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Family Christmas shows in London

Our guide to the best family-friendly shows and children's theatre this Christmas

Alastair Muir
'The Snowman'

Make Christmas more magical with a trip to one of London's many family-friendly Christmas shows. There's theatre big and bright enough to keep little ones enthralled and performances sweet and subtle enough to entertain the whole family. Find the one that all of your lot will love and book tickets so you don't miss out.

Around the World in 80 Days

Excellent theatre director Lucy Bailey moves away from the bloodthirsty in her 'Titus Andronicus' over to something a little more family friendly. 'Around the World in 80 Days' is an adaptation of Jules Verne's classic novel by Laura Eason - a writer for hit Netflix series 'House of Cards'. The story follows Phileas Fogg as he makes his way round the world in a limited amount of time (80 days, to be exact) with his trusty valet Passepartout.

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St James Theatre, St James's Park Thursday November 26 2015 - Sunday January 17 2016

Ben Hur

The epic novel 'Ben Hur' is being staged by the same people behind long-running funny West End hit 'The 39 Steps'. Four actors take on all the characters in General 'Lew' Wallace's classic book - made into a film starring Charlton Heston in 1959. There will, apparently be an entirely authentic sea battle, a bona fide chariot race and a Roman orgy for all ages. This will likely be a madcap, merry send up of the original tale of Ben Hur's quest for revenge against the Romans.

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Tricycle, Kilburn Thursday November 19 2015 - Saturday January 9 2016


Cats will return for Christmas 2015 with a new cast headed by Beverley Knight as Grizabella. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Cats’, which ran for 21 years at the New London Theatre back in the days when people presumably had more money for drugs, is a stupendously weird piece of musical theatre.

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London Palladium, Soho Friday October 23 2015 - Saturday January 2 2016

Elf the Musical

Will Ferrell's comic turn as the human who thinks he's an elf in the film 'Elf' is a firm Christmas TV favourite. Now though, the story is heading for the bright lights and wooden boards of the West End.  Thomas Meehan, Bob Martin, Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin's new musical version is heading to the Dominion Theatre over Christmas 2015. The revelation that 'Elf' has somehow managed to charge the highest ticket prices ever for a West End musical has slightly harshed the buzz of anticpation, but for those as can afford it, the show – which stars Ben Forster and Girls Aloud‘s Kimberley Walsh – should be a highlight of the season.  

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Dominion Theatre, Fitzrovia Saturday October 24 2015 - Saturday January 2 2016

The Lorax

The Old Vic's 2015 Christmas show this year is a new adaptation of Dr Seuss's intriguing storybook 'The Lorax' from David Grieg. The moustachioed Lorax is on a mission to protect the world from a tree-chopping, greedy businessman. Max Webster, who directed 'To Kill a Mockingbird' at the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park directs. For all ages.

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Old Vic, Southwark Wednesday December 2 2015 - Saturday January 16 2016

The Nutcracker on Ice

The Imperial Ice Stars' 'Nutcracker On Ice' returns to London, this time to the Royal Albert Hall where it has been redesigned to fit the venue. The performers tell the tale of Marie, who gets a special Christmas gift when her favourite doll comes to life on Christmas Eve. It's classic seasonal stuff and likely to delight the kids.  

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Royal Albert Hall, Knightsbridge Monday December 28 2015 - Saturday January 2 2016

Slava's Snowshow

This review is of the show's 2014 run. 'Slava's Snowshow' returns over Christmas in 2015. Some people are wary of Christmas for good reason. Others – and this camp could really do us all a favour by giving themselves a stern talking to – bemoan things like 'the fuss' and 'those pesky pine needles that fall off the tree'.

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Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Wednesday December 16 2015 - Sunday January 3 2016