December in London 2018

 
 
 
 
Previous image

Operation Ouch!

Dr Xand and Dr Chris - Maverick Television photographer Jacob Niblett

Next image
Operation Ouch!
English National Ballet: Nutcracker
Guy Barker's Big Band Christmas
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
Circus 1903
Carols at the Royal Albert Hall
A Vintage New Year's Eve Party
New Year's Eve Fireworks
Great Christmas Pudding Race
The Band
Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race
The Tell-Tale Heart
Madness
Return to Elm House
Rumpelstiltskin
Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake
The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker
Birmingham Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker
Hampstead Village Christmas Fair
SAMPLE Christmas
Mayfair Christmas Market
Shepherd Market Christmas Lights
Christmas Floating Film Festival
Mariah Carey
Jeff Wayne's The War Of The Worlds
Bloomberg New Contemporaries
Lights and Sights Vintage Bus Tours
 

 

Christmas favourites like The Nutcracker, Carols at The Royal Albert Hall and the Santa Dash return along with a Festive Feast at Hampton Court Palace and a new puppet show from the puppeteers behind War Horse. These are the best London events in December 2018.

Filter by category:
 
 

Mayfair Christmas Market

Browse stalls full of festive gifts and stocking fillers as Mayfair Place is closed to traffic.

Novikov Restaurant & Bar, 50 Berkeley Street, London, W1J 8HA

Tube: Green Park Station

 

Dates: Friday 30th November and Saturday 1st December 2018

 

At Mayfair Christmas Market shoppers can browse stalls full of festive gifts and stocking fillers while enjoying a host of entertainment from DJs and carol singers as the high-end restaurant Novikov takes over Mayfair Place which is closed to traffic. Jewellery label Olivia and Pearl, new clothing brand Flo & Tilly and ethical homeware and gifts from My Little Wish are just three of the retailers you'll meet at the two-day market. Feast on sashimi, Iberico ham and Asian and Italian delicacies from the Novikov kitchens and visit the Louis Roederer Champagne Ice Bar for a drink or warm up with a hot chocolate.

 
 
 

Return to Elm House

A new immersive adventure for children aged 6 and over.

Battersea Arts Centre (BAC), Lavender Hill, London, SW11 5TN

Tube: Clapham Common Station

 

Dates: 1st to 30th December 2018

 

A new immersive adventure for children aged 6 and over and for families, Return to Elm House is the heart-warming tale of Wandsworth's Jeanie Nassau Senior, a social pioneer and Britain's first female civil servant, the founder of modern foster care. On the very spot where Battersea Arts Centre now stands, a woman known for her generosity, wisdom and care, lived in Elm House. Explore the building and discover hidden memories, uncover mislaid secrets and collect clues to bring back the story of Elm House. From the creators of the critically acclaimed The Good Neighbour, the show is part of the Phoenix Season which reopens Battersea Arts Centre's Grand Hall.

 
 
 

The Band

Take That's back catalogue is made into a West End musical.

Haymarket Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4HT

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station, Charing Cross Station

 

Dates: 1st December 2018 to 12th January 2019

 

With the music of Take That and featuring the winners of the BBC's Let It Shine TV talent search, Tim Firth's musical, The Band, comes to the West End. Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Robbie Williams have had a hand in producing this stage show which charts the misadventures of five teenage girls for whom Take That's music provides a soundtrack to their haphazard lives. The musical is staged at Theatre Royal Haymarket this Christmas season and shows the five friends, 25 years on, as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.

 
 
 

SAMPLE Christmas

Pop-up market of fashion, food and foliage at Greenwich Peninsula.

Greenwich Peninsula, 1 Green Place, London, SE10 0PE

Tube: North Greenwich Station

 

Dates: Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd December 2018

 

This Christmas, HemingwayDesign curates SAMPLE a pop-up market of fashion, food and foliage at Greenwich Peninsula, held over the weekend of Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd of December. A late night food and drink market runs on both of the days, accompanied by live music, performances and DJ sets, while the days also bring the opportunity to purchase clothes, homewares and designer goods. This year's traders include Cakehole, Coco & Ginger, Edy & Bridge, Kimba and Woben Form. Additionally, jewellery designer Tatty Devine has created a public art installation as a unique alternative to the traditional Christmas tree. The Rainbow Halo features a rainbow archway sprinkled with jewelled stars created to represent themes such as love, peace, unity and joy.

 
 
 

Belgravia Christmas Sunday

The street is transformed with craft stalls and boutique sellers.

25 Elizabeth Street, Elizabeth Street, London, SW1W 9RP

Tube: Sloane Square Station

 

Dates: Sunday 2nd December 2018

 

As part of Belgravia's Christmas celebrations, which will also see Father Christmas come to the area, Elisabeth Street will once again be transformed for the Belgravia Christmas Sunday. Turning the street into a magical wonderland on Sunday 2nd December, there will be handmade craft stalls and boutique sellers providing the chance to enjoy some festive Christmas shopping. The day will also offer children's entertainment, choirs, brass bands and seasonal food and drinks.

 
 
 
 

Hampstead Village Christmas Fair

Hampstead High Street becomes a winter wonderland for one day only.

Hampstead Village, Hampstead High Street, London, NW3 1QG

Tube: Hampstead Station

 

Dates: Sunday 2nd December 2018

 

This December, Hampstead Village is hosting its very own Christmas market and fair. Pedestrianising Hampstead High Street for one day only, the Hampstead Village Christmas Fair will transform the area into a winter wonderland with street food stalls, traditional fairground rides, live music and a Santa's grotto, complete with reindeer. Craft stalls will provide the chance to purchase some unique Christmas gifts and a special Festive Trail will highlight the area's best shops and attractions with mini gifts and prizes to be won.

 
 
 

The Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker

Festive treat watching Clara dance in front of the Christmas tree.

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

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 3rd December 2018 to 15th January 2019

 

That great seasonal stalwart The Nutcracker starts playing at the Royal Opera House on the 3rd 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...

 
 
 

Christmas Floating Film Festival

Get cosy under a blanket on the pontoon to watch holiday favourites.

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

Tube: Tower Hill Station

 

Dates: 3rd to 9th Dec 2018

 

Central London's only marina St Katharine Docks, which celebrates 190 years in 2018, plays host to the Christmas Floating Film Festival this December. Get cosy under a blanket and snuggle on beanbags on the pontoon to watch holiday favourites like Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually, The Muppet Christmas Carol and The Holiday. There will also be heaters and festive food and drinks provided by Benugo, with minced pies, mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep the winter chill at bay. Screenings begin daily from 7pm throughout the week, with two additional screenings at 2pm on the weekend, so there are plenty of opportunities to catch a festive favourite flick in the marina this year.

 
 
 

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake

Matthew Bourne's triumphant modern re-interpretation of the classic ballet comes home to Sadler's Wells.

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station

 

Dates: 4th December 2018 to 27th January 2019

 

Matthew Bourne's triumphant modern re-interpretation of Swan Lake, replacing the traditional female corps de ballet with a menacing male ensemble, comes home to Sadler's Wells for Christmas. This highly original all-male production premiered at Sadler's Wells in 1995 and became the longest running ballet in the West End, before playing on Broadway and touring the world. The all-male cast and menacing sets turn the sweet fairy story into a passionate, high-energy affair. Innovative and exciting, provocative and powerful, this multi award-winning production audaciously transforms one of ballet's best-loved stories into a startlingly contemporary tale. Running throughout the festive period, Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake is a welcome addition to the capital's collection of Christmas treats.

 
 
 

London Santa Dash

Don your Santa suit and run 5k around London.

Old Spitalfields Market, 1 Crispin Place, London, E1 6DW

Tube: Liverpool Street Station

 

Dates: Wednesday 5th December 2018

 

For one night only, throw on your Santa suit and join the Santa Dash, running 5k around the City of London. Starting from Old Spitalfields Market, you'll get your own Santa suit to dress up in and race against the clock - and other Santas - around the circular route. Previous routes have seen Santas dashing past St. Paul's Cathedral and the Gherkin. Complete the 5K circuit and on the finish line you'll be greeted with a medal and a celebratory drink. Anyone over the age of 18 can enter, in teams of up to ten or as individuals and it typically takes Santas between 25 minutes and an hour and a half to complete the run. There's a serious side to all this fun - all Santas will be raising money for children with disabilities and additional needs.

 
 
 
 

The Tell-Tale Heart

Anthony Neilson's darkly comic thriller about the twisted relationship between a writer and her landlady.

National Theatre: Dorfman, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX

Tube: Temple Station , Waterloo Station

 

Dates: 5th December 2018 to 9th January 2019

 

Anthony Neilson directs his own darkly comic and twisted thriller at the National's Dorfman Theatre. Based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, the story is about the twisted relationship between a young playwright with writer's block and her landlady who has a life-altering condition. Pressure mounts on the writer, and her relationship with the landlady becomes ever-more suffocating in The Tell-Tale Heart, a twisted, graphic and dark, comic treat which contains provocative language and some violent scenes.

 
 
 

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018

57 new and recent fine art graduates have been selected for the annual exhibition.

South London Gallery, 65-67 Peckham Road, London, SE5 8UH

Tube: Denmark Hill Station

 

Dates: 5th December 2018 to 24th February 2019

 

The annual Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition returns to the South London Gallery for the first time in nearly 20 years. An important barometer of contemporary art, the exhibition showcases some of the best new and recent fine art graduates and, for the first time, artists from non-degree awarding courses. 57 diverse and fascinating artists have been selected, displaying drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video in the SLG and its new Fire Station annexe. The works on show address a broad range of issues from migration, borders, cultural and gender identity through to the use of technology.

 
 
 

Operation Ouch!

The CBBC show goes from the small screen to the London stage.

Apollo Theatre, 29 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 7EZ

Tube: Piccadilly Circus Station , Leicester Square Station

 

Dates: 6th December 2018 to 6th January 2019

 

Dr Chris and Dr Xand are, as any well informed 8 year old knows, identical twin doctors and the stars the hit CBBC television series, Operation Ouch! Now the show goes from the small screen to the London stage as it comes to the West End for its first ever live at the Apollo Theatre. The brothers grew up in London and trained in medicine at Oxford University. Both still work in medicine so there's accuracy and authority to everything they do but the good news is they make medicine fun. This live show is packed with incredible stunts, crazy experiments and amazing facts as Dr Chris and Dr Xand explore the fascinating world of biology. You'll see the awesome things the body can do and the twin doctors will also share their favourite bits from their television show.

 
 
 

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree & Carols

The majestic Christmas tree returns for another year with a series of choir performances.

Trafalgar Square, Central, Westminster, London, WC2N 5DS

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station, Piccadilly Circus Station

 

Dates: 6th to 25th December 2018

 

Since 1947, stately Trafalgar Square has received a majestic Norwegian Christmas Tree as an annual gift from the people of Oslo, thanking Britain for its support and friendship during World War Two. The enormous tree is a popular seasonal tourist attraction, particularly in the fortnight leading up to Christmas, when each evening (from 4pm to 8pm on weekdays, and from 2pm to 6pm at weekends) a different choir gathers there to sing carols and raise money for a range of voluntary or charitable organisations. Passers-by are welcome to come and listen to the carols in the square and join in the festive cheer. Nelson's Column is decorated with Norwegian white lights and the tree is illuminated from noon until midnight until the Twelfth Night of Christmas in early January. A few days after the official lighting of the tree there's a torch-lit procession on the steps of St Martin-in-the-Fields, as the choir and clergy bless the Crib in a special ceremony in Trafalgar Square. The tree actually goes up in late November if you want to see it in all its naked evergreen glory.

 
 
 

Shepherd Market Christmas Lights

Carol singers and street performers help turn on the lights over this hidden gem in Mayfair.

Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London, W1J 7PN

Tube: Green Park Station

 

Dates: Thursday 6th December 2018

 

The Christmas Lights go on over the picturesque Shepherd Market in Mayfair on Thursday 6th December when there will be a host of entertainment including live music, dancers, street performers and carol singers. The surrounding boutiques, brasseries and pubs that make this one of London's 'hidden gems' will be staying open late for a night of mulled wine, mince pies and merry making. Little people haven't been left out - there's fun for children with a treasure hunt and Santa's photo booth where they will have their Christmas wish granted. They usually get a bone fide celebrity to turn on the lights - Elizabeth Hurley and John Cleese have had the honour in recent years.

 
 
 
 

BBC Good Food Festive Feast

The festival brings a taste of Christmas to Hampton Court.

Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, London, KT8 9AU

Tube: Richmond Station

 

Dates: 7th, 8th and 9th December 2018

 

The perfect way to prepare for Christmas, the BBC Good Food Festive Feast brings a taste of Christmas to Hampton Court with indulgent food, Christmas liquors and demos from top chefs in the candle-lit Tudor Kitchen. Head to the Kitchen Theatre in the East Gardens of the historic palace to watch chefs and experts cook live on stage. All sessions are free on a first-come, first-served basis. As well as seeing chefs in action, you can browse and buy seasonal treats from artisan producers selling everything from hog roast to mulled wine, churros to sausages. It's guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit.

 
 
 

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Shakespeare's comedy of suburbia, wives and over-inflated egos.

Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Tube: Barbican Station , Moorgate Station

 

Dates: 7th December 2018 to 5th January 2019

 

The Royal Shakespeare Company presents Shakespeare's comedy of suburbia, wives and over-inflated egos at the Barbican. Fiona Laird directs the hilarious comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, with RSC Associate Artist David Troughton as Falstaff, in a contemporary setting - with more than a hint of reality TV - as the RSC continues to take audiences on its journey through Shakespeare's canon; this is the third of three much loved Shakespeare titles brought from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon to London.

 
 
 

Great Christmas Pudding Race

A fabulously festive version of the 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 8th December 2018

 

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.

 
 
 

Snow White at the London Palladium

Dawn French, Nigel Havers and Julian Clary lead a glittering pano at the London Palladium.

London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TF

Tube: Oxford Circus Station

 

Dates: 8th December 2018 to 13th January 2019

 

Produced by the Olivier Award-winning team behind last year's Dick Whittington, Snow White at the London Palladium features an all-star with Dawn French as The Wicked Queen, Julian Clary returns, appearing as The Man in The Mirror, and Nigel Havers as The Understudy. They're joined by ventriloquist Paul Zerdin as Muddles and Gary Wilmot (who has appeared in Dick Whittington and The Wind in the Willows at the London Palladium) as Mrs Crumble while one-time Strictly Come Dancing professionals Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace-Mistry are The King and The Queen, adding ballroom and tango to this glittering production.

 
 
 

A Christmas Carol with Simon Callow

A one-man theatrical extravaganza of festive story-telling based on Dickens's own performance adaptation.

Arts Theatre, 6-7 Great Newport Street, London, WC2H 7JB

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

 

Dates: 8th December 2018 to 12th January 2019

 

Simon Callow stars in a one-man version of Charles Dickens's novella, based on an adaptation the author himself used for public performances. The actor who appeared in 'A Room with a View', 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' and director-designer Tom Cairns reunite for their one-man theatrical extravaganza of festive story-telling based on Dickens's own performance adaptation of his heart-warming tale of goodness, justice and redemption. The simple staging - just two stacks of chairs decked out with fairy lights - "gives the words a chance to breathe and implores the audience to bring their imaginations to the storytelling" (The Guardian). This is "Callow at his least flowery and most effective".

 
 
 
 

Mariah Carey

The Grammy-winning American superstar sings All I Want For Christmas Is You.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station

 

Dates: Tuesday 11th December 2018

 

The Grammy-winning American superstar returns with her best-selling pop and R&B hits in a seasonal performance that features All I Want For Christmas. After dazzling audiences last year, Mariah Carey is back at The O2 for a second time with her festive concert which features, "Splashiness, sentimentality, sparkle with all the trimmings" says The Guardian. The superstar is synonymous with Christmas thanks to her number 1 timeless classic, "All I Want For Christmas Is You." The evergreen holiday smash hit, which she wrote and produced early in her career is the annual bestselling holiday single, hitting top spot on Billboard's Holiday Digital Songs, Holiday Hot 100 and Holiday Streaming Songs charts.

 
 
 

English National Ballet: Nutcracker

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

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

 

Dates: 13th to 30th December 2018

 

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.

 
 
 

Rumpelstiltskin

Spinning a yarn, Paul Capsis stars as a shape-shifting imp with a thirst for vengeance.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 13th December 2018 to 6th January 2019

 

Award-winning Australian theatre companies Windmill Theatre Co and State Theatre Company South Australia present the UK premiere of their unique spin on the fantastic fairytale Rumpelstiltskin. Paul Capsis stars as a shape-shifting imp whose thirst for vengeance may well bring him undone. With original, rocking music, the colourful show reveals that spinning straw into gold may buy you a big house and a wardrobe of designer clothes but it can't buy you love. This is the story of the price of greed.

 
 
 

Guy Barker's Big Band Christmas

A mixture of classics that will put a spring in your step this festive season.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 14th December 2018

 

A mixture of jazz classics, unearthed treasures and Christmas oddities that'll put a swing in your step as the festive season kicks off, from Count Basie to Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and Louis Prima played by Guy Barker's Big Band, a 40-piece orchestra supplemented by vocal guests. Jazz singer and BBC Radio 2 presenter Clare Teal co-presents the evening at the Royal Albert Hall performing alongside special guests including a cappella stars Accent.

 
 
 

Madness

Suggs and the ska septet bring Madness and the House of Fun to The O2.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station

 

Dates: Friday 14th December 2018

 

Hailing from Camden, the ska septet reigned through the 70s and 80s comes to London. The appeal of Madness endures thanks to their upbeat singles including House Of Fun, Nightboat To Cairo and One Step Beyond, and the band continues to perform with their most recognised line-up led by Graham 'Suggs' McPherson. Who can forget their 2012 Diamond Jubilee Concert when the graphics to Our House were projected against Buckingham Palace? For this major UK arena tour, which comes to The O2 in December 2018, Madness is joined by special guests The Fratellis.

 
 
 
 

Jeff Wayne's The War Of The Worlds

The show returns with a new cast and stage sets.

The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB

Tube: North Greenwich Station

 

Dates: Saturday 15th December 2018

 

Nearly 40 years on, based on HG Wells' dark Victorian tale, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of The Worlds remains a firm favourite to millions around the world. Commanding The O2 stage, Jeff Wayne returns to the podium to conduct the 9-piece Black Smoke Band and 36-piece ULLAdubULLA strings, while Liam Neeson retains his role in 3D holography as The Journalist. As well as getting a new cast, in 2018 the show will break through the fourth wall with a huge arched bridge running through the centre of the arena to bring the action closer to the audience.

 
 
 

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

The legendary improv show celebrates its 30th birthday with an exclusive run.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 15th - 16th December 2018

 

The legendary improv show celebrates its 30th birthday with an exclusive run of three festive shows. With Colin Mochrie, Josie Lawrence, Greg Proops, Brad Sherwood, Jeff Davis and musicians Laura Hall and Linda Taylor, who all join original host Clive Anderson. Shaping the landscape of TV comedy when it first appeared on screens in 1988, it went on to become a huge hit, both here and in America. The stage version will bring together old and new games, including a sketch that requires members of the audience to create the scenery and another where they are asked to hand over their handbags for inspection. Without the restraints of TV, this version is set to be more risqué than ever before.

 
 
 

Circus 1903

Take a journey back to the golden age of circus in this new production from the War Horse puppeteers.

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: 19th December 2018 to 5th January 2019

 

The award-winning puppeteers from War Horse present the European premiere of Circus 1903 as part of the Southbank Centre's Winter festival. American circus company, The Illusionists, takes us back to 1903, the golden age of circus, to recreate the thrills and spills of turn-of-the-century entertainment using acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, trapeze and high wire performers. You'll see "gasp-inducing" performers, "like an aerial act in which a burly man treats his partner as if she were a slab of hand-pulled noodles" (New York Times) and those wonderful elephants imagined by the War Horse puppetry team.

 
 
 

Bjorn Again

Shepherd's Bush Empire, Shepherd's Bush Green, London, W12 8TT

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

 

Dates: Thursday 20th and Friday 21st December 2018

 

Considering they're a satirical parody of a certain successful Swedish pop outfit, Bjorn Again has lasted longer than anyone could have predicted. Back in 1988 when the show was first created Rod Stephen meant for it to be a rocked-up light-hearted satirical ABBA spoof. The show rapidly achieved worldwide cult status and the show has been performed in 72 countries for the past 30 years. From performing at Buckingham Palace to touring with Cher, Bjorn Again now comes to Shepherds Bush Empire as the show celebrates its 30th anniversary.

 
 
 

Lights and Sights Vintage Bus Tours

Take in illuminated London from the unique vantage point of a vintage bus.

London Transport Museum, 39 Wellington Street, London, WC2E 7BB

Tube: Covent Garden Station

 

Dates: Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd December 2018

 

See the Christmas lights in London from the unique vantage point of a vintage bus as the London Transport Museum lays on special tours of the city for two December dates only. Climb on board a cosy original RT bus and ride past festive displays and illuminated landmarks. Seasonal treats are served during registration before the bus departs from the museum in Covent Garden. For those on the family tour, little ones also have the chance to create their own bus ticket in a fun craft activity before heading off through the West End. Accompanied by a soundtrack of Christmas classics, the tour takes you through Covent Garden, Regent Street and Oxford Street, Park Lane, Piccadilly, St James, Pall Mall and the Strand before finishing back outside the museum.

 
 
 
 

Carols at the Royal Albert Hall

A fun-filled jamboree of carols and Christmas hits.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: Sunday 23rd and Monday 24th December 2018

 

Held in the two days before Christmas, the Royal Albert Hall's Christmas carols programme is a fun-filled jamboree of carols and Christmas hits where you can sing along to festive favourites in spectacular surroundings. Join the Royal Choral Society, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the fanfare team of Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards for traditional carols, modern arrangements, and festive favourites. Compere Greg Beardsell will lead you through mass sing-alongs to your favourite carols and this year there's a brand-new version of Silent Night penned by James Bond film composer David Arnold.

 
 
 

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: Tuesday 25th December 2018

 

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.

 
 
 

Birmingham Royal Ballet: The Nutcracker

Sir Peter Wright's much-loved production is at the Royal Albert Hall.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station

 

Dates: 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st Dec 2018

 

The Birmingham Royal Ballet performs Sir Peter Wright's much-loved production of this beautiful classical ballet, danced to Tchaikovsky's magnificent score. As midnight chimes a magical Christmas tree starts to grow through the ceiling, marking the start of Clara's journey to the Sugar Plum Fairy's retreat in the Kingdom of Sweets and the Land of Snow. Tchaikovsky famous music - which includes the 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' and other familiar favourites - is one of the most instantly memorable in all ballet. Choreographed by Peter Wright, with costumes by John MacFarlane, an outing to the Royal Albert Hall to see one of the best-loved ballets in the world could prove to be the perfect Christmas present for your own little Clara's stocking.

 
 
 

A Vintage New Year's Eve Party

The huge New Year's Eve party returns with five floors of entertainment.

Southbank Centre: Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, South Bank, London, SE1 8XX

Tube: Waterloo Station , Embankment Underground Station

 

Dates: Monday 31st December 2018

 

Following six sell-out years, A Vintage New Year's Eve Party is back. The huge party sees the Royal Festival Hall transformed into five floors of set-dressed entertainment including seven pop-up vintage nightclubs, stylish dining, a hair and beauty salon, photo studios and a private terrace overlooking London's world-famous New Year's Eve fireworks. Entertainment will come from The Torch Club, celebrating the '20's, '30's and '40's big band sound; The Jive Romeros, Britain's kings of bepop, rock and roll, jive and swing; and Six Million Steps, offering pure '70s and '80s disco. The Tiki Bar serves colourful cocktails and samba and after midnight the Clore Ballroom transforms into an intimate cabaret club. With disco dancing, musical bingo and karaoke thrown in for good measure, it's a hell of a way to see in 2019.

 
 
 

New Year's Eve Fireworks

Ten explosive minutes of fireworks welcomes in the new year.

London Eye , Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, South Bank, London, SE1 7PB

Tube: Embankment Underground Station , Westminster Station, Waterloo Station

 

Dates: Monday 31st December 2018

 

The annual New Year's Eve Fireworks display, launched from the foot of the London Eye and from rafts on the Thames, is visible from most of central London: the basic rule is that if you can see the London Eye, you'll be able to see the show. They cram enough firepower for an hour-long display into ten explosive minutes, lighting up the sky for miles around. The best views are from Victoria Embankment, the South Bank, and Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge. Hungerford Bridge is closed after 8pm and there's also no entry to Westminster Bridge after this time. Go to www.london.gov.uk/newyearseve for full details.

Photo credit: James O Jenkins.

 
 
 

IN THIS ARTICLE

 

RELATED ARTICLES

 
 
 
SALE London Hotels

From cheap budget hotels to luxury 5 star hotels see our deals for hotels, including The Tower Hotel from 53% off.

 
 
Call now: hotel deals 0207 420 4960