Image above: Christmas at Kew
From the cheap and cheerful to the ‘let’s push the boat out’ awesome
There are some lovely Christmas shows coming up, and activities for children, not all of them expensive. The Chiswick Flower Market is offering two free children’s theatre shows at the market on Sunday, 4 December. Gunnersbury Park has Christmas and Chanukah activities for children and Osterley Park has a family trail.
Christmas at Kew is already under way – Kew Gardens’ annual Christmas extravaganza of lights illuminates its 12,000 trees until Sunday 8 January, with thousands of twinkling lights. The London Wetland Centre at Barnes has also gone for an illuminated display this year – Illuminature – a trail of illuminated sculptures of animals and birds to visit after dark, also running until Sunday 8 January.
The Enchanted Woodland light show at Syon Park is coming to an end this weekend, with the last show on Sunday 27 November. But Panto season is only just beginning…
Image above: Jack and the Beanstalk, Lyric theatre, Hammersmith
Jack and the Beanstalk – Lyric theatre, Hammersmith
From Saturday 19 November – Saturday 7 January
Join The Lyric Theatre this festive season for the return of Jack and the Beanstalk: a panto of gigantic proportions. When Jack swaps the beloved Daisy the Cow for a bag of magic beans it is just the start of a soaring adventure. Join Jack for the climb of a lifetime, battling giants and thorny baddies in hopes of finding fortune. Panto with live music, dance and whip-smart comedy.
“The Lyric Hammersmith panto has a reputation as the coolest Christmas show in town” (What’s On Stage)
Book tickets: lyric.co.uk
Image above: Enchanted Woodland, Syon Park (Simon Hadleigh-Sparks)
Enchanted Woodland – Syon Park
Until Sunday 27 November
Syon Park once again hosts Enchanted Woodland, transforming the 600-year-old gardens with a display of lights and music. Modern and traditional lighting effects illuminate your way through the trees. Now in its 16th year, the trail takes you through the arboretum, passing the 16th century Syon House, and concludes at the spectacular Great Conservatory.
Timed entry from 5pm, with the last entry at 7:40pm.
From £7.50, available from kxtickets.com
Images above: Five Children and It; A Christmas Carol
Theatre at the Tabard
Theatre at the Tabard have two Christmas productions: A Christmas Carol and Five Children and It, running throughout December. A Christmas Carol performances: 4th, 11th, 18th and 24th December; Five Children and It runs from 8th – 31st December.
Stage, television and film actor Clive Francis plays Ebeneezer Scrooge in the Dickens classic. The show has received four star reviews from the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times. The Daily Mail calls him a “Wonderous Old Skinflint” while the Daily Telegraph describes it as the “Performance of his career”.
Five Children and It, from the book by E Nesbit, tells the tale of five siblings who discover a magical, ancient and grumpy sand fairy, whose wish-granting isn’t always as straightforward as they might hope.
Book tickets: tabard.org.uk
Images above: The Wizard of Oz; The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford has The Wizard of Oz as its panto this year, presented by the award winning St Faith’s Players, Thursday 1 – Saturday 3 December and for young children (3 years +) The Three Billy Goats Gruff, 16 – 20 December.
Book tickets: watermans.org.uk
Image above: St Michael’s Players in Chiswick present Rapunzel
St Michael’s Players
St Michael’s Players in Chiswick present Rapunzel from Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 December. The long established amateur dramatic society runs a very popular Christmas panto every year in St Michael’s Centre, Elmwood Rd in Chiswick.
Book tickets: ticketsource.co.uk
Christmas activities for children
Osterley Park has Christmas wreath workshops and a winter family trail. The wreath workshops, priced at £30, run on selected dates from Wednesday 7 – Sunday 18 December.
The winter family trail has ten activity stations and two games to play along the way as Sarah Snow seeks your help selecting gifts for all her friends, Fee £2 includes a small prize to be collected from the shop. Suitable for children 4 and over, Monday 5 – Tuesday 27 December.
Images above: Christmas Wreath-making
Gunnersbury Park Museum is now open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am – 4.30pm, with a selection of activities for Little Flamingos: Storytime with Father Christmas from Friday 2 – Friday 16 December, the opportunity to meet a Victorian Father Christmas from Saturday 3 – Sunday 18 December and a session on making a 3D lightbox to celebrate Chanukah on 18 December.
Book tickets: visitgunnersbury.org
Image above: Christmas at Chiswick House & Gardens
Duck Pond Market – Chiswick House
The Duck Pond market visits Chiswick House & Gardens twice in December: Friday 2 – Sunday 4 and for a whole week from Saturday 17- Saturday 24 December, 10am – 3pm. Every market is a little different, as the various stallholders come and go, but there is always a selection of street food, crafts and gifts by local independent makers.
Image above: Last year’s Christmas Flower Market; photograph by Anna Kunst
Chiswick Flower Market
Chiswick Flower Market on Sunday 4 December will be huge, with the vegan market making a return, stretched out down the street as well as all the usual plants and cut flower sellers in Old Market Place.
Most of the primary and secondary schools in Chiswick, and several adult choirs and bands (including the United Brass Social Club) will be playing festive music to as soundtrack to your Christmas shopping and Father Christmas will be visiting the market.
There will be free craft activities for children, courtesy of Maggie & Rose, and two free theatre shows in the Boston Room of George IV by the Really Big Pants theatre company, at 11.00am and 12.30pm, suitable for 5+. Come early to help make paper chains, and take away a craft gift template at the end.
Book tickets: Ho Ho Ho (A Really Big Non-Panto Show)
Regular stall holders London Terrariums will be holding a session on how to make your own terrarium from 1-2pm, price £45
Book tickets: London Terrariums
Sara Ward of Hen Corner will be holding a Christmas wreath-making workshop from 2-3.30pm, price £45.
Book tickets: Wreath-making
More than 60 stalls for your delectation, 9am – 3.30pm, in the Old Market Place, Chiswick High Rd, W4 2DR.
Image above: Chiswick Antiques Market; photograph by Frank Noon
Chiswick Antiques and Vintage Market
Chiswick Antiques and Vintage Market on Sunday 11 December at the Old Market Place is positively bursting with Christmas present ideas.
Image above: Chiswick Cheese Market; photograph by David Insull
Chiswick Cheese Market
The last Chiswick Cheese Market before Christmas is on Sunday 18 December – perfect timing to fill up your larder with special cheeses for the Christmas weekend. 9.30am-3pm, Old Market Place.
Image above: Olive stall at the Food Market, Chiswick
Food Market, Chiswick
Sundays are is also an opportunity to visit the Food Market Chiswick, in Dukes Meadows for all sorts of good food from artisan producers. 10am – 2pm, The Pavilion, Chiswick W4 2RX (Dukes Meadows).
Image above: Christmas at Kew
Christmas at Kew
Kew Gardens’ annual Christmas extravaganza of lights illuminates its 12,000 trees until Sunday 8 January with thousands of twinkling lights. The Palm House and the lake are lit-up with a series of projections set to a soundtrack of beloved Christmas classics, while food vendors try and tempt you with a hot chocolate, mulled wine or spiced cider, halloumi fries and chocolate brownies.
Book tickets: kew.org
“Illuminature” at WWT London Wetland Centre
The London Wetland Centre at Barnes has a trail of illuminated sculptures of animals and birds to visit after dark until Sunday 8 January.
‘Meet giant light-up otters and explore the phases of the ever-watching moon in owl woods. Discover the lustrous lake using night vision goggles to discover what the wetland’s real-life inhabitants are getting up to. Spot the curious nēnē geese and dreaming ducks!
‘Hop between giant interactive lily pads, beneath glowing fireflies …
‘Head to the mystical marshland to start your illuminated bird spotting mission before heading into the fantastical forest full of mesmerizing neon birds. Take a peek into our real-life otters’ den for the chance to spot our furry family tucking up for bed.
‘Finally, journey through the twinkling tundra tunnel and back out into the real world.’
Book tickets: wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres
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