Sparkling London Entertainment for December 2019

There's plenty of dazzle this month, so get booking for entertaining stage shows for all ages plus greeting the New Year in spectacular style.

28 November–1 December

If you couldn’t make it to the Wimbledon Championships this summer, you needn’t miss out as tennis greats Martina Hingis, Tim Henman and Tommy Haas are competing in the ATP Champions Tour Final at the Royal Albert Hall. The legendary live music venue is transformed into a sports arena – a rare event – with the tennis court in the middle and spectators encircling it, cheering on the sporting stars.

The Red Shoes, Sadler's Well, London, UK
Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes, a tale of obsessive love, on stage at Sadler's Well. (©Johan Persson)

3 December–19 January

Matthew Bourne’s contemporary ballet The Red Shoes returns to Sadler’s Wells as a double Olivier Award-winning production. The ballet, based on the Oscar-winning 1948 film, has Bernard Herrmann’s original composition played by the New Adventures Orchestra. The story follows Victoria, an ambitious dancer who is cast as the lead in Hans Christian Andersen’s dark fairytale. But when Page falls in love with the composer, Lermontov feels jealous and forbids her from performing.

Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics, The O2, London, UK
The vibes of Ibiza come to The O2 with Pete Tong's dance classics. (©IMG)

1314 December

If you love electronic dance music set to visual effects, don’t miss Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics at The O2. The Radio 1 DJ returns to the dome with new songs and club classics. Joined by a 65-piece orchestra, it’s bound to get you on your feet.

Household Cavalry at The Olympia, London, UK
The London International Horse Show sees the Household Cavalry perform its exquisite horsemanship. (©Household Cavalry)

16–22 December

What happens when you mix equestrianism with theatre? You get the much-loved the London International Horse Show, which presents events including the prestigious Dressage World Cup and Olympia Grand Prix, plus festive treats such as the Santa Stakes. This year’s headline act is the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment performing the Musical Ride, showing off the impeccable horsemanship required during battle.

Circus 1903, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK
The lifelike puppets of elephants, created by War Horse puppeteers, make up a major part of Circus 1903. (©Manuel Harlan)

19 December – 5 January

Marvel at majestic elephants at the Southbank Centre – no, this isn’t the zoo, it’s life-size puppets from the puppeteers from War Horse. At Circus 1903 you’ll be transported back to the golden age of the turn-of-the-century circus shows to watch acrobats, contortionists, dramatic knife throwers and dazzling trapeze artists. Look out for a new act: the Brazilian Wheel of Death.

Disney on Ice, The O2, London, UK
Characters from Disney shows Aladdin and The Lion King glide across the ice at The O2. (©Disney on Ice)

26 December to 5 January

Get your skates on and head down to The O2 for Disney on Ice – 100 Years of Magic. Where else will you see a prince throwing Rapunzel in the air, Goofy sliding across the ice on a rubber ring and Pumbaa from The Lion King dance around on all fours. You can also enjoy other Disney characters such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Snow White, Frozen’s Elsa and Aladdins genie as they glide to classics such as You’ve Got a Friend in MeHakuna Matata and, of course, Let It Go.

Les Miserables, London, UK
Les Mis starts out life again at a new theatre and with new staging. (©Michael le Poer)

From 28 December

Proving that nothing can stop the longest-running show in the world, Les Misérables moved to the Gielgud Theatre with a staged concert performance and a cast that included Michael Ball and Alfie Boe (to 2 Dec). The musical, which is now in its 35th year, now reopens at the Sondheim Theatre (previously the Queen’s Theatre), with new staging and reimagined backdrops inspired by paintings by the novel’s author, Victor Hugo.

New Year's Eve fireworks, London, UK
The fireworks on the River Thames bring in 2020 in style. (©iStock/oversnap)

December 31

Watch the skyline light up on New Year’s Eve with one of the world’s most spectacular fireworks displays. It takes place on the Thames right by the London Eye, which forms a strong part of its unique backdrop, and seen as one of the world's best. There's a musical backdrop to set the dramatic tone. Plan ahead as the event is ticketed although you'll be able to watch it on TV. The fun starts at 8pm, although you'll have to get there early to bag a good viewing spot. Happy New Year!