12 great places to visit with your kids for Christmas 2018

Nutcracker London
The Nutcracker

Martha Alexander rounds up the best events for families in London for Christmas 2018

The Nutcracker, London Coliseum

The Nutcracker encapsulates the spirit of the season beautifully – and has done for almost 70 years. This performance by English National Ballet features more than 100 dancers and is set to Tchaikovsky’s famous score, joins Clara and her Nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. Audiences will be charmed as Clara’s toys come to life and join her on an extraordinary journey which takes in both a Mouse King and of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Admission: From £14

When? Thursday 13 to Sunday 30 December

Where? London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES

Cinema in the Snow, Hackney Showrooms

Elf Christmas screening London

Snuggle up in front of a few Christmas classics with a mince pie in hand, as Pop Up Screens takes over Hackney Showrooms for the festive season. Kicking off with Love Actually on Thursday 13 December, this year’s schedule includes the likes of ElfHome Alone 2, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Holiday, and many more, and there’s even bonus matinee showings that are perfect for little ones.

Admission: Adults from £10; children from £6

When? Thursday 13 to Sunday 23 December

Where? Hackney Showroom, Hackney Downs Studios, Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT

Festive Weekends, Victoria and Albert Museum

What did Victorian children do on Christmas day? What presents did they yearn for? How did they celebrate? Experience a traditional Victorian Christmas at these Festive Weekends at the V&A – from card-making to decorating a tree, through these 30-minute family performances at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Admission: Free

When? Saturday 1 to Saturday 22 December

Where? Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL

Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre

Hampton Court Festive Fayre

Enjoy a magical day out as Hampton Court will be transformed into a stunning festive food lover’s wonderland, full of delicious artisan food and drink with inspiring seasonal cookery demonstrations. Eat, drink and be merry, while soaking up the atmosphere with sing-along festive classics and candlelit carols by local choirs.

Admission? Adults from £19.20; children from £9.60

When? Friday 7 to Sunday 9 December

Where? Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU

Wintertime at Southbank Centre

One of the loveliest yuletide markets in the capital is Wintertime on the Southbank. Visitors will be able to pick up unusual presents and delicious festive foods. There’ll also be a variety of performances promising music and silliness.

Admission: Free

When? Saturday 8 December to Sunday 6 January 2019

Where? Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road,  London SE1 8XX

Christmas at Kew

Christmas at Kew
Christmas at Kew

See the garden light up at after-hours spectacular Christmas at Kew. Visitors will follow a festive trail through the famous gardens with over 1m twinkling lights and thousands of laser beams. This year Kew is offering a Christmas dinner in the Botanical restaurant.

Admission: Adults from £16.50; children from £10

When? Thursday 22 November to Saturday 5 January 2019

Where? Kew Gardens, Victoria Gate, Richmond, TW9 3JR

Brat Kids Carnival, Leicester Square

Perfect for youngsters with boundless energy, Brat Kids Carnival is a dynamic afternoon show for children of all ages, full of mischief and madness. With a focus on self-expression, youngsters and adults alike will be agog with all of the glorious spectacles – flying acrobats and crazy clowning included.

Admission: From £10.25

When? Saturday 10 November to Sunday 30 December

Where? The Spiegeltent, Leicester Square Gardens, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7NA

Christmas at Lee Valley White Water Centre

The London 2012 Olympic legacy venue at Lee Valley will host an array of seasonal activities including an ice rink, curling lanes and a fun fair – complete with traditional rides. At weekends, Santa Claus will be there, ready to talk to youngsters about what they’d like for Christmas – and receive an early gift from under the tree.

Admission: Prices vary

When? Saturday 1 December to Sunday 9 January 2019

Where? Lee Valley White Water Centre, Station Road, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, EN9 1AB

Skate at Somerset House

Skate at Somerset House
Somerset House

Nothing feels more Christmassy than ice-skating outdoors. And where better to do it than in the elegant grounds of Somerset House, specifically in the very centre of the beautiful Edmond J. Safra Fountain courtyard? After you’ve finished, refresh with a glass of champagne (parents) or mug of hot chocolate (kids) in Fortnum’s Lodge.

Admission: Adults, £11; children, £8.50

When? Wednesday 14 November to Sunday 13 January 2019

Where? Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA

Snow White, London Palladium

Starring Dawn French, Julian Clary and Nigel Havers, Snow White at the London Palladium star-studded performance of one of the world’s best-loved fairy tales. Suitable for children ages three and over, the show includes song, dance and a hefty dose of comedy gold for all ages.

Admission: From £34.50

When? Saturday 8 December to Sunday 13 January

Where? London Palladium, 8 Argyll St, London W1F 7LA

When? Thursday 12 to Sunday 30 December

Where? London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES

Hogwarts in the Snow, Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Hogwarts in the snow
Warner Bros. Studio

Discover how film-makers create fire, ice and snow that never melts as the Studio Tour at Warner Bros. transforms into Hogwarts in the Snow. The Great Hall will be lined with Christmas trees and the dining tables bedecked with props showcasing a brilliant banquet.

Admission: Adults from £39; children from £31; under-fives go free

When? Saturday 17 November to Sunday 27 January 2019

Where? Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, WD25 7LR

Christmas at ZSL London Zoo

See London Zoo as you’ve never before, illuminated by thousands of pea lights. Visitors will take in the fountains at the iconic penguin pool while listening to a host of classic Christmas tunes.

Admission: Adults, £16.50; children, £10.50

When? Friday 22 November to Tuesday 1 January 2019

Where? ZSL London Zoo, Regent’s Park, London, England NW1 4RY

READ MORE: 20 great places to visit in London with your kids

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