Christmas Events and Attractions in London

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Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race

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Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race
Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race
Great Christmas Pudding Race
Great Christmas Pudding Race
Slava's Snowshow
Slava's Snowshow
Enchanted Woodland
Winter at Southbank Centre with NatWest (c) Belinda Lawley
Christmas at Kew
Underground Film Club
Once Upon A WigWam
 

 

London boasts an exciting programme of events all year round but at Christmas things get truly special, with a series of weird and wonderful events, pop-ups and attractions to get you in the festive mood. So, here's our guide to some of the best festive events worth braving the chilly outdoors for.

 
 

Once Upon A WigWam

A magical rooftop tree house inspired by Brothers Grimm.

The Queen Of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3JX

Tube: Liverpool Street Station

 

Dates: 24th October - 04th March 2016

 

The Queen of Hoxton's WigWam returns once again this winter for Once Upon A WigWam, a Brothers Grimm fairy tale inspired winter rooftop pop-up. Their most ambitious pop-up yet, it sees the WigWam transformed into a magical land, with a vine-covered winding staircase and hundreds of books leading you to the giant keyhole entrance. Inside, a new tree house with a raised mezzanine elevates you even higher up east London's iconic rooftop, with ornate mirrors, silhouettes and gnarly branches dotted around. Meander through hanging clocks and apples, branches laced with ivy and meadow flowers, and a gingerbread house-inspired bar serving Grimm cocktails and food. Warming cocktails include The Golden Apple, a hot gingerbread and apple toddy; Gardener's Grog, made with hot blackcurrant, blackberry and rosemary gin; and The Big Bad Buttered Rum, The Queen's famous hot buttered rum. Food is equally enticing, with chicken schnitzel served with caramel apple sauce, pulled slow roast shoulder of lamb with rosemary, juniper and anchovy jus, and a three bean burger with sweet potato, peas, fresh herbs and tomato chutney.

 
 
 

Little Feast

Winter warmers served within a pop-up Scandinavian forest.

Shepherd's Bush Yard, Goldhawk Road, London, W12 8HA

Tube: Goldhawk Road Station, Shepherd's Bush Market Station (Hammersmith and City Line)

 

Dates: 1st June to 21st August 2016

 

Transforming Shepherd's Bush Yard into a Scandinavian forest, Little Feast provides an alternative dinner option during the festive period. From the team behind bigger food festival Feast - one of London's leading foodie events - the event will be a cosy wintery retreat, with fir trees, ivy covered pergolas, bark on the floors and woods brought in especially from Norway. Fully covered and heated, and low-lit with festive maroon and blue colours, it will be home to six sheds serving the best seasonal street food and winter warming drinks. Treats include Sticky Beak slow roasted Vietnamese pork, Moroccan lamb and melt-in-the-mouth cider braised beef cheeks. Butter & Scotch will be doing waffles, Poptata's will serve up hand-cut fries with their signature dips, and Redneck Smokehouse will have authentic brisket. Drinks are typically festive, with mulled cider and wine, cocktails, craft lager and ales. On top of all that, the market will be open during the day at the weekends with The Deli Shed serving freshly baked breads, cheeses and smoked meats, Christmas trees will be on sale from November 13th, acoustic live music sessions will take place on Saturdays, and Sunday will welcome a programme of choral choirs, carol singing, brass and jazz bands.

 
 
 

Birdies Crazy Golf Club

Get ready for competitive Christmas board games with a round of crazy golf.

Roof East, Level 8 Stratford Multi-storey Car Park, Great Eastern Way, London, E15 1XE

Tube: Stratford Station

 

Dates: 3rd May to 28th August 2016

 

The team behind the Underground Film Club are turning their attention to sport this winter, launching Birdies crazy golf club in The Vaults beneath Waterloo. Running concurrently with their film season, the pop-up proves that the fine sport of golf and social libations go hand-in-hand. As well as a subterranean nine-hole course, which boasts loops, half-pipes and hidden putt-off prizes, there will also be cocktail clubhouse Caddy Shack, serving cocktails concocted by mixology masters Spirited Mixers. Refreshments include the Tiger's Wood, a take on the Old Fashioned with homemade syrups drizzled on seasonal berries, and the Golfbuster, made with Crystal Vodka shaken with spiced fruit and a Stay Puft marshmallow garnish. Post-round sustenance will also be available courtesy of Hawksmoor Knightsbridge Head Chef Richard Sandiford's pop-up concept RockaDollar Dining.

 
 
 

Hogwarts in the Snow

The studio is given its most magical makeover yet this Christmas.

Warner Bros Studio Tour London, Aerodrome Way, Leavesden, Watford, London, WD25 7LS

Tube: Watford Station

 

Dates: 13th November - 31st January 2016

 

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is being transformed for the festive season once again in 2015, inviting visitors to see Hogwarts in the Snow and learn all about how the Christmas scenes in the films were made. From snow that never melts to flames without fire, you'll learn all the secrets that went on behind the scenes. A number of the famous scenes will be decorated with snow while the renowned Great Hall will be transformed with wreaths, garlands, roast turkeys, Christmas puddings, cakes and not one but eight Christmas trees. Be sure to visit and see the studio's most magical makeover yet.

 
 
 

The Tree House

The rooftop bar is transformed into a cosy winter wonderland.

Skylounge, Tower of , 7 Pepys Street, London, EC3N 4AF

Tube: Tower Hill Station, Aldgate Station, Monument Station

 

Dates: 16th November - 27th February 2016

 

Skylounge is hosting a special winter pop-up this year, transforming the rooftop bar into a cosy winter woodland. The Tree House is a calming retreat where rum cocktails and champagne flow freely, making it the perfect venue to escape from the bustle of the City. Woodland branches embellished with lights an intimate, sheltered space, amplifying the magical atmosphere inside. The drinks menu boasts a number of bespoke cocktails created using Chairman's Reserve Rum and Lanson Champagne. Choose from a Hot & Cold Spiced Toddy, Plum & Rum Old Fashioned, Treehouse Punch or hot apple cider. Warming winter food will also be on offer, with Treetop Burger Squares, decadent Truffle Mac & Cheese, and moreish Spicy Chicken Nuggets with Bourbon Dip on the menu.

 
 
 

Enchanted Woodland

The magical tour returns for its 10th anniversary in 2015.

Syon Park, Road, Brentford, London, TW8 8JF

Tube: Richmond Station

 

Dates: 20th November - 06th December 2015

 

The beautiful oaks trees and gardens at Syon Park are illuminated in spectacular fashion for the 10th year of the Enchanted Woodland in 2015. Adding a significant veil of mystique to the festive season, the magical event invites visitors to enjoy a unique guided walk. The trail leads you around the 18th century lake - where the shapes and textures of the ancient winter trees are reflected in the water - and past intriguing corners of the estate, all of it floodlit to maximum rainbow effect. The shadows and magic of a frosty winter's night make this an ideal opportunity for photographing the forest in a unique way. Warm clothing and stout footwear are advised and hot refreshments are available on the night.

 
 
 

Winter at Southbank Centre with Natwest

The festive series returns for another year.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station, Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 20th November - 31st December 2015

 

Winter at Southbank Centre with Natwest returns for another year in 2015, with a theme focusing on family, charity and giving to others. The festive series incorporates fun for all ages, creating an exciting lead up to Christmas with award-winning theatrical performances such as La Soirée and Slava's Snowshow, family entertainment with the London premiere of new show We Are the Monsters, and a festive concert from The Choir with No Name, a choir comprising of homeless people and those on the edges of society. There will also be a weekend of events supporting and raising funds for charitable causes, a BUMP Rollerdisco and the return of the Southbank Centre Winter Market, which will once again see stalls set up along the riverfront to sell gifts, food and drink. More drinks can be enjoyed in The Rekorderlig Cider Lodge and A Vintage New Year's Eve Party returns with exclusive views of the London fireworks.

 
 
 

BUST Magazine Christmas Craftacular

Put the fun back into Christmas shopping at this crafty fair.

York Hall Leisure Centre, 5-15 Old Ford Road, London, E2 9PJ

Tube: Bethnal Green Station

 

Dates: 22nd November 2015

 

With over 70 crafty vendors, a Drink Shop & Do pop-up cafe, DJs, DIY workshops and boozy winter warmers, the BUST Magazine Christmas Craftacular puts a fun spin on Christmas shopping. Back at York Hall for another year, it has everything from jewellery and clothing to home décor and taxidermy. there's also the chance to enter the Upcycling Academy, where you can create a sweater bobble hat and customise a Christmas jumper, or work with Wonderush to make paper lanterns, felt keyrings and printed bandanas.

 
 
 

Winter at The View from The Shard

The Shard, 96 Tooley Street, London, SE1 9SG

Tube: London Bridge Station

 

Dates: 23rd November - 31st January 2016

 

Experts in immersive flavour-based experiences Bompas & Parr are behind the ice crystals, frost and snow drifts at The View from The Shard , created to add a layer of intrigue to the sky-high attraction this winter. Way up 800 feet above the city on the open-air skydeck, this sensory journey transforms the top of The Shard into an enchanting, sensory winter experience and, staying with the snow-food theme, there are e dible experiences to buy too.

 
 
 

Christmas at Kew

The botanical gardens open after dark to reveal a walkway peppered with giant light sculptures.

Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB

Tube: Kew Gardens Station

 

Dates: 25th November - 02nd January 2016

 

A 50-foot Christmas tree and mile-long illuminated trail turns Kew Gardens into an enchanted winter landscape this Christmas. The beautiful gardens opens their doors after dark to reveal a walkway peppered with giant light sculptures, a tunnel of lights and light projections on the Palm House and in 2015 there's a newly designed fire garden, scented with pine, frankincense and cedar. This year the focus is on the Christmas tree. It was here, after all, in the 1790s that Queen Charlotte, a founder of Kew Gardens, first dressed the branches of a Christmas tree at Kew Palace for all to enjoy.

 
 
 

Underground Film Club

The film club screens many festive favourites in the lead up to Christmas.

The Vaults, Launcelot Street, 1 Launcelot Street, London, SE1 7AD

Tube: Lambeth North Station, Waterloo Station

 

Dates: 11th November - 16th January 2016

 

This autumn the Underground Film Club heads below the streets to screen classics like 'Pulp Fiction' and 'The Big Lebowski' as well as new releases 'Jurassic World' and 'Mad Max: Fury Road' five nights a week in The Vaults under Waterloo station. 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' and Casablanca' are also on the sub-station show reel as well as Benedict Cumberbatch's 'Hamlet' and a special screening to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Toy Story. From 9th December things start to get festive, with a screening of 'Elf' kicking off a series of Christmas movies. From 'Love Actually' and 'Home Alone' to 'Bridget Jones's Diary' and 'Miracle on 34th Street', the line-up is sure to get you in the Christmas mood. Cocktail connoisseurs Spirited Mixers and street food curated by head chef of Hawksmoor, Richard Sandiford, sure beats popcorn and pop. Running alongside the film club is Birdies Crazy Golf Club, with a nine-hole course, street food and cocktails.

 
 
 

HiddenCity: Moriarty's Game

The team return with another festive hunt.

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD

Tube: Great Portland Street Station

 

Dates: 02nd December - 31st March 2016

 

Masters of city-wide, interactive treasure hunts, HiddenCity present a brand-new trail in 2015, just in time for Christmas. Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel, The Final Problem, Moriarty's Game will see players exploring exhibitions in a Mayfair Townhouse, celebrating contemporary architecture and drinking in Georgian public houses as they solve puzzles sent via text message in an attempt to find Moriarty's hidden safe house. The trail will also see explorers interact with the real world, studying botanical books, inspecting chemical flasks and delivering code words. The trail is designed for teams of four and takes two to four hours to complete.

 
 
 

Great Christmas Pudding Race

Get down to Covent Garden to watch 150 Christmas puddings tackle a festive obstacle course.

Covent Garden Piazza, Covent Garden, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station, Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station

 

Dates: Saturday 3rd December 2016

 

You're familiar with the egg and spoon race. Well how about the Christmas Pudding Race? Covent Garden Piazza swells with spectators as about 150 contestants in teams of six don fancy dress and race around a course strewn with flour-filled balloons, foam jets and other obstacles - all while trying to balance a Christmas pudding on a flimsy plate! The race has been going on every year since 1980 and it raises money for Cancer Research. At this time of year Covent Garden is a great place to be, with shops full of Christmas decorations and street entertainers putting on some diverting shows before and after the main event. The perfect way to break up a day of Christmas shopping in Covent Garden's collection of stylish stores.

 
 
 

The Dance Before Christmas

An enchanting immersive journey through the Vaults.

The Vaults, Arch 233, 10 Leake Street, London, SE1 7NN

Tube: Waterloo Station, Lambeth North Station

 

Dates: 12th - 19th December 2015

 

An enchanting journey through The Vaults which culminates in one big Christmassy knees up, The Dance Before Christmas is back for 2015. A collaboration between the Hackney Colliery and Familia De La Noche, the event lures guests into the deep underground with a mulled toffee apple and then sets them loose on an immersive journey through the tunnels. Inspired by the Grimm Brothers' 12 Dancing Princesses and the decadent artwork of Kay Nielsen, you can expect lots of glitter and glamour as the princesses take you to their favourite places to party.

 
 
 

Slava's Snowshow

This award-winning theatrical sensation will leave you knee deep in snow.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station, Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 16th December - 03rd January 2016

 

The multi-award winning sensation, Slava's Snowshow has delighted audiences in over 80 cities around the world including New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Hong Kong and Moscow. And now this visual masterpiece returns to London for a fourth year for another Christmas season at the Royal Festival Hall at the Southbank Centre this December. Loved by children and adults alike, Slava's Snowshow is a combination of theatrical clowning and stunning spectacle performed by the internationally renowned company of clowns lead by Slava Polunin. Experience a unique dream-like world which culminates in a breathtaking blizzard leaving you (literally) knee deep in snow! The Independent was moved to describe it as "simply thrilling - an unmissable comedy masterpiece." Recommended for ages 8 and above, this is definitely one not to miss.

 
 
 

Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race

This brave (and crazy) bunch love nothing more than an icy dip in the Serpentine.

Serpentine Boating Lake, The Boat House, Serpentine Road, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station

 

Dates: Sunday 25th December 2016

 

This lot are a hardy bunch but tradition is tradition and members of the Serpentine Swimming Club have been plunging themselves into the Serpentine lake's icy waters every Christmas Day since 1864. At temperatures of below four degrees Celsius in winter, the swimmers will want to get a wiggle on so it's lucky that they are all in hot pursuit of the prestigious Peter Pan Cup. The name of the 100-yard race dates back to 1904 when J.M Barrie, the creator of the boy who refused to grow up, presented the first cup. While most of us are still tucked up in bed or delving into our stocking the competitors line up (and pretend not to shiver) for their 9am start, a jolly crowd gathers to witness the spectacle. It's a great way to get some fresh air on Christmas morning and you'll feel like you've earned your post-lunch snooze. Behind you, Hyde Park offers a wonderful wintry landscape and, if you want to continue the Peter Pan theme, why not nip across to see the famous statue in Kensington Gardens. It was so cold and snowy in 2010 that the race had to be cancelled - although some intrepid souls still broke holes in the ice in order to have a quick dip.

 
 
 
 
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