December in London 2015

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Santa Run Battersea Park

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Santa Run Battersea Park
Great Christmas Pudding Race
The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker
English National Ballet: Nutcracker
Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race


Dress up as Santa for the Santa Run, watch hardy swimmers take part in the Peter Pan Cup, or book tickets to the heart-warming Nutcracker - from the weird and wonderful to the beautiful and traditional, all the usual festive favourites return to London in December 2015.


The Chocolate Festival

If you are a chocoholic then you simply cannot afford to miss this event.

Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, South Bank, London, N1 0QH

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: 4th, 5th and 6th December 2015


Just in time to stock up on goodies for Christmas, The Chocolate Festival returns to Business Design Centre with an array of chocolatiers and artisan delights to tickle your taste buds. This event will feature stands from award winning chocolatiers, demonstrations, tastings and talks. There will be a Cocoa Spa, where guests can try luxurious cocoa beauty treatments; a Health Zone, serving up free-from and raw chocolate and providing information with the health benefits of chocolate; and a Chocolate Market, where you can pick up goodies from Britain's best artisan chocolate companies. If you are a chocoholic, or you know someone who is, then you simply cannot afford to miss this event.


Santa Run Battersea Park

Don a Santa suit and run, jog or walk 6km for charity.

Battersea Park, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea Park, Battersea, London, SW11 4NJ

Tube: Sloane Square Station


Dates: Saturday 5th December 2015


Join hundreds of other Santas on a festive run through Battersea Park before relaxing afterwards with mulled wine and Christmas cake. No previous experience is needed for this fantastically festive day. Simply register online, turn up on the day, collect your free Santa outfit and tackle the 6km run. The spirit of the event is to be decided solely by the participants, meaning you can decide to walk, jog or run as fast or as slow as you like. Why will everyone be dressed as Santa? Well, ignoring the obvious (the time of year), proceeds from the run will be donated to Disability Snowsport UK, a national charity that helps people with disabilities to access the thrill of snow sports. If you've ever fancied a fun run through London whilst dressed as Father Christmas (and let's face it, who hasn't?) then this is the one for you. Alternatively, try out the Santa Run at Victoria Park on 6th December 2015.


Great Christmas Pudding Race

A festive take on the traditional egg and spoon race.

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.


Santa Run Victoria Park

Victoria Park, Grove Road, Tower Hamlets, London, E3 5SN

Tube: Mile End Station


Dates: Sunday 6th December 2015


Further to the run in Battersea Park on 5th December, a Santa Run will also take place at Victoria Park on 7th December 2014. Participants are invited to dress up as Santa and run, jog or walk around the park, choosing to do either a 5km or 10km course. Run by, it's expected to see around 4,000 people take part to raise money for hundreds of different charities.


The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker

The family, festive favourite returns for another year.

Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD

Tube: Covent Garden Station, Leicester Square Station


Dates: 8th December 2015 to 9th January 2016


That great seasonal stalwart The Nutcracker starts playing at the Royal Opera House on 8th December, offering families a fun and festive treat watching Clara dance in front of the Christmas tree. It's hard to imagine a production more indulgently sumptuous than Peter Wright's restaging of Lev Ivanov's choreography to Tchaikovsky's famous score. From the heart-warming family party of the opening scene to the appearance of the magical kingdom, the action beckons you in, helped every ballet step of the way by Julie Trevelyan Oman's gorgeous, nostalgic designs out of the late 1800s. This is pure spectacle but The Royal Ballet pulls it off with such beauty and style that it's a Christmas cracker...


London International Horse Show

A full week of galloping, jumping and pinpoint dressage steps.

Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London, W14 8UX

Tube: Kensington (Olympia) Station


Dates: 15th to 21st Dec 2015


London's annual equestrian fiesta graces Olympia once more for a full week of galloping, jumping and pinpoint dressage steps. There's enough to please everybody at the London International Horse Show, with the UK's only World Cup dressage qualifier, spectacular show-jumping competitions, and some fantastic equestrian shopping opportunities. As well as the elegant steeds trotting around, there are usually some dog-related competitions too, including a canine agility contest. The grand finale is an enormous festive parade with hundreds of horses, costumes and music combining to a spectacular climax.


English National Ballet: Nutcracker

A very traditional interpretation of E.T.A. Hoffman's the Nutcracker.

London Coliseum - English National Opera (ENO), St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4ES

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


Dates: 16th December 2015 to 10th January 2016


A very traditional interpretation of E.T.A. Hoffman's the Nutcracker, English National Ballet's version was first performed in 2010 to celebrate the company's 60th birthday. This glittering production was created by Wayne Eagling (artistic director of the company from 2005 to 2012), and with its Edwardian setting created by Peter Farmer, it cannot fail to get you in the Christmas spirit. As sure as putting up fairy lights, filling Christmas stockings and having too much mulled wine at the office party, watching Clara dance in front of the Christmas tree is a truly festive thing to do. Wayne Eagling's choreography to Tchaikovsky's famous score is continuously heart-warming and every beautiful scene, from the family party to the appearance of the magical kingdom, lures you in.


Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race

Start your Christmas Day by watching this traditional race, which dates back to 1864.

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.


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