What To Book For Christmas – Before It Sells Out
THE FESTIVE EXTRAVAGANZA:
Christmas At The Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall pulls out all the stops for its Christmas showcase, and this year looks set to be no exception. The venue has been celebrating the festive season for 150 years, and to mark this milestone there are 14 events to choose from. Highlights include a festive evening with classical singer Katherine Jenkins, Home Alone in concert featuring a live orchestra, and Trevor Nelson’s Soul Christmas show featuring several of the UK’s best R&B acts. Birmingham Royal Ballet will also take to the stage for a production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker.
Kensington Gore, South Kensington, SW7 2AP; various dates throughout December
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol at Southbank Centre
Nothing says festive cheer like Dolly Parton’s Christmas music. The superstar country singer has written original songs for a new musical which will be performed at Southbank Centre. Inspired by Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the musical is set during the 1930s in the Great Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. Ebenezer Scrooge is the owner of a mining company town, where his callous greed blinds him to the joys and gifts of the season. As a Christmas Eve snowstorm approaches, Scrooge is visited by three ghosts who compel him to see life differently and discover that love is the greatest and most precious gift we have.
Belvedere Road, Southbank, SE1 8XX; 8th December-8th January
A Diamond Celebration at The Royal Opera House
Peter Wright’s magical production of The Nutcracker returns to the Royal Opera House this Christmas, but the standout production of the season is the Royal Ballet’s Diamond Celebration in November. Celebrating 60 years of the Friends of the Royal Opera House, the programme pays homage to some of the company’s best dancers, with classical and contemporary routines. Audiences will also see world premieres from renowned choreographers like Pam Tanowitz, Joseph Toonga and Valentino Zucchetti.
Bow Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD; 16th-19th November
The Nightmare Before Christmas at Wembley Arena
The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of our favourite festive films, so we were excited to hear Danny Elfman (composer and voice of Jack the Pumpkin King) will be singing songs from the film while it plays on the big screen at Wembley Arena. Taking place over two evenings in December, Elfman will be joined by the BBC Concert Orchestra and a few special guests to bring the 90s classic to life.
Engineers Way, Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0AA; 9th-10th December
Jack and the Beanstalk at the London Palladium
This Christmas, the home of pantomime will welcome back some stage favourites for its annual run of shows. This year’s production is Jack and Bean Stalk, starring Dawn French, Julian Clary and Alexandra Burke. As the story goes, Jack is a poor country boy who trades the family cow for a handful of magic beans which grow into an enormous beanstalk reaching up into the clouds. When Jack climbs the beanstalk, he finds himself in the castle of an unfriendly giant. Suitable for the whole family to enjoy, expect a little glitz and glamour in this new production.
8 Argyll Street, West End, W1F 7TF; 10th December-15th January
THE MAGICAL PRODUCTION:
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty at Sadler’s Wells
Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty was first performed at Sadler’s Wells ten years ago when it became the fastest-selling production in the company’s history. Now, the show has been revamped for 2022. But it’s not Sleeping Beauty as we know it. This is a gothic tale with magical fairies and vampires, where the timeless tale of good versus evil is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story with Princess Aurora at the centre. Will she ever find true love again?
Rosebery Avenue, Angel, EC1R 4TN; 29th November-15th January
THE FILM SCREENING:
Love Actually in Concert at Eventim Apollo
Festive favourite Love Actually will return to the Apollo for two screenings on Saturday 10th December. Visitors can watch the iconic Christmas film accompanied by a live orchestra – expect to hear songs by Dido, Norah Jones, Sugarbabes and Mariah Carey. In Richard Curtis’s Christmas classic, nine intertwined stories examine the complexities of the one emotion that connects us all: love.
5 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, W6 9QH; December 10th
THE LIGHT SHOW:
Christmas at Kew Gardens
Celebrating its ten-year anniversary, Kew’s winter trail is set to return with old favourites and new light installations. Visitors can expect bursts of colour and enchanting optics as they explore Kew’s Unesco World Heritage landscape after dark. Along the trail, which takes around 90 minutes to complete, you’ll find a tunnel covered with a canopy of glowing, colour-changing stars. Further along, the Cathedral of Light will twinkle with thousands of fairy lights for that all-important Instagram moment. Stop off at the food stalls along the way to try festive treats and boozy hot chocolate.
Richmond, TW9 3AE; from 16th November-8th January
THE ICE RINK:
The Christmas holidays don’t start until you’ve hit the rink at Somerset House. This year, older children can skate day or night as Radio 1 DJs set the vibe with fun music. Little ones (or those who need a helping hand) can take lessons at the Skate School with National Ice Skating Association instructors. Moët & Chandon will return with its chalet bar for champagne, and there will also be a pop-up from Hotel Chocolat where you can buy sweet treats from the ‘Chocmobile’ or book into chocolate workshops.
Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA; 11th November-15th January
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