Three dressed-up Christmas runners in Queen Elizabeth Olympic park.
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Twelve things to do this Christmas in the East End

From cabaret performances to pantomimes and movie screenings, jump straight into Christmas with our top picks of festive events in the East End.

As the winter months approach, East London will soon be glowing with festive lights and vibrant decorations. Across Tower Hamlets, art galleries, comedy clubs and music venues are preparing for the festive season, ensuring this Christmas will be one to remember.

No matter what your faith is, Christmas is the perfect opportunity to make special memories with your loved ones. Whether you’re craving a quiet wander through a contemporary exhibition or an unforgettable all-night party, we bring you our essential guide to Christmas in the East End.

Jack and the Beanstalk at Stratford East

Saturday 18 November until saturday 6 January 2024

Jack and the Beanstalk Christmas panto at Stratford East.

This year Stratford East is showcasing Jack and the Beanstalk, following the adventures of Jack as he attempts to defeat his ultimate enemy, Giant Belch, who rules Splatford from the sky. Perfect for the Christmas season, the show promises an evening of live music, extravagant costumes and hilarious characters. Visit our event listing for more information.

Potted Panto at Wilton’s Music Hall

Wednesday 29 November until saturday 30 December 2023

The Potted Panto cast in fancy dress for the Christmas show at Wilton's Music Hall.

The Olivier Award-nominated Potted Panto, featuring seven classic pantomimes in an electric 80 minutes, is coming to Wilton’s Music Hall this Christmas. The Potted Panto is the West End’s longest-running panto for good reason, with timeless characters such as Aladdin, Cinderella and Dick Whittington all sharing the stage. Will Cinderella get to the ball in time? Visit our event listing for more information.

Cirque Du Soul X NYE at Troxy

Sunday 31 December 2023

A crowd enjoying music at a Cirque Du Soul event at Troxy.

This New Year’s Eve, Cirque Du Soul is returning to Troxy to host an unrivalled night of extravagance. As the 21st-century Moulin Rouge, Cirque Du Soul know best how to put on a party, combining burlesque and bass in a rhythmic explosion. Following a successful summer of non-stop festivals, electronic DJ and producer Sammy Virji will be performing at Troxy, and is sure to deliver an unforgettable end to 2023. Visit our event listing for more information.

CULTUS by Zach Blas at arebyte gallery

Until saturday 17 February 2024

Art installation as part of the exhibition CULTUS by Zach Blas at the arebyte gallery.

Zach Blas’ immersive and multimedia exhibition explores the beliefs and fantasies inherent to Silicon Valley. Located in the southern San Francisco Bay Area of California, Silicon Valley is notorious for being the home of several major technology start-ups, including Apple, Google and Facebook. CULTUS promises to investigate society’s unflinching faith in the power of technology and artificial intelligence. Visit our event listing for more information.

Bach to Baby Christmas concert at Victoria Park

Thursday 21 December 2023

A mother with her toddlers and her baby, excited about a trombone at a Bach to Baby music performance.

Bach to Baby is an acclaimed concert series, delivering classical music performances to be enjoyed by all the family. This December, outstanding brass, string and woodwind musicians will gather on stage for a festive concert in the beautiful location of St. John of Jerusalem Church. With every adult entry, two children enter free of charge. Visit our event listing for more information.

A Christmas Carol at Hoxton Hall

Saturday 2 December until Sunday 3 December 2023

A Christmas Carol at the Hoxton Hall.

A Christmas Carol is a classic festive tale. However, this rendition of the centuries-old favourite is told with a twist: only two actors will take on over 30 characters. Despite its innovation, director Ryan Philpott has ensured that the show stays faithful to Dickens’ literary masterpiece. Book tickets now so you don’t miss this haunting and heartwarming Christmas story. Visit our event listing for more information.

Festive Run at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Saturday 16 December 2023

Christmas runner at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park event.

Wear your best festive costume for RunThrough’s Santa Run this December, taking place through the inspiring grounds of North Park in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The flat and fast course offers the perfect location for those eager to achieve a new personal record, as well as those who just want to enjoy a light-hearted run with friends. Visit our event listing for more information.

The Cocoa Butter Club Christmas Show at Shoreditch Town Hall

Saturday 9 December 2023

The Cocoa Butter Club Christmas cabaret show at Shoreditch Town Hall.

The award-winning and multi-talented Black and POC cabaret collective, The Cocoa Butter Club, is bringing a night of song, dance, drag and burlesque to Shoreditch Town Hall. Set to a festive soundtrack of RnB and Old Skool jams, The Cocoa Butter Club will deliver a night of decadent cabaret alongside some jaw-dropping circus acts and stunning vocal performance. Visit our event listing for more information.

Festive tea dance and beginner’s class at Shoreditch Town Hall

Monday 11 December

Couples enjoying a tea dance at Shoreditch Assembly Hall.

Re-live your favourite tea dance memories this December in Shoreditch Town Hall. The Assembly Hall’s high ceilings and Italian marble panelled walls provide a magnificent setting for family and friends to try something new. If you want to learn some technique before the main event, come along to the beginner’s dance class led by former world champion Raymond Root. Visit our event listing for more information.

Paper Boats: The Pakistani Bengali Story at Rich Mix

Thursday 16 November until Saturday 9 December 2023

Paper Boats: The Pakistani Bengali Story exhibition at Rich Mix on Bethnal Green Road.

‘Paper Boats’ refers to the deep connection that exists between the Pakistani community and the sea, due to their work as fishermen. ‘Paper Boats’ also refers to the fragility of legal status that many Pakistanis experience, due to issues surrounding documentation and citizenship. This ground breaking exhibition showcases work by nine artists, all exploring the rich culture and daily challenges of life in Pakistan. Visit our event listing for more information.

New Year’s Eve Spectacular at Backyard Comedy Club

Sunday 31 December

Comedian Diane Spencer with a tiara and bubblegum.

Hosted by John Meagher, talented comedians Inder Manocha, Markus Birdman and Diane Spencer are teaming up to deliver a a night of unrivalled revelry in this timeless Bethnal Green space. Say goodbye to the woes of 2023, and welcome in 2024 with an evening of laughs, music and dancing. Visit our event listing for more information.

Christmas film screenings at Genesis Cinema

Friday 8 December

Timothée Chalamet as young Willy Wonka in Wonka, which will be screened at Genesis Cinema in Mile End. Image courtesy of Genesis Cinema.

Mile End’s Genesis Cinema is screening Wonka, starring Oscar-nominated actor Timothée Chalamet. The highly anticipated film follows the early days of the eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka, and his journey to meeting the Oompa-Loompas. Throughout December, Genesis will be selling mulled wine and mince pies to enjoy alongside your favourite Christmas films. Visit our event listing for more information.

For more Christmas content, read our piece about the charities and good causes to support this Christmas.

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