Claridges, London

Book Now for Christmas

The very best treats to book now:

Claridges Christmas Tree

Fast-becoming London’s most famous Christmas tree. Who remembers Karl Lagerfeld’s upside-down creation last year? Each Christmas a different designer is given free reign over the tree, and this year it’s the turn of Diane von Furstenberg whose tree will celebrate ‘all aspects of life and love’. Unveiled on 27 November, tie it in with a Christmas afternoon tea (12 November – 1 January, £85 per person, book ahead) or glass of champagne at the bar. Every weekend there are carol singers in the foyer around the tree.

Nativity Art Tours with The Little Grand Tour 

The Mystic Nativity by Sandro Botticelli

What’s Christmas all about anyway? Children can learn the story of the nativity with these small tours at the National Gallery that look at paintings of the Annunciation right through to the birth of Baby Jesus. 5, 7, 19 and 21 December, 10am – 12pm, ages 6+. From £35 per child,

Christmas at Kew 

Credit Jeff Eden RBG Kew

In our opinion better than the Magical Lantern Show at Chiswick House which was great the first time but now feels dated. Kew’s yearly event changes enough to warrant multiple visits, featuring a mile-long trail through the botanical gardens lit up by 1 million lights. 22 November – 5 January, £16.50 adults, £10 children.

Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is our favourite place to skate. So pretty and not too big, with a very good hot chocolate. Until 20 January. Adults from £12.65; kids £8.80

Father Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall

We’ve rather gone off the department store grottos after Harrods made theirs invitation-only this year! Try the Royal Albert Hall instead for a magical, hour-long immersive experience meeting along the way toy soldiers, fairies, workshop elves, and of course, the real Father Christmas. 22 November – 22 December, 9.15am – 3.30pm, tickets £30. Ages 3 – 8

Christmas Storytelling with Michael Rosen at The Old Vic 

Book now to hear Michael Rosen reading from Bah! Humbug! and Unexpected Twist: An Oliver Twisted Tale, his unforgettable retellings of two timeless Dickens classics. 15 December, 11am, £6 children, £12 adults, ages 8+

The storytelling runs alongside the return of The Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol. Rhys Ifans starred in last year’s production and we’re hoping this year lives up to the rave reviews such as this in the Observer, ‘Matthew Warchus’ production is a love song to Christmas.’ 24 November – 19 January, £12-£67.50

Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales at The Unicorn Theatre

Once Upon a Christmas….Philip Pullman reworks classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales. Tickets are already selling out fast so book now. 13 November – 6 January, £12-£26, ages 8-adult

Handel’s Messiah by Candlelight at St Martin in the Fields 

Get festive for a good cause at carol services and concerts in the wonderful St Martin in the Fields church in Trafalgar Square running from 28 November until Christmas. We’re booking Handel’s Messiah by candlelight, 29 November, 7.30-9.30pm, from £9

Backyard Cinema at Winterville

Clapham Common’s answer to Winter Wonderland has the brilliant addition of the Backyard Cinema. Catch your favourite festive film including Elf, Home Alone and Love Actually. The Chivaree Circus debuting at Winterville looks fab too. Cinema from £9.50

Frisky & Mannish: Christmas! 

Cabaret comedy duo Frisky & Mannish continue their tenth anniversary celebrations with a one-off Christmas show at The Spiegltent at Underbelly Festival’s Christmas in Leicester Sq. Sure to be brilliant. 17 December, 7.30pm, tickets from £21.88

English National Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Colisseum

English National Ballet’s Nutcracker (C) Laurent Liotardo

The ultimate traditional Christmas outing. Classical ballet with over 100 dancers, a full orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s live score, and magical sets that carry you from frost-covered Edwardian London on Christmas Eve to the Land of Snow via hot air balloon. 13 – 30 December, all ages, tickets £7-£80

Snow White at the London Palladium

From the team behind last year’s Olivier Award winning panto comes this glittering production of Snow White starring Dawn French. Classic West End pantomime with all the trimmings; get ready to boo and hiss. 8 December – 13 January, tickets £22.50 – £150

Coppa Club Igloo’s on the Thames

Coppa Club’s winter igloos offer full-on, flashy Christmas. But it’s hard not to be wowed by the magical views over Tower Bridge, snuggly sheepskin rugs and a new menu from Sipsmith – including hot gin toddy’s. Booking essential. Open until 31 January

Carnaby Street Christmas Shopping 

20% off at most of Carnaby Street’s shops including Cowshed, Cubitts, Paul Smith and Sweaty Betty, as well as at lots of its restaurants. A great excuse to see the Bohemian Rhapsody Christmas lights too. Tickets are free but you’ll need to register in advance here. Thursday 8 November, 5-9pm,

By Daisy Allsup and Annie Reid 

— A Little Bird
7th November 2018