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12 WAYS TO GET FESTIVE IN SOUTH EAST LONDON

1 Pure panto
Greenwich Theatre celebrates 10 years of excellent panto with a production of Red Riding Hood. Pantomime dame Andrew Pollard once again pens and stars in the production, playing Granny. ‘Panto at Greenwich Theatre really is special,’ he says. ‘We always sense a real affection from the audience.’ Running from 20 November until 10 January. Adults £29, concs £20, kids half price. Over at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley, Scott Maslen (aka Jack Branning in EastEnders) stars as Abanazar in Aladdin from 27 November until 3 January. Tickets, £10.50-£32.50.

MORE: 11 OF LONDON’S BEST WINTER POP-UPS

Andrew Pollard in panto at Greenwich Theatre

Andrew Pollard in panto at Greenwich Theatre

2 Ice Rink Canary Wharf
Ice Rink Canary Wharf, one of the largest outdoor rinks in the capital, is now open at Canada Square Park. Not only does it have London’s only skate path to weave through romantic fairy-lit trees, it also has a rink-side artisan bar and restaurant, The Tasting Room, offering hot buttered rum, mulled wine, cider and craft ales, as well as cheese fondue and charcuterie. Open until 27 February.
Tickets (inc skate hire) are £14.95 for ages 13+, £9.95 for kids and £41.95 for a family

Ice Rink Canary Wharf

Ice Rink Canary Wharf

3 Southbank Centre Winter Market
The Southbank Centre Winter Market has just returned with a cluster of riverside chalets offering up mulled wine, gift ideas and plenty of grazing opportunities, like South East Cakery’s mix-and-match brownie bar. The market runs daily from 11am-9pm (10pm at weekends) until 24 December. Visit the cosy Rekorderlig Cider Lodge too, where you can warm up by the fire pits with winter drinks and Scandinavian food.

Southbank Centre Winter Market

Southbank Centre Winter Market

4 Whippersnappers’ Winter Wonderland
The park keeper’s lodge in Dulwich Park is a Santa’s Grotto with a difference with Whippersnappers’ Winter Wonderland, helping Whippersnappers raise funds to support those in need through music, sports and the arts. Before visiting Santa, kids can help the elves in the toy workshop, have their face painted, make tree decorations and more. Running 5-23 December. Tickets are £18.50 for kids (with photo), adults £7.50. 

MORE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO LONDON’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS AND FAIRS

Whippersnappers Winter Wonderland

Whippersnappers Winter Wonderland

5 Family theatre with The Bear
The Bear, based on Raymond Briggs’ enchanting picture book, heads for the Albany in Deptford in a special Christmas adaptation by Pins and Needles. Raymond Briggs has created characters that are icons for generations of children, including the beloved Snowman, and with dazzling puppetry, dreamy storytelling, music and laughs, The Bear is a heart-warming experience for the whole family (ages 3+). Running Monday 7 December until 3 January. Tickets £10, concs £8, family ticket, £32.
Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG; 020 8692 4446; thealbany.org.uk

The Bear at the Albany

The Bear at the Albany

6 Dulwich street festivals
The Dulwiches get into the spirit of things again this year with the Love West Dulwich Christmas Fair on 28 November and the East Dulwich Christmas Cracker on 5 December. Both events have food and gift stalls, plus special offers from local traders. West Dulwich has a Santa’s Grotto at Wigwam Toy Shop and storytelling at Dulwich Books, while Lordship Lane and North Cross Road come to life with music and roaming entertainers.

The East Dulwich Christmas Cracker

The East Dulwich Christmas Cracker

7 Mulled Wine & Music
There are plenty of festivities to be had at Greenwich Market with the lights flickering into action on 25 November and Santa’s Grotto opening on 19 December. But we’re really looking forward to the Music & Mulled Wine evening on 4 December, with scores from The Nutcracker played by the London Graduate Orchestra and the chance to do some late-night Christmas shopping. From 6.30pm. 

Greenwich Market's Lantern Parade and lights switch-on kicks off the festivities

Greenwich Market’s Lantern Parade and lights switch-on kicks off the festivities

8 Blackheath Village Day
Blackheath Village Day returns on Saturday 5 December. LBC Radio presenter Nick Ferrari will take to the new OnBlackheath-sponsored stage on Montpelier Green to switch on the lights at 4.30pm. Proceedings kick off at 11.30am when the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will parade through the village, plus there are free performances at Blackheath Halls all day, the Conservatoire hosts an Elf Academy, and more.

Blackheath Village has swanky new festoon lights

Blackheath Village has swanky new festoon lights

9 Greenwich Peninsula Makers’ Market
Greenwich Peninsula celebrates the Christmas season with its first Makers’ Market, presented by NOW Gallery, the Crafts Council and Woolwich’s Second Floor Studios & Arts, on the weekend of Friday 11 to Sunday 13 December (4pm-8pm on Friday; Sat-Sun, 12pm-5pm). A selection of makers and craftspeople will exhibit crafts and jewellery in one of the capital’s most exciting new districts, among festive food, drink, and live music. Shoppers will also be able to sign up to wreath-making sessions and enjoy children’s activities. The Peninsula’s first Christmas cinema and dinner package Festive Garlands and Cinema, also takes place at NOW Gallery’s Tom Dixon-designed cinema. Watch a festive flick before enjoying dinner at Craft London for £30pp.
The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 0SQ

MORE: WHERE TO GO ICE SKATING IN LONDON

Christmas at NOW Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula

Christmas at NOW Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula

10 Artists’ Open Studios 
The inaugural Havelock Walk Winter Weekend takes place on 28-29 November along Forest Hill’s famous creative mews. The open studios event offers the chance to buy work direct from painters, sculptors, printmakers and more with live music, carol singers and food. The Camberwell Arts Christmas Open Studios takes place at the same time, with 125 creatives opening up their studios across the area. Then, from 3-5 December, the Cockpit Arts Open Studios invites you into the Creekside studios in Deptford to browse works by 80 of London’s classiest designer-makers.

Catch artwork by Tessa Holmes, and many more, at Havelock Walk Winter Fair

Catch artwork by Tessa Holmes, and many more, at Havelock Walk Winter Weekend

11 Charitable endeavours
Get that festive glow by supporting good causes. The Friends of Age Exchange hosts the Blackheath Christmas Fair at Blackheath Halls (22 November, 10.30am-5pm, entry £2) has vintage games, artisan crafts, jewellery and more, to raise money for reminiscence charity Age Exchange. Also, seek out Cards for Good Causes at St Alfege Church, Greenwich, for charity Christmas cards (daily until 18 December).
23 Lee Road, Blackheath SE3 9RQ; 020 8463 0100

Find The Little Light Company and many more festive treats and decorations at the Age Exchange Blacakheath Fair

Find The Little Light Company and many more festive treats and decorations at the Age Exchange Blackheath Christmas Fair

12 Dulwich Picture Gallery Christmas Bazaar
The Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery Christmas Bazaar takes place on Saturday 21 November (10am-5pm) at St Barnabus Parish Hall, Dulwich Village. Thirty local artists and artisans will sell their wonderful wares, ranging from jewellery and pottery to handmade bags, prints, toiletries and handmade toys. Entrance free. Also, on Sunday 29 November, at 10.15am and 1.30pm, Drew Colby presents a Christmas Special Hand Puppet Show, The Ugly Duckling, using new techniques, beautiful light effects, whimsical humour and glorious live music to tell the story. Tickets £5, babies up to 12 months free.
To book see dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk or call 020 8299 8750 (10am–4pm) 

Dulwich Picture Gallery at Christmas

Dulwich Picture Gallery at Christmas

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