Fabulously Festive Shows in London Perfect for the Holiday Season

The holiday season means a host of special shows, from ballets to dancing on ice.

A white Christmas is never guaranteed but catch a festive show in London this winter and you’ll be sure to experience dancing snowflakes, snowmen and a even blizzard.

Dick Whittington, London, UK

If you like pantomimes…

What could be more British than a panto? Joel Horwood’s Jack and the Beanstalk at Lyric Hammersmith (to 6 Jan) is a classic fairytale about a boy who sells his only cow for some magic beans. His furious mother throws the beans out of the window—only for it to grow into a huge beanstalk with a castle at the top, home to an evil giant. Suitable for over sixes, the show comes alive with talking animals, songs, magic, sweets and snow. 

Meanwhile, Dick Whittington (9 Dec—14 Jan) appears at the London Palladium. Oh no he doesn’t! Oh yes he does – and he’s played by Charlie Stemp (Half a Sixpence). Set in London, it also stars Elaine Paige as Queen Rat and the comedian Julian Clary as The Spirit of the Bells, among a host of other celebrities. www.dickwhittingtonpalladium.com

If you like ballet…

As midnight strikes in a Victorian home, a magical Christmas tree grows and Clara’s nutcracker doll and his army of toy soldiers come to life – sweeping the little girl into an enchanting winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes in the magical Kingdom of the Sweets. The Nutcracker (5 Dec–10 Jan), is always a highlight at Royal Opera House, with the powerful score by Tchaikovsky and immaculate staging.

Matthew Bourne's Cinderella, London, UK

Meanwhile, New Adventures—the team behind the hit ballet The Red Shoes—returns to Sadler’s Wells for Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella (9 Dec—27 Jan, 2018), a fairytale love story set in London during World War II. A chance meeting brings Cinderella together with a handsome young RAF pilot – just before they’re parted by the Blitz. A recording of an original score by a 60-piece orchestra brings the story alive, making it suitable for all ages.

If you like traditional concerts…

Raymond Gubbay’s season Christmas Festival (13-24 Dec) at the Royal Albert Hall is bound to ramp up your festive excitement. Classical music fans will enjoy traditional carols at Christmas Classics (13 Dec), sung by the Royal Choral Society along with the Fanfare Trumpeters of the Royal Logistics Crops. The world-renowned King’s College Choir (15 Dec) perform music by Berlioz and Bach.

Meanwhile, you can listen to West End stars perform at Jingle Bell Christmas (17 and 19 Dec), or the Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins's seasonal songs (18 Dec). Handel’s mighty Messiah (19 Dec) will blow you away with a 500-strong choir. 

Slava's Snowshow, London, UK

If you like circus shows…

Since it premiered in 1994 in Edinburgh, Slava’s Snowshow (from 18 Dec) has toured the globe and more recently, the UK. It’s now returning to the Royal Festival Hall for a fifth season. Influenced by Charlie Chaplin, the artistic director of the St Petersburg Circus, Slava Polunin, leads the theatrical spectacle, which features clowns, giant balls and cobwebs. Suitable for over eights, the highlight of the 90-minute show is a blizzard that will leave you knee-deep in snow.

If you like classic stories…

Celebrating 20 consecutive years on stage, the classic children’s tale The Snowman (to 31 Dec) is set to a score by Birmingham Repertory Theatre at The Peacock. Based on the book by Raymond Briggs and the subsequent film, it follows a boy who meets a magical snowman. Howard Blake’s music and lyrics—including the classic Walking in the Air – will no doubt give you goosebumps, and transport you back to your own childhood.

A Christmas Carol, London, UK

At The Old Vic theatre, Matthew Warchus directs Charles Dickens’ timeless classic A Christmas Carol in a new adaptation by Jack Thorne (to 20 Jan, 2018). Set on Christmas Eve in London, it follows miserly Ebenezer Scrooge (played by Rhys Ifans) as he is visited by four ghosts who transport him to the past, present and future—forcing him to confront his selfishness.

If you like ice shows…

Disney fans, make time to see Disney on Ice: Passport to Adventure at The O2 (20-30 Dec). Go early to attend a pre-show party, with magic shows, Caribbean beats, pirates and even the chance to warm up with Zootropolis at a Fit to Dance workshop. Once the show starts, you can meet all your favourite characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as you watch incredible ice skaters loop and jump around on the ice. The show is set to Academy Award-winning musical scores, and takes you to destinations that feature in your favourite films.

Disney on Ice, London, UK