So we’re on a sprint to Christmas and I’ve pulled together our final edition of the London Kids Christmas Weekend Scoop for 2019.
You’ll find highlights from my LONDON AT CHRISTMAS 2019 guide – head straight there if you want to know all the best spots for Father Christmas grottos, ice skating, Christmas markets and more.
Of course, you don’t want to miss the CHRISTMAS THEATRE GUIDE packed with family friendly shows, suitable for babies and big kids (and kids at heart).
Planning your New Year’s Eve with Kids? Have a look at my 31 WAYS TO CELEBRATE (always one of my most popular posts).
It’s been such a pleasure writing up these guides for you and sharing our London adventures. 2020 is a BIG year for Babes about Town, so look out for some extra special offers, an exciting announcement, and tons of inspiring content coming your way.
Here’s wishing all you lovely readers a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! x
London Kids Christmas Weekend Scoop: 15 Fabulous Family Events
Thu-Sun: Enchanted Eltham Palace, Off Court Rd, SE9 5QE (Eltham rail)
See the beautiful art deco mansion and historical palace bedazzled for Christmas. The stunning light features include holographic birds, projections, glittery fountains and tunnels of fairy lights. There’s a fairground plus mulled wine and mince pies before or after. 4.30pm, 5.30pm, 6.30pm & 7.30pm (Thy-Sun only); £12-£14 (Dec 5-22)
Thu-Sun: Sylvanian Families Christmas Pop-Up Shop at 52 Brewer St, Soho W1F 9TQ (Piccadilly Circus/Oxford Circus tube)
Don’t miss the Sylvanian Families Christmas Pop Up Shop. Pick up a limited edition London character – a new Guardian Bear exclusive to the store. Pop into the selfie corner and see performances from Sylvanian characters making special appearances. 10am-8pm (Mon-Sat), 12pm-6pm (Sun); FREE entry (until Jan 5)
Thu-Sun: Santa’s Grotto + Camden Market Ice Rink, Unit 16, Stables Market/North Yard, Camden Market, NW1 8AF (Camden Town tube/Camden Rd overground) Head to the Norf Pole (aka North London) to Santa’s workshop and grotto, where you can make gingerbread with elves and soak up some Christmas spirit. Or have a go on Camden’s First Ice Rink, where kids as young as 2 can take to the ice with a willing adult skater. All children under 11 must be accompanied by a grown-up. Santa’s Gingerbread Workshop and Grotto is open 9.30am-3.30pm; £15 per child + 1 FREE adult, booking ahead recommended. Ice skating sessions last 40 minutes: 9am-11am (toddler sessions), 11am-9pm (all); adult £11/child £7-£8 (Santa’s grotto until Dec 23; ice rink Dec 10-Jan 9)
Thu-Sun: The Luna Cinema: Winter Cinema at Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX (High St Kensington tube)
The roaming cinema is back on the road for Christmas. Films showing include Die Hard, The Greatest Showman, Elf, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Holiday, Home Alone and Love Actually (check age ratings for movies). Drinks including mulled wine and snacks on offer from onsite bar. Varying times from 3.45pm; tickets from adult £18.50/child £13.50 (Dec 15-22)
Thu-Sun: Father Christmas at the Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP (South Kensington/High St Kensington tube)
Find Father Christmas at his secret London HQ. Along with Santa and his elves, you’ll run into other characters from Christmases past. Meet puppets, hear music, make your own stuffed toy. All ages, best for ages 3-8. Hourly slots between 9am-2.45pm; from £39.24 per child (Dec 5-Dec 22)
Thu-Sun: The Little Prince at The Place, 17 Duke’s Road, WC1H 9PY UK (Euston/King’s Cross St Pancras tube, rail)
Based on the story by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince blends dance, humour and spoken word to an original score by Frank Moon. Watch the pilot leave his asteroid and discover a world of friendship and love. Ages 5-105, younger ones welcome. Special Dance Workshop by Protein Theatre for ages 5-12 on Dec 20 (Fri) at 1pm-2pm, £8 for workshop / £12 for workshop & The Little Prince show ticket when bought together. The Little Prince is showing at 1.30pm & 7.30pm (Tue Dec 17), 10.30am & 1.30pm (Wed), 2.30pm & 7pm (Fri), 1pm & 7pm (Sat), 3pm (Sun), 2.30pm & 5.30pm (Mon), 11am (Tue Dec 24); adult £14 (concs £12)/child £8 (Dec 17-24)
Thu-Sun: Beasts of London at Museum of London, 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN (St Paul’s/Barbican tube)
If you haven’t visited yet, make sure you catch this immersive tour of London history narrated by the beasts who lived here. You’ll hear voiceovers from Brian Blessed, Kate Moss, Pam Ferris, Nish Kumar, Stephen Mangan, Angellica Bell, Joe Pasquale and others. Digital installation with video projection mapping, created with Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Ages 7+ (younger ones welcome but be advised, some scary elements). 10am-6pm; adult £8/child £4 (until Jan 5, 2020)
Fri-Sun: Meet Father Christmas at National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea SW3 4HT (Sloane Square tube)
It’s not too late to see Santa. This time, you can travel back to the 1940s at this vintage grotto. Discover what Christmas was like during WW2. Every child gets a special gift and a chance to take lots of pictures. Three child tickets available per 10-minute slot. All ages (best for 0-10). 11am-1pm & 2pm-4pm; £12.50 per child (Dec 20-22)
Fri-Sun: Christmas Lights and Sights Tours, London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza (south east corner), WC2E 7BB (Covent Garden tube)
It all begins with a Christmas film, crafts and treats at the museum. Then board the heritage bus for a dazzling tour through London’s Christmas lights. You’ll visit Regent St, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden and other hotspots. Hurry, last remaining tickets – advanced booking essential! All ages welcome. Family tours from 2.30pm (over 18s from 8.30pm); adults £17/child £10/concs & friends of LTM £15 (Dec 14-15, Dec 20-22)
Sat: Cellophony: The Night Before Christmas, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG (Kings Cross St Pancras tube/rail)
Uh oh, Santa has slept past his alarm and now it’s up to the elves to deliver the presents. But can they make it in time for Christmas and will you be able to help? Cellophony Cello Quartert and presenter James Thorpe-Woods dramatise this Christmas classic with music, new and old. For ages 4+. 4.30pm; from £11.50 (Dec 21)
Sat: Under the Frozen Moon at Half Moon Young People’s Theatre, 43 White Horse Road, E1 0ND (Limehouse DLR/Stepney Green tube)
It’s so chilly in Nunavut that the moon has turned to ice. Under glittering stars, Amka’s family huddle together fishing for eels and knitting hats. Until one day she sets out to confront the greedy dragon that gobbled up all the fire and light. An enchanting tale with poetry, puppets and transforming sets. For ages 3+. 11am & 2pm; adult £7/child £7 (babies 12 months and under go FREE on carer’s lap) (Dec 21)
Sat: Santa’s Grotto at Vauxhall City Farm, Vauxhall CIty Farm, 165 Tyers Street, SE11 5HS (Vauxhall tube/rail)
Have your little lambs been naughty or nice? Take them to see Father Christmas at the farm, at this one day grotto where they can put in their wishes just in time for the big day. Every child gets a photo and a special gift to take home. Pre-booking highly recommended. 10.30am-1pm & 1.30pm-3.45pm; £10 (Dec 21)
Sat-Mon: The Winter Dream Garden at The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, W1K 5LF (Bond St tube)
An immersive experience with a Dream Weaver taking wanderers into a magical arena. Here you’ll meet the Wish Granter, the Dream Dresser and a riddler to test your wits. Enjoy a fairy tale finale with Santa joining in! Browse the Christmas market for hot drinks and treats and kids can visit Santa in his grotto. 10am-4pm (1.5 hour slots); adult/child £18 pp entry + Santa visit £9 (Dec 21-23)
Sat-Mon: Christmas at Sutton House and Breaker’s Yard:, 2 and 4 Homerton High Street, Hackney, London, E9 6JQ (Hackney Central overground, Hackney Downs rail)
Toddle along to the Tudor manor for their annual Christmas experience. You can see 500 years of Christmas traditions and try making spiced orange pomander balls. If you’re lucky, you can see Father Christmas by a cosy fire. All ages. 12pm-5pm (last entry 4.45pm) ; adult £9/child £5.50 (includes Santa visit)/member £2 + Santa visit (Nov 30-Dec 1, Dec 7-8, Dec 14-15, Dec 21 & 23)
Sun: Mwalimu Express: African Dance & Cinema Party at 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA (Shoreditch High St overground)
Our favourite family party that’s inspired by Africa and inclusive to all. There’s a live band, DJ spinning, parent and toddler dance, market stalls, African board games and Senegalese street food. It all wraps up with an African movie. All ages welcome, from babies upwards. 2pm-6pm, FREE (Dec 22)
London Kids Cinema
Lightsabers ready? The Skywalker saga is coming to a close with Star Wars Episode 9 The Rise of Skywalker, on general release this Thursday (Dec 19)!
Find regular Kids Club film listings (tickets for under £5) on our LONDON FAMILY CINEMA page.
Babes about Town will be back for business in January 2020. Happy holidays!
**NB: Please note that all event timings and prices are subject to change/cancellation at short notice, so always check ahead with the venue before making a trip!**