Feeling it yet? The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square is up this evening and the Christmas countdown is officially on. We’re lining up some absolutely gorgeous gifts for our annual 12 Days of Xmas Giveaway that kicks off soon. In the meantime, enjoy this mix of fabulous things to do with children in the first London Kids Weekend Scoop of December!
Thu-Sun: Winterville, Victoria Park (entrance near Crown Gate), E3 5TB (Mile End/Bethnal Green tube)
East London gets its own wonderland experience with Winterville, filled with colourful rides and illuminations, a Spiegeltent where live bands and entertainers perform, Robin Hood panto for all the family, Ice Rink and Roller Disco, delicious food stalls and much more! Until Dec 21: 3pm-10.15pm (Mon-Thu), 3pm-10.45pm (Fri), 10am-10.45pm (Sat), 10am-10.15pm (Sat-Sun); after Dec 21: 10am-10.15pm (Mon-Thu & Sun), 10am-10.45pm (Fri-Sat); New Year’s Eve 10am-8pm, New Year’s Day 10am-6pm; FREE entry, prices for attractions/rides and panto (Dec 2-Jan 1)
Thu-Sun: Beegu at Arts Depot, 5 Nether Street Tally Ho Corner North Finchley London N12 0GA (Finchley Central tube)
The award winning book Beegu by Alexis Deacon is adapted for the stage in a hugely interactive production where we follow newly landed alien Beegu as she tries to make sense of this world. Meet the puppets after the show! For ages 3-8. 10.30am & 1.30pm (Mon-Thu), 10.30am, 1pm & 4pm (Sat), 10.30am & 1pm (Sun); £10 (until Dec 13)
Thu-Sun: Dennis the Menace at St Pancras International, Euston Rd, N1C 4QP (King’s Cross St Pancras tube)
All aboard for some cheeky fun with everybody’s favourite stripy-jumpered comic kid. Dennis is running riot through St Pancras over the next few months, so keep an eye out for Beano-themed activities. Pose for snaps with comic strip photo boards, play ping pong on a black and red Table Dennis, view an exhibition of annual covers dating back to 1939 and meet Dennis himself. Daily, FREE (until Jan 4)
Thu-Sun: Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, W2 (Hyde Park Corner tube)
Grab your Christmas hat and skip on over to Hyde Park for the grand opening of its Winter Wonderland. It gets bigger every year, and you can always look forward to ice skating, a Giant Observation Wheel, a Magical Ice Kingdom, two shows of Zippo’s Circus, German chalets and funfair attractions. All ages. Opens 5pm-9pm (Fri Nov 21), then 10am-10pm daily; park entry is FREE, ride tokens cost £1 and rides start at £2 for kids rides, £3 for adults; book for special attractions and skating in advance at www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/tickets (Nov 21-Jan 4)
Read our Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Review from last year!
Thu-Sun: Ice Skate Vauxhall | Christmas Tree Maze at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, Kennington Lane, London SE11 5HY, UK (Vauxhall tube/rail)
Could this be a contender for coolest ice rink destination of the capital? Visit the Ice Skate Vauxhall rink for a skate around and then get lost as you wander through walls made up of hundreds of Christmas trees spanning nearly a square km. When you reach the centre, there’s a friendly guy in a suit waiting to greet you. There’s also a street food market on site and traditional rides. All ages. 11am-8pm (Sun-Thu), 11am-11pm (Fri-Sat); adult from £10.80/child from £7.65 (Nov 21-Jan 4)
Thu-Sun: Museum of London: A Bear Called Paddington, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN (St Paul’s/Barbican tube)
It’s all about the bear from Peru this month as his big screen debut happens at the end of November. There’s an exhibition on at House of Illustration in Kings Cross, and here at Museum of London another display of Paddington’s best known and best loved items is sure to draw the crowds. There’s a Paddington Picnic weekend coming up and an activity space for ages 0-11 to explore. 10am-5pm, FREE (until Jan 4, 2015)
Have you followed the Paddington Trail? Find 50 life-sized statues of Paddington Bear at landmarks around London until Dec 30!
Thu-Sun: The Enchanted Woodland at Syon Park, Syon House, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 8JF (Waterloo to Kew Bridge/Brentford or Syon Lane rail)
I’ve yet to take the babes to this event but perhaps we’ll make it this year! Hugely popular annual attraction that sees thousands of colourful lights illuminating Syon Park gardens for a magical Christmas spectacle. 5-9pm, adult £7/child £3/under 2s FREE (until Dec 8)
Sat: Nomad Cinema: Magical Christmas in Belgrave Square Garden, SW1X (Hyde Park Corner tube)
Advance tickets are SOLD OUT so you’ll have to get there super early for limited tickets on the door. But it does truly sound magical with a screening of Frozen along with a meeting with Santa, sleigh rides, petting zoo, fairy wish garden, face painting, Pixar short animations, hot and cold treats, and carol singing. First of several Christmas events from pop-up cinema The Nomad. All ages. Opens 1pm, screenings at 1.45pm (gazebo) and 4.15pm (outdoor screen); adult/child/under 3s FREE (Dec 6)
Sat: Reindeer in Covent Garden, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 8RF (Covent Garden tube)
Hooray, the reindeer are back in the piazza! Bring your little ones along to meet one of Santa’s favourite flying pals (specially grounded for this event, of course). Tinkerbell and her best friend Cracker will be wandering Covent Garden in search of carrots and friendly pats and scratches behind the ear every Saturday from this weekend. All ages. 12-4pm, FREE (Sats until Christmas)
Sat-Sun: Meet Santa with Huskies and Reindeer at WWT London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes SW13 9WT (Hammersmith tube)
Christmas is around the corner and you can catch up with old beardie at this popular event, where not only Santa but his friendly Huskies and live Reindeer are around to meet and greet kids and families. All ages. 10am-4pm, adult £12.35/child £6.90/family of 4 £34.50/under 4s FREE (Dec 6-7)
Sat-Sun: Little Angel Theatre: Jabberwocky, 14 Dagmar Passage, N1 2DN (Angel tube)
Enter a deliciously dangerous adventure with a boy who leaves the world where grown ups rule, and enters a strange forest where the fearsome Jabberwock patrols. Mischievous musical mayhem from the puppet company behind Jonah and the Whale. Recommended for ages 6+, children under 5 will not be admitted (no baby-friendly performances). Performances at 10.30am, 11am, 1.30pm, 2pm, 3.30pm, 4pm (times vary daily, check website); adult £14/ child and concs £12 children/family of 2 adults + 2 children or 1 adult + 3 children £48; Friday Fives all performances 5pm for £5 (Fris only) (Nov 29-Feb 1)
Sun: Family Barn Dance at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent’s Park Rd, NW1 (Camden Town/Chalk Farm tube)
Take your partner by the hand and follow the steps as laid out by the live caller and the swinging band playing English folk and stomping barn tunes. Baby friendly if you bundle them in a carrier, fun for all the fam! NB: Limited tickets on door, book in advance to avoid disappointment. 3-5pm, adult £7/child £5/under 2s FREE (Dec 7)
We also like
Discover the immersive fairytale experience for all ages The Hidden House at Westfield Stratford City (from Thu); carol singing and craft stalls at Christmas Fair at St Mary’s Islington (Sat): enjoy mulled wine and visit Santa at Coram’s Fields Christmas Fair (Sat); hear a live reading of Snowflakes by Cerrie Burnell from CBeebies at Museum of Childhood (Sun); take part in a mixed media Family Workshop at Parasol Unit in N1 for ages 5+ (Sun); donkey rides, seasonal gifts and more at Spitalfields City Farm Winter Market (Sun)
Have you seen our Top Christmas Shows in London for Kids? It features a lovely competition to Win Tickets to the amazing Slava’s Snowshow too!