Active Activities Art Free Music Outdoors

What’s on in London for families in December 2019

We've done our usual pick (and then some) of top family friendly events and activities to keep toddlers, teens and parents happy.
The Young Londoner at Winter Wonderland

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and we’ve got you covered when it comes to family friendly festivities (we’ve even catered to those Bah Humbug amongst us!). From London family friendly shows theatre and panto to light installations, Christmas trails and twinkly lights, circus performances, exhibitions and more. If you have a young Londoner and live or want to visit the capital this December, we have plenty of ideas to keep the whole family happy.

Family total immersion: Lift off

Calling all Musical Astronauts! Are you ready to ride in a rocket, dance among the stars, and walk on the Moon? Then fasten your seatbelts and join the sensational BBC Symphony Orchestra as they go on a magical musical journey into space. With lots of workshops, storytelling and crafts this is a fun day for the whole family
When: 1 December from 12pm for family friendly activities with the concert starting at 2:30pm
Where: Barbican
How much: £5 for under 18s and from £10 for adults. More info here.

Sunday Spot Playspace

Artist Jemma Egan has designed a loose-parts kit to explore our emotional attachment to objects in our everyday lives. Drop in to the studio to relax and play with objects themed around non-human family members such as a robot pet dog named Aibo. Sessions are self-directed and open to all, but cater specifically towards children aged 0-5 years.
When: 1 December 2-4pm
Where: South London Gallery
How much: free more info here.

Built together

Alexandra Hughes, an artist and educator takes this family friendly workshop and playfully encourages little Londoners to create their own large scale buildings out of cardboard. Get creative with your structures, work together and make complex buildings in unusual forms and shapes. Create a city and then walk around it.
When: 1 December 2-4pm
Where: Parasol Unit
How much: £2 per child £3 per adult. More info and booking here.

Christmas Carol – A Fairy Tale 

1838, London. Jacob Marley is dead. And so is Ebenezer Scrooge. In this version of Dickens’s story Ebenezer died young, but his sister Fan married Marley and, as his widow, has now inherited his money lending business. She has become notorious as the most monstrous miser ever known, a legendary misanthrope, lonely, and despised by all who cross her path until on the eve of Christmas Fan Scrooge will be haunted by three spirits.
When: 29 November – 4 January
Where: Wilton’s Music Hall
How much: £12.50 – £36 full price, £10 – £32 concessions. More info and booking here

The magic of Xmas at London Zoo

Young Londoners can become Keepers’ Little Helpers – joining Santa’s elves in preparing Christmas surprises for some of the 18,000 animals to enjoy. Families can journey through a festive wonderland to meet Santa in his magical grotto at the heart of the Zoo, taking home a festive family portrait and special gift. And there will be lots of festive treats throughout the site including family movies, chalets serving up treats for all ages (mulled wine for the adults and hot chocolate for the little ones) and more.
When: from 30th November til 24 December
London Zoo
How much: prices start from £12 as well as the usual entry fee. More info and bookings here.

Storytime with Santa

Santa will read a special Christmas story to children (in small groups) after which they will have a personal visit in his Grotto to tell him their Christmas wish and receive a gift. As a special thank you for supporting our Story Time with Santa sessions you’ll receive a voucher for a free Bill’s Restaurant Greenwich child’s hot chocolate – what better way to treat your precious little one after their visit to Santa!
When: 2-6 December 9am til 4:30pm
Greenwich market
How much: £7 per child (includes hot chocolate voucher, a gift and story time with Santa.) More info and booking here.

Toddler climbing sessions

A brand new sessions for the climbers of tomorrow where daredevil toddlers aged 2-4 can find their feet and learn to climb. These sessions also offer specific sensory facilities allowing children to play and learn together.
When: Mondays to Fridays during term time 10:15am – 11:30am
Where: Clip n Climb Chelsea
How much: from £5.50 more info and booking here

Early Years Storytelling

Come along to Brompton Cemetery’s Early Years Storytelling in the Chapel. Aimed at younger children there will be singing and stories to keep babies and parents entertained! 
When: 4 December 10:30
Where: Brompton Cemetery
How much: free

Father Christmas at the Hall

Father Christmas once again returns to his secret London headquarters at the Royal Albert Hall. In this theatrical walk-around event, children will encounter a range of magical North Pole characters in various spaces of the Hall on their way to meet Father Christmas himself. Expect live music, puppetry and a chance to make your own stuffed toy (with some help from and elf).
When: 5th til 22nd December
Where: Royal Albert Hall
How much: from £30 more info and booking here.

Squidsoup light Installation

Seems like the team at Squidsoup have been rather busy. This time they have created a swirling, sweeping swarm of light and sound suspended from the iconic ceiling of Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer in an immersive new artwork. Consisting of 200 beautiful orbs, the work creates the impression of sounds and light presences in motion. This piece by Squidsoup is a continuation of a series of works that include Kew Gardens’ Bloom, Salisbury Cathedral’s Wave, and Desert Wave from Burning Man. Sound by Emma Gillespie.
When: 6 Dec – 5 Jan 2020
Where: Southbank Queen Elizabeth Hall
How much: free

Gingerbread City 

The Museum of Architecture is bringing back the hugely popular Gingerbread City exhibition at London’s Somerset House and this year’s theme is ‘transport’ with top architects, engineers and designers expected to use their expertise and baking genius to create a gingerbread-based urban landscape that explores new ways of moving around our densely populated cities. Festive family gingerbread house-making workshops take place every day during the exhibition, so you can have a go at making one yourself. 
When: 7 Dec – 5 Jan 2020
Somerset House
How much: £9 for adults , £7 for under 12s and under 3s go free. More info and booking here.

Family Takeover: Make & Create

Enjoy playful multi sensory activities inspired by the Marvellous and Mischievous: Literature’s Young Rebels exhibition. A selection of children’s books are available to read and even perform if you wish! Discover a range of materials on hand to inspire you to make, create and invent something to take home.Plus don’t forget to pick up the Building Family Trail to explore the Library through puzzles, drawings and games.
When: 7 December 12 til 4pm
British Library
How much: free

Family Films 

From Mary Poppins to Paddington Bear, London is the star of the show in many family favourite films and now is your chance to see them. Suitable for 4+yrs, younger siblings welcome, all children should be accompanied by an adult
When: 7 Dec 2pm-5pm
Where: New London Architecture
How much: free more info here.

The Snowman

©Tristram Kenton

Raymond Briggs’ festive favourite The Snowman continues to entertain generation after generation and this year’s performance from the Birmingham Repertory will transport young Londoners to a wintery wonderland for a festive adventure.
When: running til 5 Jan 2020
Where: Peacock Theatre
How much: £18 – £55 more info and booking here.

Christmas Storytelling

Cosy up for a magical retelling of the classic fairy tale The Elves and the Shoemaker with Sandal Sticks Theatre, using storytelling, song and puppetry. A talented shoemaker works tirelessly to support his shoemaking business, but the village people would much rather get shoes from the big shops in town.  With only one small piece of felt left, he goes up to bed with a sigh. But when he wakes up the next morning the felt has disappeared, and in its place is the most wonderful pair of shoes.  But who could have made them?
When: Saturday and Sunday 7, 8 and 14, 15 December 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm
Horniman Museum
How much: Child £5 and adults £2.50. More info and booking here.

Intergenerational Studio: The elements

Inspired by materials and ideas from the current Olafur Eliasson: In real life exhibition and Loose Parts Play, Intergenerational Studio: The Elements is a space to enjoy the journey of exploring materials and ways of making together, devised collaboratively by artist Albert Potrony and Learning Assistants from the Early Years and Families’ team.
When: 7 & 8 December 11 til 4pm
Where: Tate Modern
How much: free more info here.

Family Studio: Art of the circus

Join in this family friendly studio day and get familiar with the first woman to become a full Royal Academician, Laura Knight. Get inspired by her circus drawings and paintings and then get arty making your own.
When: 8 December 11am – 3pm
Where: Royal Academy of Arts
How much: free more info here.

Children inspired by yoga

Award-winning, multi-sensory, yoga-inspired classes involving storytelling, music and movement. Perfectly balanced with relaxation and calm so that children can learn to self-regulate and become physically and emotionally confident.
When: 8 Dec 10:30 – 11:15
Jewish Museum
How much: £4 per child

Christmas Fayre at the farm

Come to see Santa arrive on horseback with his elf-mates and donkeys. Children will love Santa’s Grotto, Goat Grooming, Face Painting and Festive Arts. The Christmas Café will be selling scrumptious bakes & cakes (and mulled wine too). There’ll be live music, lucky dip, raffle, tombola and lots of seasonal fun.
When: 8 Dec from 12 til 4 
Where: Kentish City Farm
How much: adults £1 children £0.50 more info here.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

The puuurfect Christmas treat as Judith Kerr’s classic tail is brought to life by David Wood. Join Sophie and her mum in entertaining their fur-iend. And prepare for the unexpected as anything is pawsiible with this clawmsy tiger. 
When: 9 December til 19 Jan 2020
Where: Theatre Royal Haymarket
How much: from £14.50 more info and booking here. Babes in arms of 18 months and below don’t need a ticket for this production

Little Feet

Greek heroines and heroes, goddesses and gods plus a monster or two. A fun filled day where little ones can explore the twists and turns of Greek Mythology whilst their adults enjoy the Troy exhibition for free.
When: 12 December 10:30 -12:00
Where: British Museum
How much: free more info here.

Caribbean Christmas with Just Vibez

Soak up the spirit of the islands at a festive family party featuring traditional music, stories, performances and DJs. Warm up your winter with calypso, parang and more typical Caribbean Christmas fare.
When: 14 December 4:30pm
Where: Southbank Centre
How much: free

A Georgian Christmas

It’s Christmas at John Wesley’s House! Join the residents as they prepare for the festivities. Have a go at lace making, try some seasonal food and see the House traditionally decorated for the season and there’s a Christmas trail and craft activities.
When: 14 December 11am-3pm
Where: John Wesley’s House
How much: free

Circus Festival

Loads on for the whole family including lots of circus shows, free circus workshops for adults and youths, face-painting, side show games, an under 5’s circus room and music.
When: 14 & 15 December
Where: Aircraft Circus Academy, Greenwich
How much: £14 for an adult with kids under 5 years free. More info and bookings here.

Family Day

Create some Keats inspired decorations and help put the final touches to the house and generally revel in poetry. 
When: 15 December 2pm til 4pm
Where: Keats House
How much: free 

Family Fun Day

Get in the Christmas spirit at Poplar with a Santa’s Grotto, decoration making workshops, a film screening of family favourite, A Muppet Christmas Carol and more.
When: 15 December 11am til 3:30pm
Where: Poplar Union
How much: free more info here.

The Little Prince

Narrated by a stranded pilot in the middle of the desert, the Little Prince tells the tale of an alien that leaves behind the tiny asteroid it calls home to journey through the universe coming face to face with the baffling world of grown-ups! Have you ever heard of a king who reigns over nothing? Or a businessman obsessively counting stars? Well now is your chance. The show is recommended for ages 5 and above. 
When: 17 Dec – 24 Dec
Where: The Place
How much: £14 adults and £8 for children more info and booking here

Christmas Crafts and Singalong

A festive craft making session followed by a carol sing song at Lauderdale House. Children of all ages can get involved, with inspiration and materials provided to make their very own decorations and cards. As always there will be Christmas Lanterns to show off at Lauderdale’s famous free Christmas sing-along which follows at 5pm, so bring along an empty jam jar to make into a beautiful shining lantern and join in.
When: 20 December 3pm for crafts and 5pm for concert
Where: Lauderdale House
How much: £8.50 more info and bookings here

The Dream Garden

An immersive theatrical family experience where little people can meet Santa and the fairies. Your character led journey will take you on a magical voyage through The Winter Garden, where you will seek out the Dream Fairies and their dear friend Santa in four secret, spellbinding scenes.
When: 21st to 23 December 2019
Where: The Music Room, Bond Street
How much: from £10.30. More info and booking here.

Disney on ice

Mouse-ter of Ceremonies Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and pals take to the ice to honour the legacy of Walt Disney and welcome audiences on a magical journey through classic and modern Disney tales. Families will join the fun in an exciting opening number that salutes Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as the original hosts of Disney On Ice.
When: 26 December – 5 Jan 2020
Where: the O2
How much: from £26 more info and bookings here.

Stick Man

The 2008 children’s book written by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is brought to life in this jolly performance by Scamp Theatre. Expect laugh out loud moments, loads of audience participation, live music and loads of puppets alongside a visit from Santa. Read our review of the show here.
When: on until 26 Jan 2020 
Where: Leicester Square Theatre
How much: tickets start at £24 and can be purchased here.

Strange ships and fantastic adventures

Get creative with cartoons in this family workshop. Recreate your own adventures on board the ship or invent a new one using simple storyboard techniques.
When: 28 & 29 December
Where: Cutty Sark
How much: £13.50 for adults and £6.75 for a child. More info and booking here.

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