London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Christmas in London with kids is such a joyous affair and we are all spoilt again with choices – so much wintery fun to be had! Here are our favourites and our best winter selection over the years and updated for 2023. After 2020 & 2021 lockdowns and restrictions, December in London with children is thankfully back to the usual feasts and treats!
A festive and rebellious classic, The Definitive Rat Pack brings the party to Cadogan Hall, whilst Manhattan Swing Orchestra is fab and tonic. One cool concert in town warmed up the hearts in 2022, drifting us back in time, soaking the glam and bubbles, Vegas coming to Sloane Square : My way, Got you Under My Skin, Volare and seasonal classics including funky beautiful Silent Night, White Christmas, Winter Wonderland and so much more ! We raved about it last year, it is back in 2023, grab your tickets at Cadogan Hall for December 16th in here.
Before the Cadogan Hall for festive arts and crafts check out Westfield and the Gingerbread City Exhibition – architects, builders, engineers, big and young kids alike! 2023 is all about water: canal cities, under the water magic, octopus spas and crab hotels, penguins skiing with witty ESG and green messages, trains and golden beaches, wobbly markets and of course a sweet workshop making scrumptious gingerbread #Christmastrees adorned with icing, jelly beans and candy canes!
In the past, the Gingerbread City exhibitions were at stunning Sommerset House, 2 years on the lovely Motcomb street, in Belgravia; and in 2023 at Westfield, from 2nd December to 7 January; December in London starts gloriously with those sweet retreats.
Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City is now a London classic and an institution; 2023 also in New York, delighted to see it global and supported as always by fantastic architecture names: Fosters Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, PRP, AHMM, Allies and Morrison and so much more.
In 2021 GingerBread City’s theme was nature in the City; in 2022 it was all about Ecohomes; we are so looking forward to seeing once again in 2023!
Very ESG and topical and we are hopeful to chip in with 1 creation or 2 in dough and icing with eco-buildings and greener infrastructure!
Christmas at Kew returns again with over one million glittering lights, a celebration of nature by night and wonder of biodiversity. Start the festive season with a spectacular show by the Temperate House and Palm House, alongside installations on the Lake and across Kew’s Arboretum. This stunning botanical world fills with seasonal winter joy and over the years, has been consistently WOW!
Iceskating at Royal Palaces. Our favourites tested historically have been Hampton Court and Queens House Greenwich . A Royal palace in the background illuminated magically with festive lights, Hampton Court is superbly atmospherical – a quintessence of London heritage and festive fun. Counting down as 2023 iceskating starts on November 17th!
We were very lucky to be invited on a Sunday afternoon – not too crowded but just about the right ratio of iceskaters and kids. The mulled wine and hot chocolate after are the regular treat and we loved sipping them over the magic lights and ice glimmering on Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII’s historic home.
Tower of London icerink similarly breathed history and more festive fun but in 2022 will not re-open, some major renovations on, so hopefully back in 2023. We raved about extensively in here: one feels blessed to take in the dramatic setting of the fortress beside the Thames whilst whizzing around on ice in one of London’s most famous landmarks!
Another winter classic close to Belgravia, National History Museum icerink was sadly on its last year in 2021; we loved over the years its gorgeous backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse’s building, fairy lights, Austrian chalet set up and vibes just above the icerink.
Another stunning classic, Skate at SOMERSET HOUSE WITH MOËT & CHANDON is ON again in 2023 November 15th – January 14th.
And if the weather is not great and kids are keen on iceskating, we warmly recommend the classics indoors (no pun intended) Alexandra Palace Icerink – read all in our dedicated article in here; or Queens skate dine bowl, a Kensington classic for weekends all year around or birthday parties.
Christmas shows. We love to start the winter festivities season with the Snowman at the Peacock theatre – what a treat! Our eldest adored it at 6, 5 and 4, no doubt his favourite part was the flying above mountains to the North Pole! For me the music is superb and la mise en scene simply fantastic -tears in my eyes at the end every time, very emotional and Christmassy.
Dedicated article in here. Pair it with Covent Garden for more festive fun, an iconic market and street entertainers – an absolute must see Christmas in London with kids.
For scrumptious lunches nearby for sushi lovers, we adore Sushi Samba overlooking Covent Garden or Sticks and Sushi for something more casual.
And whilst we are talking about gastro treats December in London with kids, the afternoon teas are particularly festive and joyous and One Aldwych afternoon tea themed Charlie and the Chocolate factory must be our favourite.
Another great option for afternoon tea London in Belgravia is the chilled and chic Anya café by Anya Hindmarch, perfect also for week-end brunches and all day coffees. Quintessential British reimagined with the brands’ trademark humour, we indulged into dark chocolate sweet treats in the heart of Anya’s Village on Pont street.
For very lucky children in Anya has also a Grotto, one immersive journey through a moonlit forest and across crunchy snow to find Father Christmas, who will read them a story and give them a gift. Grown-ups get a free hot drink from the Anya Cafe as well as mince pies, gingerbread men and Christmas cakes. The gift shop has limited-edition Anya Hindmarch gifts and Christmas decorations, including ceramic tree baubles, crackers, puzzles, mugs, crayons and teddy bears but we got truly excited about the Return to nature Anya’s bags collection, all biodegradable and perfect gifts from one visionary Greenpeace Ambassador (Anya!) to fashionistas ESG minded and Earth lovers – a truly perfect Christmas present!
Christmas in London with kids will not be Christmas without Royal Albert Hall and what an array of magic shows and performances have been lined up at this iconic institution!
Father Christmas at the Hall has been a favourite for years and 2023 will bring to the Hall the revamped version including a Sleigh! We were very lucky to have in our diaries as well My Christmas Orchestral Adventure and The Snowman and Paddington Bear – both of them fabulous, wrote about in here. My Christmas Orchestral Adventure introduces kids to classical music via a full symphony orchestra and encouraging them to sing, dance and join in as they help getting Santa’s map ahead of the Big Delivery on Christmas Eve!
The Snowman and Paddington Bear live in concert as one could guess, celebrates two national institutions. And for a wonderful arty wrap up, look no further than Nutcracker wonderfully performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet – a three generations treat that we raved about extensively in here. All these shows make also sparkling Christmas gift ideas – so much better than toys going in a cupboard ! No tidy up needed either – true festive magic points! Huddle at Unicorn Theatre was another Christmas treat and a precious memory as we attempted a first time 4 of us at a show, including one energetic and 2 years old troublemaker. 2023 Unicorn Theatre shows are in here.
The children loved Silverstone Lap of Lights in 2021; the heart of British motor racing spoiled us with over 400 laser beams, 400,000 festive light pixels and a trip around the world – all with a self drive by the iconic Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit. Sadly not back in 2023 with the lodge of winter fun (children’s cinema, racing games, curling , ‘Santa’s letter’ corner, live concerts, great food and drinks) given the number of projects; will keep an eye in the next years.
What else do we have planned for December in London ? There’s Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park with its endless entertainment options, from Nutcracker on Ice to Circus, to its many rides and cute and lively Bavarian villages.
What do YOU have planned or YOU’d like to hear about? Have a lovely festive December ALL!