Best Christmas shows, festive plays and musicals in London for 2023
It’s snow joke, we’ve got the very best plays, musicals and ballets going on at the West End this Christmas. So here’s everything you need to know.
It’s nearly Christmas time, but there’s no need to be afraid, because we’re making sure you’re more than prepared for this year’s festive season.
Here at RadioTimes.com, we’re presenting you with all the best guides to having fun at Christmas, from our favourite UK Christmas markets to the best Christmas gift experiences. And now, we’re setting the stage for something even better.
To help you get in the festive spirit this year (and we don’t mean just humming along to your Christmas playlist spirit, we mean full-on, giddy, can’t sleep on Christmas Eve excitement) we’ve put together this list of the best Christmas shows to see in London.
Featuring plays, musicals and even ballets going on at the West End this winter, this guide is everything you need for the perfect Christmas theatre trip. We’ve got family-friendly shows, like Elf! and The Gruffalo’s Child, as well as more serious performances, like Hansel and Gretel at The Globe. Plus, we’ve found a show called Father Christmas Needs a Wee! – who wouldn’t want to know what that’s about?
We’re not including any pantomimes in this round-up however, because we’ve already got a list dedicated to the best UK pantomimes going on this Christmas (oh no you don’t!).
So, without further ado, here are the best Christmas shows to see in London.
Best West End Christmas shows at a glance:
- Hansel and Gretel at The Globe, £5
- Peter Pan Musical at Rose Theatre Kingston, £6
- The Gruffalo’s Child at Garrick Theatre, £12
- A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic, £17
- A Sherlock Carol at Marylebone Theatre, £17
- Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Lyric Theatre, £17.40
- The Snowman at Peacock Theatre, £18
- Nutcracker at the London Coliseum, £23.40
- Father Christmas Needs a Wee! at Arts Theatre, £27
- Christmas Sing-along Concert at New Wimbledon Theatre, £29.43
- Christmas Actually at Royal Festival Hall, £31
- Elf! at Dominion Theatre, £33
Best West End Christmas shows for 2023
A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic
This Christmas, we have good reason to cry out “God Bless us everyone!” because Charles Dickens’ eternal classic, A Christmas Carol is coming to the West End. It’s not the Muppet version, or the one where they sing Thank You Very Much, but it is starring the one and only Christopher Eccleston as Scrooge and promises to be chock full of “mince pies, music and merriment.” The play will be showing at The Old Vic from 11th November to 6th January, and tickets cost just £17, so grab some or you’ll be haunted by three spirits.
Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Lyric Theatre
A few of our RadioTimes.com writers know people for whom it wouldn’t be safe to see this play, because they’d probably end up laughing themselves into a heart attack, but you shouldn’t let that stop you. From the creators of The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, comes the hilarious festive spoof: Peter Pan Goes Wrong, which is going on tour this winter.
In the show, a plucky group of theatre actors are trying their best to put on a serious performance and furiously uphold the phrase “The show must go on,” but, as you can expect, nothing goes to plan. Now coming to the Lyric Theatre from 23rd November to 14th January, you won’t want to miss out.
The Gruffalo’s Child at Garrick Theatre
The Gruffalo’s Child first enchanted families in 2004 when the picture book was released. Then, audiences fell in love with it all over again on Christmas Day 2011, when the animation was shown on BBC One. Now, there’s a chance to see this sweet story live at The Garrick Theatre, from 1st December 2023 to 7th January 2024. Songs, laughter and scary fun are all guaranteed – but will you really find the Big Bad Mouse?
Elf! at Dominion Theatre
Everyone knows that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Which is why you need to go see Elf! The musical at Dominion Theatre. Based on the Will Ferrel movie of the same name, Elf! Tells the story of Buddy, a boy raised in Santa’s Workshop who travels to New York to find his father. The play is coming to the West End for just eight weeks this winter, from 15th November 2023 to 6th January 2024, with ticket prices starting at just £33 – you’d have to be cotton-headed ninnymuggins to miss that.
The Snowman at Peacock Theatre
We defy any British person not to get emotional when they hear the classic opening chimes of Walking in the Air, and to wish that they too could fly around with a friendly snowman on Christmas Eve. But alas, we’ll just have to content ourselves with going to see The Snowman on stage instead.
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Returning to the West End for its 26th year, The Snowman will be showing at the Peacock Theatre from 18th November to 30th December. The musical is based on the original picture book by Raymond Briggs and the iconic 1982 TV movie, and you can buy tickets now for just £18.
Nutcracker at the London Coliseum
We’re pirouetting with joy at the news that The Nutcracker ballet is coming to the London Coliseum this winter. Featuring over 100 dancers and musicians, Tchaikovsky’s iconic score and this magical tale will be brought to life like never before. Last year this ballet, choreographed by Wayne Eagling, pulled in over 70,000 people, so you’ll have to be quick if you want to snap up tickets. Seats cost £23.40 and you can book dates from the 14th December to 7th January.
Christmas Actually at Royal Festival Hall
What’s worse than the total agony of being in love? Well we would say missing out on the hottest new show coming out this winter: Christmas Actually. Written by none other than Richard Curtis himself, this show is set to be a star-studded variety performance featuring music, poetry, comedy, live illustrations, as well as Christmas cracker jokes, letters to Santa, and a festive sing-along. Brought to you by an A-list celebrity cast, the show is coming to the Southbank Centre from the 7th to 11th of December.
Father Christmas Needs a Wee! at Arts Theatre
Be honest, you’re already sold on this one based on the title alone, aren’t you? Well, just in case you need a bit more convincing, Father Christmas Needs a Wee! is a new family-friendly musical based on the book by Nicholas Allan.
In it, Father Christmas is busy going to all the different houses on Christmas Eve when, suddenly, all that milk makes him desperately need a wee, but what can he do? To find out how this high-stakes situation resolves itself, you’ll see the play for yourself at London’s Arts Theatre. The play is running from the 2nd to 23rd December with tickets starting at £27.
Hansel and Gretel at The Globe
From 8th December to 7th January, you can see the enchanting new production of Hansel and Gretel. Based on the classic Grimm fairy tale, as well as the poem Hansel & Gretel: A Nightmare in Eight Scenes by renowned poet Simon Armitage, this adaptation reframes the story around the life and struggles of war-affected refugees. Coming to Shakespeare’s Globe for just £5, this show promises to be an unforgettable experience.
Christmas Sing-along Concert at New Wimbledon Theatre
Get ready to sing your heart out this December because, for one night only, the New Wimbledon Theatre is hosting the ultimate Christmas sing-along. With a Live Band, a 60 Strong Choir and Special Guest Soloists, this concert will include all your favourite hits, such as Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree, Merry Christmas Everyone, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Fairytale of New York, I wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday, and so much more. The Christmas Sing-along will take place on 16th December – so you’ve got plenty of time to get your voice back before Christmas.
Peter Pan Musical at Rose Theatre Kingston
If you want a true version of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan, then the Rose Theatre Kingston is putting one on from 1st December to 7th January. Featuring original music and lyrics from Olivier Award-winner Vikki Stone, and talented cast members from the Rose Youth Theatre, this production is set to be an adventure for children and adults alike. Following the story of a boy chasing his shadow, you can journey with Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys to the magical world of Neverland.
A Sherlock Carol at Marylebone Theatre
Lastly, there’s a truly elementary show going on at the Marylebone Theatre this winter. In a mysterious case of worlds colliding, Sherlock Holmes is strolling through London one day, when a now grown-up Tiny Tim arrives, asking him to help find a missing Ebenezer Scrooge. As Sherlock’s mystery unfolds, he finds a missing diamond, a threatening letter, and a few too many ghosts for his liking. Running from 24th November to 7th January, this play brings two classics and one marvellous mystery to life.