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Cool Things to Do with the Kids this Christmas

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Get festive this winter with our guide to the best family-friendly activities

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Looking for family-friendly activities and virtual events to keep the kids happy during the Christmas holidays? Read our guide for places to visit and digital events to stream from the sofa.

Cool Things to Do with the Kids this Christmas

Frozen comes to Covent Garden

Children playing in snowy Covent Garden

Covent Garden and Disney reunite once again to introduce Frozen to the Piazza this Christmas. In addition to daily performances at the West End, visitors will be able to immerse themselves in Frozen-themed installations at Covent Garden, with 10 ice sculptures of characters from the story launching on 13 November. There will also be hourly live snow flurries alongside live performances of ‘Let It Go’ in the Frozen Forest between midday and 7pm. An extra flurry at 9.30pm will welcome those departing from the Frozen performance.

How?

Starts 9 November. Further information here

Santa’s Grotto with Peter Rabbit and Friends

centre.mk-Christmas-grotto

Get into the festive spirit with a brand new Peter Rabbit-themed Grotto launching this winter at centre:mk. As one of the largest grottos in the UK this Christmas, there will be plenty of festive fun for the little ones to enjoy. With selfie spots lighting up a Christmas trail, including a dazzling light installation of Rudolph the reindeer, a giant teddy bear and snowman, visitors can capture the moment that will last them a lifetime. Santa’s Grotto with Peter Rabbit™ and friends will also include an immersive theatrical performance where guests can meet all of their favourite characters such as Squirrel Nutkin, Mr. Tod and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, before meeting the main man himself.

How?

Santa’s Grotto with Peter Rabbit™ and friends will be open from 12 November to 24 December. Tickets cost £12.50 for children, £4.99 for adults and can be purchased here.

Suddenly a Star by the Story Museum

Suddenly A Star

The Story Museum presents Suddenly a Star, an enchanted storytelling performance for all the family to enjoy. The show tells the tale of an adult son who has to suddenly move back in with his mother as they begin to share traditional Christmas stories to cope with their new situation. Featuring donkeys, Christmas wishes, magical mice and wise grandparents – it’s a wonderful show not to be missed.

How?

Performances running from Wednesday 1 December to Sunday 2 January, £10 per person. Tickets can be purchased here.

Ice Skating at QUEENS

Queens-Ice-Skating

Celebrate the season in style at QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl this December, aiming to lift winter spirits. Returning with a beautifully illuminated ice rink, delicious winter warmer cocktails and festive feasting, QUEENS is London’s very own Neverland. The venue has plenty of Christmas-infused fun for all the family with penguin skate aids to help the little ones and a wide range of skates to suit all sizes.

How?

Book your ice skating session online with a specific starting time (sessions last one hour). Pre-booking starts from £11.95 for over 12s, £10.50 for under 12s and £2.75 for skate hire. QUEENS is an over 18s only zone after 8pm. Tickets can be purchased here.

The Gruffalo

Gruffalo

Residents of Norwich, Brentford and Northampton: immerse yourself in the live production of The Gruffalo, based on the classic book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Tall Studios has toured The Gruffalo both around the UK and world-wide beginning just 18 months after the book’s publication. A family-friendly show not to be missed.

How?

Norwich Playhouse 17-28 November; Watermans Art Centre Brentford 2-11 December; Royal & Derngate Northampton 13 December-2 January. Tickets from £12.50. Book your tickets online here.

Father Christmas & The Polar Express Storytime

Storystock Father Christmas

While life is slowly getting back to normal, visiting Santa’s grotto in person may still be tricky for some. So, Storystock has decided to continue working alongside Father Christmas to ensure the kids can still enjoy the magical experience in virtual form. Snuggle up in some cosy pyjamas and join the online immersive experience as Father Christmas reads his favourite story, The Polar Express, joined by his naughty little elf who will be creating make some fun decorations. Guests will also receive a downloadable activity pack with a festive drawalong from children’s author Sophy Henn, a delicious hot chocolate recipe from cook Thomasina Miers with plenty of Christmas games, festive music and hilarious jokes from comedian Gyles Brandreth.

How?

Available to stream every day from 1 December right through to Christmas Day itself. Prices are £5.98 for a Standard ticket and £12.50 for a First Class ticket which includes a personalised copy of The Polar Express sent directly to your door. Tickets can be purchased here.

KidZania Secret Christmas Experience

KidZania

Keep the festive spirit alive this Christmas with KidZania London and their exclusive Secret Christmas experience. Explore the secret winter wonderland as children need to crack the code for the secret password and find the hidden door to begin. Once inside, kids can celebrate the magical season at Elf School where they will learn how to make toys for children across the world, write their special Christmas cards and letters or create festive baubles to take home and hang on your beautiful Christmas tree. With Christmas cookie decoration masterclasses at Bekha’s Bakery, funky Christmas dance and music classes and a City Christmas parade the kids will be entertained for hours on end. In response to last year’s success, KidZania have decided to once again include a viewing of a pre-recorded Cinderella the pantomime with a professional cast and creative director from London’s West End – the perfect end to a truly magical day.

Digital Events to Tune into This Winter

How?

4 December – 31 December 2021. Prices are £45 per child and £31 per adult, but book early and you can save up to 20%! All Christmas packages include three hours at KidZania City, entrance to the secret Christmas area for approximately one hour, viewing of the pre-recorded Cinderella and a hot drink and sweet treat for each ticket holder. Tickets can be purchased here.

Christmas at Kew Gardens

Christmas at Kew

Jeff Eden

Kew Gardens is set to re-open with a magnificent display of Christmas lights for the eighth year running, as twilight falls and the magic begins. Bring the little ones to see the enchanting winter trail light up for 2021, taking a new route through the beautifully illuminated Rose Garden. Witness the sparkling tunnel of bells, magnificent trees wrapped in lights and the stunning treetop waterfall this winter or take a stroll to the beloved Temperate House immersed in Christmas colour. After walking through the dazzling Tunnel of Light, twinkling with thousands of fairy lights, indulge in delicious festive drinks and hot chocolate as you explore the wonderful gardens.

How?

Open Wednesday 17 November – Sunday 9 January 2022, 4-10 pm. Standard adult ticket off peak costs £21.50 while peak tickets cost £24.50, with family tickets also available to purchase. Book online at kew.org

Santa Sleepovers at Legoland Windsor Resort

Kids Activities - School Holidays

Join the festive fun this year at Legoland Windsor Resort, with a winter wonderland, dazzling Christmas lights, trees sprinkled with snow and lots of Lego magic. With plenty of activities for the kids to enjoy, this year will include a Duplo puppet pantomime, Lego friends carol singing and an amazing Holiday Harbour lights show featuring a special surprise guest. Although Father Christmas won’t be able to invite anyone into his Lego grotto this year, you can still see him exploring the magical park on his very own festive sleigh as families enjoy the fantastic rides and attractions Legoland has to offer.

How?

Packages include an overnight stay, delicious breakfast, one days entry to ‘LEGOLAND at Christmas’ including selected rides and Father Christmas driving his sleigh through the park. Resort Hotel guests also get a Lego-themed family room, access to Splash water play area and swimming pool and a special Christmas letter and Legoland gift for all children. Book to stay on the following dates: 26, 27 November, 3-5 December, 10-23 December 2021. legolandholidays.co.uk

A Christmas Carol, Old Vic: In Camera

The beloved Christmas tale of Ebenezer Scrooge returns to the Old Vic for its fifth year in a row, with a virtual adaption from Jack Thorne that children can enjoy cuddled up at home. This year sees Andrew Lincoln from Love Actually play the main role in the theatre adaptations of Charles Dickens’ timeless novel A Christmas Carol.

How?

Range of matinee and evening performances between 13 November – 8 January. Tickets range depending on performance: oldvictheatre.com

Lightopia

Blue circle light passageway

Lightopia returns to London this November, promising an incredible and unique experience for all the family. Christmas stories from around the world are told through spectacular, multi-sensory interactive installations and lights, ensuring that every spectator will be both dazzled and warmed.

How?

19 November – 2 January 2022, Crystal Palace Park. Off peak and peak tickets available, prices from £15.50 for children and £22.50 for adults. Family tickets also available. Buy tickets here.

LDO Panto in Wembley Park

London Designer Outlet brings pantomime to Wembley Park for the Christmas period. Transform a tedious Christmas shopping expedition into a fun family day out with this free pantomime performance. Actors will be performing pantomime classics such as Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella throughout December.

How?

Find them performing every hour from 2-23 December, Thursday-Sunday, 1-7pm and 24 December, 10am-4pm. wembleypark.com

Featured Image: Photo by Toni Cuenca on Unsplash

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