December 2018: Top Cheapo Events in London

Lily Crossley-Baxter

Christmas is everywhere in London, and that means markets, gingerbread houses and plenty of illuminations! If you have shopping to do or want a cheapo-friendly festive evening out, look no further than our top events of December.

london events december
Photo by Njinga Santa Cycle used under CC

Take your pick from our listings both festive and regular, but if you’re on the lookout for something particularly Christmas-y, then be sure to have a look at our Festive Events round-up too! It has all the best markets, festivals and events to get you in the mood for carol singing and mulled wine!

Ally Pally Christmas Carnival

Not a location to let a celebration pass it by, Alexandra Palace is back with its winter carnival taking place over three weekeends. As well as festive treats like Streatlife food, craft beer, Panto on Ice and Horrible Histories Live, it’s a great chance to see the newly restored theatre.

 Ally Pally Christmas Carnival

Dates:1st Dec–16th Dec, 2018
Entry:Free

Portobello Winter Weekends

Portobello Market
Photo by Garry Knight used under CC

Enjoy four whole weekends of wintery goodness with all your shopping needs covered this December. With plenty of street entertainment and great food you might get distracted from all the stalls if you’re not careful! The market has a variety of smaller themed markets including the New Youthquake market at Tavistock Square which supports younger stallholders.

 Portobello Winter Weekends

Dates:1st Dec–23rd Dec, 2018
Entry:Free

Njinga Santa Cycle

Photo by Njinga Santa Cycle used under CC

If you love cycling, Santa and charity, then this is the event for you. All rolled up into one festive and feel-good event, you can join a casual cycle of 18km dressed as everyone’s favorite Christmas gift-bringer and deliver presents to the children at Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice. You have to register to participate but it’s free—and you must wear a Santa suit and come with an unwrapped gift for a child if you’re joining in.

 Njinga Santa Cycle

Dates:Early Dec, 2019
Entry:Free

Chanukah in Trafalgar Square

chanukah london trafalgar square
Celebrating Hanukkah in London. | Photo by Garry Knight used under CC

Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights with a visit to a giant Menorah in Trafalgar Square. There will be a main lighting ceremony on December 5th with live music and dancing and the menorah will remain in place for the the full 8 days of Chanukah.

 Chanukah in Trafalgar Square

Dates:Early Dec, 2019
Entry:Free

The St John’s Hospice Christmas Fayre

At the St John’s Fayre you can enjoy browsing through stalls run by locals, kids can ride reindeer and visit Santa’s grotto and know you’re helping out a charity too. This annual event raises money for the local hospice while providing everything you need for a festive day out as well as kicking off (or adding the finishing touches to) your present stockpile.

 The St John’s Hospice Christmas Fayre

Dates:Early Dec, 2019
Entry:Free

A Knockout Night of Comedy

Microphone
Photo by Pixabay

Support the local All Stars Boxing club while laughing yourself silly at their comedy night. Hosted by one of the UK’s fastest growing Comedians White Yardie and featuring Hakan ‘Manlikehaks’ Hassan along with plenty more acts, you’ll be working those stomach muscles with laughter rather than sparring—but working them nonetheless.

 A Knockout Night Of Comedy

Dates:2nd Dec, 2018
Entry:
Adults:
Advance sales: £15.00
On the door: £20.00

E17 Designer’s Christmas Markets

Craft market
Photo by Garry Knight used under CC

Another great spot for your Christmas shopping, this market focuses on crafters and creators from E17. There will be three separate markets in two locations on different weekends, so do check which event you want to attend. You can peruse the stalls, enjoy cake and tea as well as meeting the makers of your new gifts (always helps to have a backstory!).

 E17 Designer's Christmas Markets

Dates:2nd Dec–15th Dec, 2018
Entry:Free

Gingerbread City

Gingerbread City Luke Hayes
Photo by Luke Hayes

Release your inner child and gaze in a mixture of wonder and jealousy at the structures created by a whole host of architects and engineers in a display that would knock Mary, Prue and Paul off their showstopper round feet. Created by the Museum of Architecture, the display was designed by a city-planning company and is an intricate and creative scene well worth exploring.

 Gingerbread City at the Museum of Architecture

Dates:8th Dec–6th Jan, 2019
Entry:
Adults:
Advance sales: £6.00
On the door: £6.00

Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square

christmas carols in trafalgar square
Photo by Magnus D used under CC

If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to feel festive for free, head over to Trafalgar Square any evening between the 10th and 21st of December. More than 40 carol groups will be serenading the square to raise money for charity.

 Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square

Dates:10th Dec–21st Dec, 2018
Entry:Free

Suspiciously Cheap Comedy: West End Charity Spectacular

Suspiciously Cheap Comedy
Photo by Suspiciously Cheap Comedy

Bringing big names to the West End, this comedy troupe does what it says on the tin. Making sure comedy is affordable as well as raising money for charity, this new material night is a great way to spend an evening if you can snap up tickets in time.

 Gingerbread City at the Museum of Architecture

Dates:8th Dec–6th Jan, 2019
Entry:
Adults:
Advance sales: £6.00
On the door: £6.00

Peter Pan Cup

serpentine club swimmers
Photo by Serpentine Swimming Club used under CC

If you’ve been looking for an opportunity to swim in open water on Christmas day in the UK, then look no further. The Peter Pan cup is a questionable tradition of the hardy members of the Serpentine Swimmers Club who dive into the chilly water from the south bank of Hyde Park every Christmas morning.

 Peter Pan Cup

Dates:25th Dec, 2018

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Photo by Alexander Baxevanis used under CC

A chance to get tickets for the grand annual fireworks display—the second batch £10 tickets will be released on November 30th. Don’t panic of you don’t get tickets though, there are plenty of places you can watch the show from!

 New Year's Eve Fireworks 2018

Dates:31st Dec–1st Jan, 2019
Entry:
Adults:
Advance sales: £10.00

Last Chance Events

Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays | Until December 19th | Bethnal Green

Sliders Curling On Roof East | Until December 22nd | Stratford

Deptford Market Yard | Until December 22nd | Deptford

Winterville | Until December 23rd | Clapham

After Dark | Until December 30th | Chiswick

Ongoing Events

Christmas by the River | Until Jan 2nd | London Bridge

Christmas at Kew | Until Jan 5th | Kew

Leicester Square Christmas Market | Until Jan 5th | Leicester Square

Tower of London Ice Skating | Until Jan 6th | Tower Hill

Hampton Court Palace Ice Skating | Until Jan 6th | Richmond

Hooked at the Science Gallery | Until Jan 6th | London Bridge

Votes for Women Centenary Exhibition | Until Jan 6th | Barbican

Winter Festival at South Bank | Until Jan 6th | South Bank

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland | Until Jan 6th | Wesminster

Ice Skating at Somerset House | Until Jan 13th | Aldwych

Natural History Museum Ice Skating | Until Jan 20th | South Kensington

Poster Women: A Century of Art and Design | Until Jan 31st | Covent Garden

Canary Wharf Ice Skating | Until Feb 16th | Canary Wharf

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt | Until Feb 24th | Knightsbridge

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Lily's London favorites are: , , , , , , , ,
Filed under: Things to Do
Tags: Charity, Christmas, Events, Featured, Fireworks, Free Events, Holidays, Iluminations, Markets, New Year, Photography
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Name: Places mentioned in this article:
Location(s): Greenwich, Hoxton, Kensington, London Bridge, Notting Hill, Richmond, St Johns, Walthamstow,
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