Family Christmas shows in London: The best things to take your kids to see

Jessie Thompson
Christmas treats: Pinocchio at the National Theatre: Manuel Harlan

Christmas is round the corner, which means plenty of time off school for your little ones.

If the thought of sticking that Frozen DVD on for the seven millionth time makes you want to take a one-way sleigh ride to the North Pole, then fear not. This festive season there’s an array of brilliant family shows to see in the capital.

These family Christmas shows will delight the kids and keep you sane, so you can tell Rudolf to turn back round and book one of these special treats instead. They’re bound to delight your kids and make heart-warming memories of Christmas for years to come.

Pinocchio

Nothing says Christmas like sticking on a classic Disney film at 10am and stuffing your face with chocolate. The National Theatre is giving you the chance to see one of those classics live on stage this year. They’ve pulled out all the stops for a collaboration with Disney to bring the songs and story of the 1940 film to the stage for the first time.

John Tiffany directs and Dennis Kelly is on adapting duties - their respective work on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Matilda the musical make this one not to miss.

Until April 10, National Theatre; nationaltheatre.org.uk

The Christmasaurus

McFly star Tom Fletcher penned a bestselling children’s novel, and now you can take your kids to see it on stage. It promises dancing elves, an appearance from Father Christmas, music, animating as well as appearances from very special guests. Fletcher will be on stage alongside his bandmate Harry Judd and Busted (or McBusted, if you’re hardcore) member Matt Willis.

December 21-28, Eventim Apollo; thechristmasaurus.com

The Gruffalo’s Child

If your copies of Julia Donaldson’s Gruffalo books have been very well thumbed by your miniature bookworm, they are bound to enjoy this stage version. The Gruffalo’s Child is the followed up to her first mammoth hit, and it’s just as lovely a tale. A great, transporting story-telling treat for your little ones this Christmas.

Buy tickets for The Gruffalo's Child with Evening Standard Tickets

Until January 7, Lyric Theatre

Stick Man

And there’s more where that came from - Julia Donaldson’s much-loved tale about a Stick Man’s morning jog going very wrong is also coming to the stage. Expect puppets, live music, songs, and a band of three top performers.

Until January 7, Leicester Square Theatre

The Snowman

Who doesn’t feel Christmassy when they think about baby Aled Jones singing Walking Through the Air? This may be one of the most emotionally traumatising children’s stories ever put to paper, but it’s a classic for a reason. Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s ballet version of Raymond Briggs’ story will delight young audiences - and there certainly won’t be a dry eye in the house.

Until December 31, Peacock Theatre; sadlerswells.com

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

If you’d rather take your innocent creatures to see a less devastating story, try this stage version of Eric Carle’s picture book should do the trick. It’s on the bookshelf of every family, so it’s sure to delight - and it features 75 puppets, no less.

December 13 - January 7, Ambassadors Theatre; hungrycaterpillarshow.com

The Velveteen Rabbit

A boy is given a toy rabbit as a gift, but he soon neglects it. The toy yearns to become a real animal. This adaptation of Margery Williams’ touching story is such a hit that it transferred to Broadway and is now returning to the Unicorn Theatre for the fourth time, testament to what a special show it is.

Until December 31, Unicorn Theatre; unicorntheatre.com

Nativity the Musical

Your kids love the film, now they can see it on stage. When one school teacher promises his class that a Hollywood producer is coming to watch their Nativity play, rehearsals become even more frantic than usual. If you catch the show in London, Louis Walsh will be making a very special appearance.

West End stars Daniel Boys, Sarah Earnshaw and Simon Lipkin are starring in the show too, meaning audiences big and small will be in very reliable hands for an entertaining evening.

Buy tickets for Nativity the Musical with Evening Standard Tickets

December 13-17, Eventim Apollo; nativitythemusical.com

The Lost Boy Peter Pan

If you have an aversion to panto, take your kids to see this charming version of JM Barrie’s classic tale, which features live music and aims to be a treat for all ages.

Until January 7, Pleasance Theatre; pleasance.co.uk

Snow White & Rose Red

Acclaimed theatre company RashDash bring their own unique touch to a classic fairy tale this Christmas, offering a thrilling adventure for families. Brilliant dancey duo Helen Goalen and Abi Greenland are exactly who you need to teach your daughters (and sons) about girl power.

Until December 30, Battersea Arts Centre; bac.org.uk

The Little Match Girl

Hans Christian Andersen’s moving tale of a girl in Victorian London who dreams of a better life has had endless revivals, including a musical version which premiered forty years ago. Notable tunes include Mistletoe and Wine, made part of the Christmas songs canon in 1988 by Cliff Richard. You can see it again this festive season at the Tabard Theatre.

Until December 31, Tabard Theatre; tabardtheatre.co.uk