Tea At The Chesterton
After all those latkes, it’s time to don your finery and head to the heart of London, where throughout December you can book to have the festive Winter Wonderland Tea. A smorgasbord of yule logs, chocolate snowballs and Christmas tree cupcakes alongside tea and sandwiches. Or hang on till January and go to the Orginal Sweetshop themed tea, which is like stepping into a rhubarb and custard world (vouchers make a great Chanukah gift). With Liquorice Allsorts cheesecake and Coco-Cola slice, it’s a tea the late Gene Wilder would be proud of.
KidZania is doing Christmas from across the world, showing little ones how things are done in other countries. From the Christmas markets and the AdventsKranz in Germany, to India’s celebration of Christmas Baba, young visitors can follow the trail, stopping at the variety of Christmas carts on a fun journey through the festive traditions of Mexico, China, Italy, Australia, India, UK and Ethiopia.
KidZania London will take on a seasonal twist, with activities including festive ‘Frozen’ face painting at the Snazaroo painting studio and
a Christmas parade around the City.
Shout chocolate to a group of children and see how they run. These Pied Piper tactics are what’s required for the chocolate workshop (London venue to be revealed by wrapper). This isn’t just about consuming, as there is a serious bit of history, so you might want to take kids who enjoy finding out about things as well as sticking their face in a bowl. Not cheap at £445 for six people, it is, however, a truly Wonkaesque experience as you spend two hours with a chocolate expert finding out how chocolate came to London, the rise of the City’s Cocoa House and the success of Cadbury. Then you make chocolate yourself. From preparing, cutting, dipping and decorating, your only limitation is your own imagination and
you know where that takes you.
Enough with the doughnuts, I hear you cry, but isn’t it time you learnt to glaze and decorate your own at the Doughnut Adacemy? Yes, there really is such a place and it has limited places throughout the festive season, so you might need to give these miraculously oil-fuelled workshops as a gift for the new year. But then you can ready yourselves for Chanukah 2019! At £80 a head, you’ll spend two hours with the master decorator and walk away with your doughnuts, an apron and an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things sweet and round.
Royal Albert Hall
We all like a bit of culture, and any event at the Royal Albert Hall is pretty special. Spectacular acoustics and no bad seats in the house make this a perfect venue to take your children to enjoy music in a truly unique setting. First up on 12 December for those at private school is a family screening of the 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. It will introduce little ears to the jazzy sounds of the film as the screening will be followed by a performance from the Jason Frederick Cinematic Trio playing the repertoire of Charlie Brown composer, Vince Guaraldi.
There’s more excitement as Michael Rosen is doing a special festive reading of Bah! Humbug! and there are performances of Herbert Chappell’s Paddington Bear’s First Concert. Join the iconic bear on a journey from his first meeting with the Brown family right up to him making his conducting debut at the Royal Albert Hall, with the added joy of the marvellous Stephen Mangan as narrator.
If you fancy yourself as the next Torvill or Dean, then head down to JW3. The outdoor ice rink comes complete with glimmering lights, vibrant music and an electric atmosphere, so even if you are floundering around you can pass it off as dancing! For those more Orville than Torvill, you can hang onto penguin stabilisers. Seated banana toboggans can be pre-booked for less confident little ones to have fun on.
Rink is open from 2 December to 6 January. www.jw3.org.uk/icerink
If you want to escape the Queen’s Speech, facon viennas and family rows, take your gang off on 25 December to JW3’s Families Winter Disco. Get on down and boogie to the best of pop and old school kids party hits at the interactive disco-style party for all the family. Craft activities, soft play and games start the day,
and children’s entertainer Ilana Banana will host a true dance extravaganza.
Local and Lovely
Wyllyotts Theatre never disappoints in delivering West End standard entertainment at realistic prices. Always check their calendar for upcoming shows and films, which currently includes panto Jack and The Beanstalk (until 6 January), a magical extravaganza with live music, stunning sets, sensational costumes and slick choreography and spectacular music. They also have a Royal Ballet screening
of The Nutcracker; Off Broadway, a show filled with show tunes performed
by professionals and amateurs and a special showing of It’s A Wonderful Life on 17 December.
We can all hope our children will grow up to be doctors, but the identical twins that are Drs Chris and Xand have actually got their ologies and are bringing their award-winning CBBC show to the stage. Operation Ouch Live is at the Apollo Theatre from today to 6 January, and promises to answer some definitive life questions such as ‘What does it look like inside of Dr Xand’s head? How can germs be good for you? What can you do with a month’s worth of farts? How does sneezing work? What exactly happens to the food you eat? Get ready for the answers.
Hunting for the elusive oil might have stumped the Maccabees, but you can uncover the mystery of ancient worlds with an incredible private experience at the British Museum. A quick jump through time, and your whole family will be surrounded by wonderful marble sculptures and frescoes of the Parthenon, as well as gigantic winged bulls in the Assyrian section. It’s a two-hour fun-filled tour and will make what can be an overwhelming museum utterly enthralling for all ages. Children get a game booklet full of questions, riddles and games and you get to have as much fun as them.
Look Out For Ilai
The incredible talents of Ilai Szpiezak and his Upstage Creative team, who bring to life events all over the world, are now bringing a whole new circus experience to London, so get out your passport and make the journey across the river to Winterville at Clapham Common (12/13/19/20 December). More suited to older children owing to some darkish elements, CRASH is a tale of love, danger and mystery, featuring heart-stopping acrobatics, astounding aerial dance and eerie balletic pieces set to a lyrical electronic soundtrack.
Make the most of being south side and follow Kidadl founder Hannah Feldman’s pick of the activities. “I’m planning to take my kids to an OKIDO workshop at Winterville,” she says. “OKIDO teaches children under seven about science via a series of fun activities (the Winterville workshops are themed around phosphorus, gravity and static electricity), and kids will recognise its mascot, Messy Monster, from the hit CBeebies show.” Free app Kidadl helps you find the best days out in London: https://app.kidadl.com
While we all love a bit of family time, the joy of the holidays can wear a little thin as sugar highs and lows create emotional responses to simple requests. When it all gets a bit much, it’s time to bring in the ultimate childcare: a screen. If you’re feeling adventurous, head out to Hackney to the Luna cinema winter experience and see some classics in a pop-up venue. This December includes Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street and The Muppets Christmas Carol.
North London’s Got Talent is set to return for a fourth year in February 2019. Singers, dancers, magicians and even cheerleaders will take to the stage at Finchley’s artsdepot theatre on Saturday, 2 February in this fantastic charity event, which raises vital funds for patient care at the North London Hospice.
The 12 acts will pull out all the stops to entertain the audience and impress the judging panel, but only one will go home with the coveted Glitterball trophy. The winners will take the mantle from the 2018 winners, Sailors! – the youth troupe from the Sue Nieto Theatre School.