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
Enchanted Woodland
Winter at Southbank Centre with NatWest (c) Belinda Lawley
Winter WigWam: Skye Halla
The Winter Film Club
Christmas at St Katharine Docks
The Twelve Films of Christmas
Dolce by Ferrero Rocher
Smith & Sinclair Sensory Pop-Up Bar
Smith & Sinclair Sensory Pop-Up Bar
Christmas at Street Feast
The Night Before Christmas
The Night Before Christmas


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 Christmas events worth braving the chilly outdoors for.

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Winter WigWam: Skye Halla

The WigWam takes on a Nordic Viking theme this year.

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

Tube: Liverpool Street Station


Dates: 27th October - 07th April 2017


On the back of its popular A Tribute to Dr. Strange summer residency, the Queen of Hoxton's rooftop is set to be given a makeover once again. Titled Skye Halla, the winter wigwam will this year be Nordic Viking inspired and will bring together a long boat, fire pits, driftwood sculptures and plenty of drinking horns. Escape the modern world and join fellow comrades on giant feasting tables while you tuck into pork belly hot pot with apples and potatoes, salmon rosti with red cabbage and root veg mash, and slow braised turkey leg glazed with sloe gin gravy. Winter warmers include hot buttered rum, hot mead punch, and nettle, dandelion and elderflower martinis.


Little Feast

The pop-up is themed around a quirky English winter garden this festive season.

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

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


Dates: 04th November - 23rd December 2016


After a successful summer edition with an English walled garden theme, Little Feast returns this winter, transforming Shepherd's Bush Yard into a quirky English winter garden with huge Christmas trees, sparkling fairy lights, glittering reds, golds and greens. Guests will be able to snuggle under blankets in the heated seating area and enjoy mulled wine, cider and winter cocktails as well as food from the likes of Bull & Rancher, Nanny Bill's, Claw, Cheeky Burger and Le Bao.


The Gardening Society: Mac & Wild

The John Lewis rooftop is transformed into a winter retreat.

John Lewis Roof Garden, 300 Oxford Street, London, W1A 1EX

Tube: Oxford Circus Station , Bond Street Station


Dates: 07th November - 31st December 2016


The John Lewis Oxford Street Rooftop presents The Gardening Society once again this winter in partnership with Mac & Wild. Originally opened in summer, the pop-up has now been transformed into a winter forest complete with cosy lodges and Christmas trees, which will be on sale. Mac & Wild will be serving up a seasonal Scottish feast in the pop-up restaurant, with dishes such as haggis pops, chipolatas in a sticky whisky glaze, a Christmas burger and venison chateaubriand. For pudding, choose between sticky toffee pudding and a cheese block. Drinks will be by Background Bars, with mulled wine, a spiced Negroni and a smoked fig and Scotch whiskey sour among the options. There will also be a series of whiskey masterclasses and private dining is available.


Southbank Centre's Winter Festival

The Southbank Centre counts down to Christmas with festive fun for all the family.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 11th November - 25th January 2017


The Southbank Centre puts on a series of festive events and fun for all ages, in the lead up to Christmas including a new version of hit show BIANCO by NoFit State Circus, the Tony award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet and Duckie, the first work for children (and the young at heart) by cabaret sensation Le Gateau Chocolat. The full programme includes festive concerts, comedy, social dances, creative workshops, choirs and a weekend of events inspired by the theme of giving and charity. The entire 21 acre site is transformed into a winter landscape with a Nordic feel, designed by Hemingway Design, with hundreds of Christmas trees, mythological Scandinavian creatures, walks of twinkling lights and the return of the Winter Market. As well as tree hugging and Big Band Christmas Karaoke there's BUMP Rollerdisco and A Vintage New Year's Eve Party with fantastic views of the London fireworks.


The Night Before Christmas

The exclusive venue is given a festive, fairy-tale makeover.

Sketch - The Glade, 9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG

Tube: Oxford Circus Station


Dates: 15th November - 06th January 2017


Getting into the festive spirit, sketch presents The Night Before Christmas this winter. A series of installations created by top London florists, it sees the exclusive venue transformed into a magical fairy-tale world. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by 'Hollow Way', a walkway of snow-covered Christmas trees with a soundtrack of enchanting music. The famous pod toilets have also been given a Christmas tree makeover, with Carly Snow - the florist responsible for sketch's summer installation, Mayfair Flower Show - presenting 'Let It Snow'. The Glade has been given a particularly pretty transformation with 'The Faraway Tree' by bespoke florist JamJar. A canopy of winter flowers, branches, ferns and beautiful handmade flower fairies engulfs the bar while pretty fairy table centrepieces continue the theme. The two Michelin-starred Lecture Room, meanwhile, has been decorated with 'Follow The Star', a Christmas tree designed by Tony Marklew. As part of the installation, sketch is serving The Night Before Christmas Afternoon Tea in The Gallery, with London Choralists performing throughout December.


Enchanted Woodland

The magical walking tour returns for another year.

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

Tube: Richmond Station


Dates: 18th November - 04th December 2016


The beautiful oaks trees and gardens at Syon Park are illuminated in spectacular fashion once again this winter. 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 around18th-centuryntury 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.


Smith & Sinclair Sensory Pop-Up Bar

Step into a world of alcoholic jellies and colour changing cocktails.

Purple Bar, Sanderson , 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG

Tube: Goodge Street Station , Oxford Circus Station, Tottenham Court Road Station


Dates: 18th November - 24th December 2016


Pioneers of 'adult play', which is more innocent than it sounds, Smith & Sinclair have partnered with Sanderson London to create a sensory cocktail pop-up bar. The event will transform the lavish Purple Bar into a world of alcoholic jellies and dib dabs, festive-infused vapours, and scented lollipops. Guests will be invited to eat, drink and shop their way through the experience, with a never-tasted-before cocktail menu at the Purple Bar as well as The Flavour Room next door. In the bar, guests will be treated to colour changing cocktails while in The Flavour Room there will be a number of packaged goodies to take away.


Backyard Cinema: The Winter Night Garden

Step through a magical wardrobe into The Winter Night Garden.

Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6DR

Tube: Borough Station , Elephant & Castle Station


Dates: 18th November - 06th January 2017


After its success last year, the Backyard Cinema brings The Winter Night Garden back for 2016. The theatrical cinema experts, known for their immersive and detailed productions, have created a striking indoor enchanted forest to screen a number of festive cinema favourites. Visitors will have to venture through a magical wardrobe, found in the depths of Italian market Mercato Metropolitano, to access the cinema, where they will be able to snuggle up with a blanket, mulled wine and mince pies while enjoying movies such as Home Alone, Elf, Love Actually and It's a Wonderful Life. Family favourites such as Frozen, Cinderella and Muppets Christmas Carol will also be on the line-up as well as Edward Scissor Hands, Die Hard and Nightmare Before Christmas.


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: 19th November - 29th January 2017


The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is being transformed for the festive season once again this year, inviting visitors to see Hogwarts in the Snow and learn all about how the Christmas scenes in the films were made, including how a mixture of granulated paper and grains of salt were used to create snow - the same method that will be used to decorate the Studio Tour this November. 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 Christmas trees. Be sure to visit and see the Studio's most magical makeover yet.


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: 23rd November - 02nd January 2017


A tunnel of lights, scented fire garden and laser beams over water await visitors to the mile-long illuminated trail that forms the centrepiece of Christmas at Kew. The beautiful Kew Gardens open their doors after dark to reveal a walkway peppered with giant light sculptures, light projections on the Palm House and fire garden, scented with pine, frankincense and cedar. This year Santa and his elves make a welcome return to the North Pole village, and there will be vintage rides, Christmas gifts and traditional festive fare.


Christmas at St Katharine Docks

The central London marina hosts a floating cinema and Christmas market.

St Katharine Docks, Tower Bridge Approach, St Katharine's Way, London, E1W 1LA

Tube: Tower Hill Station


Dates: 24th November - 18th December 2016


Central London's only marina, St Katharine Docks, has a packed Christmas schedule for 2016. A highlight will be an impressive floating 45ft Christmas tree, which, from 24th November, will twinkle for all of London to see with 14,000 Christmas lights. On the hour every hour the tree will come alive with sparkling lights while the rest of the dock will shine bright too. Further to the spectacular tree and light display, the Docks will also have a Christmas cinema, screening festive classics on a floating pontoon, and a Christmas market, offering everything from seasonal food and drinks to gifts and crafts. Santa's reindeer family Twinkle, Snowdrop and Holly will be there on the 16th December while live performances will come from Capital Concert Brass Band on the 16th and the National Youth Jazz Orchestra on the 17th.


Christmas at Street Feast

Both the Street Feast venues get into the festive spirit this Christmas.

19 Great Eastern Street, , London, EC2A 3EJ

Tube: Liverpool Street Station


Dates: 24th November - 23rd December 2016


Street Feast is getting into the Christmas spirit this year, with both the Dinerama and Hawker House venues receiving festive makeovers. The street food arenas will be decked out with cosy drinking dens serving steaming hot brews and Christmas cocktails. Follow the twinkling lights to Dinerama, the Shoreditch East Pole, to snuggle down in The Zephyr Lounge, Dick's Magic T-Bar or Pioneer Bar. Cocktails on the menu include the Winter Cup, made with cognac, triple sec, vermouth, lemon and ginger ale; and a Boozy Hot Chocolate, with cocoa, hot milk, mango vodka and cayenne pepper. There's also frozen toffee vodka shots and roaring fires. Over at Hawker House, you can thaw out in the Whisky Bar with winter warmers from the Whisky 50 list or relax in the Milk & Honey Mercury Lounge with a New York Sour. The highlight, however, is the food and there are some scrumptious options to choose from, including Up In My Grill's Christmas Fondue with gruyere and stilton and Chin Chin Labs' Christmas Tree Ice Cream Cone with freshly spun pine-infused candy floss and edible glitter.



A festive dinner party with a twist.

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

Tube: Waterloo Station , Lambeth North Station


Dates: 24th November - 18th December 2016


A Christmas event with a twist, Christmess at The Vaults is set to be one hell of a dinner party. St. Nick is hosting the party he's spinning the rules on their head, replacing Ps & Qs with Gs & Ts and table etiquette consisting of dancing on them. Expect secret corners, wild nights, live music, twinkling absinthe bars and chimney's like you've never seen them before. A table will be heaving with treats from Reveillon Feasts, with the menu including honey glazed ham, Cajun roasted deep fried turkey, truffled brussels with roasted chestnuts and Christmas pud. Waitresses will be singing and Nick's entourage of colourful characters will be in attendance. Part of the event, every Saturday and Sunday will see the tunnels transformed in The Bizarre Bazaar.


The Winter Film Club

Festive favourites are screened in Peckham's abandoned Electric Theatre.

Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, London, SE15 4ST

Tube: Denmark Hill Station


Dates: 01st - 23rd December 2016


The Rooftop Film Club moves indoors for the winter season, screening everything from new releases to Christmas favourites in Peckham's abandoned Electric Theatre - found within the Bussey Building. The Winter Film Club will screen the likes of Love Actually, Absolutely Fabulous, Louis Theroux's My Scientology Movie and Miracle on 34th Street in the stunning Edwardian cinema, which first opened to the public in September 1908. Settle down in a deck chair with headphones on, liquid refreshments and tempting snacks to enjoy classic films in one of London's unique settings.


Dolce by Ferrero Rocher

A pop-up dessert destination from Ferrero Rocher.

21 Slingsby Place, , London, WC2E 9AB

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station


Dates: 01st - 11th December 2016


If you're a fan of Ferrero Rocher, you won't want to miss Dolce by Ferrero Rocher, a pop-up dessert destination coming to Covent Garden this December. Diners are invited to the pop-up - the first London dining experience of its kind - to explore the layers of the iconic chocolate and its unique combination of tastes and textures. The 45-minute experience will include an exclusive tasting plate of five mini hand-crafted desserts curated by celebrated chef Paul Hannagen. After the five mini desserts, the experience will conclude with a Ferrero Rocher in order to demonstrate how the elements all come together to form the much-loved chocolate. At the end of the journey, guests will also be able to purchase Ferrero Rocher, beautifully presented in gift bags.


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: 03rd 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 Twelve Films of Christmas

Iconic festive films are screened across numerous venues, for free.


Dates: 04th - 21st December 2016


Offering a visual advent calendar, The Twelve Films of Christmas will screen twelve iconic festive films in a number of London venues throughout December. Running from the 4th to 21st December, the festival will screen classics such as Love Actually, It's A Wonderful Life, Frozen, Miracle on 34th Street and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Venues taking part include The Lido Café, Holy Trinity Church, All Saints Church and Rosendale School. What's more, screenings are all free on a first-come-first-served basis.


The Fitzrovia Radio Hour's A Christmas Carol

A very modern take on the classic Christmas story.

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

Tube: Waterloo Station , Lambeth North Station


Dates: 06th - 31st December 2016


Acclaimed troupe The Fitzrovia Radio Hour present a very modern take on Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Staged in The Vaults, the rip-roaring rendition reimagines the classic as a live 1940s-style studio recording, broadcasting live across the mighty British Empire. That is if the cast can keep the spiffing scenes and Victorian stereotypes flowing even when they're visited by far more ghosts than they bargained for. Sound effects, cut-glass accents, sharp suits and a generous helping of spooky ghosts come together to create this unique alternative festive entertainment.


Pop-Up Screens Cinema in the Snow

Watch festive favourites while surrounded by snow.

Hackney Showroom, Amhurst Terrace, London, E8 2BT

Tube: Manor House Station


Dates: 08th - 18th December 2016


This year Pop Up Screens heads east for their winter screenings, taking up residency at the Hackney Showroom where they're hosting a snow-filled world of film, accessed through a magic wardrobe. Transforming the former print works into a winter wonderland, the Cinema in the Snow line up includes Elf, Love Actually, The Grinch, Miracle on 34th Street, Home Alone and other festive flicks. Hot Chocolate, brownies, popcorn and mulled wine will be on offer and you can bet on a white Christmas here - on entering through the wardrobe, visitors will be greeted by falling snow.


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: 10th - 17th December 2016


An enchanting journey through The Vaults which culminates in one big Christmassy knees up, The Dance Before Christmas is back for 2016. Inviting guests to be swept away on an adventure, the event lures participants into the deep underground with a scent of caramel and cinnamon. Surrounded by stilt walkers, acrobats and sneaky freaks, you'll be led through room after room to enjoy one of London's most unique Christmas events. Expect lots of glitz and glamour and performances from Mama Jerk and The Lady Fingers, and Kansas Smitty's.


Bompas & Parr: Beyond the Waterfall

The foodsmiths present their most ambitious project to date.

Westfield London - Shepherd's Bush, Ariel Way, Shepherd's Bush, London, W12 7DS

Tube: Wood Lane Station , Shepherd's Bush Station (Central), Shepherd's Bush Market Station (Hammersmith and City Line)


Dates: 09th - 23rd December 2016


Bompas and Parr present their most ambitious project to date this December, creating a grotto for grown-ups in Westfield London. Beyond the Waterfall will take visitors on a fantastical journey across an undersea lagoon to a mythical land, journeying to a cocktail bar staffed by mythical creatures. Evoking the emotions and joy of the holiday season, it takes inspiration from fairy tales, boys' adventures and science fiction. You'll be able to venture across a 20m lagoon on small boats, passing through a real waterfall, before arriving at the distant shore to nose through an Aladdin's Cave filled with gemstones.


Some Voices: Christmas At The Movies

The 400-strong choir present their take on classic Christmas movies.

The Coronet Theatre, 28 New Kent Road, London, SE1 6TJ

Tube: Elephant & Castle Station


Dates: 13th - 14th December 2016


The 400-strong Some Voices choir is taking over the Coronet Theatre in Elephant and Castle for a Christmas Movies spectacular. From childhood favourites to cult classics, Some Voices will be singing you through your favourite festive films, tackling Love Actually, Mariah and even the John Lewis ads. Festivities continue with a live band, DJing Santa, dancing, candy cane cocktails and kisses under the mistletoe.


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: 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.



The people behind Christmas at Kew create a site-wide installation at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, London, SE21 7AD

Tube: Denmark Hill Station


Dates: 06th - 18th December 2016


This December, the Dulwich Picture Gallery is given a Christmassy makeover with site-wide installation Winterlights. From the creators behind Christmas at Kew, it sees the grounds and historic building transformed into a world of illuminations from a variety of light sources, bringing the Gallery to light after dark. Follow a dazzling trail along winding paths to explore explosions of colour in trees and secluded nooks. Visitors will also be able to admire two contemporary baroque-inspired Christmas trees created by 3D art specialists Nagual Creations. Choirs will perform Christmas classics and families can book in for Christmas storytelling in the Keepers Cottage. Street food will be available and on both the weekends that Winterlights will run (10th-11th and 17th-18th Dec) an artisan market brings together over 50 high-quality traders to sell a range of handmade goods and crafts.

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