To quote the iconic Coca-Cola advert "Holidays are Coming!" - which means a super selection of festive shows will soon light up London's theatres!
From star-studded pantos to irreverent Christmas comedies, there's a London theatre show to suit everyone this festive season! Here's our guide to just some of the Christmas shows in London in 2023, and keep scrolling for some handy tips on traveling to the theatre with your family!
Family-Friendly London Theatre Christmas Shows in 2023!
Peter Pan at the London Palladium
Playing from 9th December 2023 to 14th January 2024
A staple of the Christmas season - the Palladium panto - is back with another family-friendly festive favourite: Peter Pan!
As always, this year's Palladium pantomime has an all-star cast, including Jennifer Saunders as Captain Hook and Julian Clary as Smee; the cast also includes Palladium panto mainstays Paul Zerdin, Nigel Havers, Gary Wilmot, and Rob Madge.
ELF the Musical at the Dominion Theatre
Playing from 15th November 2023 to 6th January 2024
"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear" - Buddy the Elf is taking his famous saying to heart this Christmas with the return of ELF the Musical at the Dominion Theatre! This family-friendly musical is the stage adaptation of the beloved 2003 movie which starred Will Ferrell & Zooey Deschanel, and returns to the Dominion for the second year in a row.
The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre
Playing from 18th November 2023 to 30th December 2023
We all know & love the iconic 1982 animated movie, and many London audiences have since been dazzled by the feel-good stage adaptation of Raymond Briggs' beloved book. The story about a little boy called James and a magical snowman has been delighting London audiences for over 26 years and will once more make audiences feel like they're walking in the air!
Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas at the Lyric Hammersmith
Playing from 22nd November 2023 to 30th December 2023
Another stage adaptation of Raymond Briggs' children's books returning to London this year is about the main man himself, Father Christmas! The show - returning to the Lyric Hammersmith for another year - follows Father Christmas on Christmas Eve as he prepares to deliver presents all around the world.
Hansel and Gretel at Shakespeare's Globe
Playing from 8th December 2023 to 7th January 2024
A new show hitting London this Christmas is a new adaptation of the Brothers Grimm classic fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel. Poet Laureate Simon Armitage pens this new show, which is filled with music, magic, and songs.
The Gruffalo's Child at the Garrick Theatre
Playing from 1st December 2023 to 7th January 2024
Next on the list is the stage adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's beloved children's picture book - The Gruffalo's Child - following the adventures of The Gruffalo's daughter. This sweet story explores the importance of listening to parents and the power of storytelling.
Father Christmas Needs a Wee! at the Arts Theatre
Playing from 2nd December 2023 to 23rd December 2023
Another stage adaptation of a children's book hitting the West End this Christmas is Father Christmas Needs a Wee! The show follows Father Christmas as he's making his deliveries on Christmas Eve, but he's desperate for the loo!
Wishmas: A Fantastical Christmas Adventure at The Old Bauble Factory
Playing from 14th November 2023 to 7th January 2024
A new immersive theatrical experience hitting London this Christmas is Wishmas - created by the folks at Secret Cinema. Starting with the mysterious Wishkeepers and traveling across the sky to meet with Father Christmas himself, audiences journey to save Wishmas, and ensure that "no wish is ever forgotten." After the experience, audiences will have the opportunity to explore the Wishmas Market, filled with treats, drinks, and Christmas gifts.
There's a Monster in Your Christmas Show at artsdepot
Playing from 27th December 2023 to 7th January 2024
A new page-to-stage musical hitting London this Christmas is There's a Monster in Your Christmas Show - a festive adaptation of McFly frontman Tom Fletcher's children's book. A group of performers are joined by sweet but mischievous puppets who explore the joy of reading & the importance of friendship.
2023 London Theatre Christmas Shows: Christmas Carols with a twist!
Sh!t-Faced Showtime: A Pissedmas Carol at the Leicester Square Theatre
Playing from 28th November 2023 to 6th January 2024
What would you get if you took a traditional production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol but one of the actors was absolutely hammered? Why A Pissedmas Carol of course! In their trademark style, the team at Sh!t-Faced Showtime (also known for their Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare productions) turn this classic Dickensian tale into a hilarious night at the theatre as audiences watch one of their troupe stumble through the show while drunk ... and also play a role in getting that actor even drunker!
A Sherlock Carol at the Marylebone Theatre
Playing from 24th November 2023 to 7th January 2024
Taking the main stage at the Marylebone Theatre this Christmas is this festive comedy mash-up! Devastated by the death of his benefactor Ebenezer Scrooge, a grown-up Tiny Tim seeks the investigative skills of Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery surrounding his suspicious death. This production marks the return of A Sherlock Carol, which debuted in NYC in 2021, and had a successful run at the Marylebone Theatre in 2022.
Traditional London Theatre Christmas Shows in 2023!
A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic
Playing from 11th November 2023 to 6th January 2024
Old Vic Artistic Director Matthew Warchus’ big-hearted production of A Christmas Carol - adapted for the stage by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playwright Jack Thorne - returns to the Old Vic for another Christmas after its debut in 2017. This year, the Emmy Award-winning actor Christopher Eccleston - best known for playing The Doctor in the 2005 revival of Doctor Who - takes on the role of Dickens' famous miser.
West End theatre shows playing in London in December 2023
Fancy something a little less Christmas-sy but no less glitzy?! Here's a list of all of the shows running in the West End this Christmas season!
- Back to the Future at the Adelphi Theatre
- Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre
- Crazy for You at the Gillian Lynne Theatre
- Frozen at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
- Guys & Dolls at the Bridge Theatre
- Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts I & II at the Palace Theatre
- Jersey Boys at the Trafalgar Theatre
- Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre
- Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre
- Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre
- Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre
- Mrs. Doubtfire at the Shaftesbury Theatre
- Six at the Vaudeville Theatre
- The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre
- The Choir of Man at the Arts Theatre
- The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre
- The Mousetrap at St. Martin's Theatre
- The Phantom of the Opera at His Majesty's Theatre
- The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre
- The Unfriend at the Wyndham's Theatre
- Tina — The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre
- Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre
If you're planning a trip to the theatre this Christmas, we want you to have the best time possible! Here are our top tips on how to get the most out of a trip to the theatre with your family this winter!
- All things tickets - Some kids shows are more than happy to allow your little ones to sit on your lap, but most shows - especially if they are in a West End theatre - don't allow babes-in-arms, so be sure to buy everyone a ticket!
Most off-West End children's shows will offer reduced rates for children as standard, but many West End shows don't.
- Some general advice - This might go without saying, but anyone under the age of 16 must sit next to an adult at the theatre, so be sure to book seats together.
If you think that the theatre might be a little too much for your little one, consider booking aisle seats for an easy exit to take a break in the foyer.
- BYOBC (Bring Your Own Booster Cushion) - Booster cushions are available to rent at most theatres, but they sell out in no time during the school holidays, which is why bringing your own is a great idea!
- Check the theatre's cloakroom capacity - For shows for babies & toddlers, it might be worth checking that the theatre can accommodate strollers if you're planning to bring one along.