Lifestyle

Embrace the holiday season with these fun festive events



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ooking to spend a festive day or night out in or close to London? From stunning light displays and glittering musicals to lively rugby and cricket matches, these are some of the most exciting things to do during the Christmas holidays.

Treat your loved ones to a day in the forest

Forestry England

Forests can be great places to recharge and make new, happy memories. Explore wintry woodland walks and bike trails; buy a real, Christmas tree with the help of specialist tree teams; and enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Gift your friends a green experience this Christmas with a Forestry England membership, or you can offer them a ticket to a Forest Live concert (artists to be announced), as well as one of the organisation’s Christmas light events. 

Caring for the Nation’s forests, Forestry England also offers low-cost, family-oriented activities such as the Superworm Trail, which uncovers fantastic facts about mini-beasts. Fun goodies, such as Forest Rider packs (comprising essentials for honing children’s bike skills) are available to buy, or you can try free downloadable Christmas crafts at home. Discover more at forestryengland.uk.

Attend a festive light show

AlterAgency

If a spectacular light display is what you’re after, grab your friends and head to London’s Crystal Palace Park for Lightopia: the breathtaking festival includes an array of light installations and festivities meant to enchant children and adults alike.

Picture a dragon that illuminates the surrounding trees; a 40-metre-wide, 15-metre-tall water show that features beloved Christmas imagery, including a giant Santa, Rudolf, and snowflakes; a magical forest, home to mythical winged creatures and a haunted road; and a stunning installation of snowmen, baubles and sugar canes.

Save 15% on entry tickets with code LFLTPD15 at lightopiafestival.com and enjoy a Christmas day out you’ll never forget. Offer valid until 2 January 2023.

Gift a rugby fan tickets to the ultimate match

Quins – Big Game 14

Got a friend who loves rugby? Give them the perfect Christmas gift with tickets to Big Game 14, the legendary annual club rugby match at Twickenham Stadium. On 27 December, Harlequins will be taking on both Bristol Bears men’s and women’s teams in a first-of-a-kind double header in top-flight rugby.

In true Big Game style, the theme will be ‘Light It Up’, with plenty of fireworks, pyrotechnics and a light show to remember. The event will include free fairground rides and activities for all the family, as well as a live DJ set from Faithless. Tickets start from £35 for adults and £25 for under 18s, and are available at quins.co.uk.

Head to the West End for a thrilling play

The Mousetrap

Few gifts would make a theatre-lover happier than tickets to a West End show. Keep it classic — and classy — with Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, the world’s longest-running play, which celebrates its 70th anniversary in London’s West End this November.

This genre-defining mystery by none other than the best-selling novelist of all time, comes to life through a gripping theatrical production. The plot follows a group of seven strangers who find themselves snowed in at a remote countryside guest house as news of a murder spreads in London. When a police sergeant arrives, the guests discover, to their horror, that a killer is in their midst.

Who is the murderer and who will be their next victim? Find out for yourselves with this thrilling festive treat the entire family will love: uk.the-mousetrap.co.uk.

Treat the family to a trip to the world of Oz

Curve Theatre

Looking for a musical theatre show to take your kids to this Christmas? Give The Wizard of Oz at Leicester’s Curve Theatre (just over an hour by train from London) a go. Directed by artistic director Nikolai Foster (Billy Elliot the Musical, A Chorus Line and Grease), the musical features music and songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice next to the originals from the 1939 film.

Treat the whole family to a spectacular adventure as you join Dorothy and Toto on their journey from sepia-soaked Kansas over the rainbow to the technicolour wonderland of Oz. Running 19 November 2022 to 8 January 2023. Find out more about this Christmas musical and book your tickets at curveonline.co.uk.

Embrace the holiday spirit at Wigmore Hall

Wigmore Hall

There’s nothing like a choral Christmas concert to get you into the festive spirit, and music fans will love this season’s performances at the iconic Wigmore Hall in central London.

The venue presents five concerts by leading choirs and ensembles from the UK and Europe, with highlights including A Roman Baroque Christmas with period performance ensemble Arcangelo and soprano Katharina Konradi (directed by Jonathan Cohen), a Christmas concert from the award-winning choir Tenebrae, and a rare performance of Kuhnau’s Christmas Cantatas by musical collective Solomon’s Knot.

Ring in the new year with Wigmore’s New Year’s Eve concert from Scottish baroque ensemble Dunedin Consort. Visit wigmore-hall.org.uk — £5 tickets are available for under 35s, supported by media partner Classic FM.

Invite a loved one to a splendid light event

Marwell Zoo

Light shows are amongst the most fun attractions of the holiday season, and Marwell Zoo’s extravaganza is the ideal way to spend a night out this winter — think 250,000 bulbs creating gently glowing displays and illuminated spots for reflection.

Marwell Zoo’s first ever light event includes an array of impressive light-up acts, interactive displays and Insta-worthy photo ops. There will also be seasonal treats and marshmallow toasting around cosy firepits.

The after-dark event takes place in the zoo’s beautiful 140-acre park in Colden Common, Winchester (just a couple of hours from London by car) that’s home to ancient trees, winding paths and the historic Marwell Hall. Tickets are available at marwell.org.uk.

Book a cricket experience for you and your friends

Sixes Cricket

After nearly two Christmases in hiding, Sixes is looking to smash this year’s party season out of the grounds. Test your batting skills against its best-in-class technology (with scores recorded on a leaderboard), enjoy buzzing DJ sets and go all out with the Golden Balls feasting package, complete with pigs in blankets and a cranberry-flavoured Belvedere cocktail.

Even Father Christmas is making a cameo as bowler-in-residence for the party. Christmas at Sixes delivers all the signature party vibes with a sprinkling of added festive spin, ensuring spirits are kept just as high as the sporting stakes themselves.

Choose from four London sites (Fitzrovia, Shepherd’s Bush, Fulham and Wembley) and book at sixescricket.com.

Play a round of golf in central London

Pitch Golf

If golf is more your thing, how about a different take on this classic game? Boasting two sites in Soho and the City, Pitch is a modern golf concept, in keeping with today’s growing appetite for competitive socialising.

Each venue has a private members area, with bays for those looking to practise or take lessons with PGA golf professionals, and a social section with a bar and lounge for groups of friends or for exclusive hire for Christmas parties.

Each bay can fit up to 10 people, and games are aimed at everyone from beginners to experienced golfers. Cocktails and street food are available on site. Book a bay with up to 10 friends from £40, or enquire about membership, lessons and events at pitchgolf.london.

Bring your family to a fresh take on Sleeping Beauty

The National Theatre

Hex, the National Theatre’s colourful and big-hearted musical, returns this Christmas, inviting adults and little ones to a mesmerising show. Deep in the woods, a lonely fairy longs for someone to bless. 

When she’s summoned to the palace to help the princess sleep, her dream turns into a nightmare and her blessing becomes a curse. Soon, she’s plunged into a frantic, 100-year quest to somehow make everything right. 

Rufus Norris directs this vividly original retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty fairytale, with music by Jim Fortune, book by Tanya Ronder and designs by Katrina Lindsay. Bring a family of five for £100 with £20 tickets available for kids and adults. Offer valid until 14 January 2023. Suitable for children aged 8+. Book at nationaltheatre.org.uk.

Embark on a festive cruise

Christopher Ison

In charge of the office party this Christmas? City Cruises has you covered with its cruise experiences. The Christmas Party Cruise includes a traditional holiday menu and dance floor fun.

If you’re looking for a tour on the big day itself, opt for the Christmas Day Sightseeing Cruise where you’ll glide along the Thames, past historic riverside sights in the comfort of a fully heated river boat, while the Christmas Day Lunch Cruise offers a festive menu and live entertainment.

On New Year’s Eve, cruises come with a three-course meal and a prime position to enjoy the stunning fireworks display, cityexperiences.com.

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