Alternative Christmas events in London

Weird and wonderful events in London this Christmas for Santa-lovers and scrooges alike



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'La Soiree'

'La Soiree'

Eschew the traditional mince pies and carols in favour of something a little more memorable this year, whether you'd prefer something sporty, sedate or terribly silly.


Wacky, mischievous, imagination-fuelled company Little Bulb may be an inspired choice for this year's Christmas show at Battersea Arts Centre. Their music-infused adult shows are often a heap of silliness and fun, which will hopefully translate particularly well for the kiddies. 'Antarctica' features a trio of performers and puppets who mount an expedition to the South Pole in search of fantastical creatures.

  1. Battersea Arts Centre Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN
  2. Tue Dec 23 - Sun Jan 4
More info

Christmas Light Trail at Hampton Court

Wander through the beautiful palace gardens and its famous maze after dark with the help of an interactive light trail which reacts to your route and actions. The illuminations on a trail through the gardens will bring the trees and plants to life as you pass, and the East Front of the palace itself will be lit with colours that change according to audience movement. Seasonal food and drink will be available for those you exhaust themselves while jumping about in the light sensors. Book in advance.

  1. Hampton Court Palace East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Tue Dec 23
More info

Edward Scissorhands

  • Critics choice

Matthew Bourne's classic dance adaptation of Tim Burton's gothic film starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder 'Edward Scissorhands' returns to Sadler's Wells this Christmas. It tells of the poor creature who has hands from scissors who struggles for acceptance in a small town. Bourne has taken a fresh look at the show for its first major revival since its premiere production in 2005. Danny Elfman's music and Terry Davies's sets remain, as will, presumably, Bourne's accessible, exciting choreography.

  1. Sadler's Wells Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4TN
  2. Tue Dec 23 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Eric and Little Ern

Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens’s pleasant Morecambe and Wise tribute show was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. Now it’s been promoted – probably a splash beyond its means – as it settles in to the West End for a seasonal stint. It’s a lo-fi affair that weaves a host of Eric and Ern’s classic lines and routines into a sweetly understated scenario in which recently deceased Ernie Wise (Ashpitel) is greeted in the afterlife by the puckish spectre of his former partner in crime, Eric Morecambe (Stephens). They reminisce; they bicker; they have a bit of a sing-song; that’s kind of it.

  1. St James Theatre 12 Palace St, SW1E 5JA
  2. Tue Dec 23 - Sun Jan 11
More info

The Hidden House

Take a magical tour through the enchanted woods and into this fairytale house which holds a dark secret. As you try to discover the truth behind Red Riding Hood's disappearance, the maze you explore will rustle and whisper and you'll be immersed in the sounds and smells of the forest. Could the Big Bad Wolf be right behind you? Hopefully a 15-minute journey is long enough to find out, though to be honest it sounds like only the steel-nerved could stick it out for longer. Tours of the Hidden House are suitable for all ages, and an 'extreme experience' is available for those aged 12 and over.

  1. Westfield Stratford City Great Eastern Road, E20
  2. Until Sun Jan 4
More info

La Soirée

'La Soiree' returns in 2014 and plays in the Spiegeltent on the South Bank. We have seen this show many times, including in its former guise as 'La Clique' both here and at the Hippodrome (now being refurbished as a casino). It hasn't lost any of its punch. The whole audience is treated to a breathtaking melée of burlesque, vaudeville and circus sideshow. Some performers astound with feats of physical nerve and endurance; others charm with character sketches and slapstick. The seamless production allows no time for you to pick your jaw up from the floor before the next act takes to the stage.

  1. Spiegeltent at the South Bank Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Skate at Somerset House

The grand eighteenth-century courtyard at Somerset House is a truly stunning location for a session on the ice this winter, and no matter how impressive your skating skills a trip to this 900-metre-square outdoor rink will look the very picture of festive fun in the photos. Plenty of tempting extras are available to make your visit even more special: the Fortnum's Lodge will offer champagne, afternoon tea and even private dining; Club Nights will feature DJs from Ministry of Sound (Nov 14), Vintage (Nov 26) and Lovebox (Dec 12) among many others; and Glad Tidings Tuesdays offer a seriously merry evening of traditional Christmas entertainment and treats.

  1. Somerset House Strand, WC2R 1LA
  2. Until Sun Jan 11
More info

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Who could be better to play the wicked stepmother in a panto version of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' than leggy blonde model, UK celebrity adoptee and erstwhile girlfriend of Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall? Richmond Theatre pull in their patron for a stint on the stage this Christmas as Hall stars in her first panto. Hall's no stranger to the boards though, having starred in 'The Graduate', 'Love Letters' and 'High Society' before. Let's hope she can bring some high camp hijinks to this xmas show. Find more pantomimes in London

  1. Richmond Theatre The Green, TW9 1QJ
  2. Mon Dec 22 - Sun Jan 11
More info

Vauxhall Christmas Tree Maze

Hundreds of locally-sourced, fairy light-decked Nordmann Firs have been carefully arranged to create this festive maze, which covers nearly a square kilometre of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. Visitors who work their way to the middle will get to meet a very special Christmassy guest. The maze is neighboured by an outdoor ice rink, street food stalls, a cabin bar and a craft market. Booking recommended.


Forget the frozen north – the place you’ll want to be this Christmas is the cool east or, to be more specific, Winterville in Victoria Park. Never heard of it? That’s not surprising as this magical temporary kingdom isn’t set to come into existence until December 2. When it materialises, though, it’ll make you feel all warm and fuzzy right through to New Year’s Eve. Combining east London’s creative energy and talent drawn from across Europe, this new winter destination is aimed at all ages. The idea is that it will be somewhere kids will clamour to visit, while parents will be more than happy to indulge them.

  1. Victoria Park Victoria Park Rd, E3 5SN
  2. Until Thu Jan 1
More info

Users say


One of the best alternatives is to have a tropical themed party. Many of our clients venuture down this road and it works as an antidote to the cold winter. Guests enter the party and enjoy rum punch and a live steel drum band with just 3 players performing and creating the illusion of a tropical paradise. You can also source my favourite rum in the U.K to make your punch, it is called Sunset Rum and is the strongest on the market. Retailers are charging extortionate prices for it, so you will need to shop around, but it is worth the effort.

Wonder Hill
Wonder Hill

DONT FORGET!! WONDER HILL HANDMADE AND VINTAGE MARKET!! we are running Saturday 3rd, 10th and 17th from The Miller, 96 Snowsfields Road, London Bridge SE1 3SS and have the most amazing range of handmade and vintage designer maker products on sale to make your Christmas an individual and special one and to help you beat high street woes :) Entry is FREE, we offer student discount AND free mince pies!! brilliant! 11.30am - 5pm.

Christmas in London

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Visit our guide to Christmas in London