Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd November
Party with Horrid Henry
Horrid Henry is having a birthday party and you’re invited! Book your invite for party games, crafts and the chance to meet Horrid Henry himself. Children’s Story Centre Discover are celebrating 20 years of the Horrid Henry series by Francesca Simon and Tony Ross. Just arrived and need a sit down before the fun begins? Enjoy a coffee at Discover’s cafe and let the kids bring their pocket money along as the shop is packed full of brilliant pocket money toys plus there is a range of fantastic bestselling picture book classics you could pick up a Christmas present or two too!
When: Saturday 22nd November @ 2.30pm
Where: Children’s Story Centre Discover
Cost: £5 entrance plus £1 for event, booking essential
Not the Polar Express
As part of the Southbank Centre Winter Festival, take a ride on the Southbank Centre Express. The train journeys from Hungerford Bridge to Festival Pier and back again providing the perfect opportunity for you to take in the sights, sounds and smells of this years festive Southbank Centre makeover. While you’re there, why not get lost in the Christmas Tree Maze. Built from 300 Christmas Trees, if you can find your way to the middle, the kiddies will receive a gift! A spectacular array of events, activities and outdoor art plus festive markets, the Southbank Centre is a must this Christmas.
When: Until 11th January 2015
Where: Southbank Centre, Hungerford Car Park, 10am – 10pm
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
Uncover the original story behind the ballet with this wondrous and festive production at the Unicorn Theatre of an old and favourite story by E.T.A. Hoffman. It’s Christmas Eve, 1805. Seven year-old Marie retrieves the sad and broken Nutcracker from under the Christmas tree and promises to look after him. But on the stroke of midnight he comes alive, and after enlisting Marie’s help in his battle with the evil Mouse King, they journey together through strange and fantastical stories until they finally arrive in a secret land made of nothing but candy.
When: 21st Nov – 4th Jan
Where: Unicorn Theatre
Ice Skating at Somerset House
Celebrate the festive season in style at London’s most beautiful ice rink. Enjoy a day time skate and check out the new Polar Bear stabilisers (there’s even a polar bear club for young children) or book for when the sun goes down and you might be able to squeeze in some apres-skate with a naughty cocktail or indulgent fondue; hot choc’s for the kids. This year Somerset House have partnered with Fortnum and Mason’s and as well as Fortnum’s Lodge (offering tasty pastries, welsh rabbit and other delights), there is a Christmas Arcade for some bespoke christmas shopping – 15 elegant rooms will be dedicated to showcasing Fortnum’s festive favourites – it’s like a Fortnum and Mason’s mini me.
When: Until 11th January 2015
Where: Somerset House
Cost: tickets start at £8.80
Father Christmas at Duke of York Square
Written those Christmas lists yet? Let the children personally deliver them this year when they visit Father Christmas at the Duke of York Square. Santa’s little helpers will also be busy taking photos as keepsakes and there will be the chance to listen to seasonal stories. Visiting the grotto is free but you can take the opportunity to bring some festive cheer to others in need this Christmas and make a charitable donation to the Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts.
When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday in November between 10am and 5pm, and Tuesdays to Sundays in December up until the 23rd.
Where: Duke of York Square
Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park returns this year – more wondrous and wintrier than ever before with treats galore for all the family! With rides for all ages, a Christmas Market, ice-skating, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Zippos Circus and the Giant Observation Wheel – you’ll be spoilt for choice! Enjoy our LittleBird top tips for visiting with your family this year on our blog. Plus we have a family ticket to give away, enter our competition here
When: 21st November until 4th January 2015
Where: Hyde Park
Cost: Free to enter – rides and attractions are accessed by tokens, which cost £1 each and are available at token booths. Shows are ticketed and booking is advised.
Paddington Bear at The House of Illustration
Paddington is here, there, everywhere – we can’t get enough of the marmalade sandwich scoffing bear. Celebrating over 50 years of Paddington on page and screen, the exhibition brings together a selection of artwork from original drawings by Peggy Fortnum, Fred Banbery, David McKee and R.W. Alley, to clips from Ivor Wood’s 1970s stop motion Paddington TV show and material from the new Paddington movie. There’s the Paddington trail around London to be enjoyed – a perfect photo opportunity with the duffle coated dude – plus we have a fantastic Paddington competition with plenty of goodies, a signed book!!! and exhibition tickets for one lucky family, enter here.
When: until 4th January
Where: House of Illustration
Cost: Free if you have a ticket to the main gallery exhibition. Admission to exhibition on its own is £4/£3/£2 adult/concession/child.
South Ken Kids’ Festival
A score of children’s book artists are taking over the Institut français and London-based schools for a week of family fun, with workshops, drawing duos, films, live music, and more. A unqiue opportunity to meet celebrated artists including Alex Barrow, Clémentine Beauvais, Benjamin Chaud, Agnès Desarthe, Jean-François Dumont, Anne Fine, Bruno Gazzotti, Mini Grey, Aurélie Guillerey, Yasmeen Ismail, Judith Kerr, Satoshi Kitamura, Michael Rosen, Axel Scheffler and Quentin Blake. On Saturday 22nd, get tickets for Impro!, a live drawing and music improvisation event starring top-notch pianist Andy Emler plus the chance to meet the legendary Judith Kerr. For a full programme of events, click here
When: until 23rd November
Where: Institut français
Cost: Tickets start from £5
Lines in the Ice at The British Library
Journey to the British Library for this new exhibition entitled: Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage. It examines why Europeans are drawn to explore the Arctic and, in particular, the fabled Northwest Passage. The exhibition displays early European maps of the Arctic, Inuit accounts of the coming of the explorers, writings from the search for Franklin, early Arctic photography and much more. It also unearths the history of the North Pole’s most famous resident – Santa. A stone’s throw from One Granary Square – pop and see the fountains; spectacular day and night!
When: Until 29th March
Where: The British Library
Hogwarts at Warner Bros Studios
If you haven’t managed to visit Hogwarts at Warner Bros. Studios their festive offering could be the perfect Christmas treat for all the family as Hogwarts becomes even more magical than usua. Get up close to the stunning model castle used in the Harry Potter films as it’s covered in a blanket of special effects snow for the Christmas period.
Enjoy the many intricately detailed sets in the studio that have all been given a Christmas makeover as props and decorations used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone are brought out of storage and marvel at the eight Christmas trees that line the Great Hall, alongside festoons of holly, mistletoe, golden wreaths and a feast fit for magicains – shame you can’t pull up a chair and tuck in!
When: Until 1st January
Where: Warner Bros Studio
Cost: Tickets from £30