Only 3 more weekends until Christmas (eek!) and I’ve highlighted the coolest things to do this weekend with your kids, as seen in my Christmas guides.
For the best places to go ice skating in London, look for Santa and friends, visit a Christmas market or a winter wonderland, head straight to my sparkling guide to LONDON AT CHRISTMAS.
And for all the wonderful family theatre worth seeing over the festive season, check out the CHRISTMAS THEATRE guide.
Have an enchanting weekend x
Thu-Sun: Hansel & Gretel at Rose Theatre Kingston, Rose Theatre Kingston, 24-26 High Street, Kingston, KT1 1HL (Kingston/Surbiton rail)
Hansel and Gretel leave for the big city, only to run into a sweet old lady whose gingerbread house hides a world of shocks and surprises. Inventive storytelling and songs for ages 5+. Various shows at 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 3pm, 5.30pm, 6pm, 7pm; 11£20-£35/previews £15-£25 (Dec 6-Jan 6)
Thu-Sun: Operation Ouch! at Apollo Theatre, 29 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7EZ (Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square tube)
Dr Chris and Dr Xand from the popular CBBC TV show break down all sorts of medical facts, into a live show bursting with laughter, stunts, experiments and a huge dose of audience participation. Great for ages 5-12. Varying daily shows at 11am, 1.30pm, 2pm, & 4pm (check website for timings); £17 (Dec 6-Jan 6)
Thu-Sun: Winter Warmers Week at Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington, N1 2UN (Highbury & Islington tube/overground)
A fantastic week of festive flicks, raising money for the chapel. See Hugo (Thu Dec 6), Home Alone (Fri Dec 7), The Snowman with live score (Sun Dec 9, doors 2pm & 4pm, FREE) and It’s a Wonderful Life with free mince pie (Sun Dec 9, doors open 6pm, £12.50/under 16 £8). There’s also a Christmas market (Sun Dec 9). All ages welcome (age guidance for films). Doors and prices for films (except where stated) at 10am; adult £5/child 3-16 £3/under 2s FREE (ends Dec 9)
Thu-Sun: St Katharine Dock’s Floating Film Festival, St Katharine Marina, 50 St Katharine’s Way, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London E1W 1LA (Tower Gateway DLR, Tower Hill tube)
The annual floating film festival offers an unusual setting to catch your favourite Christmas movies. Snuggle down on bean bags with blankets and heaters for Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually, Miracle on 31st St and more. Treats include hot chocolate and mulled wine. Ages 3+. Screenings at 2pm & 7pm (Sat-Sun); £15.92-£31.26 (Dec 3-9)
Fri-Sun: Wow! It’s Night Time at Little Angel Theatre, 14 Dagmar Passage, N1 2DN (Angel tube)
Such a sweet tale, as told by a one-woman performer, taking little ones on a night flight with a curious owlet. Tim Hopgood’s sequel to Wow Said the Owl is adapted with puppets and music for ages 2-5. adult £13/child £11 – previews £8/£7 – Friday Fives (shows at 5pm) £5 (Dec 7-Jan 27)
Sat: Big Fish Little Fish Family Raves at Winterville, on Clapham Common, Windmill Drive, SW4 9DE (Clapham Common/Clapham South tube, Clapham Junction rail/overground)
Oh yeah, Big Fish Little Fish keep bringing the party to Winterville’s Spiegeltent. The multiple award-winning ravers present DJ Franke Tope lighting up the dance floor, plus glitter cannons, parachute dance, crafting, licensed bar, mini stalls etc. All ages welcome, best for ages 0 to 8 and carers. 2pm-4.30pm; adult £10/child £7/pre-walking infant FREE (Dec 8)
Sat: House of illustration Winter Fair at House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, King’s Cross London N1C 4BH (Kings Cross St Pancras tube/rail)
This weekend in London, the popular illustrator’s fair hosts more than 100 stalls for designers, makers and illustrators. Pick up original ceramics, prints, posters and more, including children’s illustrations. For kids, there’s Granary Square fountains nearby as well as the fabulous King’s Cross Christmas tree. 11am-5pm, FREE (Dec 8)
Sat-Sun: Christmas Weekend at London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT (Hammersmith tube, then bus 283/Barnes rail)
Father Christmas is SOLD OUT… but kids can climb aboard a husky sleigh ride (for ages 2-8) or hop on a Christmas donkey (weight restrictions apply). There’s also a Winter Wildlife workshop and a chance to help Elves make some Christmas gifts. All ages welcome. Daily from 10am; regular admission adult from £14/child from £8.50/family from £38.25/under 4s FREE (Dec 8-9)
Sat-Sun: Museum of Architecture: Gingerbread City, V&A Museum (Creative Studio, Level 4, adjacent to Glass, Room 131), Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL (South Kensington tube station)
Have you ever seen a whole city created out of gingerbread? It’s an annual fundraiser for the Museum of Architecture as a variety of designers, makers and craftspeople get to work. This year’s theme is ‘Imagining the Future City’ and you can see the best of the best at V&A’s Creative Studio space. All ages. 10am-5.45pm daily, 10am-10pm (Fri); adult £6, V&A members and kids under 12 go FREE (Dec 8-Jan 6)
Sat-Sun: Peppa Pig’s Adventure, Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk Street, SW1Y 4HT (Piccadilly Circus/Leicester Square tube)
Peppa, brother George and animal pals Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep and Gerald Giraffe go camping. Expect some messy fun, muddy puddles and music to amuse your little piglets. All ages welcome, best for 2+. 11am (Tue-Sun), additional 1.30pm show 4 days a week, additional 4pm show (Sun); from £12/babies 0-18 months FREE on carer’s lap (Dec 8-Jan 6)
Sat-Sun: Snow White at London Palladium, Argyll Street, Westminster, London W1F 7TF (Oxford Circus/Bond St tube)
Expect much laughter, magic and cheeky gags, in the company of Julian Clary, Dawn French, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot. Snow White and the seven dwarves get the panto treatment. Ages 3+ (younger ones not admitted). 2.30pm & 7.30pm (Tue-Sat), 1pm & 5pm (Sun) – times vary, check website; tickets from £23.74-£94.42 (Dec 8-Jan 13)
London Kids Cinema
We loved Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet. Have you seen it? Other exciting family-friendly movie releases out this Christmas include: The Grinch (starring Benedict Cumberbatch), Smallfoot (with Channing Tatum), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (can’t wait for this one, 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 else is showing this weekend at a Cinema near you in London — fun family films for £5 or less. Head to our Family Cinema page for the full scoop!