As the wintry nights draw in, get a cosy festive glow at one of London's many joyful kid-friendly Christmas shows, whether you've got your inner child or actual children in tow. Traditionally, the first port of call for anyone who wants to keep grannies, dads and toddlers on side is visit to the pantomime: if that's what you're after, check out our comprehensive guide to the best pantos across London. But there plenty of other ways to keep everyone aged one to 101 entertained with a Christmassy theatre trip.
From the fringe to the West End, London's theatre scene is bursting with family-friendly shows that are bright and silly enough to delight kids, while offering enough wit, subtlety and festive nostalgia to satisfy adults too. Whether you're after an all-singing, all-dancing musical spectacular, an adaptation of a much-loved childrens' classic, or a thrilling circus adventure, London's theatres have got you (and your family) covered. Here's our guide to planning the perfect family theatre trip this festive season.
We'll be updating this page as more shows are announced
Are you after a show that's squarely aimed at kids? Check out our full guide to children's Christmas shows in London
Family Christmas shows in London
Even Scrooge would probably raise a smile at the Old Vic's wonderfully warm-hearted, extravagant take on Dickens' classic, adapted by 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' playwright Jack Thorne. It's back at the theatre for Christmas 2019 after making its debut last year.
We’re in a mini golden age of contemporary circus, with companies like Circa and Gandini Juggling injecting wit, ice-cool aesthetics and even (gasp!) feminism into a centuries-old genre…
Brolly-clutching supernanny Mary Poppins is floating back into the West End in late 2019, with the return of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's musical after an international tour, and capitalising on the recent success of the film sequel…
This festive show from Rose Theatre Kingston is a musical retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's icy adventure story 'The Snow Queen'. Seasoned kids' theatre Ciaran McConville writer stars his story in an orphanage, where teenage Gerda discovers that she has magic powers, and travels North to rescue her best friend. Its core cast will be backed up by local young actors from the Rose's Youth Theatre.
This stage version of the cheesy-but-lovable movie brings together a chorus of kids, festive songs, and a low-stakes plot about two rival primary teachers determined to stage the Nativity to end all Nativities.
This kids' show gallops off the beaten track by mixing gorgeously witty design with an inventive new take on Anna Sewell's story. 'Black Beauty' follows two famous pantomime horse artists who discover a well-thumbed book, and then tell the equine tales it contains in gag-filled style.
Park Theatre's Christmas show is a frosty jaunt through a festive favourite; Hans Christian Anderson's story of little Gerda's quest to rescue her friend Cei, who's kidnapped by the wicked snow queen. Writer Charles Way has pepped up the original story with talking reindeer and snowball fights, but this is still likely to be a more low key alternative to December's rash of bright and brash pantos. Ages five-plus.
Joel Horwood adapts Neil Gaiman’s 2013 novel about an man who returns to his childhood home and struggles to remember a strange past in which he and a young girl named Lettie fought against malign spirits. It’s recommended for ages 12-plus, with half-price-tickets for under-18s.
Actors flying on wires. Massive chunks of scenery. What could go wrong? Mischief Theatre have a few ideas. They're back this December with a now-traditional Christmas outing for their chaotic romp through 'Peter Pan', the follow-up to smash-hit comedy ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’. This year, it's playing the newly-renovated Ally Pally.
Hip choreographer Arthur Pita’s festive family dance show is a wonderfully gothic take on the Hans Christian Andersen story of a poor little match girl who is cast aside by her cruel neighbours on Christmas Eve.
The Bing Crosby film is a schmaltzy festive classic, so it's no surprise that a new production of the MGM musical is making it to the West End for Christmas. Directed by Nikolai Foster, this staging got great reviews when it opened at Curve, Leicester last year.
This family show puts a tongue-in-cheek eco spin on Hans Christian Anderson's much loved fairytale. 'Hansel and Gretel follows two Xboxing-addicted 21st century kids who enter a deep dark forest, where they meet a witch with a taste for sustainably sourced children. It's a musical with original songs, created by Orlando Wells and Leon Parris, and directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson. Ages six-plus.
Wilton's Music Hall is treating festival audiences to a puppet-filled new take on Charles Dickens’s endlessly-performed seasonal staple, produced by the team behind their Christmassy hit 'Box of Delights'. Here, Scrooge will be played by a woman, in what's apparently a first on the English stage.
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