East London


We have got the ultimate festive list of family fun in East London for you and your family!

Are you ready to get your jingle on? No?! Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Our festive feature of East London family activities will help you get into the jolly jingle mood of Christmas and see you through to the start of the New Year.

Tower of London Ice Rink

When: Saturday 16th November 2019 – Sunday 5th January 2020

Where: Tower of London, St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB

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Take in the magical ambience of the fortress beside the Thames at the famous Tower of London ice rink this Christmas — a unique and unforgettable setting, day or night. Enjoy a hot drink or sweet treat while you soak up the festive atmosphere at the heated Ice Rink Café Bar. Everyone is welcome in this relaxing, festive spot, whether you’re a skater or a spectator. We recommend that you arrive 30 minutes before your session to get ready to take to the ice. Prices vary from £5-15 and family tickets are available. 

Santa’s Snowflake Grotto- Westfield Stratford

When: Thursday 21st November – Tuesday 24th December 2019 

Where:  Chestnut Plaza, Westfield, Stratford City E20 1GL

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Westfield Stratford City invites children and families to Santa’s Snowflake Grotto. Be transported to the Snow Factory in the North Pole, where Santa’s elves make all the snow in the world. Children will create their own Christmas decoration and explore all the fun activities within the Grotto. You’ll meet Santa in his cosy cabin, where every child will receive a gift and have their photo taken. After your North Pole adventure, you’ll be magically transported back to East London. Booking is required.

Deck The Halls – Father Christmas at Sutton House

When: Saturday 23rd November  – Sunday 22nd December 2019

Where: Sutton House & Breaker’s Yard, 2-4 Homerton High St, E9 6JQ

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The halls of Hackney’s oldest house will be decked for Christmas. Explore 500 years of Christmas traditions throughout Sutton House and experience the festive period through the eyes of the Tudors, the Georgians, the Victorians, and even 1980s Londoners.  

Meet Father Christmas in his picturesque, oak-panelled Tudor grotto by a cosy fire. Hear enchanting stories of his adventures. Children will receive a lovely gift.

Discover unusual traditions from the past, experience a lavish Victorian Christmas, enjoy mulled wine and mince pies, post a letter to Father Christmas and play with classic 1980s toys. Places to see Father Christmas are limited and this is a very popular event for East London families, so it’s recommended that you book ahead. 

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Dick Whittington 

When: Saturday 23rd November – Saturday 11th January 2020

Where: Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN

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Join Dick Whittington on his quest to find adventure, fame and fortune in London, at Stratford East’s annual must-see pantomime. Will he defeat the villainous rodent who’s taken control of the city?

Find out why Ian McKellan rates the Stratford Panto the best in London. With their much-loved mix of original show-stopping songs, belly-tickling laughs and sprinkle of magic (and perhaps a bit of snow) this year’s festive treat for all ages will get their giggle on. Take advantage of  our THMs members offer.

Christmas By The River: The Snowman

When: Tuesday 26th November 2019 – Sunday 5th January 2020

Where: London Bridge City2A More London Riverside, London SE1 2DB

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Christmas by the River is welcoming a festive sculpture trail and will be hosting a series of family workshops, which celebrate Raymond Briggs’ quintessential Christmas character,  The Snowman™. The ‘Walking with The Snowman’ trail will feature twelve giant Snowman sculptures, each reimagined with stunning designs and decoration relating to the song, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’.

The family workshops will be as follows:

Saturday 30th November 11 am-3 pm Every 30 mins

The Snowman- A storyteller will share readings from the classic picture book.

Saturday 7th December  11 am – 3 pm 

Arts and Crafts – Make your own Snowman nightlights.

Saturday 14th December 11 am – 3 pm.

Arts and Crafts – Snowman Snowglobe – Create your own magical Snowman themed snow globe. 

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We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

When: Thursday 28th November – Tuesday 24th December 2019

Where: Stratford Circus Arts Centre Theatre Square, Stratford, London, E15 1BX

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Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s classic will be brought to life in all its swishy swashy splendour this Christmas Season! After wowing audiences across the country, the award-winning Little Angel Theatre will bring their smash hit show We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to Stratford Circus Arts Centre for a very special festive adventure.

Victorian Santa’s grotto: Museum of London Docklands

When: Friday 29th November – Monday 23rd December 2019

Where: Museum of London Docklands, 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, No, Hertsmere Rd, London E14 4AL

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Santa welcomes you to East London’s very Victorian Grotto. 

It’s time to get into the Christmas spirit! Experience Museum of London Docklands’ Sailortown gallery, transformed with festive decorations and the sound of Victorian carols being sung in the distance. Find Santa in his grotto and receive a festive gift. From £10 per child (includes gift). Photographs available at an additional cost.

For: Families, under 5s

Min age: 1 – 7

Duration: 15 mins

Entry type: Paid advanced booking

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Christmas Carol – A Fairy Tale 

When: Friday 29th November 2019 – Saturday 4th January 2020

Where: Wilton’s Music Hall 1 Graces Alley, Whitechapel, London E1 8JB

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Scrooge. As you’ve never seen her before… 1838, London. Jacob Marley is dead. And so is Ebenezer Scrooge…  

In this story, Ebenezer died young, but his sister Fan married Marley and, as his widow, has now inherited his moneylending business.  She rapidly becomes notorious as the most monstrous miser ever known, a legendary misanthrope, lonely, and despised by all who cross her path.  Seven years later, on Christmas Eve, Fan Scrooge will be haunted by three spirits. They want her to change. But will she? Enter our social media competition by the 20th November for your chance to win a family ticket to see the most Christmassy of plays at Wilton’s Music Hall, the most Christmassy theatre in East London.

Suitable for 7 years +

Queen’s House Ice Rink – Greenwich

When: Friday 29th November 2019 – 12 January 2020 (10 am-8 pm daily)

Where: Queen’s House, Romney Rd, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF

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Located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the elegant surroundings of Royal Museums Greenwich, the Queen’s House Ice Rink is a magical place to skate this winter.

Enjoy striking views of the River Thames and Greenwich Royal Park as you weave (or wobble) your way around the rink.

Tickets start at £13.50 adult / £6.75 child and should be booked in advance.

The Sleeping Beauty 

When: Now – 5th January 2020 

Where: Museum of London Docklands, 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Rd, E14 4AL

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When will the princess awaken?

Experience the classic fairy tale of the princess cursed to sleep for a hundred years, performed by local ballet group Ruggieri Dance Academy. RDA International Ballet Company is a semi-professional dance company, composed of adults of different ages who share a love for classical dance.

Dick Whittington and His Cat

When: Now – 5th January 2020

Where: Hackney Empire, 291 Mare St, London E8 1EJ

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In Jamaica, young Dick Whittington is boarding a boat; chasing the dream of a new life in the gold-paved streets of glorious London. Little does he know, magic awaits him and his enchanted feline friend far across the ocean… he’ll embark on the adventure of a lifetime: fighting rodent royalty, meeting an eccentric fairy and winning the heart of his true love – all whilst trying to find fame and fortune.

Join the Theatre for a dazzling Hackney-style reimagining Panto of this classic rags-to-riches tale, bursting with laugh-out-loud topical gags, knockabout comedy, show-stopping song and dance numbers, the most boo-able baddies and enough festive cheer to fuel a ship halfway around the world.

Festive folk tale Interactive Storytelling

When: 1 & 28 December 2019 

Where: Museum of London Docklands,  Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Rd, E14 4AL

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The Lord of Misrule comes to the museum to spin the festive yarn of Dick Whittington, who rose to become the Lord Mayor of London. Join the ‘feast of fools’ or try your hand at being a jester in this interactive storytelling session.

Free drop in, check website for times. 

Storytime with Santa: Greenwich Market

When: 2nd December – 6th December 11 am-3 pm

Where: Greenwich Market

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Santa will read a special Christmas story to children (in small groups) after which they will visit him in his grotto individually to receive their gift.  Each storytime session, from arrival to the grotto, listening to the story and receiving the wonderful grotto gift, will last approximately 15-20 minutes (depending on the number of children per group), maximum 10 children per group.  Ideal for toddlers and pre-school aged children.

Winter Fayre at Spitalfields City Farm

When: Saturday 7th December 2019

Where: Spitalfields City Farm, Buxton St, London E1 5AR

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Get ready for festive family fun at Spitalfields City farm! Reenact the story of Mary and Joseph with DONKEY RIDES! Join Derek and Bayleaf for a trot between 2 and 3 pmWith Christmas Carols from Hackney Empire Community Choir, a raffle with fantastic prizes from East London businesses from Inspitalfields, Jess Jos Pottery, triyoga, Dark Sugars, The Mechanic Brewing Co, The Science Museum, The Backyard Comedy Club, t.&toff, Subluceo Candles, Breid, STILL London, Ottolenghi Spitalfields, and loads more…

Peruse the market stalls with toasty handmade knits from The Knitter Sisters and Pretty and practical ceramics by DMoonCeramics

There will also be facepainting, Santa’s Grotto, winter crafts and games; make your own Winter and Christmas decorations with natural materials.

Pin the Carrot on the Snowman and Tombola – Every ticket wins a prize!

Race Through Time: A Family Friendly Immersive Experience

When: 7th December 2019

Where: St Margaret’s House, 21 Old Ford Rd, E2 9PL

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Time bandits set on destroying St. Margaret’s House have been tampering with the past, but they made a very important mistake… they accidentally left one of their time portrals open. You have exactly one hour to travel through time, solve puzzles, and unlock secrets to save the future of St. Margaret’s House – before the time portal closes forever! You help is needed before it’s too late…

This event is suitable for those 8+, and it costs £4 per group (group size is 2-6). The games are an hour long and offering three slots throughout the day, with the start times of: 11am, 12.15pm and 1.30pm.

Storytelling with Lucy Christopher 

When: 7th December 2.15-3.15pm

Where: Discover Children’s Story Centre

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In our old house, Ma told me there was nothing to be scared of. No monsters hiding behind doors, or in wardrobes, or under beds. She said there were no dark places at all. But, in the new house, under my new bed, THAT’s where I found Shadow…

Join Lucy Christopher as she shares her debut picture book Shadow, a moving story about a little girl finding a shadow in a new house, causing mischief, and ultimately rediscovering the connection with Mum she needed all along.

Then, get a chance to create your own shadows. Maybe you could even perform some mischief with them. 4years + 

Christmas crackers

When: 8th December 11.30am & 2pm

Where: The Museum of London, Docklands,  Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Rd, E14 4AL

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Make a noise!

Pull, crack, snap goes the Christmas cracker! Where did this festive table decoration come from? Learn about this historic tradition which aimed to add excitement to the humble sweet and make your own to take home.

Free drop-in, 5 years and up.

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Glo-Wild Lantern

When: 14th December 2019 

Where: Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park Southern Grove, London E3 4PX

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Join in for this nature-based craft event. Using recycled plastic bottles, LED lights, coloured tissue paper and glue.  East London families get together to make colourful and festive lanterns in The Soanes Centre in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Followed by a short walk into the Park with your lit up lanterns to experience nature in the atmospheric blanket of darkness. All materials provided.

This event is not specifically just for families, everybody is welcome! Although spaces are limited so booking is essential to ensure you get a place. If you’re bringing children, please note there is a maximum of two children per adult.

Ragdoll: 0-3 Storytelling

When: Saturday 14th December – Saturday 9th February 10.30 am – 10.55 am

Where: Discover Children’s Story Centre

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Welcome to the toybox! Join Ragdoll on an interactive adventure as they find all the different toys in the toybox and learn how to play with them.

From stacking rings to music boxes, this charming show brings your old favourite toys to life and is a treat for grown-ups and children alike. See website for prices and booking. The Discover Story Centre is a brilliant venue for family fun in East London.

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The Back of the Toybox

When: Saturday 14th December 2019 – Saturday 9th February 2020

Where: Discover Children’s Story Centre

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Everybody loves Christmas, don’t they? All those presents and all that chocolate. It’s such a happy time of year. Not if you’re a rag doll.

Ditsy is Martha’s favourite toy. They’ve done everything together for years and years. Then one Christmas a new toy arrives and Martha starts to lose interest in her old best friend.   

Ditsy must come up with a cunning plan, or soon they’ll end up at the back of the toybox… forever. 4years+ see website for price and booking

Mudchute Christmas

When: 14th December 2019 11am – 4pm

Where: Mudcute Farm, Pier St, Isle of Dogs E14 3HP

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Join the Farm for their annual living crib, festive crafts, free boot fair, and Christmas stalls.

Please bring donations of warm blankets, bedding, clothes and socks for homeless projects.

Family Festive Day: Victoria Park

When: 14th December 2019 12-3pm

Where: Victoria Park, V&A Building, E3

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Have a photo with Santa and his elves in the Christmas grotto, make your own Christmas Cards in our arts and crafts corner or have a sing-along with the live Christmas music provided by the ‘Victory Sisters’. A festive family treat for all the family to enjoy!

No need to book – meet at the V&A Building.

Outside the Igloo

When: Saturday 14th December 2019 11am – 2pm

Where: The Half Moon Theatre

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Pixel, Crash and Click are not your normal penguins. Safe in their igloo, they play their way through life with screens and games, whizzing and karting along until one day, the power goes off.

Led by Pixel, the three penguins step out of their igloo for the first time. Searching for the power, they embark upon an adventure of discovery and magic, following cracks in the ice, scaling enormous mountains and swimming in freezing lakes. Stepping outside may have been the biggest adventure yet!

Sitting amongst the set and performers, the young people in the audience play an essential part in helping the three penguin friends on their amazing wintry journey. This show promises to take any young explorer on an incredible adventure they will never forget!

Join The Knotted Project and Hawk Dance Theatre for an interactive icy adventure for ages 4+ and their families.

After the performance, there is a play session for everyone to enjoy.

Festive Storytime for under-fives

When: 15th December 2019 10.30am, 12.30pm & 1.30pm

Where: The London Museum Docklands

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It’s storytime

Get in the festive spirit with us in this special storytime session for children under five and their families. There’ll be puppets, music and singing galore as we celebrate the start of the festive season. This session is drop-in so no tickets are required but please do arrive promptly.

Jingle Bell Ball Family Rave

When: 15th December 2019 3-5pm

Where: The Moth Club Hackney

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Come jingle those bells with us at this perfect, glamorous venue in Hackney with an all glitter ceiling! The Moth Club is the Big Fish Little Fish Xmas East London home.

World famous, award winning, Glastonbury Festival performing, family rave sensation BFLF throws the ultimate family event!

Family fun for the post-rave generation of parents. Helping parents be responsibly irresponsible since 2013.

Goodman’s Fields Grotto

When: 19th December 2019, 4pm-9pm

Where: Goodman’s Fields, Aldgate, E1

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On Thursday, 19th December, Goodman’s Fields in Algate will be transformed into a festive Winter Wonderland. Visit Santa’s Grotto for some last-minute Christmas wishes and a gift from the Amber café. Snap a selfie on Santa’s sleigh and say hello to his reindeer as they take a rest before their big. Cozy up with a complimentary hot cocoa from Knight Frank or mulled wine from Leman Street Tavern & Running Horse along with a mince pie from Sainsbury’s. Pick up the perfect present at the Christmas market featuring local artisans; including handmade bags & jewellery created by Toynbee Hall, delicious bread from Wapping Sourdough & organic soaps & candles from Shiromi Gaughan. Tickets to see Santa will be £5 and we recommend booking via the Eventbrite link.

Under the Frozen Moon 

When: Sat 21st Dec 11am -2pm

Where: The Half Moon Theatre

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It’s so cold in Nunavut that the moon has frozen. A greedy dragon has gobbled every fire and every light, leaving only the white glow of the frozen moon. Under the dazzling aurora and glittering stars, Amka’s family huddle together, fishing for eels and knitting plenty of hats.

In this heartwarming tale, a young girl sets out to confront the dragon, who has hoarded all the fire and lights for himself. With lively poetry, transforming sets, exciting puppetry and atmospheric live music, Under the Frozen Moon brings life to a beautiful world of ice and adventure.

Let’s get festive with Charlie (Music Session)

When: 30th December 12.30, 1.45 & 3pm

Where: Museum of London Docklands,1 Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Rd, E14 4AL

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Join Charlie and her magic ukulele as it transports you around the world! Sing and play along to some old favourites and learn new songs, all celebrating the holidays. Free drop in 3years and up

New Years Eve – Fun DMC

When: Tuesday 31st December 2019 10.30 am – 1.30 pm

Where: JuJu’s Bar & Stage Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury St, London E1 6QR

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Midday is the new Midnight! Fun DMC is back with: DJs, Spin Doctor & Russ Ryan. There will be the Countdown to Midday and Baloon Drop. Glitter Cannons, Party Poppers, Snow Machine, Dance competitions, Food, Full Bar plus lots more. New Year’s day is all about getting down with the famalam in East London.

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London’s New Years Parade 2020

When: Wednesday 1st January 2020 at 12-2pm

Where: West London (see page for more information)

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The London New Year’s Day Parade (LNYDP) is a parade through the streets of central London on the 1st of January. The first parade took place in 1987, as the Lord Mayor of Westminster’s Big Parade. The parade was renamed in 1994, and for 2000 only it was called the Millennum Parade.

The London parade is the biggest New Year’s Day street event of its kind. It attrcts around a million spectators and you can buy tickets to get seats along the route.


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