For a dash of Christmas past and present and a sprinkling of holiday fun, there’s a sleighful of merry on the calendar this Christmas in London 2019. Leave Scrooge at home, wrap up warm and add some mulled spice to your culture fix with some Christmas events in London museums and historic houses.
Christmas at the Dickens Museum
Christmas in London wouldn’t be Christmas without the Dickens Museum. You’ll step back in time as the house is decked out in full Victorian Christmas cheer. This year, the museum is also celebrating beautiful books with an exhibition which includes first editions of ‘A Christmas Carol’ signed by Dickens. You’ll also find the world’s first Christmas card. You can read more about the exhibition here.
Christmas at the Wallace Collection
Head over to one of London’s most loved museums this Christmas, the Wallace Collection. A new exhibition opens on December 4: Forgotten Masters, Indian Painting for the East India Company, and festive happenings include toy and cracker-making workshops as well as Christmas Carols on the 18 December.
Christmas at the London Transport Museum
All aboard with the London Transport Museum this festive season with their Christmassy Lights and Sights Tour on a vintage bus. Start with a festive film screening at the museum and then hop on board to tour some of the city’s Christmas illuminations to the sound of classic festive songs. Santa’s in the house too during December, so head over to the museum for super Santa selfies, storytime and singing.
Gingerbread City at Somerset House
100 architects, engineers and designers have collaborated on yet another Gingerbread City which this year is taking over Somerset House. Gingerbread house-making workshops are also available. On from 7 December to 5 January 2020.
Christmas at Dennis Severs House
Step back in time to the house that time forgot and experience Christmas as it was in the early 18th century. You might have trouble getting tickets but it’s so worth a try.
Handel House Museum’s Christmas Showcase
The Handel House Museum Christmas carols are always a cracker, held at Handel’s local church: St George’s Hanover Square. Expect baroque music and of course, plenty of ho ho Handel. 17 December.
A Georgian Christmas at John Wesley’s House
Wander through John Wesley’s 18th century townhouse which will be decorated as Georgians would have done 300 years ago. Meet the Housekeeper as she prepares for the holiday, the Cook as she makes mince pies and John Wesley in his study. Make Christmas cards and paper chains upstairs while listening to Christmas music and take in the festive spirit. Free entry. 19 December.
A Victorian Christmas at the Victoria and Albert Museum
Join Rebecca Mitchell, editor of Fashioning the Victorians, to explore the fads and fashions of the Victorian yuletide, from dresses to decorations at the V & A on December 11. Free entry.
Poems at Christmas at the National Gallery
Join poet Tamar Yoseloff as she brings Gossaert’s painting, ‘The Adoration of the Kings’ to life with a with a reading of T.S Eliot’s poem, ‘Journey of the Magi’ as well as other poems inspired by the festive season. 11 December. Free.
Christmas at the Natural History Museum
Take a journey around the Natural History Museum with Rudolph to explore new friends, spot hidden reindeer and have a go at some games. Complete the trail and receive a chocolate treat. No booking required. 30 November to 6 December. Oh, and of course, the Natural History Museum Skate needs no introduction. It’s one of London’s most jaw-dropping backdrops for a slice across the ice.
A Georgian Christmas at the Soane Museum
Enjoy a festive gin and tonic and mince pies in the antique glow of mirrored glass as you explore Soane’s curious house-museum. Throughout the house there will be spirited readings, interactive talks with ingredients that Mrs. Conduit, Soane’s housekeeper, would have stocked during winter months and a choir serenading the company with a classic repertoire of tunes. Book here.
Christmas at Pitzhanger Manor
Join Pitzhanger for a festive day on the 8 December and enjoy a festive tour of the manor at 11am and 2pm. Enjoy carols from a local choir, hear about the Soanes at Christmas and tuck into some mince pies and mulled cider.
Christmas Wreath Workshops with the National Trust
Learn how to make a wreath for your festive door with the National Trust’s Ham House in Richmond or Osterley Park in Isleworth.
Christmas at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Sparkle, shine and celebrate the start of the winter holidays with a light-themed family festival in celebration of ‘Rembrandt’s Light.’ Enjoy a variety of activities, including light drawing workshops with Tine Bech Studio, candlelit storytelling and festive decoration making. Or, join leafy experts Jar and Fern and make your own wreath using a variety of foliage and festive lights on the 8 December, Book here. Or, spend a day learning the use of traditional printmaking tools, inks and techniques in woodcut to make your own festive cards, decorations, wrapping paper and bespoke prints. All materials, refreshments, mince pies and festive cheer included. Book here.
A Victorian Christmas at Burgh House in Hampstead
Queen Victoria’s Consort presents a programme of Victorian music, arranged for brass and played on original instruments. The ensemble performs on a beautiful collection of instruments from the 19th century, resplendent in Victorian Sunday best. Glasses of wine and mince pies available during the interval. December 18.
Christmas at the Foundling Museum
Enjoy a family-friendly concert with the London Mandolin Quartet, as they introduce music by Handel and some of his close friends and colleagues, including Domenico Scarlatti and William Boyce. Make your own crackers with artist Isobel Manning. Free. 15 December.
Christmas at Eltham Palace
Enchanted Eltham returns to Eltham Palace when the grounds are transformed into an illuminated playground with a fairground, milled wine and mince pies. 5 to 22 December.
Christmas at Keats House
Get in the Christmas spirit at a special late-night opening of Keats House, featuring festive drinks, music and activities. 12 December. Over 18s only. Or drop in on 15 December to create some Christmas decorations. Free entry.
Christmas Carols at Apsley House
Celebrate Christmas at Apsley House with carols sung by the Royal Holloway University Chapel Choir in the stunning surroundings of the Waterloo Gallery. 6 December.
Skate in London Museums
London’s best ice-skating rinks are in her museums, and these include the glorious Natural History Museum, the regal Tower of London, Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace and the Fortum and Mason super festive Somerset House Skate. You can also head over to Greenwich and skate in the grounds of Queen’s House, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy striking views of the River Thames and Greenwich Royal Park as you weave (or wobble) your way around the rink.
ART PASS Giveaway
The National Art Pass comes perfectly packaged this Christmas, offering a year’s worth of cultural experiences at a fraction of the price. Every penny from a National Art Pass subscription is ploughed back into the UK’s museums and galleries. It’s the perfect Christmas gift, allowing free entry to 240 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as half price entry to major exhibitions. The Art Pass costs £70 for the year or £45 for under 30s. More information here.
Londoness is giving away one Art Pass this December 1.
All you have to do is go to my Instagram page to the Art Pass post going up on 22 November at 8am and follow the instructions. Good luck!