Christmas Gift Ideas
The greatest West End theatre and attraction picks for the festive season.
Stuck for present ideas this Christmas? Don’t waste your money on oranges, socks and cheap chocolates, experience is the ultimate gift. Choose from an array of musicals, plays, and attractions. It’s time to start ticking off that X-mas present list!Find even more Christmas inspiration with our list of 14 must-see shows this Christmas.
West End hits:
The Lion King
Set in the magnificent Serengeti plains, heavy with the haunting sounds of Africa, Disney’s multi award-winning musical redefines the meaning of live experience.
In a spectacular feat of storytelling, acclaimed director Julie Taymor has vividly transformed Disney’s beloved 1994 film into a stage phenomenon at the Lyceum Theatre. Her depiction of the powerful and moving story of Simba – from wide-eyed cub to King of the Pride Lands – will take you on an unforgettable theatrical journey.
As well-loved tunes like “The Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata” resonate around the enchanting Lyceum Theatre, 200 puppets bring the Serengeti to life. Each puppet is crafted so intricately and manoeuvred so realistically that the characters before you appear to be living. Accompanying the music and puppetry are The Lion King’s glorious staging choices and stunning special-effects that transport you even further into the heart of Africa.
To miss out on Disney’s The Lion King is to miss out on a West End experience of a lifetime, one that has captivated London audiences since 1999. Give your loved ones the gift of a lifetime this holiday season.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Whisk your teen away from their phone this Christmas and give them an experience they won’t forget at a show all their friends are talking about. Inspired by the BBC documentary ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is a brave, reckless and unconventional tale about finding yourself and being who you want to be. Jamie New lives on a council estate in Sheffield, and he doesn’t quite fit in. Supported by his incredible mother Margaret, Jamie overcomes the prejudice that he faces and decides to make his dreams come true. Nobody can tell Jamie that he can’t, and soon his drag persona Mimi Me takes centre stage.
Filled with catchy new songs from writer Tom MacRae and Dan Gillespie Sells of pop group The Feeling, this hearty production opened to rave five-star reviews at the West End’s Apollo Theatre. Your son or daughter WILL be talking about Jamie and his secret passion for drag long after the curtain falls.
Now in its 33rd year on the West End stage, Les Misérables is a piece of musical theatre history that tells the epic tale of one man’s struggle to break free from his past and create a new life for himself and his surrogate daughter in post-Revolutionary France. Soon, discontent amongst French students boils over to create a powerful story of liberté, égalité and fraternité. Featuring the most powerful, spine-tingling songs to ever have graced the West End stage like “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Can You Hear The People Sing”, “On My Own”, “Bring Him Home” and “One Day More”, London’s longest-running musical never fails to amaze.
Since premiering in 1985, Les Misérables has been produced around the world in 44 countries, translated into 22 languages and been seen by over 70 million people. With a mesmerising set, outstanding visual effects and a stellar cast, don’t wait ‘one day more’ to book your tickets.
42nd Street is a toe-tapping extravaganza performed by the West End’s biggest cast on the West End’s biggest stage. The outfits just keep getting shinier, the set more extravagant and the dance routines more awe-inspiring and, from September 2018, the much-loved stage and screen star Bonnie Langford will be performing in the role of Dorothy Brock. Entertainment doesn’t get bigger than this.
Featuring the classic songs “We’re In The Money”, “Lullaby of Broadway”, “Shuffle Off To Buffalo”, “I Only Have Eyes For You” and the title number, this lively production promises a magical day out. 42nd Street is the ultimate American Broadway dream. When Peggy Sawyer steps off the bus in New York City, fresh from small-town America, she books a role in Julian Marsh’s new production. Can Peggy ever step out of the chorus line and into the spotlight?
The show takes its final bow at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 5th January 2019 – don’t miss your last chance to be entranced by the dancing feet of 42nd Street’s 50-strong cast.
A Christmas Carol
Returning to The Old Vic by popular demand is Jack Thorne’s (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) joyous adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol directed by Matthew Warchus (Matilda The Musical). This timeless classic has been spectacularly reimagined for the modern stage, with a uniquely immersive in the round seating, which brings the audience that bit closer to the uplifting story. Filling the auditorium to the brim with mince pies, entrancing lanterns, music and merriment, this production is a love song to Christmas and the power of both forgiveness and redemption.
Businessman Ebenezer Scrooge has a reputation for being a miser. Not only does he overwork and underpay his employees like clerk Bob Cratchit whose son, Tiny Tim, is crippled and close to death, but for him, Christmas is a “humbug”. He prefers to avoid spending time with his family and wants nothing to do with his nephew, Fred, whose birth cost Scrooge the life of his sister.
On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the chained and tormented ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley. He is then visited by three apparitions, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come. Transported to each of these worlds Scrooge witnesses what a lifetime of fear and selfishness has led to and sees with fresh eyes the lonely life he has built for himself. The ghosts offer him one last chance to change his ways and save himself from the grim fate that befell his friend Marley. Can Ebenezer be saved before it’s too late?
Become enchanted by the classic ballet masterpiece Swan Lake, a timeless dance that tells the immortal love story of a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer, set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score.
Classical ballet at its very best can be found at the London Coliseum. In January 2019, there comes Derek Deane’s enthralling English National Ballet production. Beloved for its superb dancing and beautiful sets, Tchaikovsky’s glorious music will be played live by the English National Ballet Philharmonic.
Turning tradition on its head is the Sadler’s Wells production. This modern re-interpretation took the world by storm when it first debuted – Matthew Bourne’s iconic show replaces the traditional female corps de ballet with a menacing male ensemble. Blending dance, humour and spectacle with extravagant, award-winning designs to create a provocative and powerful Swan Lake for our times, you’ll fall for this captivating show.
The Snowman returns to the Peacock Theatre for a record-breaking 16th year. Based on Raymond Briggs’ classic book and subsequent film, this much-loved festive tale features Howard Blake’s ‘Walking In the Air’, performed by a live band.
A young boy’s snowman comes to life on Christmas Eve and the two set off on a whirlwind night-time adventure filled with the unexpected. Dancing penguins, reindeer and, of course, Father Christmas himself all join them on their travels. Watch spellbound as the Snowman flies through the sky, before escaping the clutches of the evil Jack Frost to return home safely for Christmas morning.
This is a perfect Christmas treat for all the family. With its wonderful mix of storytelling, spectacle and magic, tickets to The Snowman will make for an unforgettable trip to the theatre. Go on, make memories with your children this Christmas with a show that has enchanted young and old since 1993.
Comedian, actor and writer Dawn French will be making her pantomime debut as The Wicked Queen this Christmas at the London Palladium. This is guaranteed to be pantomime at its very best.
French has had an incredible career, beginning as a member of the troupe The Comedy Strip she later found fame within French and Saunders with collaborator Jennifer Saunders. She has continued to delight audiences in roles such as that of the Reverend Geraldine Granger in the long-running and hugely popular television series ‘The Vicar of Dibley’.
This is London’s must-see panto brought to you from the same team behind last year’s Olivier Award-winning production, Dick Whittington. Snow White will be the West End’s most lavish festive production; it’s a show packed with laughter, music, special effects and theatrical magic. This classic tale is a well-loved favourite and a perfect festive treat for all the family this Christmas.
The Crystal Maze Live Experience
Step up the Christmas jigsaw puzzle this year with a trip to ‘The Crystal Maze Live Experience’, the ultimate team challenge. Situated just minutes away from Angel tube station in Islington, this attraction is based on the outrageously popular 90s game show. Experience it for yourself as you take on this tricky, immersive adventure!
You and your family will be guided by your very own eccentric Maze Master, who will take you around four fully themed adventure zones, before your final challenge of The Crystal Dome. Bond as a family with tickets to this exciting new event, book now ready for the holiday season.
Want even more Christmas show ideas? Click here to discover our entire collection.