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A Christmas Activities Guide 2018

It’s that time of year again when we realise quite how much we have to get done before Christmas Day makes an appearance!  But we also need to have fun – so to give you a helping hand, we’ve rounded up some wonderful Christmas Activities for all the family.  We’ve tried to stay as local as possible, but sometimes going a little further afield is worth it!

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic winter break.

CHRISTMAS MARKETS

LOCAL: Queen’s Park Farmers Market

When: Christmas Market (Sunday 23rd December) / NYE Market (Sunday 30th December)  10am-2pm
Where: Salusbury Primary School, Salusbury Road, NW6 6RG
What to expect: Christmas goodies including mince pies – stollen – preserves (+ farmers are ready to take orders for Christmas meat and poultry from early December)

LOCAL: Homeworks Christmas Bazaar 

When: Sunday 2nd & Sunday 9th December, 10am-2pm
Where: Salusbury Rooms, Salusbury Primary School, Salusbury Road, NW6 6RG
What to expect: Local designer fair – unique jewellery – ceramics – printed kidswear – knits – cult fashion labels – handmade prints

LOCAL: Kensal Rise Library Christmas Market

When: Sunday 2nd December
Where:  Kensal Rise Library, 10 Bathurst Gardens, London NW10
Time: 11am-3pm
What to expect: Seasonal gifts – new & vintage – food & drink. 50p entrance fee

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LOCAL: Queen’s Park Community Council’s Winter Fair

When: Saturday 8th December
Where: Queen’s Park Gardens, Ilbert Street, W10 4QJ
Time: 1-4pm
What to expect: Live music & choirs – donkey rides – wreath making – craft sellers – hot food & drink. Free entry

LOCAL – A Winter Bazaar

When: Saturday 1st December
Where: Maqam Centre, Wrentham Avenue, Kensal Rise, NW10 3HJ
Time: 10am-2pm
What to expect: Handmade delights including Glassware – Illustrations – Children’s Accessories – Cutlery – Pillow Cases – Children’s Night Wear – Pottery

Portobello Winter Weekends

When: The first 4 weekends in December (the usual Portobello Road market is held on Saturdays with a little festive spark while the special Christmas Artisan market and various entertainments happen on Sundays)
Where:  Portobello Road, W11
Time: The Sunday market will operate from 10am-5pm.
What to expect: Festive street performances – Live entertainment – Handmade Arts and Crafts – Made in London Market – Artisan, handmade products – Hot food and drinks.

Cabbages and Frocks Christmas Market

When:  Every Wednesday to Friday 12-6pm on December 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14 and 19, 20, 21. The Saturday market is open as usual from 11am-5pm.
Where:  St Marylebone Parish Church grounds – W1U 5BA
What to expect: Designers and artisans creations (including Tailored jackets by Gabriela Rose, organic skincare products from Ruby Red, individual jewellery from Ana Verdun & Pip Portley) – handbags – shoes – homeware –  gifts –  scented candles – Santa Grotto – Hot food and drinks.

CAROLS, SHOWS & MUSEUMS

LOCAL – Christmas reindeers and owls

When: Sunday 16th December 1pm – 5pm
Where: Minkies Deli, 87 Chamberlayne Rd, NW10 5RQ
What to expect: The Reindeers are coming back to the Rise along with a host of Xmas offerings and carols. The event is supported by Parkheath.

LOCAL – Christmas Carols at Mapesbury Dell
When: Monday 17th December 2017
Where: Mapesbury Dell, Hoveden Road, London NW2 3XD
Time: 6.30pm
What to expect: St. Gabriel’s Church Choir, mulled wine, mince pies, Father Christmas with treats for your children, all around the Christmas tree within a beautifully lit up setting.

Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas (under 6’s)

When: 21st November – 30th December 2017
Where: Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King St, W6 0QL
Time: Matinees & afternoons performances (check website for details). Running time 60min.
What to expect: Watch as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night. Full of merry touches with plenty of live music, songs and playful puppetry.

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Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas at The Lyric

The 12 Days of Christmas at the Museum of Brands

When: 1st – 31st December (the Museum will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day). 
Where: the Museum of Brands, 111-117 Lancaster Road, London W11 1QT 
Time: Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm, Sundays 11am-5pm. Closed Monday except from Bank Holidays 
What to expect: For a different spin on the well-loved carol, the Museum of Brands invites families to its quirky trail around the Museum’s Time Tunnel. While adults may lose track of time and ponder over childhood beloved gifts and festive memories, little ones will enjoy searching for the 5 gold (Hula Hoop) rings, a partridge in a Pear Tree (Soap) and other Christmas items through the 150-year history of branded Christmas presents. A prize is given at the end of the trail to all the winners. 

Winter Wonderland

When: 23rd November – 6th January
Where: Hyde Park, W2
Time: 10am – 10pm
What to expect: The UK’s largest Winter Festival, in the heart of Hyde Park.  Attractions include fairground rides, an open air ice rink (see below), deep sea adventures in the Magical Ice Kingdom, circus shows, Peter Pan and Cirque Beserk. If that wasn’t enough, you can see comedy acts, a Teletubbies Christmas show and fabulous fairground rides plus stunning views across London in the Giant Observation Wheel.  Your Christmas gift shopping can also be on the agenda at the Christmas market housing over two hundred stalls.

Walking With Dinosaurs

When: 27th December – 30th December
Where: Wembley Arena, Wembley Park
What to expect:  A spectacular show where dinosaurs appear to come to life! Thrilling but educational.

SANTAS GROTTO

Westfield Grotto

When: 22nd November-24th December 2018
Where: Westfield London, Ariel Way, W12 7GA
Time: 11am – 6pm
Cost: £7.50 (kids and adults require a ticket each)
What to expect: Guests will be transported to a spellbinding Snow Factory in the North Pole, where Santa’s elves are making all the snow in the world. During their visit, children will create their own snowflake and explore the various activities within the factory.  You’ll meet Santa in his Snow chamber, where every child will receive a gift and have their photo taken with him. To leave the North Pole and go back to London, you will experience the infinity room.
The visit lasts approximately 20-25 minutes, and photos can be purchased in the Christmas shop at the end.  Booking strongly advised.

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Brent Cross Shopping Centre
When: 15th November – 24th December
Where: Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Hendon, NW4 3FP
Time: 10am – 7pm
What to expect: Santa next to a crackling fire, sleigh bells ringing and plenty of Christmas cheer.  Grotto is free.  Booking advised.

Santa’s Gingerbread Workshop and Grotto
When: 24th November – 23rd December 2017
Where: Unit 16, Camden Market Stables Gate, Chalk Farm Road NW1 8AH
Time: 11am – 5:15pm
Cost: £15 a child ticket. Includes 1 free adult ticket. For an additional complimentary adult or infant (up to 12 months) ticket – email christmas@camdenmarket.com, subject to availability. 
What to expect: Little ones will need to roll up their sleeves and help the elves decorate a new batch of gingerbread, before meeting Father Christmas himself to fill the wish-o-meter with their Christmas wishes. Lots of fun guaranteed, and the experience includes a game, a story or even a little magic!

Father Christmas at the Hall

When: 22nd November – 22nd December
Where: Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP
What to expect: The elves are a little behind schedule this winter and some special little helpers are needed to work together and help Father Christmas set off in time for the big day. Children will enjoy an interactive journey through spaces within the historic Royal Albert Hall and meet a cast of enchanting characters from the North Pole, including toy soldiers, fairies, workshop elves, hosting fun activities. Children also get a chance to get a tasty pick ‘n’ mix for each child hosted by a magical fairy (Please Royal Albert Hall of any dietary requirements at the time of booking). This magical hour-long experience will end at Father Christmas’ magical sleigh, where children will meet Father Christmas, receive a gift and have the opportunity for a photo with him.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Christmas at ZSL London Zoo

When: 22nd November – 1st January 
Where: ZSL London Zoo, Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY
What to expect: Discover the historic site and iconic buildings as a one-mile illuminated pathway winds its way through the Zoo in a magical after-dark experience. With the animals tucked up in bed, explore the trail where fairytale meets fantasy and larger-than-life, illuminated wild animal sculptures rise high into the night sky.

Christmas at Kew

When: 22nd November – 5th January
Where: Kew Gardens, TW9
What to expect: See the beautiful Kew Gardens light up for an unforgettable after-dark festive trail of lights.

ICE SKATING

Winter Wonderland Ice Rink

When: 23rd November – 6th January
Where: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, W2
Time: 10am – 10pm (last session 9pm).  Sessions every hour, duration 50min.
What to expect: The largest open air ice rink in the UK, set around Hyde Park’s Victorian bandstand under a canopy of sparkling lights.  Spectators gallery serves hot drinks.

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JW3 Ice Rink

When: 02 December – 06 January
Where: JW3, 341-351 Finchley Rd, NW3 6ET
Time: 50 min sessions.  Opening times vary so please check website in advance of attending.
What to expect: A 200m2 skating area complete with glimmering lights and vibrant music.  Penguins available for those less steady on their skates. The Ice Rink is suitable from 2 years old.

Somerset House Skate

When: until 13th January
Where: Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA
Time: Hour long sessions throughout the day. First session at 8.45am / Last session 10.30pm
What to expect: Skate around the beautiful backdrop of Somerset House and enjoy a range of refreshments before or after your session.

WREATH MAKING

LOCAL – Kensal Rise Community Christmas Wreath-Making Festival

When: Saturday 8th December
Where: St. Marks, Kensal Rise, Church Hall, Bathurst Gardens, NW10
Time: 2 – 6pm
What to expect: A peaceful space for creative camaraderie and fun. Make your own wreath for £20 or pop by for a chat and buy a beautiful pre-crafted wreath for £25. Mulled wine and refreshments also on sale. Limited orders accepted in advance, book by emailing Joanna_marshall@hotmail.com

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LOCAL – Christmas Wreath Making Workshop

When: Saturday 8th December
Where: Le Comptoir, 20 Station Terrace, London NW10 5RX
Time: 12.30 – 2.30pm
What to expect: Work with a specialist Chelsea florist to create a beautiful Christmas wreath. All materials supplied. Workshop is £35 or £31.50 when quoting Queen’s Park Mums.  Refreshments of mint tea and Mulled wine will be provided in the heated indoor Moroccan Garden. Email or call to book a slot info@le-Comptoir.uk /02089628731

SCHOOL CHRISTMAS FAIRS*

Salusbury School Christmas Fair
When: Saturday, 8th December
Where: Salusbury Road, NW6 6RG
Time: 11am to 3pm
Cost: £1 minimum donation per adult (children go free)
What to expect: Santa’s Grotto — Christmas Trees and Wreaths — Pottery Making — Virtual Reality — Fair Ground Rides — Manicures — Cakes — Books/DVDs/CDs  — Arts & Crafts — Pre-Loved Toys — The New & Nearly Boutique (new/nearly new children’s clothes, 2nd hand uniform and good quality homeware)  — Face Painting — Tombola — Wand Dipping — Food (Christmas in a Bun and more) — Crepes — Mulled Wine — Hot Chocolate

*Most School fairs are not open to the public this year but if yours is and would like to be included, please email us at info@queensparkmums.com

You can catch Queen’s Park Mums on FacebookTwitter and some general local musings on our Instagram page @queensparkmums.

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