Whether you are the type to start singing Christmas carols and buying gifts in early October or you are more of a Grinch pretending that this jolly season isn’t happening, you can’t avoid the fact that Christmas time is nearly upon us.
With the lights across London switching on and glorious window displays being revealed, the city is now in full festive swing. Luckily for us, you don’t have to go far. East London is full of venues, businesses and amazing people making sure we make the most of our Christmas experience, without having to travel far from our homes during the busiest time of the year.
To save you time and help you choose from the best, we’re introducing a guide to the best Christmas events in East London.
A Christmas Carol with a twist is coming to Wilton’s Music Hall this Christmas, starring Sally Dexter as the first ever female Scrooge on a London stage.
Written especially for Wilton’s by Piers Torday, a bestselling and award-winning children’s fiction author, the modernisation of a well loved traditional Christmas tale hopes to bring some spellbinding magic to this festive season. Wilton’s, the oldest surviving music hall, makes for the perfect setting given the production itself attempts to balance modern and traditional elements.
In this revival of Dickens’ original version, both Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley are dead. Instead, it is Scrooge’s sister, Fan, who takes centre stage as a monstrous villain.
Performances will run from 29 November–4 January through Monday–Saturday at 7:30pm, alongside matinee previews on 29 November–5 December. Tickets range from £12.50-£36. Age recommendation in 7+.
Visit the Wilton’s Music Hall event page for more information.
1 Graces Alley, Whitechapel, London, E1 8JB.
Christmas film season at Genesis cinema
Whether you want Christmas classics or something less traditional, Genesis cinema spoils you for choice with three films to choose from, each a one off screening, to get you in the festive mood from 10-17 December.
As if that’s not tempting enough, with each ticket to see Gremlins or Die Hard, Genesis are offering a free pint of refreshing Truman’s beer or cider, in collaboration with Truman’s brewery.
Kicking off the lineup on 10 December at 6:20pm is a 35th anniversary restoration screening of Dante’s Christmas favourite, Gremlins.
This horror-comedy tells the story of a gadget salesman looking for a gift for his son and finds what he believes to be the perfect one in Chinatown. However, the shopkeeper is hesitant to sell him the ‘mogwai’ but does so with the warning to never expose him to bright lights, water or feed him after midnight. Of course, all three eventually happen, ending in a gang of gremlins reaping havoc across the town on Christmas Eve.
If you’re more inclined towards psychological dramas, perhaps Eyes Wide Shut, starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Sydney Pollac is a better fit.
Following a wife who admits to having sexual fantasies about another man to her husband, who then becomes obsessed with having a sexual encounter himself, this erotic mystery is full of scandal. True to form, the screening is on Friday 13 December, 7:30pm.
Genesis’ festive season is rounded off with a showing of Die Hard, the well loved action flick, on 17 December at 9pm. If you’re unfamiliar with the first of many Die Hard thrillers, it begins with a party on Christmas Eve which is interrupted by terrorists who hold the guests hostage. It then falls on Bruce Willis, playing a New York City police officer, to save the day.
Ticket prices depend on choice of film. Visit the Genesis event page for more information.
93-95 Mile End Road, London, E1 4UJ.
Some Voices Top of Your Pops ’90s at Troxy
For one night only, Some Voices comprised of a live band, 500 singers, a DJ and nostalgia for the 90’s are bringing a Top of Your Pops countdown to Troxy’s.
Aiming to transport you back in time with an immersive performance and endless tunes of the past, this night will reignite the glory days of Britpop, diva dance and beyond. The night will be hosted by Andi Peters and Pat Sharp, who promise to bring you all the classics.
This is an 18+ event which will run from 7:30pm-12am on 9 December. Seating is reserved, which will be automatically assigned upon purchase of tickets.
Visit the Troxy website for tickets and more information.
Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, London, E1 0HX.
Stand Up 4 Mental Health Christmas Special at Backyard Comedy Club
Head to Backyard Comedy Club for the Christmas special of the ever-popular Stand Up 4 for Mental Health event on 16 December 6:30pm-11pm.
Hosted by Don’t Suffer in Silence, a mental health support group founded by lifelong local Marcus Tisson, the event, returning for the seventh time, combines some of the UK’s finest comedians, guest speakers and celebrity guests while raising awareness for mental health issues.
The evening will feature Kane Brown, Junior Booker, Phileo Huff, Marcus Tisson, Max Da Cab Driver, Victor Daniels, Sadia Azmats, Josh Weller and Ali Woods, as well as celebrity guest and co-host Kerry Katona.
Early bird tickets are currently available at £10, whilst general admission is £20.
Visit the Backyard Comedy Club event page for tickets and more information.
231 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, E2 0EL.
Festive Wreath Making at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park is holding a wreath making workshop, complete with seasonal music, treats, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic mulled wine to help along the festivities.
You can get as arty as you like using natural foraged materials from the surrounding park, with additional basic materials to help make the wreaths being provided. If your artistic flair and talents urge you to be a little more adventurous, however, you are encouraged to bring extra materials along with you.
A wholesome and creative event for ages 16+, running from 11-2pm on 14 December. Standard tickets are £16.55.
Visit the event page on Eventbrite for more information.
Meet at Soanes Centre (on the right as you enter), Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Southern Grove, London, E3 4PX.
Christmas Greenery Workshop at the Geffrye Museum
Another chance to show off your creative handiwork and embrace the Christmas spirit while you do so is at the Greffrye Museum of the Home. On 7 December 1-4pm there will be the opportunity to create wreaths and seasonal decorations so that you can take a sprinkling of Christmas home with you.
All materials will be provided during the session, which will be run by Head Gardener, Heather Stevens. Tickets cost £50-£60, with limited spaces available.
Visit the Geffrye Museum event page for more information.
The Geffrye Museum of the Home, 136 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA.
We’ve also put together a list of the best Christmas Markets to make shopping and getting into the festive atmosphere even easier for you.
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