Winter at Southbank Centre guide

Cider, carols and a Christmas market at Wintertime at Southbank Centre – it's all happening down by the river this winter
Southbank Centre Wintertime 2018
Rebecca Brindle
By Time Out London Things To Do |

The Southbank Centre plays host to one of London’s most spectacular winter events. See the Thames-side arts venue get magically transformed into a festive wonderland with a brilliant Christmas market full of stalls packed with festive treats and gifts, and a stage area where you can feast your eyes on some enchanting Christmas performances. Make sure you take a look at our picks below so you don't miss one of the magical seasonal events in London.

What is Winter at Southbank Centre 2018?

This year's Christmas celebrations at Southbank include yuletide markets, magical lights, sensational family workshops, and plenty of festive entertainment. The standout shows for 2018 include a charming new spin on the fairytale of ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ complete with rock songs and stunning costumes, and ‘Circus 1903’ - an ambitious show featuring life-sized animal puppetry, trapeze artists, acrobats, contortionists and more. You name it, the show's got it. There’s also plenty of brilliant evening performances to the bill too. Comedy cabaret trio Glittery Clittery who will be serving up feminist and festive song, dance with ‘an explosion of sequins’, there will be a day-long celebration of London's drag scene, Coronation Street’s Maureen Lipman will be putting on a set of sketches, monologues, and jokes. Or see comedian Mawaan Rizwan dishing out LOLs. 

Keep an eye out for free festive workshops, including the Jumper for Joy - make your own Christmas jumper class - and plenty of live music including a night curated by the brilliant Nest Collective. 

Take little ones to Caribbean Christmas for traditional performances, storytelling and a party, or head to the Snow Ball in your finest fancy dress to strut your stuff down the People's Catwalk. Bring along your dancing shoes so you can show off your stuff in the Strictly Winter Ballroom, or consider what home means to different people during this season with Streetwise Opera & Kinetika.

When is Winter at Southbank Centre 2018?

Southbank Centre's Winter Festival runs from November 9 until January 6 2019. The majority of the Centre is open from 10am-10pm daily. The Southbank Centre is normally entirely closed on Christmas Day, with outdoor attractions staying closed on New Year's Eve. 

Where is Winter at Southbank Centre 2018?

The nearest train and tube station to the Southbank Centre is Waterloo (Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee and Waterloo and City Underground lines). Embankment (Circle and District) and Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo) are just a short walk across a big river away. Many bus routes stop nearby or you can even arrive by boat to Festival Pier.

During the festive period, many public transport services will have reduced timetables so make sure you've checked how you'll be travelling around London over Christmas and New Year.

Is there an entry fee? 

The Winter Market is free to wander through, as are many of Southbank Centre’s festive events are too. Some events are ticketed. 

RECOMMENDED: Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London

Wintertime at Southbank Centre: the highlights

Things to do, Markets and fairs

Southbank Centre Winter Market

icon-location-pin Southbank Centre, South Bank

You’ll find plenty more than baubles and gingerbread to tempt you in the wooden chalets that will make up the Southbank Centre Wintertime Market this year. Stock up on festive food and tipples, unique gifts, stocking fillers and treats. 

Theatre, Circuses

‘Circus 1903’

icon-location-pin Royal Festival Hall, South Bank

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.

Theatre, Children's


icon-location-pin Southbank Centre, South Bank

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. 

© Southbank Centre
Things to do, Quirky events

Strictly Winter Ballroom

icon-location-pin Royal Festival Hall, South Bank

Get on your dancing shoes for Strictly Winter Ballroom, where you can bop, hop and rock your way around the Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall. 

Southbank Centre, New year's eve
© Clem Onojeghuo
Things to do, Fireworks

New Year's Eve Spectacular

icon-location-pin Southbank Centre, South Bank

You’ll find six themed pop-up nightclubs within the Royal Festival Hall on New Year’s Eve, each pumping music from a different decade. Live orchestras, DJs, dance classes and photo studios will also be dotted across the venue and London’s skies will sparkle when the fireworks kick off.

Find more Christmas fun in the capital

Things to do, Ice skating

Ice skating in London

Whether you dance on ice like Christopher Dean or scramble around like Bambi, the capital's ice rinks are magical locations

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