There is something really magical about Christmas in London: From the spectacular Christmas Lights, to the atmosphere of excited shoppers and merry-makers. Every year, we try and make the most of ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ in the city, and we book up a couple of things. Here are some of my plans, and some other ideas that may inspire you to also try Christmas in London!
As I mentioned in a previous post, we are booked to see Pinocchio at the National. However, there are always plenty of shows to see. The Imperial Ice Stars are performing Cinderella (we saw their version of The Nutcracker last year which was fabulous) Both the Royal Opera House and The Collesium have the ballet Christmas classic, The Nutcracker. Other shows I have my eye on are Dick Whittington at the London Palladium and A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic
Winterville, Clapham Common
Winterville is billed an an alternative festive experience: The ‘town’ of Winterville contains a Backyard Cinema; an ice rink; Plonk Golf; A theatre; A fairground; A roller disco and more street-food stalls that you can shake a block of halloumi at!
The experience is for everyone, but there are definitely activities tailored towards children and families. In the Spiegeltent there are performances of Michael Morpugo’s Mimi & The Mountain Dragon from Skewbald Theatre. Big Fish, Little Fish are also hosting kids raves in the Spiegeltent. There’s also a Kids Corner where activities such as circus skills and Christmas crafting will be going on.
One part I am looking forward to is the immersive experience, The World Beyond The Wardrobe – a Narnia-inspired interactive experience for the whole family. Guests will be greeted by elves, stroll through winter forests, drink tea with fauns and creep in disguise past the wicked White Queen in a quest to bring colour back to the forest.
There is just so much going on here: It’s worth the trip to Clapham Common. I’ll be going along to the press preview night, so I will report back!
There are plenty of rinks in London, and they all have stunning backdrops such a the beautiful Somerset House, The Tower of London and The Natural History Museum. The only problem is the slots book unbelievably quickly, especially in the days just before Christmas. However, fear not! There are some beautiful rinks out there that are just as beautiful but not obvious choices. The first is Broadskate over at Broadgate, we skated here last year on the 23rd December, booking only a few days before. The city was emptying out for Christmas, but it still had that magical Christmas feeling. Another great rink is over at Canary Wharf, where you skate under the sky scrapers – a real city experience!
If you are disorganised as me, visiting the big jolly man before the big day can prove to be a logistical nightmare. Last year I managed to bag a couple of spots at the stunning Morden Hall Park in South London. The experience was wonderful: The children made postcards with Christmas wishes to send to Father Christmas, which were sent over on a pulley to his grotto in the corner of the courtyard. The children then entered his magical grotto, had a chat with the big man, and received a really lovely gift. Given my lateness in booking, we actually lucked out and got a quality experience that didn’t feel rushed at all like some of them do. I highly recommend.
I’d love to know what you have booked up this Christmas, and what top tips you have for celebrating Christmas in London.