Hyde Park Winter Wonderland –to Jan 4
It’s the biggie, the wonderland that encompasses all the festive fun for all the family that you could shake a yuletide log at. There are Christmas markets so you can take care of a huge swathe of your shopping; food and drink stalls including soul-warming mulled wine; an ice rink; a giant observation wheel; two circuses including Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk; as well as a great big ol’ fun fair full of attractions too. And, best of all, it will all be sound-tracked with as many Christmas sing-along hits as you could care to remember. Fine holiday fun!
When: Until Jan 4
Where: Hyde Park, W2 1RU
Tube: Hyde Park Corner
Southbank Centre Winter Festival – till Jan 11
The Southbank Centre and the surrounding areas have been transformed into a bustling festive extravaganza. There will be the usual Christmas markets with all kinds of homespun and festive cheer, food and drinks stalls to keep those energy levels up while you shop as well as a Christmas tree maze (which could be a chilly proposition for those who lose their way after one of two mulled wines). There will be Scandinavian Lodge – courtesy of Recorderlig cider – the Christmas Tree café, funfair japes from the Festive Flyer ride, bankside train rides and, of course, loads of illuminated bunny rabbits. Why? We’re not quite sure on this latter one, but they sure look cute.
When: Until Jan 11
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
Winterville – to Dec 31
If the Southbank Centre is a little twee, and Hyde Park’s offerings a little too, well, ‘mainstream’, then this new Christmas Wonderland in Victoria Park is where you best head. Offering up a quirky and alternative take on the usual festive merriment and cheer, there will be ice rinks for skating, festive fairylights, horse-drawn carriage rides and, of course,Christmas anthems for sure, but where this new event stands apart is in the shows and events inspired by the throbbing creative heart of east London. So, we’re talking vintage motorcycles performing in the Wheel of Death, acts from the Edinburgh Fringe, a family-friendly pantomime, a family rave (!!), shows from Cirque Du Cabaret, a retro roller disco as well as a Speigeltent hosting a load of comedy and club nights too boot.
When: To Dec 31 / 7am to dusk
Where: Victoria Park, E3 5SN
Tube: Bethnal Green
The Enchanted Woodland – till Dec 7
Where: Syon House, TW8 8JF
If you want to experience something magical this Christmas without having to bustle and jostle in queues for hours, then Syon House in west London might just have the simple but oh-so fantastic experience for you. For a ninth year running, the stately house is going to be making their surrounding woodlands into an illuminated trail full of wonder, excitement and interactive light installations. They advise that the route can be done in half an hour by those who have a good speed about them but, when it is so beautiful, we recommend taking your time, soaking up the atmosphere and perhaps taking a few snappies of your loved one under all the flickering stars.
When: Until Dec 7
Where: Syon House and Park, Brentford, TW8 8JF
Tube: Kew Brdge (overground)
Geffrye Museum: Christmas Past – to Jan 4
A wonderland of a (very) different sort, this much loved festive tradition is a secret that all too few people know about. Where the Wonderlands it will fill you with all the festive merriment and goodwill as Scrooge waking up and realising he hasn’t missed Christmas after all.
The Geffrye Museums’s 11 rooms are decorated, along with lighting and greenery, to illustrate how Christmas would have been celebrated in different middle class homes in London over the past 400 years. A real glimpse into the spirit of Christmas, it has become a perennial Yuletide tradition that shows the role of mistletoe, Christmas parties, parlour games and the traditional decorating of the tree.
When: to Jan 4 / 10am – 7pm
Where: Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, E2 8EA