Christmas Events and Attractions in London

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Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race

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Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race
Great Christmas Pudding Race
Great Christmas Pudding Race
Slava's Snowshow
Slava's Snowshow
HiddenCity: The Enchanted Mirror
Enchanted Woodland
Winter at Southbank Centre with NatWest (c) Belinda Lawley
Christmas at Kew


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.


HiddenCity: The Enchanted Mirror

Solve clues set by an evil queen to find the magic mirror.

Victoria and Albert (V & A) Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: 4th December 2014 to 13th March 2016


Following Scrooge's Cryptic Christmas Trail in 2013, HiddenCity launched another festive trail in 2014 and it continues through this year's festive period too, into early 2016. The Enchanted Mirror is a fairytale adventure that asks teams to solve clues received by text from an evil queen in order to find the hidden magical mirror and be rewarded. Starting at the V&A, the trail will take participants down cobbled streets, through galleries and to tucked-away taverns, providing the chance to enjoy a rejuvenating beverage, or three, along the way. The trail typically takes three to four hours and no local knowledge is required.


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 2015 to 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.


Winter at The View from The Shard

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

Tube: London Bridge Station


Dates: 23rd November 2015 to 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 2015 to 2nd 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.


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 5th December 2015


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.


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 2015 to 3rd 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: Friday 25th December 2015


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 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 2015 to 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.


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: Sunday 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.


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 to 6th 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 to 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.

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