From Show-Stopping Entertainment to a beautiful Christmas Market and Star-Themed Lights – Leicester Square has something for the whole family this Christmas. Make your family a new Christmas Tradition, and spend a festive day (or two!) in the city to get yourself in the spirit!
If you’re looking for a trip that will include show-stopping entertainment, fun-filled shops, mouth-watering food and dazzling Christmas lights then just head to London – iconic Leicester Square has it all this year.
The Square’s gardens will be home to a beautiful Belgian Spiegeltent, where kids will be spellbound with a programme of live performances running from 10 November 2017 to 6 January 2018. Highlights include The Showstoppers Christmas Kids Show, an improvised musical for all ages, and laugh out loud antics at Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Medicine. The whole family can take to the floor during Monski Mouse’s Christmas Baby Disco Dance Hall – a first ever Christmas dance party for children aged 0-5 (and parents of all ages) featuring an array of festive songs, dances and games. Tickets from www.christmasinleicestersquare.com
The Square’s impressive cinemas are the perfect place to catch those festive films and (this is my personal top tip introduced to me by a friend back in the 80’s and put to frequent use ever since) if you arrive in the morning, make your first job nabbing yourself half price theatre tickets for top West End shows from the Leicester Square TKTS booth.
And don’t think kids won’t love the walking – you can get away with a lot of Christmas Shopping if you promise the kids a visit to Europe’s biggest sweet shop, M&M’s World (large enough to house 100 double decker buses). And opposite is the largest LEGO Store on the planet; not just a shop, it’s an attraction in its own right with a 200,000 brick model of Big Ben and of course don’t miss the LEGO Mosaic Maker photo booth, a nifty machine that creates possibly the best Christmas present ever – a personalised LEGO portrait.
Another top recommendation is the Japan Centre – for me it’s a top choice for awkward teen gifts. A total haven of Japanese food, cooking and cuisine, gift ideas go from Hello Kitty goodies to calligraphy and sushi sets plus (and items can be wrapped in an authentic furoshiki cloth!).
Eating is important to keep everyone fizzing and on their toes – and one of my kids faves is right in Leicester Square. Create your own pizza, plus a dessert pot for just £10 at Mod Pizza – or for only £20 you can take part in an hour long pizza making session – pizza and drinks included. It’s the perfect stop in the middle of a busy day.
And obviously we need to talk Father Christmas.
There’s not one but three opportunities to see the big man. He’ll be in residence at his own Santa’s Grotto, located within the Leicester Square Gardens daily from 10 November until Christmas Eve, while from 18th to 23rd December between 1 and 5pm, children can whisper their last minute present requests to Planet Hollywood’s very own table-hopping Santa. He will also make a daily appearance in the depths of jungle at the Rainforest Café from 18th November to 24 December; at which he and his elves have a special ‘magical experience’ lined-up including a meet and greet, special gift and two course lunch.
Once the light fades, the centre of the Square will sparkle with star themed lights reflecting its star-studded history. (another top teen amusement; the perfect place for an instamoment or a festive selfie…).
Families wishing to make a night of it can book a break at the Haymarket Hotel, which will be tastefully decorated for Christmas and boasts a vast, yet somewhat hidden swimming pool. Book the winter family-fun package from £444 per night based on two adults and two children sharing two rooms with breakfast, champagne on arrival for mum and dad and ice cream for the kids. Alternatively stay in a family room at Leicester Square’s Premier Inn from £128.