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Best Christmas shows and pantomimes in London

Discover some of the best Christmas theatre London has to offer over the festive season.

There are lots of magical London Christmas shows to enjoy in December and over the holiday season, from Christmas pantomimes and festive ballets, to spectacular Christmas theatre productions and the latest West End shows. 

Make sure to book ahead for the best Christmas shows in London below.

Christmas shows to book now 

The Nutcracker at the Royal Albert Hall

A girl in a white dress holds up a Nutcracker doll as she dances. In the background is a  graphic of the Royal Albert Hall and a Christmas tree, while ballerinas are superimposed in the foreground.

See Tchaikovsky's classic tale The Nutcracker brought to life on the Royal Albert Hall stage by the Birmingham Royal Ballet. See eye-catching costumes and projections, and follow Clara on her journey through a winter wonderland in the quest to find the Sugar Plum Fairy. 28-31 Dec. Book The Nutcracker tickets now

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Live at SSE Arena, Wembley

Enjoy a special screening of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas with live singing from Danny Elfman and music from the BBC Concert Orchestra for two nights only at SSE Arena, Wembley. Book a VIP ticket to bag some of the best seats in the house, gain access to a VIP bar, and even have the chance to meet Elfman, plus much more. 9-10 DecBook Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas tickets now

Check back nearer the time for more confirmed London pantomimes and Christmas shows in 2022. In the meantime, take a look at the best musicals and the top shows for kids in London. 

Top Christmas shows from 2021

Find a selection of the best Christmas shows in 2021 below, some of which are expected to return in 2022.

Circus 1903 at the Southbank Centre

Jaw-dropping stunts and incredible acrobatics were on show as Circus 1903 returned to the Southbank Centre last Christmas. This must-see circus show transported theatre-goers to the turn of the 20th century with high-wire acts, trapeze artists, life-size elephant puppets and more.

The Nutcracker at The London Coliseum

A ballet dancer in a beautiful white dress stands in the middle of a snowy forest holding a nutcracker doll out in front of her.

More than 100 ballet dancers and musicians brought Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker to life on the London Coliseum stage. Marking its annual return, this classic show saw Clara and her Nutcracker doll go on a magical adventure where they met all sorts of characters.

Potted Panto at The Garrick Theatre

Potted Panto provided a whistle-stop tour through seven classics, at The Garrick Theatre! You could meet much-loved characters, from Aladdin to Cinderella and Dick Whittington, in this limited-run show.

Dick Whittington at Phoenix Theatre

There was a new take on the Dick Whittington pantomime at the Phoenix Theatre, where the classic tale was literally dragged into the 21st century by TuckShop’s fabulously festive all-drag cast. Did Dick succeed in his quest to find fame, or did Queen Rat get in his way?

A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story at Alexandra Palace

Charles Dickens’ classic story was given a creepy twist at Alexandra Palace last Christmas, with A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story. Bone-chilling special effects combined in this scary retelling by Mark Gatiss, who led the cast as Jacob Marley.

Stick Man at the Leicester Square Theatre

The cast and characters of Stick Man on stage under the spotlight

Julia Donaldson’s loveable Stick Man was brought to life at the Leicester Square Theatre. You could follow his misadventures as he aimed to leave the family tree on an adventure full of music, puppetry and dance.

Peppa Pig’s Best Day Ever at Theatre Royal Haymarket

Peppa, George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig went on an epic road trip last Christmas, where they found castles and caves, and came face to face with dragons and dinosaurs on Peppa Pig's Best Day Ever at Theatre Royal Haymarket. There were also plenty of muddy puddles along the way, of course, in this song-filled show.

West End Musical Christmas at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue

West End stars performed a host of festive hits with West End Musical Christmas at the Lyric Theatre. Created by the team behind the popular West End Musical Drive In and West End Musical Brunch, this all-singing, all-dancing musical theatre concert was a must-see.

The Nutcracker on Ice at Alexandra Palace

A pantomime version of The Nutcracker played out on ice at Alexandra Palace in 2021. Clara attempted to restore order with the help of the Nutcracker Prince, in this show set to Tchaikovsky’s score.

Best pantomimes in London 2021

Pantoland at the Palladium

The cast of Pantoland at the London Palladium in costume, with a sparkling blue and purple background.

The London Palladium’s annual pantomime returned in 2021, starring Donny Osmond, Julian Clary and more West End stars. Osmond took on the role of the Wizard of Pantomime in Pantoland, a feast of panto perfection, with song, dance and comedy all rolled into one.

Beauty & The Beast at Fairfield Halls

Did a prince find true love in order to reverse a curse that made him a beast? Classic fairy-tale Beauty & The Beast was brought to life by TV stars Dick and Dom, and the voice of SuperTed Derek Griffiths, at Fairfield Halls in Croydon.

Aladdin at Lyric Hammersmith

Theatre-goers were taken on a magical carpet ride to a faraway land (well, Hammersmith) as Aladdin searched for love and fortune, with a little help from the Genie along the way. This classic pantomime at Lyric Hammersmith featured all the usual panto gags, songs and music – oh no it didn’t… oh yes it did!

Jack and the Beanstalk at Hackney Empire

Jack tried to tame an out-of-control beanstalk when his magic beans were more than they seemed. Did he succeed with the help of Dame Trot? Hackney Empire's hilarious take on much-loved story Jack and the Beanstalk starred panto royalty Clive Rowe as the dame.

Red Riding Hood at Theatre Royal Stratford East

Some of the cast of Red Riding Hood at Theatre Royal Startford East.

Panto returned to Theatre Royal Stratford East last winter, with its signature modern-day twist on classic stories. In 2021, Red Riding Hood made her way through a deep, dark wood to appear on the east London stage in this comedy-filled performance.

Cinderella at Richmond Theatre

You could discover how Cinderella’s fate took a magical turn in this classic pantomime at Richmond Theatre last December. Starring Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton Du Beke as Buttons, Cinderella combined plenty of panto-style fun with audience participation, from booing the Ugly Sisters to cheering Prince Charming.

Quirky Christmas shows in 2021

La Clique

Two roller-skating acrobats perform during La Clique, one standing holding hands with the other as she moves thorugh the air.

Once inside the Spiegeltent, audiences were treated to a host of circus, comedy and cabaret acts, as award-winning La Clique returned to Leicester Square. Reworked for 2021 with a new show and acts, this festive showcase included everything from a sword-swallower to roller-skating acrobats.

The Child in the Snow at Wilton’s Music Hall

The Child in the Snow made its debut at Wilton’s Music Hall last Christmas. The world’s oldest surviving grand music hall provided an eerie setting for a spine-tingling retelling of Elizabeth Gaskell’s ghost tale The Old Nurse’s Story.

Christmas Carol at Southbank Centre

Two cast members of Tiger Lillies' Christmas Carol, wearing black and white face paint and hats.

The Tiger Lillies cabaret group put a dark take on Charles Dickens’ festive tale at the Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room. Christmas Carol picked apart the much-loved story to shine a light on the darker elements of society, accompanied by cabaret songs and anarchic opera.

More Christmas shows from 2021

The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House

The Royal Ballet performed Tchaikovsky’s festive masterpiece The Nutcracker on the Royal Opera House stage over Christmas 2021. Peter Wright’s production stayed true to the spirit of the original ballet, which was set to the Russian composer’s captivating score.

The Snowman at the Peacock Theatre

Raymond Briggs’ timeless children’s story, The Snowman, was brought to life on stage at Sadler’s Wells’ Peacock Theatre. Featuring the hit song Walking in the Air, this production combined storytelling, dance, lighting and music for a spellbinding spectacle.

A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic

Cast members, dressed in Victorian clothing, on stage at The Old Vic.

There was a unique production of festive classic A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic in 2021. Stephen Mangan led the cast as Ebenezer Scrooge in this fresh take on Dickens’ tale of compassion, which won five Tony Awards for its Broadway run in 2019. 

Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker

Clara's journey from an orphanage to candy-filled Sweetieland in Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker was put into focus at Sadler’s Wells. Set to Tchaikovsky’s famous score and with iconic choreography by Matthew Bourne, this magical show was performed by the New Adventures dance company.

Find more shows and musicals in London this festive season.