SEE A FAMILY-FRIENDLY SHOW: Peacock Theatre
Twinkling with festive spirit, The Snowman has returned to the stage for a record-breaking 21st year. Based on the book by Raymond Briggs, this performance has transported a generation of children and their families into the wintery world of a boy and his magical snowman. With music and lyrics by Howard Blake, including the classic ‘Walking in the Air’, The Snowman is a heart-warming mix of dance, spectacle, storytelling, splendid sets and music performed by a live orchestra. Don’t forget the tissues.
Portugal Street, Covent Garden, WC2A 2HT; until 6th January
FEEL WINTERY: 45 Jermyn St
This month, 45 Jermyn St welcomes a new menu crammed with warming plates and tempting tipples perfect for ‘Betwixtmas’ meet-ups. Dishes include the likes of burrata with radicchio and black truffle honey; grilled bones with slow-cooked ox cheek soldiers, dusted with parmesan; and braised venison shoulder rigatoni served with red cabbage and pecorino. The ‘Indica Up’ is a one-of-a-kind cocktail. To reduce waste, vintage champagne that has lost its fizz is paired with leftover bar garnish zest to create a citrus oil cordial called ‘Champagne Oleo Saccharum’. Topped with pomegranate sorbet, ginger beer, Cherry Heering, cognac and lemon, this zesty cocktail will pull you out of your Christmas slump in no time.
45 Jermyn Street, St James's, SW1Y 6JD
GO FOR A WALK IN THE WOODS: Kew Gardens
Now in its sixth year, Kew Gardens’ winter trail is bigger than ever, with over 1m twinkling pea-lights and thousands of laser beams. Guests will walk under arches into a world festooned with seasonal cheer and beneath tree canopies covered in Christmas colour. New this year, guests can enter the moonlit woods and step into a ‘Laser Garden’ where refracting lines of light bounce across the branches. Don’t miss the vintage fairground rides and remember to keep an eye out for Santa’s elves along the way.
Kew Gardens, Richmond, TW9 3AB; until 5th January
WATCH THE NUTCRACKER: Royal Albert Hall
Following a critically-acclaimed season in 2017, Birmingham Royal Ballet brings its specially-created version of this Christmas classic back to the Royal Albert Hall at the end of the month. Guests will join Clara in the Victorian setting of her family home. As midnight strikes, Clara’s nutcracker doll and his army of toy soldiers come to life for a spectacular battle. Clara is swept away through a winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes to the kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Expect a spectacular setting, grand ensemble pieces and soaring Tchaikovsky score, played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Kensington Gore, Kensington, SW7 2AP; 28th-31st December
GO TO A PANTO: London Palladium
Dawn French stars alongside returning Palladium royalty Julian Clary, Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot for this year’s must-see panto. They’re joined by Strictly Come Dancing’s Vincent and Flavia, plus West End and Broadway star Charlie Stemp and Over The Rainbow’s Danielle Hope as Snow White. This show is brought to you by the same team behind last year’s Olivier Award-winning pantomime – we’ve heard great things.
8 Argyll Street, Soho, W1F 7LA; until 13th January
EAT A FINAL FESTIVE AFTERNOON TEA: The Dorchester
See off Christmas in style with a festive champagne afternoon tea at The Dorchester. Guests can enjoy freshly-baked scones, festive pastries specially created by new executive pastry chef Sarah Barber and a chilled glass of champagne. Highlights include a ‘Santa’s Hat’ gingerbread panna cotta with mulled wine jelly and a ‘Christmas Bauble’ cinnamon spiced apple compote, streusel crumble and vanilla custard.
53 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1QA; until 4th January
HEAD TO LONDON’S BEST CINEMA: Prince Charles Cinema
Had your fill of festive films? Head to the Prince Charles Cinema, the Leicester Square indie cinema which shows a rotating programme of cult, arthouse, and classic films alongside recent Hollywood releases. In the period between Christmas and New Year, the cult cinema will be showing classics such as Some Like It Hot and West Side Story, plus recent hits Ladybird, Isle of Dogs, Call Me By Your Name and Moonlight.
7 Leicester Place, Covent Garden, WC2H 7BY; until 31st January
VISIT ‘WINTER’S A DRAG’: Southbank Centre
Fed up with the cold? Can’t face another day at home with your family? Top up your seasonal cheer at this day-long event with London’s best drag kings and queens. Meet world’s number one ecologically friendly bearded drag lady Timberlina for songs, stories and a chance to sign your very own pledge to be green in 2019. Elsewhere, the Cocoa Butter Club will drag you out of your winter slumber with creative activities for all the family; the award-winning Rhys' Pieces will host drag queen dance classes; and drag king Chiyo will grace the stage to read poetry for children.
Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX; 29th December
HUM ALONG TO YOUR FAVOURITE FILM SCORES: The Barbican
A world-class arts and learning centre, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. It’s very easy to while away an afternoon or evening here when it’s cold outside (check out its current exhibition Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde), but we’re most excited about its forthcoming The Best of John Williams concert. From E.T. to Star Wars and beyond, the evening will be packed full of the Hollywood heavyweight’s most celebrated and iconic music. Make sure to grab a drink in the martini bar beforehand.
Silk Street, Farringdon, EC2Y 8DS; 27th December
GET YOUR SKATES ON: Natural History Museum
Set against the backdrop of the Waterhouse building, the ice rink at the Natural History Museum is one of the most wintery places to be this season. Surrounded by fairy lights and frost-covered trees, the open-air rink continues to be one of the capital’s most popular. We like the Café Bar, which has a bird's-eye view over the skaters and is open until the rink closes – guests can warm up with tea, coffee, hot chocolate and mulled wine. Make sure to see the museum’s crowd-pleasing Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition while you’re there.
Cromwell Road, Kensington, SW7 5BD; until 20th January