Two weekends to go, have you finished all your Christmas shopping? I’m last minute dot com as always, but at least we have our tree and I’ve got your Christmassy things to do in London all locked up.
Don’t forget, you can find my full guide to ice skating in London, Santa meet and greets, Christmas markets, winter wonderlands and more right here – LONDON AT CHRISTMAS.
And don’t miss the FAMILY CHRISTMAS THEATRE guide for all the best shows.
Have a good one!
16 Family Friendly Things to Do in London this Weekend
Thu-Sun: Santa’s Gingerbread Workshop and Grotto at Camden Market Unit 16, Stables Market, Camden Market, NW1 8AF (Camden Town tube/Camden Rd overground)
Enter a magical doorway to the North Pole (aka norf London), where you can make gingerbread with elves in Santa’s workshop grotto, immerse yourself in carols, crafts and fairground games. Why not pop in for artisan ice cream or hot chocolate from Chin Chin Labs, one of Camden Market’s 1000+ vendors? Camden Market entry is free for all ages. Santa’s Gingerbread Workshop and Grotto is open 11am-5.15pm; £15 per child + adult. HURRY, limited dates left – might need to book ahead! (select dates until Dec 23)
Thu-Sun: Oily Cart: Hippity Hop at Arts Depot, 5 Nether Street, Tally Ho Corner, North Finchley, N12 0GA (Finchley Central tube)
It’s described as the first interactive hip hop show for young kids ages 2 to 5. Oily Cart’s ‘hip hopera’ celebrates street beats and a glamsta attitude. 10.30am & 1.15pm (Tue-Thu), 10.30am & 1.30pm (Sat-Sun); £12 – HURRY, very few tickets, will sell out! (Dec 11-31)
Thu-Sun: Nutcracker, at London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES (Charing Cross Rd tube)
It almost ain’t Christmas if you haven’t seen the Nutcracker, and this one’s gorgeous from the English National Ballet, recreating the tale of Clara and her enchanted doll to Tchaikovsky’s score. For ages 5+, 10 matinee performances are All Ages Welcome shows for under 5s. 7.30pm & 2.30pm (special matinees); adult £14-£80/child £7-£40 (Dec 13-30)
Thu-Sun: Canary Wharf Ice Rink (top image), Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14 5AB (Canary Wharf tube/DLR)
The stunning ice rink is back for another magical season. Skate under a canopy of trees, or hang out at the rink-side bar, nearby restaurants and shops. 12.15pm-9.45pm (Mon-Thu), 10.45am-10.45pm (Fri), 9am-10.30pm (Sat-Sun); holiday hours 9am-10.30pm (Dec 11-Jan 2), early closing 9.15pm Christmas Eve & Boxing Day, closed Christmas Day (Nov 2-Feb 16)
Thu-Sun: Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus at Barbican Centre (Pit Theatre), Silk St, EC2Y 8DS (Barbican/Moorgate tube)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart comes tumbling, leaping and diving onto the stage, in this fun and musical show that will have audiences ages 3+ wigging out. Varying times between 11am, 2pm, 5pm & 7pm (Tue-Sun); £12 (Dec 12-22)
Thu-Sun: Rumpelstiltskin at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX (Waterloo/Embankment tube/rail)
Aussie cabaret showman Paul Capsis rocks out this twisty-turny fairytale, in a show blending storytelling, live music and a whole dose of silliness. Ages 8+. Varying shows at 11am, 2pm, 5pm & 7pm; £20-£40/under 16s £10/concs 25% discount (Dec 13-Jan 6)
Thu-Sun: David Walliams’ Awful Auntie at Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AH (Euston Square/Euston tube/rail, Warren St tube)
Birmingham Stage Company (Gangsta Granny) adapt another wickedly funny story by children’s author and comic David Walliams. Stella faces the world’s worst auntie in a fight to the death, with plenty of laughs along the way. For ages 5+. Varying daily shows at 10.30am & 1.30pm, 11am & 2.30pm, 2.30pm & 6.30pm, 7pm, 2.30pm & 7pm; £24.50/premium £31.50/concs £18.50/full price family of 4 ticket £90 (Dec 12-Jan 5)
Thu-Sun: Horrible Histories Live: Horrible Christmas at Alexander Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7BB (Wood Green tube)
Go on another outrageous romp ride history, with Oliver Cromwell, Charles Dickens, King Henry VIII, St Nicholas and a red-nosed reindeer joining forces to save Christmas. Stories, songs and jokes for ages 4 to 104. Varying shows from 10.30am, 11am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 6.30pm, 7pm; £11.15-£35.35 (Dec 13-30)
Thu-Sun: Rapunzel at Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton St, N1 6SH (Hoxton/Shoreditch High St overground, Old St tube)
Let down your hair, panto style, at a free-flowing and funny show that will put you in a festive mood. All ages, free lap seats for under 3s. 10am, 11am, 1.15pm, 2pm, 5pm; from £12.50/family ticket £49 (Dec 13-30)
Sat: Caribbean Christmas Party at Southbank Centre (Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall), Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX (Waterloo/Embankment tube)
Just Vibez bring an islands vibe to the South Bank, at this West Indian mash-up of Christmas fun and local traditions. Guest poets and performers are followed by a pumpin’ Caribbean party in the Queen Elizabeth Hall foyer from 3pm onwards. All ages welcome. 12pm, FREE (Dec 15)
Sat: Spitalfields City Farm Winter Fayre, Buxton St, London E1 5AR (Shoreditch High St overground)
It’s not too late to catch Santa in his grotto at this winter fair, also featuring homemade knits, festive carols, handmade gifts, mince pies, food stalls and farm animals galore. All ages welcome. 12pm-2pm, FREE (Dec 15)
Sat-Sun: Santa’s Special Steam Train on the Epping-Ongar Railway, North Weald, CM16 6BT and Ongar, CM5 9AB (vintage bus ride via Epping tube to North Weald station)
Catch the big guy in a suit, riding on a real steam or diesel train. Nice kids receive gifts and edible treats, while grown-ups get chocolate, mince pies and mulled wine. Trains leave North Weald 09:45, 11:25, 13:05, 14:45 & 16:25 (confirm times on day you book), buses from Epping Underground and Ongar approx 50 minutes earlier. Fares include the gift/refreshments, train and bus ride. Adult/child from £17.50-£20, babies under 18 months FREE. (Dec 15/16, 20/21, 22/23 & 24)
Sat-Sun: The Luna Cinema: Winter Cinema at Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX (High St Kensington tube); EartH (Evolutionary Arts Hackney), 11-17 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BH (Dalston Kingsland overground); Victorian Theatre, Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY (Wood Green tube)
The Luna hits the road again, this time for festive flicks like Die Hard, Elf, Home Alone and Love Actually (check age ratings). Mulled wine, drinks and snacks available from onsite bar. Varying times and screenings from 3.45pm; tickets from adult £18.50/child £13.50 (Dec 10-23)
Sat-Sun: Uchenna Dance presents: Hansel & Gretel at The Place, 17 Duke’s Road, WC1H 9PY UK (Euston/King’s Cross St Pancras tube, rail)
How can a lost brother and sister find their way home? The Brothers’ Grimm tale gets an Afro-funky twist with African grooves, Waaking, Voguing and street dance. For ages 5+. Varying shows from 1pm (Tue-Wed), 1pm & 7pm (Thu), 10.30am & 2pm (Sat), 11am & 3.30pm (Sun) – timings vary, confirm at booking; adult £14/child £8/family £40 (Dec 15-24)
Sat-Sun: Ready Steady Colour’s Christmas Feast at Unicorn Theatre, 147 Tooley Street, Southwark, SE1 2HZ (London Bridge tube)
Decorate your own food in a make-believe restaurant, where salt and pepper glitter and cranberry paint are on the menu. Stories, comedy and music for ages 3+. Varying shows at 10.15am, 12pm, 12.15pm, 2.15pm; £12 – HURRY, very few dates left! (Dec 15-27)
Sun: Fun DMC Christmas Party with Jazzie B, at Hoxton Square Bar and Juju’s Bar, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury St, E1 6QR (Aldgate East tube, Liverpool St tube/rail, Shoreditch High St overground)
Soul II Soul creator Jazzie B hits the decks for this family block party, with hip hop Santa, fancy dress, soft play and more. Ages 0-10 and families. 12.30pm-3.30pm; adult £8.80, walking kid £5.50, family £24.20, non-walking babies FREE (Dec 16)
London Kids Cinema
Family friendly films released this Christmas in cinemas: The Grinch (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), Smallfoot (with Channing Tatum), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (out Dec 12), Aquaman (with Jason Momoa, out Dec 14), Puss in Boots 2 (out Dec 21), what looks like an absolutely enchanting sequel, Mary Poppins Returns (out Dec 21) and the Transformers story, Bumblebee (out Dec 26).
Find out what Kids Club movies you can see (£5 or less) this weekend at a Cinema near you in London, at our FAMILY CINEMA page for the full scoop!