £42. Trains depart from London Victoria station, SW1. Nearest station: Victoria. For more information, visit the SteamDreams website.
- 15 December 2021 : An Evening of Cheese
Borough Market’s annual celebration the cheese returns, with tastings and expert advice from cheesemongers. From 6pm-8pm. Free entry. Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.
- 16 – 20 December 2021 : London International Horse Show
The world’s biggest equestrian party, featuring displays, dressage, extreme diving and more. Times vary. Tickets: £14.75-£79.50. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For tickets, visit the London International Horse Show website.
- 17 December 2021 – 20 March 2022 : Titanic – The Exhibition
An immersive exhibition exploring the history and the wreck of the Titanic, featuring over 200 artefacts and life-sized recreations of the tragic ship’s interior. Open: Mon, Wed, Thur: 10am-7pm, Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 9am-8.30pm, Sun 9am-8pm. Tickets: Adults from £27.90, Children from £15.90, Under 4s free. Dock X London, Retail Park, Unit 1 Canada Water, Surrey Quays Road, SE16 2XU. Nearest station: Canada Water. For more information and booking, visit the Titanic: The Exhibition website. 🐻
- 17 December 2021 : Merry Quizmas @ London Transport Museum
Late-night opening of the London Transport Museum, featuring a quiz hosted by Santa, crafting and shopping. From 6.30pm-9pm. Tickets: Adults £12. London Transport Museum, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BB. Nearest station: Covent Garden, Temple or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the LTM website.
- Now until 18 December 2021 : The Great Feast
A new music and food festival pops up at the Selfridges Hotel. Featuring Michelin-starred chefs, immersive dining, creative cocktails and live music. Over 18s only. Open 11-20 Nov: Thu-Sat 6pm-12am, 25-27 Nov: 12pm-3pm and 6pm-12am, 1-18 Dec: Wed-Sat 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am. Tickets: £20-£60. Old Selfridges Hotel, 1 Orchard St, Marylebone, W1H 6HJ. Nearest stations: Bond Street or Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit The Great Feast website.
- Now until 23 December 2021 : Noël Coward: Art & Style exhibition
Exhibition celebrating the life and work of playwright Noël Coward. Open daily 10:30am-4pm. Free entry, but booking required. Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest stations: St Paul’s or Bank. For more information, visit the City of London website.
- Now until 30 December 2021 : Club Curling
Try your hand at curling as the winter sports pops up at King’s Cross for the festive season. Visitors can enjoy a 45 minute curling slot on one of the six synthetic ice rinks, before enjoying a cocktail at the bar. Open daily 11am-9pm. Tickets: Adults £5, Children under 12 free. Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information and booking, visit the King’s Cross website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details. 🐻
- Now until 31 December 2021 : Harry Potter Photographic Exhibition
London Muggles can get their Potter fix a bit closer to home with an exhibition of photographs charting the whole franchise. You can also enjoy a drink at the Butterbeer bar. Times vary. Tickets: Adults £20, Children 5-15yrs £14. London Film Museum, 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7BN. Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Temple or Holborn. For more information and booking, visit the Harry Potter on Location website. 🐻
- Now until 31 December 2021 : Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser
An immersive and theatrical exhibition charting the evolution of Lewis Carroll’s iconic character and how she has inspired media, fashion and culture. Open Wed-Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: £20, under 12s free. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information and to book your timed entry, visit the V&A website. 🐻
- Now until 2 January 2022 : Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition
Explore the Vatican’s majestic chapel in an immersive experience, featuring the iconic ceiling paintings, which have been reproduced with HD photography. Open Wed-Sun 10am-6pm. Tickets: Adults from £11, Children from £8. Cannon Factory. Ashley Road, Tottenham, N17 9LH. Nearest station: Tottenham Hale. For tickets, visit the exhibition website. 🐻
- Now until 2 January 2022 : Summer Exhibition 2021 @ Royal Academy of Arts
The delayed summer 2021 exhibition features over 1,300 works from new and established artists. Open Tues–Sun: 10am-6pm. Tickets: £20–£22. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the RA website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition.
- Now until 3 January 2022 : Winter Wonderland
The south east corner of Hyde Park is transformed into a festive fair with rides, food and drink stalls, ice rink, the Magical Ice Kingdom, Cirque Berserk, Zippos Christmas Circus, Bar Ice, Ice Sculpting Workshops, Santa Land, Real Ice Slide, and more. Open 10am-10pm daily. Tickets (must be pre-booked): Peak £5-£7.50, Off-peak free. Entrance fee waived if you spend over £20 on attractions, rides or games in advance. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Victoria, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website. 🐻
- Now until 3 January 2022 : The Magic of Christmas @ London Zoo
London Zoo are hosting a series of festive events alongside the usual animal enclosures. Meet Santa, follow the family festive trail, visit the sensory sweet shop and more. Open 10am-4pm. General entry: Adults £32.50 (standard), £30 (off-peak), Children 3-15yrs £18.19 (standard), £16.90 (off-peak). Additional charges apply for some activities. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website. 🐻
- Now until 3 January 2022 : Winter Night Garden @ Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema’s permanent home has been transformed into a magical festive garden for one of its two winter cinematic experiences (the other being the Snow Kingdom). Walk through a magical wardrobe and travel through an enchanted forest to reach the big screen, which will be showing festive favourites and new releases. Tickets range from £10.50-£29.99. Backyard Cinema’s Capital Studios, Ram Quarter, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, SW18 1ET. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town or East Putney. For more information and booking, visit Backyard Cinema’s website. 🐻
- Now until 9 January 2022 : Christmas at Kew
Follow a magical trail around Kew Gardens, through tunnels of light, past dancing waterfalls, illuminations and the Fire Garden, and a light display at the Palm House. 4pm-10pm. Tickets: Standard advance adult: Off peak £21.50/Peak £26.50, Children: Off peak £14/peak £16.50. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻
- Now until 9 January 2022 : Illuminature @ WWT
Explore nature after dark in this unique illuminated trail around the London Wetland Centre. 4pm-9pm. Tickets: Adults £17.50, Children £12.50, under 4s free. WWT London, Queen Elizabeth Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes Bridge. For more information and booking, visit the WWT website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details. 🐻
- Now until 9 January 2022 : Winterfest
The immersive light festival returns to Wembley Park, with this year’s theme being ‘Reunited in Light’. Featuring huge light and sound installations, London’s largest LED Christmas tree, and photo gallery. Free admission. At Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details. 🐻
- Now until 9 January 2022 : Christmas at Kenwood
The splendid gardens of historic Kenwood House play host to an illuminated trail of a sensory journey of light, fire and sound. From 5pm-9pm. Tickets: Adults £24.75 (peak), £21.50 (off-peak), Children 3-16yrs £17 (peak), £14 (off-peak). Kenwood House, Hampstead Lane, Hampstead, NW3 7JR. Nearest station: Hampstead or Highgate. For more information, visit the Christmas at Kenwood website. 🐻
- Now until 9 January 2022 : Marble Arch Mound
An 25-metre artificial hill has been erected by Marble Arch, offering visitors views down Oxford Street (a great spot to see the Christmas lights) and over Hyde Park. There will also be a light exhibition, ‘Lightfield’, led by British/American artist Anthony James. Opening hours vary. Free entry (Advance booking recommended). Marble Arch, Westminster, W1H 7EL. Nearest station: Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit the Marble Arch Mound website. 🐻
- Now until 16 January 2022 : Hogwarts in the Snow
Visit your favourite Harry Potter sets, such as the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley, Hagrid’s Hut and the Hogwarts castle, which have been transformed with snow for the festive season. Tickets from £47. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For more information and tickets, visit the WB Studio Tour website. 🐻
- Now until 23 January 2022 : Mulan Rouge
An immersive, foodie, theatrical mash-up of Disney’s Mulan and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! Overs 18s only. Dress Code: ‘A hot Paris night in the Mulan Rouge’. Times vary. Tickets: £45-£60. The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Lambeth North or Waterloo East. For more information, visit The Vaults website.
- Now until 27 February 2022 : The Murder Express
Enjoy an immersive fine dining experience on board a 19th century train carriage. Enjoy a four-course meal cooked by a Masterchef finalist, while sipping on cocktails and watching a murder mystery unfold. Times vary. Tickets from £60. Located at 63 Pedley Street, E1 5FB. Nearest stations: Bethnal Green, Shoreditch High Street or Whitechapel. For more information, visit Funicular Productions. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details.
- Now until 6 March 2022 : Beano – The Art of Breaking the Rules
Exhibition of Britain’s naughtiest kid and the comic’s history. Explore original artwork and artefacts. Open Sat, Sun & Tue 10am-6pm, Wed-Fri 11am-8pm. Tickets: Adults £16, conc £12.50, Under 6s free. Embankment Galleries (South Wing), Somerset House, Strand, Westminster, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the Somerset House website. 🐻
- Now until 22 April 2022 : Sculpture In The City 2021/2022
Free public art exhibition, bringing 18 contemporary pieces to the streets and spaces of the City of London. Free. At various sites around the Square Mile. Nearest stations: Fenchurch Street, Monument or Liverpool Street. For more information and a map of the artworks, visit the Sculpture in the City website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the exhibition.
- Now until 30 April 2022 : Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds – The Immersive Experience
An immersive experience inspired by the classic story. Travel back in time to Victorian London and the Martian invasion of 1898. Experience immersive theatre, virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms and other cutting-edge technology. Overs 12 only. Times vary. Tickets: £40-£130. The Old Metal Exchange, 56 Leadenhall Street, City of London, EC3A 2BJ. Nearest station: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For booking, visit the War of the World’s website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the show.
- Now until 22 May 2022 : The Art of Banksy
Exhibition of Banksy’s art made up of pieces from private collections (although not curated or authorized by the artist himself). Expect prints, canvasses, screen prints, sculptures and other unique works. Open Mon-Wed & Sun 10am-6pm, Thu-Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 9.30am-7pm. Tickets: £14.50-£29.50, under 6s free. 50 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LJ. Nearest stations: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For tickets, visit the Art of Banksy website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition. 🐻
- Now until summer 2022 : Superblue London
AA Murakami, the artists behind Studio Swine, presents a multi-sensory, immersive experience which explores the relationship between humans and nature. Open Tues-Thur: 10am-7pm, Fri-Sun: 10am-8pm. Tickets from £11-£13 (online), £13-£15 (walk-in). Superblue London, 6 Burlington Gardens, Mayfair. W1S 3ET. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Superblue website.
- Now until July 2023 : Scenes in the Square
Check out bronze sculptures of iconic film characters around Leicester Square. Eight interactive characters, such as Laurel & Hardy to Wonder Woman will be placed in the square for four months. Free. Leicester Square, Westminster, WC2H 7DE. Nearest stations: Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Leicester Square website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the exhibition. 🐻
Posted on 29 Nov 2021, in Christmas, Families, Festivals, Museums, Tourist Attractions and tagged Things to do in London, What's On Guide. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Guide to what’s on in London in December 2021.