17th-century yuletide of contemporary Christmas, London is nigh magical this time of year. Many of what are now called Christmas traditions — gift giving, father Christmas, even eggnog — all started in Britain, so if it's Christmas spirits you seek, there are hundreds of years worth of that in The Smoke. (I kid you not, that is, in fact, one of London’s nicknames.)
Anyway, if you find yourself in or with wanderlust for London this December, there are plenty of events and activities around every corner. Here are seven of them:
1. Christmas at Kenwood House
Here, you explore more than a hundred acres of magnificence and autumnal landscape. The nighttime event highlights the land’s beauty, lighting it all up in Christmas colours. As the setting of your pictures/videos, the location will immediately send seasons greetings to anyone who looks for even just a second. Open since the 2nd of December, you can get tickets for every night until the 1st of January. Check here to find out all you need to plan a visit.
2. Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol at Queen Elizabeth Hall
A Tennessee Christmas is so iconic that there's even a song about it. With this event, Dolly Parton, the Queen of Country, brings some of that magic to the classic English tale of Charles Dickens. Showing since yesterday, the 8th of December, at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, you can get tickets up until the first week in January. Visit the Southbank Centre website for access information and more.
3. Jack and the Beanstalk at the London Palladium
Jack and the Beanstalk is a famous story with many adaptations, and this version is a theatrical pantomime by some of the theatre’s most notable talents. Starting tomorrow, the 10th of December, there will be showings almost every day till the middle of January. Visit this website for tickets and ticket information. You’ll also find a trailer there — though I doubt many people need much convincing to watch the hilarious reenactment of a childhood favourite, anyway.
4. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park
This year’s event edition celebrates 15 years of this special occasion. The family affair is full of entertainment and fun activities involving a giant observation wheel, a magical ice kingdom and lots of ice (from skating to sliding). There are festivities every day this month except the 25th. For tickets and essential information like top activities and tips, visit the event website.
5. Mother Goose at the Duke of York’s Theatre
Pantomimes are one the most entertaining things about December in London, whether it's puppets or actors on stage. At the Duke of York’s theatre, there will be a humorous family-friendly revision of the Mother Goose story. (However, children under three years old aren't allowed into the theatre.) It runs from the 15th of December till even late in January, but you won’t be able to get a ticket for days like Christmas and New Year's Day. Tickets, synopsis and more here.
6. Circus 1903 at Eventim Apollo
I've never seen an actual circus performance, only some clowns in my country that like to think they're some wise guys. At this exhibition, however, you get to see exhilarating performances that are even more exciting when you consider the dares have been on display since the twentieth century. Every day from the 15th of December till the end of the month, there are morning, afternoon and night shows. Performance schedules and ticket information are here.
7. West End Musical Christmas at Lyric Theatre
Dorothy singing “Over The Rainbow” in The Wizard of Oz was — fun fact — the primary source of funds for the opening of the West End Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. Now, you (and everyone who appreciates the musical allure of the season) can sing your heart out at this Christmas concert. It's a party with West End stars and a live band on the 19th of December. Find tickets and more here.