We have been searching high and low and have pulled together a few events to get everyone in the holiday mood.

If you have any more to add, please email us all the relevant details1 at: content@stmgrts.org.uk.

1 For this, and in general, when you pass along an event for us to post, you really need to give us more than a one line email… in fact, I probably won’t bother posting a one line event.

The Crystal Grotto

2nd — 24th December 2006

Set in the magnificent surroundings of Painshill Park, kiddies can visit one of the most enchanting Christmas grottoes in town. With its frost-covered labyrinth of walking trails, scattered woodland and rolling green glades it looks like a scene from CS Lewis’s Narnia.

The genuine crystal grotto is a unique place to visit Santa. The 18th century brick structure is a cavernous hollow of mystery. Your little Santa seekers will tramp along a winding lamp-lit trail to Grotto Island and the magical Wishing Tent, before an elf leads them into the Grotto proper. Here in the twinkling half light they will meet the man himself.

A really festive family occasion, staged in a magical setting, the Crystal Grotto captures the spirit of Christmas. All children booked to visit Father Christmas will receive a present and enjoy a festive activity in the Wishing Tent, if, of course, they have been good.

Pre-booking is essential.

  • Venue: Painshill Park
  • Address: Cobham, KT11
  • Phone: 01932 584 284
  • Time: 11:00-19:30
  • Price: £6.75 (Adult), £8 (Child)
  • Nearest Station: Cobham Rail

Kew Garden Events

Father Christmas
9th, 10th and 16th — 23rd December 2006
12:00-15:30

Reindeer
18th — 23rd December 2006
10:00-15:30

Climbers and Creepers ‘Planto’
9th, 10th and 16th — 23rd December 2006

Festive Late Night Openings
15th and 16th December
16:00-21:00

  • Venue: Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Address: Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9
  • Phone: 020 8332 5655
  • Time: 9:30-15:45 — apart from Festive Late Night Openings
  • Price: £9.50 (Adult), Free (Child)

Polar Express 3D @ BFI London IMAX

4th November 2006 – 6th January 2007

A disbelieving young lad has compiled a dossier detailing why he thinks Santa doesn’t exist, but as this Doubting Thomas drifts off to sleep on Christmas Eve what should pull up outside his window? A sleigh replete with jingle bells, presents and a plump bearded fellow in red pyjamas? No, in fact, it’s a flying steam train! Anyway, the eponymous Polar Express then whisks our male lead off to the North Pole to meet the man himself and learn about the true spirit of Christmas. Fortunately the cheese isn’t laid on too thick, so the tale remains heart-warming rather than sickly.

This was the first-ever full length feature shown in the groundbreaking 3-D format. Directed by Robert Zemeckis – whose last dabble in animation created the wonderful ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, and with a cast headed by Tom Hanks this story book adaptation is a slick production. Filmed using ‘motion capture’ – the technique that brought Gollum to life in Lord of the Rings – this visual spectacular is perfectly suited to IMAX enhancement.

  • Venue: BFI London IMAX
  • Address: 1 Charlie Chaplin Walk, SE1
  • Phone: 0870 787 2525
  • Date: 4th November 2006 — 6th January 2007
  • Time: Various
  • Pricing: £8.50 (Adult), £5 (Child)
  • Nearest Station: Waterloo Tube / Rail

Osterley Park Stable Yard Carols

3rd, 10th and 17th December 2006

The yard of the Osterley Park’s, still working, Tudor stables will be packed with good cheer for Sunday afternoons as guests gather together for a traditional carol service in the crisp December air. For an additional charge visitors can step inside the house itself to catch a glimpse of how Osterley Park would have prepared for Christmas in days gone by.

Built in the 16th century, the house was completely revamped by Scottish architect Robert Adam during the 18th century. The striking white pillar colonnade that fronts the house is just a taster, paving the way for the ensuing, fabulous, neo-classical state rooms. The house is set in 140 acres of gorgeous, verdant parkland complete with ornamental lakes and pleasure grounds. It’s the perfect place to take a winter stroll and blow away all the cobwebs. Keep your eyes peeled for the ghost of a mysterious lady dressed in white, rumoured to haunt the grounds.

  • Venue: Osterley Park
  • Address: Osterley Park, Isleworth, Middlesex, TW7
  • Phone: 020 8232 5050
  • Time: 12:30-15:30 (carols at 14:00 and 15:00)
  • Price: Carol Singing – free. Entry to house £3.50 (Adults), £1 (Children), Free (Members)
  • Nearest Station: Osterley Tube

Carols at Ham House

10th, 16th and 17th December 2006

Resting on the banks of the Thames in outlying Richmond, the Great Hall of this magnificent 17th century building will be the venue of a series of carol concerts.

The afternoon performances will be family-orientated fiestas with a visit from Santa and presents for the young ones, whereas the later concerts will be accompanied by more revelry, with mulled wine and mince pies on offer in the remarkable 17th century Orangery during the interval. Soak up the tones of Musica Divina directed by Simon Desbrulais, plus a number of orations and showcase pieces, as well as the carols to join in with.

  • Venue: Ham House
  • Address: Richmond-upon-Thames, TW1
  • Phone: 020 8940 1950
  • Time: Afternoon 16:00-17:30 |
  • Evening 19:00-21:00
  • Price: Afternoon – £15 (Adults), £9 (Children), Evening – £22
  • Nearest Station: Twickenham Rail

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

7th December 2006 – 6th January 2007

For over half a century Trafalgar Square has been adorned with a majestic Christmas tree, an annual gift from the people of Oslo, thanking us for support and friendship during World War II. The tree – perhaps the most famous in the world – is an integral part of Christmas in London. The evergreen is always a prime specimen, a giant decorated only with authentic white lights.

Singing groups and passers-by join around the tree every evening to sing carols and soak up the Christmas cheer (starts 11th December). On some evenings the angelic voices of the St. Martin-in-the-Fields choir lead the tune. This is a wonderful spot to capture the spirit of Christmas.
  • Address: Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, WC2
  • Date: 7th December 2006 — 6th January 2007
  • Nearest Station: Charing Cross

Southwark Frost Fair

15th — 17th December 2006

The Frost Fair is back for its fourth year, bringing all its usual festive cheer to the South Bank.

The organisers are expecting in excess of 100,000 visitors – so it won’t be the place to avoid the crowds. Nevertheless, it’ll be packed to the gills with last minute-shopping opportunities and the prospect of whetting that Yuletide appetite a full week in advance (as if you hadn’t started already!). The enormous hog roasts are irresistible. Warm yourself up with a piping cup of mulled wine served from behind the gleaming ice bar, one of many frozen sculptures adorning Bankside.

With carol singers, street entertainers and a concoction of musicians this event will no doubt get you in a jolly mood.

  • Address: Bankside, SE1
  • Phone: 020 7357 9168
  • Nearest Station: Mansion House Tube

Church Services

All Hallows Church

  • Nine lessons and carols
    Friday 22 December – 7.30 pm
    Afterwards mulled wine and mince pies
  • Eucharist with carols
    Sunday 24 December – 10 am
    4 pm The Crib Service & 11.30 pm Midnight Mass
  • Christmas Day
    Monday 25 December – 10 am
    Holy Communion
  • Feast of St Steven
    Tuesday 26 December, 10 am
    Eucharist in the Chapel

All Souls Church

  • Carols by Candlelight Service
    Sunday 10th December 8pm
    A mix of traditional and contemporary carols accompanied by Bible readings telling the events of that first Christmas.
  • All-age Carols by Candlelight followed by Children’s Party
    Sunday 17th 10.30am
    For children and adults – a short service of carols, readings and fun. Followed by food and games for all ages.
  • Christmas Eve
    • Morning Service
      10.30am
      A shortened morning service with Christmas video for the children for the second part of the service.
    • Crib Service
      4pm
      A short celebration round the crib for the young – with carols and a creative re-telling of the coming of Jesus.
    • Midnight Communion
      11.30pm
      Traditional carols and communion – a reflective, but joyful service to take us into Christmas Day itself.
  • Christmas Day
    10.30am – All-age Celebration
    Lasting around 45 minutes.

St Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church

  • Saturday, December 23rd
    • 10.00am Mass
    • 10.30am Confessions
    • 6.30pm 1st Mass of Sunday
      Confessions after Mass on request.
  • Sunday, December 24th
    • 4th of Advent
      • 8.30am Mass
      • 10.30am Mass
    • Christmas Eve
      • 5.00pm Children’s Christmas Mass
      • 11.30pm Readings and Carols leading into
      • Midnight First Mass of Christmas
  • Monday December 25th
    • Christmas Day
      • 8.30am Mass
      • 10.30am Mass
        There is no evening Mass today
  • Tuesday December 26th
    • St Stephen
      • 10.00am Mass

St Mary Church, Twickenham

  • Christingle Service
    Sunday 10 December, 4.00pm
  • Carols and Readings
    Tuesday 12 December, 1.05pm
  • Sunday School Play — “The Christmas Creatures”
    9.30am
  • Parish Carol Service
    Sunday 17 December, 6.00 pm
  • Christmas Eve
    Sunday 24 December
    • 4.00pm — Crib Service
    • 11.00pm — Midnight Mass
  • Christmas Day
    Monday 25 December, 10.00am
    Festival Eucharist with Carols

St Stephen’s Church

  • Simply Divine
    Sunday, 10th December, 6pm & 8pm
    A contemporary carol service.
  • Don’t Be Afraid
    Sunday, 17th December, 6pm & 8pm
    A traditional carol service.
  • Carol Concert at the Rising Sun
    Thursday, 21st December
  • The Innkeeper
    Friday, 22nd December, 3.30pm & 5pm
    A service for under-5s and family.
  • Unwrapping Christmas Presence
    Sunday, 24th December, 9.15am & 11am
    A service for families and children.
  • Light and Life to All He Brings
    Sunday, 24th December, 11pm
    Christmas Eve candlelit Communion
  • What a Difference a Day Makes
    Monday, 25th December, 9.15am & 11am
    Christmas day celebration for all ages

Museums

And finally, some events at museums to keep everyone busy.

National Portrait Gallery Family Event — Festive Faces

Sunday 10 December 2006 @ 14.00

A festive workshop making Christmas decorations inspired by the Collection. Tickets are required and available on the day from the Information Desk. Suitable for all ages.

  • Address: Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, WC2
  • Nearest Station: Charing Cross
  • Admission: free
  • Where: meet in Main Hall

V&A Family Events

The Victoria and Albert Museum has lots of exciting events and activities for families every holiday and many weekends. Activities are free and most do not need to be booked, which means you can stay for as long or as short a time as you like.

  • Christmas Celebrations
    Sunday 10 December 2006, 10.00-17.30, various locations
    Celebrate Christmas with a day of family events at the V&A. Join a gospel workshop and then perform to the public, listen to the Morley College Chamber Choir, watch an innovative series of tableaux performances based on the collections, create your own nativity scene or make Christmas decorations inspired by African designs.
  • Weekend Events – Object Handling
    Some Saturdays and Sundays, 12.00, 14.00 and 15.30, Room 123 (sessions last 30 Minutes)
    Discover the British Galleries and enjoy touching and exploring objects used by the Victorians. Themes include Eating with Victorians, Victorian Photography and Victorian Pots and Potties.
  • Back-Packs Christmas 2006
    Saturday 16 December 2006 – Sunday 7 January 2007, 10.30-17.00, except 23-26 December 2006 when the museum is closed. Also every Saturday 10.30-17.00.
    Borrow a Back-Pack and explore the V&A. You can choose from five different packs: The Emperor’s Party, Chinese Treasures, Metal Detector, Magic Glasses and Fancy Furnishings. Our award-winning Back-Packs are full of brilliant hands-on activities, including jigsaws, stories, puzzles, construction games and things to handle.
  • Mask Making
    Wednesday 27 December 2006 – Monday 1 January 2007, 11.00-13.00 & 14.00-16.00, Lunchroom
    Decorate your own Italian carnival mask using a variety of exciting and festive materials, and take part in Renaissance carnival games. Families who make masks on the Saturday are invited to watch the cast of The Intention Drama Company performing Commedia dell’arte.
  • Musical Instrument Handling Session
    Thursday 28 December and Friday 29 December 2006, 12.00,14.00, 15.30 Raphael, Room 48a
    Come along and meet our musicians as they introduce instruments of the Renaissance period, telling stories of people who lived during the Renaissance. Children will have the opportunity to handle some of the instruments. Sessions last 30 minutes.
  • Commedia dell’arte
    Saturday 30 December 2006, 12.00,14.00, 16.00
    Meet the characters of the famous Commedia dell’arte, such as the clown Arlecchino, the cowardly Captain, the miserly Pantalone and the intelligent and beautiful Isabella. Watch as the actors become the different characters by changing their fabulous coloured masks. Presented by the Intention Dance Company. If you have been to our mask-making workshop, wear your mask to watch the performance and at the end try out some of the acting techniques. Sessions last 40 minutes.
  • Silent Knight
    Monday 1 January – Wednesday 3 January 2007, 11.00, 14.00, 15.00, Raphael, Room 48a
    Come and hear tales of chivalry, handle pieces of Italian armour and watch a knight prepare for battle as he dons his armour, shield and sword. Sessions last 45 minutes.
  • Design a Miniature Home
    Tuesday 2 January to Sunday 7 January 2007, 11.00-13.00 & 14.00-17.00, Raphael, Room 48a
    Be inspired by our At Home in Renaissance Italy exhibition and create your own Italian room. Make and decorate mini model Renaissance furniture out of card and add them to your room.
  • Victorian Pots and Potties
    Sunday, 21 January 2007, 12.00, 14.00 and 15.30, British Galleries, Room 123
    Explore the many uses and types of pottery objects used by the Victorians during these hands-on sessions. Sessions last 30 minutes.

British Museum — Crack the Codex

Weekends from 25 November, daily 20-31 December 11.00-16.00

Play your own version of Codex, Channel 4’s brand new adventure game programme presented by Tony Robinson. Crack the code by taking our trail around Museum objects for your chance to win a prize.

  • Where: Great Court
  • Cost: Free, no pre-booking required

National Gallery — Holiday Workshops

Choose from two fun-filled practical art workshops led by contemporary artists:

  • Space Travel
    Wednesday 27 – Saturday 30 December, 11am – 1pm & 2 – 4pm
    Journey through space and time to a secret world in this painting workshop with artist Matthew Burrows.
  • Pop Goes the Easel
    Wednesday 27 – Saturday 30 December, 11am – 1pm & 2 – 4pm
    Join us to meet some amazing angels and create your own 3D pop-up art in this mixed-media workshop led by artist Mary Evans.
  • Where: Meet in the Education Centre Foyer, Orange Street Entrance

Also check out Richmond Council’s listing of Christmas Events.

NEW!

Petersham Nursery Carols

Every Thursday between now and Christmas Petersham Nurseries are open from 6 till 8pm . Featuring Carols, Baroque and Renaissance music.

There is also a Christmas market serving mulled wine, roased chestnuts and hot chocolate.