1 Greenwich Children’s Lantern Procession
The spectacular Greenwich Children’s Lantern Procession and Christmas lights switch on in Greenwich Market provides a joyous start to the festivities. Led by a jazz band from Trinity Laban, children from four local schools will parade their handmade colourful lanterns through the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College (starting at 4pm at ORNC Visitor Centre) and Cutty Sark Gardens, and then on to the market for the countdown to the Christmas lights switch on at 6pm. There’ll also be performances by the Angelina Jandolo Dance Showcase and Greenwich Stagecoach singers, and Santa will be welcoming visitors to his Greenwich Grotto at 11 Durnford Street from 3pm-6pm.
2 Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich SE10 9LW; greenwichmarket.london
2 Wednesday Lates at Greenwich Market
Wednesdays in December
Wednesday Lates will run at Greenwich Market on Wednesday 5, 12 and 19 December, when you can shop all day and evening until 8pm. It’s a great time to browse the market, when everyone’s full of festive cheer, there’s mulled wine to bolster the spirits, great street food and heavenly music! Christmas Craft Market will also be open daily from 21 November right through to Christmas Eve. Up to 150 Christmas-themed stalls will offer unique gift ideas and stocking-fillers from independent designer-makers, including handmade jewellery, fashion and beauty treats. There will also be festive food and drinks to punctuate the shopping.
Greenwich Market SE10 9HZ; greenwichmarket.london
3 Greenwich Advent Windows
Greenwich’s Advent Windows have become a beloved Christmas tradition. Run every year by St Alfege Church, the event, now entering its 12th year, brightens up the town centre with 24 unique windows in shops, homes, schools and pubs. This year’s theme is Field of Dreams, and contributors use their imagination to create a unique window display using paper, paintings, models and light installations and paintings. A new window will be revealed on each day of Advent (1-24 December) in different parts of Greenwich, and once all 24 Advent Windows have been opened, a walking tour of them all usually takes around three hours on foot. The windows will stay up until Wednesday 2 January 2019 and a map will be available in late November.
4 Greenwich Theatre Pantomine
23 November-13 January
Robinson Crusoe is this year’s pantomime of choice at Greenwich Theatre, where Panto Royalty Andrew Pollard – who also writes and directs the annual sell-out show – will once again take to the stage after last year’s sabbatical. The action-packed adventure is awash with pirates, romance, exotic creatures and songs-a-plenty as Robinson Crusoe takes to the seas to find lost gold and battles a wicked Pirate Queen on the way. As always, this show is not just for the kids, offering plenty of laughs for grown ups too. Tickets £29, concs £20, kids £15.
Crooms Hill, Greenwich SE10 8ES; greenwichtheatre.org.uk
5 Santa’s Greenwich Grotto
Weekends in December
Visit Father Christmas and his elves in his Greenwich Grotto at 11 Durnford Street every weekend throughout December, as well as on Thursday 20 December, Friday 21st and on Christmas Eve. Open Thursday to Saturday 12.30pm-5pm, Sunday 12.30pm-4pm and 11am-3pm on Christmas Eve. Trips to the grotto cost £5 per child and will raise funds for Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice.
11 Durnford Street, Greenwich SE10 9HZ; greenwichmarket.london
6 ORNC Carol Concert
This popular Carol Concert, taking place in the atmospheric Chapel at the Old Royal Naval College, will fill you with the joys of Christmas! Led by the world class Trinity Laban Choir, visitors will sing along to the carefully chosen Christmas Carols and enjoy readings retelling the Christmas story. There will also be a special lantern procession by the 3rd Greenwich Park Girl Guides. Tickets are £20 and include a mince pie and seasonal drink. The concert is in aid of Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice. 7pm-8.30pm.
2 Cutty Sark Gardens, Greenwich SE10 9LW; ornc.org
7 The London Pantomime Horse Race, Greenwich
The London Pantomime Horse Race, dubbed one of the world’s wackiest annual events, has really cranked things up a notch for 2018! This year’s race will feature more than 30 costumed nags, dressed in the style of iconic Film & TV characters. The fun gets underway at 11am with the Pre-Race Ceremony at Devonport House on King William Walk. The free public event features live music from X-Factor star Honey G and the UK’s leading Taylor Swift tribute act, as well as dance performances and a Strictly Neigh Dancing competition. The race starts at 1pm at Devonport House and finishes on Royal Hill, with six pub ‘pit stops’ to navigate along the quarter-mile route. The After Race Show (tickets £15) will be hosted by US Comedian Lewis Shaffer from 2.30pm and features a performance by Honey G, a Monty Python tribute show and Taylor Swift’s greatest hits. It’ll be a riot, and it’s all in support of YOUCAN–Youth Cancer Support.
8 Mariah Carey at The O2
What’s Christmas without Mariah? The All I Want For Christmas Is You Tour, which received dazzling audiences last year and getting rave reviews from critics and fans alike, stops at The O2 on Greenwich Peninsula on Tuesday 11 December. The Daily Telegraph called it a ‘brilliantly camp, irresistible delight’, so go on, give in to the festive season’s omnipresent soundtrack, release you inner diva and get yourself to the O2! Mariah’s holiday opus, ‘Merry Christmas’, is the perennial bestselling global holiday album, having sold over 14 million copies worldwide to date, FYI. Tickets £53.75-£142.75 including fees.
Peninsula Square SE10 0DX; theo2.co.uk
9 Cutty Sark’s Christmas at Sea with Merry Opera
Enjoy a seafaring extravaganza with Merry Opera – a professional opera company of exciting talent and bold performances – under the gleaming copper hull of Cutty Sark. The concert will feature music by Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Gilbert & Sullivan, as well as some very apt sea shanties. There will also be a reading of Robert Louis Stevenson’s much loved poem Christmas at Sea, which is 150 years old this year. So cosy up under the Cutty Sark and get in the festive spirit with Merry Opera, described as a ‘veritable cocktail of light party fun with a hint of Christmas and a tang of sea air’ by Opera Now. Tickets are £25 and include a mulled cider and a mince pie slice (non-alcoholic options available). Doors open 7pm, show starts at 7.45pm.
King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT; rmg.co.uk
10 Wreath Making Masterclass at The Old Brewery
7 & 13 December
Master the art of wreath making at The Old Brewery in this two-hour workshop. Taking place on both 7 December and 13 December, the evenings with be hosted by a professional florist. The hands-on masterclass will teach you how to create beautiful festive wreaths, and by the end of the session you will have your very own wreath to take home. Tickets are £15. 7pm-9pm.
The Pepys Building, The Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich SE10 9LW; oldbrewerygreenwich.com
11 12 Days of Christmas at Greenwich Picturehouse
Greenwich Picturehouse is celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas with a selection of festive favourites to spread the festive cheer. Running on select days during December, highlights include Home Alone on Wednesday 5 December at 8.30pm, Die Hard on 7 December at 8.30pm, A Christmas Carol starring Simon Callow, a one-man theatrical extravaganza of festive storytelling, on Wednesday 12 December on 7pm, The Greatest Showman Sing-A-Long on Sunday 16 December at 3pm and It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve at 3pm.
180 Greenwich High Road SE10 8NN; picturehouses.com
12 The Greenwich Market Gift Guide
And, of course, Christmas is the time for giving, and Greenwich’s iconic arts and crafts market is brimming with unique and handcrafted gift ideas for the young, old and young at heart! Browse up to 150 Christmas-themed stalls – not forgetting the stores surrounding the market – for handmade jewellery, fashion, homewares and toys, as well as prints, photography, collectibles, beauty buys and more. There will also be festive food and drinks to punctuate the shopping. Check out a few of our favourite buys below…
Greenwich Market SE10 9HZ; greenwichmarket.london