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15 things to do this week that will make you love Christmas

Kyra Hanson

Guys, we don’t mean to alarm you, but Christmas is basically here. If you haven’t already belted out Mariah while you wrap Christmas gifts, don’t panic, there’s still time. From Santa’s grottos to fabulous Christmas light displays and twinkling ice rinks to alternative festive fairs, London is in full festive swing, so pull on your Santa hat and make the most of mulled wine season. Here are 15 thoroughly festive things to do this week: 

David Tett

Time Out Loves Christmas Movies

Is it really Christmas if you haven’t watched ‘Home Alone’, snuggled up in a blanket, with one hand clutching a mulled wine and the other deep in a box of chocolates? If this sounds like your kind of Christmas, come and see all your favourite festive flicks in our pop-up winter wonderland: ‘Time Out Loves Christmas Movies’. Lost Rivers Elephant. Until Dec 16. £17.

Christmas at Kew Gardens

Expect a flickering Fire Garden, kaleidoscopic projections and giant flora-inspired lights as you wander around the spectacular illuminations which have taken over Kew Gardens. You might want to dig your thermals out for this one. Kew Gardens. Until Mon Jan 1. £18.50, £12 concs, free under-fours. 

Christmas at Lee Valley White Water Centre

Slip and slide around this frosty ice rink, which has been given the Bavarian treatment this winter. Plus, get your mitts on stocking fillers and festive grub at the Christmas Market, take a turn on the funfair and don’t miss a trip to see Santa, who’ll be dishing out Christmas gift to anyone who’s managed to stay off his naughty list. Lee Valley White Water Centre. Prices Vary. Wed Dec 13-Sun Dec 24. 

London at Christmas Walk

If you’re short on time and low on Christmas spirit, this two-hour stroll taking in the capital’s most festive illuminations should have you humming Christmas songs in no time. Nelson’s Column (Trafalgar Square). Wed Dec 13-Sat Dec 30. £15, £7.50 11-15 years, free under-10s, £39 family. 

Christmas Gift Topper Workshop

Lose yourself in piles of paper pine needles, holly and berries and paper poinsettias and reemerge with a glorious present topper at this two-hour workshop. Just make sure you don’t scrimp on the presents inside all that fancy wrapping. Aida Shoreditch. Thu Dec 14. £40. 

Dennis Severs' House
© Roelof Bakker

Christmas Canopy Market at King’s Cross

Clutch (more) hot booze while you stock up on handmade soaps, unique jewellery, stylish homeware and artisan treats from this lovely canopy-covered Christmas market. West Handyside Canopy. Thu Dec 14-Sun Dec 17. Free. 

Vegan Christmas Night Market Camden

Calling all vegans of London! It might be eggnog and turkey season but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the festive treats. Grab a cup of deliciously creamy – yet cream-free – Besos de Oro (like Baileys, basically). Once suitably stimulated, shop for guilt-free gifts for your nearest and dearest (and yourself). Everyone deserves a bit of Christmas gluttony, after all. London Irish Centre. Fri Dec 15. Free. 

Enchanted Eltham Palace

Wend your way around a twinkling trail of medieval-themed illuminations in the grounds of this atmospheric art deco mansion, then warm up with a post-walk mulled wine. Eltham Palace. Fri Dec 15-Dec 23. £12, £7.50 child.

Vegan Christmas Night Market

Stepney City Farm Christmas Market

If you’re after the full Nativity-style stable experience this Yuletide, head to this lovely city farm. Once you’ve made pals with the animals, you can take part in crafts, enjoy a glass of mulled wine or three and listen to carols from the Evoke choir. Stepney City Farm. Fri Dec 15-Sat Dec 16. Free. 

Shrek’s Adventure! London Christmas Experience

Far Far Away has had a festive makeover and rolled up in London. Take little Shrek fans to meet the ogre and his merry band of mates. Well-behaved kids might even get a gift from the big man himself. Riverside Building. Sat Dec 16-Sun Dec 14. £23.40. 

Horniman Christmas Fair

Pick up all the ingredients you need to dish up a mind-blowing Christmas dinner from this festive farmer’s market, plus browse arts, crafts, gifts and treats for all ages. As well as the shopping, there’ll be mulled wine, workshops, festive tunes, craft breweries, music and dancing. Horniman Museum, Sat Dec 16. Free. 

Epping Forest Frost Fair

If you go down to the woods today, you’ll find a sleigh-bound Frost Queen and stalls peddling goods from local Chingford makers. Plus, there’s plenty of storytelling, seasonal singing and a woodland trail for the little ones and an ‘apres-ski’ style terrace for the big kids. The View. Sat Dec 16-Sun Dec 17. Free entry. £4 for five workshops. 

Christmas at Kew
Jeff Eden

NarnE8 Christmas Market

Make like Lucy and stumble through the wardrobe into this Narnia-inspired market in London Fields. You won’t bump into Aslan, but you can browse arts and craft stalls, listen to tunes from an eight-piece brass band and join workshops in gingerbread-making, herbal ointments and yoga – if all that Christmas shopping has got you stressed out (which it will). London Fields Primary School. Sun Dec 17. Free. 

Dennis Severs’ Annual Christmas Installation

While the glass and steel towers of Liverpool St are ever-expanding, this unsuspecting house is stuck in a time warp and now it’s all decked out for Christmas and ready for guests. Wander past freshly wrapped presents, while the sound of carollers echoes in your ears and the aroma of a Christmas dinner fills the air. It’s like the Huguenot family never left. Dennis Severs’ House. Until Thu Jan 4. £7-£55.

Twisted Christmas

If you hate mince pies, Cliff Richard and all things festive, you might be persuaded by this anti-Christmas boozy pop-up, which is encouraging Londoners to swap mulled wine for Icelandic-monster-inspired cocktails. 56 Peckham Rye. Until Sat Jan 6. Free. 

Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London.

Read our pick of the loveliest Christmas lights in London, the most festive ice rinks, the best Christmas markets, the most unusual Christmas events and more, including pantomimes, carol concerts and restaurants that are open on Christmas Day

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