Family Christmas shows in London 2018

Make Christmas even more magical with these all-ages shows that the whole family can enjoy
'Rumpelstiltskin' at Southbank Centre
'Rumpelstiltskin' at Southbank Centre
By Time Out London Theatre |
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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

Theatre, Children's

The Box of Delights

icon-location-pin Wiltons, St James'
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Written in 1935, a couple of years before ‘The Hobbit’ and more than six decades before ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’, John Masefield’s ‘The Box of Delights' is the great grandaddy of the magician-walks-unexpectedly-into-small-person’s-life genre of fantasy novels...

Time Out says
Theatre, Children's

The Selfish Giant

icon-location-pin Omnibus, Clapham
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Inspired by Oscar Wilde's famous fairy story, this magical family show centres on a lonely giant. She locks herself away in a cold, dark house, but gradually, the children who come to play in her garden start to thaw her heart. 'The Selfish Giant' is Omnibus's Christmas show for 2018, their follow-up to last year's 'Zeraffa Giraffa'. It's created by local companies Soup Soap Theatre and Tessa Bide Productions. Ages three-plus. 

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Theatre, Children's

Philip Pullman's Grimm Tales

icon-location-pin Unicorn Theatre, London Bridge
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Unicorn Theatre's Christmas show is a collection of the Grimm brothers' legendarily horrible, fantastical fairy stories, as retold by 'Northern Lights' author Philip Pullman. Featuring powerful witches, brave children and magical forest creatures, his bold reimaginings of the tales will be adapted for the stage by Philip Wilson, and directed by Kirsty Housley.

Theatre, Drama

Peter Pan

icon-location-pin Park Theatre, Finsbury Park
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Park Theatre are going trad with this year's Christmas show. It's a staging of 'Peter Pan' that uses J. M. Barrie's original 1904 text (i.e. it's not a panto) to tell the classic story of adventure and refusing to grow up. It's directed by Jonathan O'Boyle, who's helmed slick recent productions of 'Hair' and 'Pippin'.

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Theatre, Fringe

Cinderella and the Beanstalk

icon-location-pin Theatre 503, Battersea
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Sleeping Trees’s show ‘Cinderella and the Beanstalk’ is a mega-mix pantomime medley: a story that cooks up the adventures of all of your favourite fairytale heroes, heroines and villains into a stage stew and then adds a dash of panto pandemonium for extra kick.

Time Out says
Theatre, Children's

Hansel & Gretel

icon-location-pin Rose Theatre Kingston, Kingston Upon Thames
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A pair of sweet-stealing juvenile delinquents (sorry, we meant adorable moppets) are the stars of Rose Theatre Kingston's Christmas show. Ciaran McConville is adapting the story of Hansel and Gretel's journey through the forest, where they meet a terrifying witch who lives in a deliciously tempting edible house. Child performers from the Rose Youth Theatre star alongside professional actors in this magical festival performance, which includes original songs by Eamonn O'Dwyer. Rosie Jones directs.  

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Theatre, Children's

Horrible Christmas

icon-location-pin Alexandra Palace, Muswell Hill
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Alexandra Palace is finally reopening the doors of its massive, gloriously gilded 1875 theatre space after a lengthy refurb. And it should make the perfect setting for this family christmas treat. 'Horrible Christmas' looks at celebrations through the ages, from po-faced Puritans to 'treat yo'self' Tudors. It's all masterminded by Birmingham Stage Company, who've presided over nearly a decade's worth of hilariously gory adaptations of Terry Deary's history teacher-baiting books, stuffed with songs, jokes, and audience interaction. Children under four will not be admitted.

Music, Classical and opera

Hansel and Gretel

icon-location-pin Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
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The Royal Opera House is launching a new production of 'Hansel and Gretel' just in time for Christmas, directed and designed by Antony McDonald. This operatic take on a fairy story is the work of composer Humperdinck and his sister, the librettist Adelheid Wette. Their 1893 work mixes traditional folksongs with lush, sweeping Romantic orchestration, bringing an epic feel to the classic story of two kids who get lost in a vast forest. 

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Theatre, Children's

Rumpelstiltskin

icon-location-pin Southbank Centre, South Bank
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This cabaret-tinged musical is a fabulous new spin on the story of 'Rumpelstiltskin' that's sure to delight older kids and teens. Australian cabaret star Paul Capsis will play the wicked, shape-shifting imp who sets impossible tasks - but gets his comeuppance when he finds out that there's more to life than gold. 

Theatre, Circuses

Circus 1903

icon-location-pin Royal Festival Hall, South Bank
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Take a trip back to circus’s belle époque heyday – sans animal cruelty – with this Vegas-honed spectacular full of daredevil performers from across the globe and, in the big USP, giant puppet elephants who’ll wow family audiences aged three-plus in a totally ethical style.

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