We might be in a second lockdown, but that doesn’t mean December is totally off the cards. From socially distanced children’s shows to winter lights trails, here are nine Christmas activities worth booking in the hope they go ahead.
The Gruffalo’s Child at Alexandra Palace
Internationally acclaimed theatre company Tall Stories is planning to bring its celebrated production of The Gruffalo’s Child to the Alexandra Palace Theatre for a limited Christmas season. One wild and windy night the Gruffalo’s Child ignores her father’s warning and tiptoes out into the snow. After all, the Big Bad Mouse doesn’t really exist – does he? Join the Gruffalo’s Child on her adventurous mission in this magical musical stage adaptation, of the much-loved picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Suitable for children aged three and over, the performance will last 55 minutes, without an interval.
Miracle at 34 at 34 Mayfair
The uncertainty of 2020 inspired 34 Mayfair to unveil its show-stopping ‘Miracle at 34’ installation in October. In partnership with Nyetimber, the restaurant will still be adorned with approximately 14,000 decorations – including 8,400 glittering and colourful baubles – once it’s able to reopen in December. Designed by Jane Wadham, the installation covers every inch of the ceiling and walls with decorations. A new menu will offer three courses, with dishes including roast pumpkin soup, rotisserie roast chicken and truffle mash. Guests will also be able to elevate their experience with a glass of Nyetimber sparkling wine.
A Winter Walk at The Newt
Encouraging families to get out in the fresh air, The Newt’s gardens, woodland and deer park will be open every day except Christmas Day. Visitors over the festive period can experience a mapped Tree Trail created by the woodland team, celebrating the estate’s ancient trees. And for the first time, the team across the estate – chefs, butchers, bakers and cyder makers – have created a range of fresh and pantry products for festive feasting and gifting. Spiced preserves, fine cyder, infused chocolate, Christmas puddings, fresh groceries and luxury hampers – including your entire Christmas Day – can now be delivered to locals and across the country.
Carols at Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall hopes to open its doors this December with a programme of festive favourites, welcoming a live audience to a much-needed celebration of Christmas in 2020. The season will feature essentials from the hall’s Christmas tradition, including the Royal Choral Society and Handel’s Messiah – both staples since 1871 – alongside Christmas carols, The Nutcracker, Guy Barker’s Big Band Christmas and the family show, My Christmas Orchestral Adventure. Presented under Covid-19 secure guidelines, the concerts will create a safe and comfortable environment for audiences to celebrate together again – with measures including socially distanced seating, e-tickets, deep cleaning, staggered entry times, temperature checks, a face=covering policy, and sanitising stations throughout the venue.
Festive Screenings at @TheDriveIn
Following a sell-out summer tour stretching three months and 13 cities, @TheDriveIn is aiming to return this winter for a special run of festive shows in London, Birmingham and Manchester. With new releases and festive classics on offer, Christmas @TheDriveIn will be a socially distant entertainment experience. New walk-up options are also available in the shape of igloo-style pods and cosy alpine chalets. With space for up to six people – from the same household or social bubble – each pod will be decked out with comfy seating and festive décor ideal for those without a car. Festive films include Elf, Love Actually, Home Alone and It’s a Wonderful Life, plus newer releases like Onward and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Festive Lights at Kew Gardens
Returning for its eighth year, Kew’s winter trail is set to return with old favourites and new light installations. Visitors can expect bursts of colour and enchanting optics as they explore Kew Gardens’ Unesco World Heritage landscape after dark. New for this year, visitors can wander through a tunnel covered with a canopy of glowing, colour-changing stars, and further along the trail, a returning favourite – the Cathedral of Light – will twinkle with thousands of fairy lights for that all-important Instagram moment.
Miracle at Henrietta Hotel
Experimental Group hopes to bring its Miracle pop-up bar phenomenon from the US to London for the third time. The Christmas-themed pop-up bar, renowned across America for its creative cocktails garnished with a side of kitsch, will launch on Henrietta Hotel’s mezzanine from early December until 23rd December, providing the perfect pitstop for a cocktail in Covent Garden. New creations on offer will include the ‘Fruitcake Flip’ (brandy, Jamaican overproof rum, amaretto, fruitcake, cherry bitters and whole egg) and ‘Jolly Koala’ (gin, vermouth and pine-cardamom-sage cordial), all served in fun and festive glassware.
The Nutcracker at Royal Opera House
Peter Wright’s production of The Nutcracker has been enchanting children and adults alike since its first performance by The Royal Ballet in 1984. Combined with Tchaikovsky’s iconic score and designs by Julia Trevelyan Oman, this magical production aims to open in December for a reworked, Covid-safe version of the festive favourite. If all else fails, we predict a live screening, similar to those shown on the Royal Opera House’s website during the first lockdown.
Ice-Skating at Beaverbrook
Beaverbrook has prepared a programme of festivities including a new ice-skating rink in its winter wonderland grounds, surrounded by the Surrey Hills. For now, from 4th December-31st January, guests will be able to glide on the ice while listening to yuletide melodies and trying mulled cider, hot chocolate and sugary waffles from the rink-side cabin. ‘Beaverbrook on Ice’ will be available to both hotel and local guests visiting the estate for an overnight stay, spa day or dining experiences at one of the hotel’s restaurants.
For more information on the above Christmas activities or for bookings, please contact your lifestyle manager.