Best London Christmas activities for children

Make the season even more magical for your little ones at these great Christmas events for children

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December is never more exciting than when you're littler than Santa's elves. They've been waiting for this all year; help to make their festive dreams come true at these great Christmas events for kids.

  1. See our top ten as a gallery
  2. See our top ten as a list
  3. The best of the rest
  • Christmas at Kew Gardens

    Kew's annual, seasonal makeover has a spectacular sounding new addition for 2013. The Illuminated Trail sees the gardens transformed with a series of lighting installations created by artists from around the UK. Exploring the gardens on a leisurely stroll through the enchanted winter landscape takes around 75 minutes. During the evening openings there are also plenty of family-friendly attractions including a Victorian carousel and vintage rides, Santa's grotto and live festive music.

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  • Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

    Hyde Park gets glammed up again with its sparkly, Christmassy additions. Rides and attractions include the UK's biggest outdoor ice rink, a Giant Observation Wheel and shows by the family-friendly Zippos Circus. The Magical Ice Kingdom is doubling in size, with even more snow and ice sculptures. While most activities are ticketed, entry to the site, including to the child-friendly Santa Land and the Christmas Market, is free.

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  • Slava's Snowshow

    This dreamily anarchic clowning spectacular returns to the UK for the third time in three years, pitching up at the Royal Festival Hall for a Christmas season. Ages 8+.

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  • Hogwarts in the Snow

    Warner Bros studios are having a festive makeover and we’re secretly pretty excited about experiencing Christmas Potter-style. The Great Hall will be lined with Christmas trees, festooned with holly and filled with turkeys and plum puddings (plastic ones, unfortunately). Visitors can see the jumpers Molly Weasley gave Ron and Harry and Luna Lovegood’s Slug Club Christmas party dress and find out how a little bit of movie magic can make salt look like snow. Book online in advance; family and group tickets are available.

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  • The London Zoo Christmas Journey

    What sets this grotto apart from the rest is that your little ones can actually meet Santa’s reindeer – adding that extra touch of magic and wonder. In the daily keeper’s talk, you’ll find out why the critters all have to be of the female persuasion. Of course they’ll also meet Father Christmas, and carousel rides and other animal demonstrations complete the experience. Make sure to book your tickets in advance.

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  • Wetlands Winter Show

    At this weekend of family-friendly Christmas activities at the wonderful nature reserve you can enjoy a husky sleigh ride, pay a visit to Santa in his pine-forest grotto or meet a Polar Explorer in his Base Camp, hear his stories of adventure and make your own explorer's gadgets from recycled material. The Winter Wetland Show will explain what creates cold weather, and the amazing strategies different animals and birds use to survive it.
    Photo © Jamie Wyver

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  • The Snowman

    Birmingham Repertory Theatre's stage show for all the family based on Raymond Briggs's modern classic. A delight for kids, using dance, music and storytelling to summon up the feeling of walking in the air, with choreography by Robert North and featuring a full live orchestra.

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  • The Good Neighbour

    Children of various ages will be catered for in this site-specific theatrical event, returning after last year's successful run, that hopes to reveal a little about Battersea Arts Centre's Victorian building and its neighbours. Children five and under can play in a the BAC's new Bees Knees area; those six and over will be classed as 'young adventurers' and taken on a tour of the former town hall to explore its history; while children over 13 are deemed 'intrepid' and led on a more dramatic tour of Battersea. Families are encouraged to eat together before the adventure and then meet up afterwards.

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  • Covent Garden Christmas

    Centred around the piazza but also taking in some of the streets radiating from it, Covent Garden Christmas offers a wide range of festive treats, including the opening of a Lego advent calendar window every day from November 14 to December 22, and reindeer petting every Saturday (November 9 to December 21, noon-4pm). For more Christmas lights, see our feature.

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  • Natural History Museum Ice Rink

    London's most enchanting ice-rink: a 1,000-metre-square outdoor affair with a Christmas tree at its centre and a smaller rink for children. Returning this year is a rinkside fairground carousel, and spectators can take in the scene with a hot chocolate from the balcony café bar overlooking the ice. The trees are decked with thousands of fairy lights to add to the festive atmosphere.

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Christmas at Kew Gardens

Kew's annual, seasonal makeover has a spectacular sounding new addition for 2013. The Illuminated Trail sees the gardens transformed with a series of lighting installations created by artists from around the UK. Exploring the gardens on a leisurely stroll through the enchanted winter landscape takes around 75 minutes. During the evening openings there are also plenty of family-friendly attractions including a Victorian carousel and vintage rides, Santa's grotto and live festive music.

MORE INFO

  1. See our top ten as a gallery
  2. See our top ten as a list
  3. The best of the rest

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