London Christmas Show Guide 2019

By Matthew Pearson

Our London Christmas Show Guide for 2019, including...

  • Two different shows, taking a crack at the nut
  • A starry stage show based on the hit Nativity film series
  • All your favourite Disney characters dancing on ice
  • Plenty more you’d have to be a Scrooge not to enjoy

Nutcracker, London Coliseum

Experience a festive feast for the eyes and ears at the London Coliseum this year with The Nutcracker. A quintessential treat for this time of year, Tchaikovsky’s ballet is brought to life by over 100 dancers and musicians of the English National Ballet. With dreamlike staging, exceptional choreography and music we all know and love, this is a classic London Christmas show, following on from sold out runs in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Go if you like... Classical Christmas music, the best ballet dancers the country has to offer, imaginative wintery sets Dates and tickets: 12 December 2019 - 5 January 2020. Tickets from £14-£80. To book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5937" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

The Nutcracker, Royal Albert Hall

Tough nuts this year. We’re going to need another Nutcracker. The Royal Albert Hall’s version of the Tchaikovsky classic stars the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia. Expect dazzling period costumes, stunning choreography and some of the most spectacular staging and lighting you’ll see at a London Christmas show this year. Go if you like... Seeing a London Christmas show in one of the country’s most spectacular venues, exquisite costumes and classical Christmas tunes Dates and tickets: 28 December 2019 - 31 December 2019. Tickets from £30.50 - £101.50. To book, click HERE.

A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic

This big-hearted, poignant and engaging adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic Christmas tale brings new life and meaning into the well-known story. Starring Paterson Joseph (Johnson from Peep Show) as Ebenezer Scrooge, the festive short story is stoked into song and dance, adapted for the stage by Jack Thorne, known for his work on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There are even rumours of free mince pies... Go if you like... Johnson from Peep Show, a classic London Christmas tale turned into a classic London Christmas show, Dickens, potential mince pies. Dates and tickets: 23 November 2019 - 18 January 2020. Tickets from £12 - £57.50. To book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5938" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

The Snow Queen, Park Theatre

Adapted from the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Snow Queen is a 2019 London Christmas show for all the family, picking up endless positive reviews, bringing in the crowds and warming some hearts and cockles. Expect snowball fights and talking reindeers. If you loved Frozen—or at least someone little in your family did—then this could be the London Christmas show for you. The original Snow Queen awaits! Go if you like... Frozen, giving yourself a rest from watching Frozen on DVD again this year, big laughs Dates and tickets: 4 December 2019 - 4 January 2020. Tickets from £18.50 - £32.50. To book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5939" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Alexandra Palace

If you’re up for all-in silliness, then this is the London Christmas show you’re looking for. Mischief Theatre (The Play That Goes Wrong, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery) are putting on their mishap and slapstick-heavy Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Alexandra Palace this year, a retelling of J.M Barrie’s much-loved tale performed by the utterly incompetent (an utterly fictional) Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society. It takes a lot of skill to put on a play this bad, this well. You’ll want to stay a kid forever...if this is what adults are capable of. Go if you like... Catching international phenomenons live (Mischief are currently putting on shows across 35 countries), plays where everything goes wrong and very right at once, silliness brought to classic stories Dates and tickets: 13 December 2019 - 5 January 2020. Tickets from £10 - £43. To book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5940" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

Nativity! The Musical, Eventim Apollo

A London Christmas show where the stars are all out in force. There’s Danny and Dani Dyer, Sharon Osbourne and Rylan Clark-Neal, all signed on as the Stars of Wonder of this stage adaptation of the festive film. Featuring all your favourite singalong songs from the Nativity! movies, the show has been written for the stage by Debbie Isitt, creator of the original films. Expect the best, biggest budget nativity play you’ve ever seen. Go if you like... Star power guiding your route to Bethlehem, the hit movies, family-friendly fun Dates and tickets: 11 December 2019 - 29 December 2019. Tickets from £36.50 - £116.50. To book, click HERE.

Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic, The O2

Get ready for the ultimate Disney experience at the 02 this year. Over 50 of yours and your kids favourite Disney characters will be turning out, on the ice, bringing the last 100 years of classic storytelling to life. Guided along the way by host Mickey Mouse, the Christmas spectacular features songs from across the last 100 years of Disney movies and tv shows, including You’ve Got a Friend in Me, Let it Go and Hakuna Matata. Get your skates on. Go if you like... Characters great and small from the last 100 years of Disney, seeing people in giant costumes skating, singing along to 30 unforgettable songs Dates and tickets: 26 December 2019 - 5 January 2020. Tickets from £33 - £54. To book, click HERE.

Circus 1903, Royal Festival Hall

Roll up, roll up for Circus 1903, a London Christmas show that’s bringing a turn-of-the-century circus to the 21st Century Southbank Centre. Elephants are brought back onto the stage, with magnificent puppetry by the team behind War Horse, and a range of classic and unique circus acts from across the globe all dazzle and vie for your attention and applause. It’s thrilling, visually ravishing and edge-of-your-seat stuff. Go if you like... Jaw-dropping and daredevil stunts, superb puppetry, turn-of-the-century circuses that don’t endanger any animals Dates and tickets: 19 December 2019 - 5 January 2020. Tickets from £29.50 - £125. To book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5941" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever, Duke of York’s Theatre

Everyone’s favourite pink, besnouted cartoon character, Peppa Pig is going on an adventure. Along with George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig, Peppa is heading out for a road-trip filled with castles, caves, dinosaurs and dragons, ice creams and muddy puddles. Expect appearances from all your favourites from the show, including Miss Rabbit, My Bull, Suzy Sheep, Gerald Giraffe and many, many more. There’ll be songs, laughs and games along the way. The ideal London Christmas show for little little ones addicted to the country’s most famous farmyard animal. Go if you like... The Pig family, big costumed characters, fun and games at the theatre, entertaining the under sixes Dates and tickets: 29 November 2019 - 5 January 2020. Tickets from £14.40. To book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5943" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

The Little Match Girl, Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells

A coming together of opera, ballet, theatre and contemporary dance, The Little Match Girl at Sadler’s Wells reimagines the Hans Christian Anderson story for the stage, with choreography by the much-acclaimed choreographer Arthur Pita. As the young Fiametta wanders through the streets of an imagined Italian town, we are taken with her, meeting the menaces and patches of light in the night she comes across. The story is told through song, dance, beautiful staging and live music, and we’re taken along in the romance and coldness and warmth of it all, joining Fiametta for every step of her journey into the night. Go if you like... Charming stories charmingly told, mash ups of dance and theatre and song and more dance, beautiful costumes and beautiful choreography Dates and tickets: 11 December 2019 - 29 December 2019. Tickets from £18. To book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5944" align="alignnone" width="1000"][/caption]

White Christmas, Dominion Theatre

See Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre, a classic musical that’s as Christmassy as stockings stuffed with Simpson’s merchandise. The story sees Bob Wallace and Phil Davis, soldiers just back from the war, attempting to put on a Christmas stage show at their local inn and save the inn from closure. The songs in this one are timeless, the staging is classic and the story is sure to melt even the most bah humbug in your group. Go if you like... Dreaming of a White Christmas, Bing Crosby in the original, the tunes of Irving Berlin, Hollywood Christmases of old Dates and tickets: 16 November 2019 - 4 January 2020. Tickets from £25. To book, click HERE.

The Snowman, The Peacock at Sadler’s Wells

You’ll be walking in the air at The Peacock at Sadler’s Wells this Christmas. This charming staging of Raymond Briggs’s Christmassy classic brings the youthful and wintery wonder of the original tale to life. The design of the whole spectacle—from the sets to the costumes to the lighting—is enchanting, taking you by the hand and leading you through the imaginative, festive dreamland. Mixing dance, live music, storytelling and a dash or two of magic, The Snowman is a delight for dreamers great and small. Go if you like... Walking in the air, floating in the moonlit sky, drifting over icy mountains floating by Dates and tickets: 21 November 2019 - 5 January 2020. Tickets from £18. To book, click HERE. [caption id="attachment_5945" align="alignnone" width="900"][/caption] Thank you, thank you, thank you. As the curtain falls on this list of our favourite London Christmas shows for 2019, all that's left to do is ask that, should you have any comments, you make them in the box below. We appreciate anything you have to add to the conversation. And also, point you in the direction of this article, which offers a more general overview of what's happening in London this Christmas.

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Interview with: Best LDN Walks Royal Tour of London

Best LDN Walks is the brainchild of young owner, manager, director, tour guide extraordinaire, Charlotte Kennedy, who at only 26 years of age has set up one of London's best new walking tours. Aimed at those looking for a unique tour of London with a penchant for the interesting and the unknown, Kennedy praises herself on her signature tour of Royal London which delves into the past lives of the royal family, including their secrets and scandals! Best LDN walks is a great tour of London for those with a family, and especially those history buffs. We went along on one of her Royal Tours and asked Charlotte a bit about herself and what you can discover on her tour of London. What are Best LDN Walks? Best LDN Walks are tours for those people who, like me are obsessively curious and who want a unique, easy going, educational but more importantly awesome time in London. As long as you have a sense of humour then we’ll all get along very well. What can someone learn on one of your tours? You will learn the craziest little facts about the people who have shaped not just Britain but the World. My tour of London is really good for picking up those little facts that you can recite in the pub or with your friends which always make people giggle or spark debate. What parts of London can you explore on the tour? My tours cover pretty much the whole of London. I cover, the older City of London looking at where the Roman City of London began as well as covering The Great Fire of London, the plague, Tower Bridge and The Tower of London. I also have several tours around Westminster, the royal quarter of Pall Mall and St James swell as a few tours centered in The West End, Covent Garden and Soho, not forgetting The East End of London in Shoreditch where we go on street art safari. I like the Naughty London Tour in Southwark which looks at the Tudor Kings and queens and the totally disgusting and hilarious antics everyone got up to south of the river and I even do private trips to Greenwich. What’s your favourite place in London? Favourite place.....ooooh that’s a tough one. It depends on my mood. When I get tired of the noise and smells of London then I head out to Greenwich, have a walk around the painted hall, visit the Gyspy Moth pub for pint then stomp up the Planetarium. I also love the National Gallery, especially on Friday nights I’ll plug in my head phones and stroll through the galleries and hallways. Shopping around Jermyn Street, Mayfair and St James is pretty good, just for the heritage and “British-ness” of the places. The Soho Hotel is awesome for afternoon tea and dinner - it’s this gorgeous boutique hotel tucked away in Soho and it's a great place to go celeb spotting. You never know who you’ll bump into. I do have very specific favourite coffee shops, cake shops and cocktail bars but they are really tucked away and very closely guarded secrets. Bribe me with cake and I might tell you! Tell us a secret about the royals and the scandals of the past? Well if I told you that I’d be giving away my material. The one person I can talk for hours about is King George IV and his terrible marriage to Caroline of Brunswick. He was so fat his tummy hit the floor when he took his man-corset off and she was described as smelling like a farm and swearing like a fisherman! What’s the funniest thing someone has asked on one of your tours? Oh boy, that’s good question! Some people when they come on holiday get, what I call holiday brain (and I get it when I go away so I know the feeling) so things like, pointing at Big Ben and asking is that the Tower of London or asking which side of the River London Bridge is on or asking when the Queen is due to die. I could write a whole funny list of things I’ve asked but I wouldn’t want to offend certain nations! Personally, the funnier, the stupider the questions the better because it brightens me day up. What makes London so fascinating? I think the best thing about London is the fact that there is SO much going on. There is literally something for everyone no matter what you desire. We have so many little secret hidey-holes tucked away and in my opinion some of the most beautiful buildings. London is visually stunning and it’s like a walking museum especially if you go into the City of London it’s where old smashes into new which have given us some great results. So in a nutshell, why should people come on your tour of London.... I hope people will join our tour; it's very fun, very casual, you have a few giggles and hopefully I can give you some suggestions on how to make your trip even better. Plus we go into a really awesome pub which everyone loves! Best LDN Walks tours take place daily at 1pm departing from Trafalgar Square. A short toilet break and time for refreshments will take place half way through the tour. The route could be subject to group size, road closure and special events. Exceptional closures due to adverse weather conditions are possible, advance tour bookings are highly recommended so you can be informed of any such closures or cancellations. A online souvenir photo is included with your free tour with The London Pass, all together saving you £10.00!
Vanessa Teo

London Pass goes Up The O2

The O2 Dome on Greenwich Peninsula, South East London is one of London’s most exciting venues – and urban structures. Having opened in 2007, it can hold up to 20,000 people and takes the title of the UK’s second largest arena, after Manchester. Now, it plays host to world class acts like Kylie Minogue, as well as tennis champions Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in various events from sold-out tours to the Paralympics. But spectator-sport aside, we wanted in on the action. Up at the O2 is the O2’s novel adventure which allows you to ‘conquer the summit of London’ and scale the dome, climbing to its summit of 60m. Kat and Lesley from London Pass head office were lucky enough to go and try it out, to tell you all about it! What made you want to go Up at The O2? Kat: I love active sightseeing anyway; I love to climb, cruise, walk and cycle my way around cities so this experience really appealed to me! Lesley: An opportunity to climb such an iconic structure, how could I refuse? I couldn’t wait to try it out. What made you think that London Pass customers might also like the experience? Kat: To begin with I thought it was just an unusual activity that would appeal to people with similar active interests. When I actually did the climb however, I realised that the view from the top is one of the best in London; not only because of how far you can see but also because of where it is positioned you can see every landmark in the city on a clear day – even Wembley Stadium! Then there is something very satisfying about reaching the viewpoint ‘the hard way’! Lesley: London Pass users have access to some amazing, unusual, interesting and educational places. Up at The O2 is all of those things and more. To be outside with the breeze in your hair and to see an amazing 360 ̊ panorama of London. All those skyscrapers... it’s simply incredible. Were you nervous before the climb began? Kat: I think it’s natural to get ‘butterflies’ before doing something like this! Once we’d been briefed and got onto the roof however, we realised that the dome of The O2 would never be more than a few feet below us, which was very comforting! Lesley: I was too excited to feel nervous, I couldn’t wait to get out there. Did you feel prepared for the climb? Kat: Very much so. We had a 30 minute safety briefing before the climb so we all knew what to do before we went out onto the roof. Lesley: Definitely. A safety briefing video that was both informative and entertaining really helped. Plus they kit you out with climbing shoes and either a full jump suit or specialist vest top, to stow away your camera or phone to take photos at the top. How safe did you feel during the climb? Kat: Perfectly safe. The equipment kept us secure; it was very straight forward to use and we had a guide with us the whole time. Lesley: The ‘path’ is made of a trampoline style material – there is a lot of bounce so keeping your feet nice and flat with each step minimises that. There is also a hand rail but I went daredevil and tried not to use it. With the harness set up if you were to lose your footing you’d simply drop to your knees and it’s very easy to get back up. How long did it take to reach the top? Kat: Around 30 minutes. It’s more like a steep walk than an actual climb. It could have been done much quicker but I think we all wanted to savour the experience and so made our way up slowly! Lesley: I don’t remember, the whole experience took about 2 hours from briefing to jumping off at the other end. I kept getting distracted by the view and the novelty of being on the dome of The O2. What was it like at the top? Kat: Breath taking! We could even see the London Pass office from the top! Lesley: Practically, it was nice and level. You can also unclip your harness and walk around to take loads of photos. The view is pretty awesome as you can see the sprawling skyline of London. How does this experience compare to other viewpoint attractions in London? Kat: It isn’t the highest viewpoint attraction in London, but it definitely rivals the best because the views are virtually uninterrupted. Plus this is a very interesting part of London that is under a huge amount of regeneration, the extent of which I never really realised until I was able to look down on it all! Lesley: It’s tricky to compare. Each building has its own merits so I couldn’t pick a favourite, but for this particular attraction I would say the full 360 ̊ panorama is a great feature. How was the descent? Kat: The descent was fun; you get a better feel for the gradient of the climb on the way down! Lesley: Bittersweet, because it’s all over! It’s a bit tougher on the legs coming down and I had to use the hand rail for balance. What is your overall opinion of the experience? Kat: Buckets of fun! Lesley: Genius! Such a clever use of space and very well organised. Would you do it again? Kat: How soon?! Lesley: Absolutely! London Pass holders can get 30% off weekday (Mon-Fri) climbs between 10.00-16.00. To redeem this offer, simply turn up at The O2 and show your London Pass. It's best to arrive early as the climbs are timed slots - so you might have to wait for the next available time if fully booked. Offer valid 1st July - 31st July 2014.
Vanessa Teo

Weird and wonderful rules of etiquette

The Georgian court, such as that of Kensington Palace, was a ruthless place that decided whether or not you were ‘of favour’ at that particular moment in time. ‘Courtiers’ could tell how fairly they stood in the eyes of the King/Queen by either being dismissed with a turned back or being greeted with a nod. Courts were filled with ‘wannabe’ socialites and those who wanted to distinguish themselves in the eyes of the upper class and although it was much harder to climb the social ladder up, you could fall to disgrace in a mere heartbeat. In this dog-eat-dog world where whispers behind people’s back were a permanent undercurrent, it was a game to be played; and for all the melodrama and make up, everyone knew the rules and how to play along. From Queen Anne’s Orangery at Kensington Palace to the high court of King George the rules of etiquette began to form and became a steadfast unwritten legislation to obey. Starting in 1704 - the notion of dining etiquette was born at Queen Anne’s luxurious greenhouse, the Orangery at Kensington Palace, to entertain guests outside Whitehall. With a theme of 'the more, the better', the Queen’s tables were ornamented with every utensil to serve a different purpose highlighting the wealth of the queen and the disposable-ness of their lifestyles. At a ‘normal’ formal gathering at Kensington Palace, you might expect to drink out of 9 different wine glasses, a variety of different cutlery from stilton spoons to oyster prongs. It was in the 18th century, in fact, that the buffet style fell out of fashion to be replaced by elaborate meat-based dishes served over a number of courses, of course ending with a huge lavish desert platter involving moulds, plates, platters and trays – to further show off the extensive silverware that was in possession of the Queen at Kensington Palace. Now, what to wear to a dinner such as this? The women would wear a ‘mantua’, a wide dress spread out over wide hoops at the skirt, while the top was a tight laced bodice and corset, highly uncomfortable, with elaborate ruffles at the sleeve. As the 18th century progressed, so did the dresses as they go wider and wider with every fashion. Accessories consisted of a fan and a lady’s best jewels while gentlemen should wear a wig, embroidered suit and sword (which you could hire upon entrance!) with a flat hat under the elbow. You might think this was all a little extreme, and it is, to our standards (the women’s outfits were so impractical that they had to step sideways through doors!), however back then it was the height of high fashion and was just as important as your ticket into the court – no dress, no entry. Queen Anne’s court at Kensington Palace was only the start of such Georgian rules. Another one of women’s secret weapons was her fan; brandished like knives they could warn away mistresses, threaten enemies and even flirt with other men, all in silent secrecy. This code language was already in place by the 1720s and it is visible in the grand staircase frescoes of the women at Kensington Palace by William Kent who are all rebuffing suitors with their coded movements. Court etiquette extended just as far into the realm of the men, too. Vying for a place in the sacred ring of people around the king it was every man for themselves when it came to the inner court and you needed to get your elbows out if you wanted a chance of making an impression. Men would throw punches and be very underhand to get a chance to impress the king – oh the irony. It was even recorded that despite appearances, these courtiers could have just as easily gate-crashed a party with the right clothes on as having received a cordial invite. So it's not surprising there was a huge falsity in the behaviour of the court, from poor hygiene concealed in expensive clothes and wigs to forced smiles and accents. Should you have fallen out of favour with the king, having been shown his back, this side-lined group named themselves the Rumpsteak Club in order to console their fall from grace. Furthermore, the fact that this group annoyed the king added fuel to the fire with some members remaining in court despite being unpopular. It was common for women after these events, especially elaborate feasts at Kensington Palace and the like, to go home straight to bed, while the men would stay out and network among the clubs and coffee houses of St James’s. Some things never change... Visit Kensington Palace this summer with The London Pass and make the most of entry without further payment, as well as entry into the Fashion Rules exhibition where you can explore the modern monarchy's etiquette and fashion and take part in the family festival the Glorious Georges. Find out more, here...
Vanessa Teo

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