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stuff kids love
Welcome to our curated selection of December must-dos!
You don't need lots of money to have a cool yule!
Ignoring all the commercial aspects of Christmas, we've dug up ten fun budget-friendly ways to celebrate. No supersized or expensive organised fun here!
Have a look at our app for more inspiration.
Hammersmith Lyric, W10
If it's as good as last year, this season's show will as vibrant as any major panto player in the capital. But cheaper. And for a good cause, the theatre operates as a charitable organisation, providing high quality theatre by and for young people in an artsy buggy/coffee-friendly space. For younger kids this ticks all festive boxes.
Rest your head at one of these novel concept cafes. They serve a killer hot chocolate (tried and tested!) but cereal's the name, 100 cereals are the game. Choose one, or 8, pour over one of the numerous milk choices and dig in. It'll cost £5.50 for a small bowl, but we think it's worth it just to have a lie down on one of the beds...
Somerset House W1
Everyone's got a favourite ice rink and this is ours. The cobbled courtyard is a truly magical place to hang out and drink in Christmas. We're not alone, the under-8 Polar Club sessions sold out weeks ago, so move quickly to snap up any remaining day time tickets. (This year, organisers are offering a 10% discount for a family group).
Covent Garden WC2
An independent toy shop in the heart of the market, because we support independents. Especially ones that nurture theatrical storytelling and sell well-crafted, wooden or arty toys. This is where you need to take your kids to make their lists!
Trafalgar Square WC2
Norway has donated a Christmas tree to London since 1947, as a WWII thank you. Daily between Dec 9-24, one of 40 singing groups will gather to belt out carols to passers-by (weekdays 4-9pm, weekends 2-7pm). And from Dec 22, for the Jewish festival of lights, a giant menorah will light up the square to celebrate Chanukah.
Carnaby Street W1
These lights are already on and how has the street bettered last year's Queen tribute? By focussing on the pressing issue of plastic pollution. Brilliant! A collaboration with ocean conservation charity Project Zero sees an underwater scene of dolphins and sea horses to highlight oceanic areas in need of conservation.
The first batch of tickets sold out, but sign up to the newsletter to keep up to speed with the next tier. You could watch the televised Thames spectacle from the warmth of your home, or head to the top of Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath to catch them in the distance for free. NYE feels a long way off, but time will fly!
Take a trolley, you'll probably find all the presents you need for everyone you know in one sweep. Quaint, cobbled streets bustle with life in a city steeped in heritage, where the best of the British high street combines with cute, independent boutiques, an hour by train from Liverpool Street. Just watch out for the cyclists!
Victoria Park E3
Let's get charitable, it's Christmas! A time for giving, and all that jazz. Feel fitter while donating to a great cause – a perfect opportunity to get into shape before falling down the cheese & wine rabbit hole (or the kids becoming over-stimulated). £15 with a £100 min. sponsorship. (Dec 8).
St Paul's Cathedral EC4
Several venues of worship celebrate Sweden's national saint day with carols, music and lights, lots of lights. The Swedes do good Christmas fairs and great ceremonies! St Paul's hosts the grandaddy service of them all, on Fri Dec 13. Can't afford that, then the Marylebone event by the Swedish church is the one.