The Winter Festival

The river is alight with sparkling fairy lights and illuminated market stalls, with the Southbank Centre Winter Festival bursting into life. The festival is supported by Natwest and this year they claim it is bigger and better than ever. Bavarian-style wooden chalets cluster along the riverbank and you can enjoy a wide range of hearty festive food and drinks. There are also plenty of chances to pick up a unique Christmas present or two with handcrafted goodies and crafts on sale.

Christmas at the Movies

A Christmas movie will perk up even the least festive of folk at on the South Bank your opportunities are endless. BFI Southbank brings a range of wonderful festive films out for December with everything from The Nightmare Before Christmas to Bad Santa and The Muppet Christmas Carol to Meet Me in St. Louis being shown. If you have a favourite festive film you may get lucky and have the chance to watch it on the big screen on your London trip.

Sail with Santa on the Thames

Santa’s Grotto has been upgraded at little on the South Bank and he’s taken to the waves. The youngest family members can enjoy a double-whammy of fun with both a chance to sail down the Thames and spend time with Santa in his on-board grotto. All children receive an exclusive gift from Santa Claus and it’s a fun, alternative way of making the necessary annual trip to the grotto.

Warm up at the Rekorderlig Cider Lodge

Bringing a taste of Scandinavia to the heart of London, Southbank Centre’s Rekorderlig Cider Lodge has an authentic festival feel. A simple two-storey construction which mimics the style of a Scandinavian house, there are a wide range of winter drinks to sample. It’s a perfect spot to look out across the whole of the South Bank and appreciate the festive atmosphere. Drinks are complemented by unusual Scandinavian street food.

Find the Gonks

Carrying on the Scandinavian theme in a way which involves the whole family, Southbank Centre has a whole host of gonks hidden in and around. Gonks, or tomte as they’re known in Scandinavian folklore, are squat mythological creatures associated with the winter solstice and Christmastime. In a fun family-friendly activity little gonks have been hidden around the area ready for you to go on a hunt. Gonks also have a direct line to Santa Claus so make sure your little ones know to be on their best behaviour.

Seasonal Theatre

Breath-taking circus stunts are brought to the Southbank in NoFit State’s big top tent where BIANCO are performing. Their contemporary approach to circus is unique and live music adds even more thrill and theatre to the performance. A bit of festive rock and roll is also on offer with exciting new music Million Dollar Quartet also showing over the festive season. The musical pays homage to legends of rock and roll: Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. A single recording session is the inspiration for the whole musical, which makes it a real feat of imagination and great fun.