By Rhiane Kirkby
I don’t know about you but when the shelves of Sainsbury’s were filled with seasonal offerings in September and my son started singing Jingle Bells soon after, I felt a little ‘bah humbug’. But now those advent doors have been flung open I’m definitely ready to celebrate. Here’s my pick of things to do in West London to get you and your little ones into a festive frenzy.
Christmas at Kew
For me the annual sensory spectacular is always a winner and this year is no exception. A new trail awaits, taking in a light tunnel, laser beams and scented fire garden amongst other delights. There’s mulled wine and melting marshmallows, and the vintage fair also makes a welcome return. If you’re really lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the man himself as he’s planning to drop by to do some present preparation with his elves.
Through Monday 2 January 2017 (not open 12, 13, 24 and 25 December 2016). On 17 December there will be no Christmas at Kew tickets available to purchase at the gate.
If you’re a little bored of reindeer, sleigh bells and a rather rotund man getting stuck up your chimney but still can’t resist indulging in a seasonal sing-song then Baby Broadway could be the answer.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it’s the one that brings a slice of the West End to you. For £10, you can hear trained performers belt out the best Broadway classics and guarantee you’ll return home with a spring in your step. Their Christmas playlist is packed full of festive favourites including ‘White Christmas’, ‘Santa Claus Is Coming to Town’ and the now obligatory ‘Frozen’ medley.
Baby Broadway Chiswick: Tuesday December 13th (tomorrow!) 11 to 11:45am at St Michael and All Angels Church, Bath Road W4 1TT (and at venues across London throughout December).
Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a panto, now would it? Even the London Palladium plays host to one this year after a break of 30 years. Cinderella boasts an all-star cast including Paul O’Grady, Amanda Holden and Lee Mead.
And Aladdin flies into Hammersmith on his magic carpet for festive fun and frolics at the Lyric. If previous years are anything to go by, this is sure to be another family-friendly spectacular, promising ‘colourful characters, live music and lots and lots of laughs’!
Cinderella at the London Palladium, from 10th December for 5 weeks.
Aladdin at the Lyric Hammersmith runs through the 7th of January 2017.
If you’re looking for a pre-Christmas outdoor activity, try Winter Slumberland at Brent Lodge. For one day only, the Bunny Park will have themed activities to teach your little ones about bats, hedgehogs, birds and butterflies. You’ll even be able to pick up a bag of reindeer food in preparation for Rudolph’s arrival. Entry to the park is free, but there’s a nominal charge for each activity, which goes to charity.
Brent Lodge Animal Park, 18th December from 12 to 3pm, Church Road, Hanwell, W7 3BP.
For something creative and Christmassy to do with your babies and toddlers, Messy Books has a treat in store. Wendy Watkins will celebrate ‘The Night Before Christmas’ using the classic poem, as well as a good helping of sensory delights and the obligatory sprinkles and sparkles this time of year demands!
Classes for babies on Wednesday 21st December at 9:45 or 11:15 (St Michaels Elmwood Road W4 3DY) and for toddlers on Friday 16th December at 9:45 (St Nicholas Church Road W4 2PH).