London Christmas Theatre for Families 2022: Tried and Tested

London families are beyond spoiled for choice when it comes to festive theatre. But with an almost overwhelming number of shows on offer, how do you decide what to see? Well, you could peruse our handy guide to the shows that we’ve tried and tested in the capital. We’ve seen a fair few of the family friendly productions playing in the capital this Christmas, and have rounded up our thoughts on them below.

Top for toddlers

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. Photo credit: Little Angel Theatre

If you’re looking to take a toddler to the theatre this Christmas, we’d recommend Grandad, Me…And Teddy Too (ages 2-5) at Polka Theatre in Wimbledon or We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (ages 3-8) at Little Angel Theatre in Islington. Peppa Pig fans might also want to check out Peppa Pig: Best Day Ever at the West End’s Theatre Royal, Haymarket but personally we think that the other two shows are much better options. You can read our reviews of all three productions over at Broadway World UK:

Review: Grandad, Me…And Teddy Too

Review: We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Review: Peppa Pig: Best Day Ever

Perfect for primary school children

The cast of Polka Theatre’s Crackers. Photo credit: Steve Gregson

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt fits into this category too, working well if you have a mix of pre-school and younger primary school children. For slightly older primary school children, we’d recommend Crackers at Polka Theatre (aimed at ages 5-12) or Snowed In at the Place (recommended for ages 5+ and very much enjoyed by our 9 and 11 year olds). The Pixie and the Pudding at Little Angel Studios is also worth a watch if you want something calm. It’s aimed at ages 4-11 but probably won’t appeal to those older than 8/9. Check out our reviews of all these shows below:

Review: Crackers

Review: The Pixie and the Pudding

Review: Snowed In

While we haven’t reviewed it (because we paid for our own tickets) we also enjoyed The Fir Tree at Shakespeare’s Globe. It’s a good option for those wanting to really get into the festive spirit, with singing and storytelling taking place under the starry sky. There are instructions from designer Sam Wilde to help you create your own cardboard swallows and Christmas decorations to bring along to the show. You can also book onto a drama workshop to go along with the production. It’s recommended for all ages but we think that older primary school children (KS2) will get the most out of it, while younger children might find it a little long.

Although we haven’t seen the current productions, we can also confidently recommend Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas at Lyric Hammersmith and The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre in Central London. We saw The Snowman back before we started blogging, but it’s definitely a top pick for families looking for a festive treat. We reviewed Father Christmas back in 2019 and absolutely loved it. Both productions are guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit and come with a high nostalgia factor for grown-ups.

Review: Father Christmas (2019)

Top for tweens and teens

Alice in Wonderland at Brixton House. Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

Alice in Wonderland at Brixton House is a great option for older children and teenagers. It takes the Lewis Carroll classic and sets it on the London Underground, adding rap and tube puns galore to give it a distinctly Brixton feel. Another one that teens and tweens will struggle to consider themselves too cool for is contemporary circus show, The Wingscuffle Spectacular from the Revel Puck Circus. This is playing in Beckenham Park as part of “We Are Lewisham” (a celebration to mark the end of Lewisham’s stint as London’s Borough of Culture 2022.) There is also a funfair, illuminated trail plus food and drink available. Check out our reviews of both shows below.

Review: Alice in Wonderland

Review: The Wing Scuffle Spectacular

Panto picks

We have only covered one panto this year, so we can’t really compare what’s on offer, but you can read our review of the Fairfield Halls panto below. Our top tip would be Potted Panto which returns to the West End this year, playing at the Apollo Theatre. This brilliant show combines seven classic pantomimes in 70 frenetic minutes. We haven’t seen this year’s production but loved it the last time we saw it.

Review: Fairfield Halls Panto

Review: Potted Panto (2019)

A Christmas Carol or Two

TScroogelicious at Theatre Peckham. Image credit: Lidia Crisafulli.

There is an absolute abundance of productions of A Christmas Carol on in London this year. For something totally different, head to Theatre Peckham for Scroogelicious (but be quick as it’s only on until 23 December). Or go for the Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol which we reckon is pretty hard to beat.

Review: Scroogelicious

Review: The Old Vic Christmas Carol (2019 production)