Christmas theatre for families in London, 2017

Christmas theatre for families in London, 2017

If you want to catch the best in Christmas theatre for families this year, head to London. With an estimated 230 theatres in the UK capital, it’s likely there will be something for everyone. Just check out this little lot, for starters.

Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas

Lyric Hammersmith, 22 Nov–24 Dec 2017

Under 6s

Those of you who are familiar with Raymond Briggs’ take on Father Christmas’ big day, will know that it’s a warts-and-all tale. This Santa is cross about Christmas, grumpy in the cold, and fantasizes about sunny beach holidays while he’s loading up his sleigh with presents. But the Pins and Needles production of Father Christmas at the Lyric, Hammersmith doesn’t lack any magic and sparkle, despite the grouchy main man. You can read our review of the performance here.

Ugly Duckling

The Albany, Deptford, 4–31 Dec 2017

All ages

Ugly Duckling

The Albany’s Christmas show, Ugly Duckling is based on the Hans Christian Andersen classic and is brought to life by tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal. The actors are accompanied by live music and the play is a gentle tale of the importance of identity and self-worth.

The Snowman

Sadler’s Wells Peacock Theatre, 23 Nov–31 Dec 2017

All ages


Sadler’s Wells is the home of London dance performances. The Snowman, based on the book by Raymond Briggs and the subsequent film, is now in its 20th consecutive year.  Ruari Murchison’’s design combines with Tim Mitchell’’s lighting to bring to life the story of a boy who sets off on a night-time quest with his snowman, who has come to life and takes him through the skies to meet penguins, reindeer, and Father Christmas. You can read what we thought of this delightful show here.

The Box of Delights

Wilton’s Music Hall, 1 Dec 2017–6 Jan 2018

National treasure Matthew Kelly and West End superstar Josefina Gabrielle are to star in the brand-new stage adaptation of The Box of Delights. This original production is the first time Poet Laureate John Masefield’s festive classic has been reimagined for the stage, and it will be brought to life by an ensemble cast in the Christmassy surroundings of Grade II Listed Wilton’s Music Hall, the oldest Grand Music Hall in the world.

Night Light

Royal Festival Hall, 19 Dec–31 Dec 2017

For children aged 36

Night Light

Danish company Teater Refleksion and Andy Manley have won acclaim for their poignant and poetic shows for the very young. Described as “a magical journey through the dark and beautiful night”, this show is part of Wintertime at the Southbank Centre, and promises to bring some Scandi-joy into the hearts of young families.

The Snow Queen

Polka Theatre, 17 Nov 2017–4 Feb 2018

Ages 511

Kai and Gerda are best friends. Inseparable until the Snow Queen bewitches Kai with an icy kiss, Hans Christian Andersen’s winter fairy-tale follows Gerda’s quest to find her beloved companion. Together with their friends, Kai and Gerda go on an epic journey of self-discovery, from a dusty attic, through snowy lands, to the Queen’s icy palace.

The Showstoppers’ Christmas Kids Show!

Christmas in Leicester Square, 16–30 Dec 2017

Ages 6+


This completely improvised show is brought to the family audience by Olivier Award Winners, the Showstoppers. In the Christmas grotto, Showstopper elves take ideas from the children in the audience, and transform it into a show. “Pirates at the North Pole? Harry Potter in Lapland? The Gruffalo singing carols with Peppa Pig? Just shout it out and The Showstoppers will bring it to life!”

You can read our review of the Showstoppers’ Christmas kids’ show here.

Snow-Pocalypse: Friendship never melts

Greenwich Theatre, 8–30 Dec 2017

Ages 4+

SharkLegs present silliness, light-up antlers and a whole lot of snow. Trilby and The-Boot, two unlikely heroes, create a wintery wonderland – in a world where anything can be made from the scraps left behind. Magic and mayhem is around every corner when the last two people in the world find the last ever book in the world – and find it’s about something called ‘Christmas’.

Stick Man

Leicester Square Theatre, 22 Oct 2017–7 Jan 2018

Ages 3+


photo credit Steve Ullathorne

The eternally popular Scamp Theatre adaptation is back for its seventh run at the Leicester Square Theatre. Sally Cookson’s production takes Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story and transforms it into a bouncy, perky stage show with a boost of physical theatre, some zingy props and a strong cast. We’re such big fans for the show that, when the children were young enough to appreciate it, we went along for three years in a row. You can read our review why here.

The Lost Boy Peter Pan

Pleasance Theatre London, 29 Nov 2017–7 Jan 2018

All ages

The 2017 stage adaptation of JM Barrie’s classic tale features the songs of the Beatles, played live on stage by actor/musicians. This and other treats are in store for Christmas theatregoers who want to watch the story of the boy who never grew up. With fairies, pirates and a ticking crocodile, this is a winter adaptation that’s likely to delight.

A Christmas Carol

The Old Vic, 20 Nov 2017–20 Jan 2018

Ages 11+

Jack Thorne has adapted a new version of the timeless classic. This time, Rhys Ifans (from Notting Hill) stars as the miserly grouch, Ebenezer Scrooge. A ghost transports Scrooge to his past, present, and future. The result is a heartwarming tale, but be warned: the show “contains haunting supernatural themes and some content which younger audiences may find upsetting.”


Unicorn Theatre, 22 Nov–31 Dec 2017

Ages 2–6

Christmas Eve is deliriously exciting for kids. Travelling Light and Bristol Old Vic have captured that feeling in a dance-theatre show. Two small boys bounce on beds, fight with pillows, and use their imagination to sail the seas and beyond. Just anything that doesn’t involve having to go to sleep.

Alice in Winterland

The Rose Theatre, Kingston, 7 Dec 2017–7 Jan 2018

Ages 5+

Alice in Winterland

In a new adaptation of both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Alice is thrust into a whirlwind adventure, and heroically fights to save her new friends in Winterland. Featuring evocative music, this performance of Lewis Carroll’s classics features professional actors alongside members of the Rose Youth Theatre.

Slava’s Snowshow

Royal Festival Hall, 18 Dec 2017–4 Jan 2018

Ages 8+

Clowns, creepy? Not when they’re fooling around with snow at Wintertime on the Southbank, they’re not. This show returns for its seventh consecutive year, and is touted as a combination of theatrical clowning and breath-taking visual effects, including a full-on snowstorm. The multi-award winning show has toured over 80 cities globally including New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and Moscow.

Backyard Cinema’s The Winter Night Garden

Winterville in Clapham, 23 Nov–10 Dec 2017

All ages


Strictly speaking, Backyard Cinema is a film screening rather than a show. But the company are known for their immersive, theatrical events and festival atmosphere, so I decided to include it in this list. The Winter Garden is an indoor enchanted forest, where you can watch a festive array of Christmas classics, including Home Alone, Elf, Love Actually and It’s a Wonderful Life.

To access the cinema, customers step through a magical wardrobe, and continue down a secret tunnel of trees, into the woodland. Film-goers can snuggle up under a blanket with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, and settle in for a Christmas movie treat. Read about our trip to the Winter Night Garden last year in this post.

Snow White and Rose Red

Battersea Arts Centre, 29 Nov30 Dec 2017

Ages 5+

Snow White and Rose Red

Battersea Arts Centre has teamed up with acclaimed theatre company RashDash in an adaptation of the original fairytale by the Brothers Grimm. Snow White likes to tell stories and paint. Rose Red likes to race with the deer and the wolves. When a friendly bear knocks on their door, the mischievous sisters have no idea it’s the beginning of a brave and magical adventure. Ths show includes live music, songs and plenty of festive touches.

You can read our review of the show here.

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon

Winterville at Clapham, 25 Nov30 Dec 2017

Ages 3+

Mimi and the Mountain Dragon
Skewbald Theatre brings to life Michael Morpurgo’s atmospheric tale. High up in the mountains of Switzerland the villagers of Dorta bang their drums, blow their horns and ring the bells to keep the fearsome Mountain Dragon away. But this year is different. One snowy morning Mimi discovers a baby dragon sleeping in her woodshed. The tale follows Mimi’s efforts to return the dragon to its mother in the dragon’s castle, with songs, puppets and audience interaction.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

Ambassador’s Theatre, 13 Dec 2017–7 Jan 2018

Ages 27

Very Hungry Caterpillar Show

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show features a menagerie of 75 enchanting puppets during a 60-minute show that adapts four of Eric Carle’s best loved books for the stage: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. If you’d like to find out more about the show, you can read our review here.

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine

Christmas in Leicester Square, 16–30 Dec 2017

Ages 5–11

Roald Dahl’s actual doctor, Professor Tim Solomon, explains how the body works, while sharing some of Dahl’s famous stories. The show was shortlisted for the Primary Times Children’s Choice Awards, and is set to be lively fun.


Are you hoping to see any London Winter shows this year? Our list doesn’t cover them all, by any means. Theatre tickets are on sale to many other top-class shows. If you go to see any, do let me know – and I’d be delighted if you would link up any theatre review posts to #CulturedKids.

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  1. October 28, 2017 / 10:31 am

    Thanks for reminding me about Stickman, we missed it when it came to our local theatre so I’d definitely love to take my boys to in London. And the Roald Dahl’s doctor sounds interesting!

    • November 1, 2017 / 12:12 pm

      Yes, I’m intrigued by that one, too. I wonder what Dahl was like as a patient?

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:52 pm

      I like the look of that one, too. x

  2. November 3, 2017 / 8:57 am

    There’s something about Christmas theatre that makes you feel all warm and snuggly inside. Therefore my faves would be The Snowman, just to increase that warm and snuggly ratio!!

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:52 pm

      It’s a fab way to start the season, isn’t it. x

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:53 pm

      Ooh – now that’s one I REALLY want to see! Mine are a tiny bit young, though. Drat!

  3. November 3, 2017 / 11:20 am

    the snowman, alice in wonderland, winter night garden & caterpillar look amazing, omg… it really gave me that festive feeling. I used to live in London and Christmas in London is such an atmospheric experience. #culturedkids

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:53 pm

      There’s so much to choose from!

  4. November 3, 2017 / 11:52 am

    Going to the theatre is one of the only things I miss about living in an English-speaking country, and in London especially. This is such a fun list and I wish I could take my kids to something (although the oldest is not exactly a kid now, and lives in an English-speaking country himself!) Personally I’d love to see The Snowman! #CulturedKids

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:54 pm

      I bet they have some great shows in Glasgow, Phoebe!

  5. November 3, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    I was only searching the web for Christmas theatre treats. My girls would love the Snow Queen – off to book tickets now! #CulturedKids

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:54 pm

      That’s top of our list, too!

  6. November 3, 2017 / 5:04 pm

    This is such a great post and reminds me why I loved to live in London so many years ago. The theatre scene is amazing! So many choices. I would have loved to see Snow Queen (one of my favourites) and The very Hungry Caterpillar Show … just because I have such fun childhood memories of the book 🙂

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:54 pm

      Yes, I love both those books, too.

  7. November 3, 2017 / 8:42 pm

    So many fun things going on for kids – just love Christmas time!! I can imagine London is amazing this time of year!! #culturedkids

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:55 pm

      It really is, Corey. You should come and visit some time!

  8. November 4, 2017 / 2:44 pm

    So much good stuff! I would love to see A Box of Delights – I vividly remember the the TV series as a child being the most magical thing ever, and how cute is that hungry caterpillar! A brilliant round up. #culturedkids

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:55 pm

      I loved the TV show too. x

  9. November 4, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    Wow there is so much choice, I would love to see Father Christmas, definitely be a nice addition to the family Christmas holiday traditions.

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:56 pm

      We loved it when we saw it a couple of yeas ago.

  10. November 4, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    What a fantastic list and so many great things to see, I took the three girls to London during the summer to see Wicked, not sure if i’d be brave enough to take them all at Christmas! Luckily we have some great shows on in East Anglia too, so that should keep them happy.

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:57 pm

      It’s probably not that much busier here at Christmas. You should come!

  11. November 4, 2017 / 10:29 pm

    Great roundup. I can’t wait for ,y lo to be older so we can go to the theatre

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:57 pm

      You’ll love it!

  12. November 6, 2017 / 11:29 am

    We used to often take our son to one of the Christmas shows: we saw The Snowman in about 1999 I think!
    I love Josefina Gabrielle so The Box of Delights would be a good one for me now.

    • November 12, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      Yes, that’s a show I really want to see, too.

  13. November 11, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    Reading this for a second time has finally prompted me to get my credit card out and book Stickman, thank you! #culturedkids

    • November 12, 2017 / 7:05 pm

      Hurray! Hope you enjoy it. We went to see it for three years in a row!

  14. November 12, 2017 / 9:06 pm

    Such a lovely collection and inspiration! Last year I took the 3 years old to see Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas with his friends. This year would love to attempt the Snowman at the Peacock theatre . Theatre manners are still work in progress for my boys, but hey hope dies last 😉 #culturedkids

    • November 14, 2017 / 12:47 pm

      You needn’t worry if you do take them to the Snowman. It was full of kids, with low-level chatter throughout!

  15. November 13, 2017 / 8:29 pm

    It would absolutely have to be Brigg’s Father Blooming Christmas for me. Love that book. Love the sequel about him going on holiday too. Required Christmas reading in our house!

    • November 14, 2017 / 12:48 pm

      It’s a fab story, isn’t it. The show did it really well.

  16. November 14, 2017 / 7:20 am

    Such a lovely guide to the Christmas plays around town! Every time I go to London, I always visit the theater and one day I’ll go for Christmas! Saved this for later! #CityTripping

    • November 14, 2017 / 12:49 pm

      Let me know if you do end up seeing one of these shows!

  17. November 14, 2017 / 9:03 am

    It’s interesting that several are happy for 2 year olds to go – I’m not sure mine would sit still that long! #citytripping

    • November 14, 2017 / 12:57 pm

      I found the shows for very young children to be really well done. So long as you don’t mind a bit of wriggling!

  18. November 14, 2017 / 12:04 pm

    There are so many options to get families and kids into the Christmas spirit at the theater. I am especially interested in the Peter Pan show. It’s one of my favorite literary classics and this adaptation seems like a fun one. #citytripping

    • November 14, 2017 / 1:06 pm

      I like the look of that one, too.

  19. November 14, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    I can’t believe how much choice you’ve found – despite living here, we really don’t make the most of London’s theatres, but Christmas would be a great time to try. Lots of inspiration to get me started. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • November 15, 2017 / 8:33 pm

      There’s never a dull moment in London theatreland – and Christmas is always the most exciting.

  20. November 17, 2017 / 4:35 pm

    I am deeply in love with Slava’s Snow Show. It is truly a thing of wonder and beauty.

    • November 19, 2017 / 8:01 pm

      Oh, I need to see it!

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