ROUND UP: Christmas events for all the family

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Image captionThe festive show at the Lyric Hammersmith is Jack & The Beanstalk

Christmas is a time when families get together, wrap up warm and share magical experiences.

Hammersmith & Fulham boasts dozens of festive and seasonal events every year… and here’s a selection, with many of the activities completely free to attend.

From markets to wreath-making, carol singing to pantomime cheering and booing - here’s our guide to some of the highlights. Merry Christmas!

North End Road Christmas market

Image caption: North End Road Christmas market

North End Road’s popular Christmas market – now a firm fixture on the calendar – takes place on Saturday 9 December, with the road barred to traffic.

More than 150 stalls will fill the street, packed with gifts, seasonal food and drink, and many of the shops will also be offering special wintry deals too.

An a cappella choir will be singing songs including Santa Baby and Jingle Bell Rock, while a rock choir and the Fulham Brass Band are some of the other musical highlights on show.

There are also acrobatic elves, a one-man band, Santa Claus and roller-skating satsumas!

Shop local in Hammersmith

Visit the HammersmithLondon Christmas Cabin where Santa’s elves will happily wrap your gifts – free - bought from shops in Hammersmith. The cabin will run until 23 December from noon to 6pm (except Sundays). While there, you can take photos in a fun Santa’s workshop photo scene.

HammersmithLondon is encouraging everyone to share photos of themselves in Hammersmith on Twitter and Instagram this December for a chance to win prizes. Get involved using the hashtag #W6Christmas and tag @HammersmithBID and the best fun, festive and fabulous photos will win prizes including a HammersmithLondon tote bag, a personal trainer session at DW Fitness First Hammersmith to VIP tickets for the Club de Fromage New Year’s Eve Spectacular at the Eventim Apollo.

You can also enjoy the sounds of Yuletide as various local schools will be making lunchtimes jollier singing Christmas carols and festive favourites in Lyric Square.

Visit the Hammersmith BID website for more details.

Meet a snowy Santa at Westfield

Image caption: Santa's Snowflake Grotto

If you were hoping for a pre-Christmas family ice-skating excursion in the heart of the Westfield shopping mall in Shepherds Bush this year, you’ll be disappointed. After years of offering shoppers the chance to skedaddle around a frozen surface the decision has been made not to turn the central hall into a seasonal rink.

Instead, families are being invited to visit Santa’s Snowflake Grotto (open 23 November to Christmas Eve). It costs £7 a head (adults and children pay), with the promise of a rapid virtual journey to the North Pole where visitors can create their own snowflakes, meet Father Christmas in his snow cavern for a gift and be snapped with the man himself for an official selfie (you’re not allowed to take your own photographs).

On the way to the exit you will experience the novelty of indoor snowfall.

Climb the magic beanstalk at the Lyric

The festive show at the Lyric Hammersmith is Jack & The Beanstalk, a two-hour family-friendly show featuring magic beans, a huge giant and an extremely appealing cow.

Written by Joel Horwood and co-directed by Sean Holmes and Jude Christian, the show stars Faith Omole as Jack, Daniel Fraser as Jill, and Kayla Meikle as Daisy the cow.

Cherrelle Skeete is the fairy godmother, while Kraig Thornber is the pantomime dame and comedian Vikki Stone returns from her success in last year’s Christmas show to play the wonderfully named Fleshcreep.

The show runs from 24 November to 6 January, with matinees as well as evening performances. Tickets start at £15. You can also order your interval drinks in advance online. 

Christingles by candlelight

Image caption: Christingles by candlelight

All Hammersmith & Fulham’s churches are arranging Christmas services for one of the most important times in the calendar.

Among them is St Paul’s Hammersmith, alongside the flyover.

On Sunday 10 December there is the Carols by Candlelight service, with carols, readings, the choir and orchestra, at 6pm.

A more family-friendly event, aimed at children, takes place at the church on Sunday 17 December with the family carol service, a hearty Christingle singalong in which everyone is invited to wear their favourite Christmas jumper. It begins at 10.30am.

Other services at St Paul’s include acoustic carols at 6pm on 17 December, a family crib service at 4pm on Christmas Eve, and the traditional midnight communion, starting on Christmas Eve at 11.30pm. The Christmas Day service starts at 10am, followed by communion.

Music, mayhew and myrrh(th)

Image caption: Joe Stilgoe Big Band

That’s the promise from west Londoner Joe Stilgoe’s merry offering at Hammersmith’s Lyric.

Stilgoe and his Mighty Big Band play seasonal favourites as well as the singer musician’s own songs, swing and big band standards.

On Monday 11 December, Stilgoe presents a Christmas Party variety night in the Good Old Days tradition when, accompanied by a seven-piece band, he presents a host of guests including Jamie Parker of History Boys fame, and Meow Meow, reinterpreting the Christmas songbook and playing festive games.

On Thursday 18 December, it’s Joe Stilgoe’s White Christmas, featuring Katherine Kingsley (an Olivier nominee for Singin’ in the Rain), Anna-Jane Casey (of Billy Elliot fame) and Peter Horsfall (from the Kansas Smitty’s jazz bar).

Mulled wine and carols

Image caption: Fulham Camerata singers

On Thursday 7 December, from 2-3pm, there will be A Celebration of Christmas Past at Fulham Palace, where curator Miranda Poliakoff leads a guided tour to reveal details of how bishops celebrated Christmas down the years in the historic buildings… including the famous parties hosted by Bishop Winnington-Ingram.

A glass of mulled wine rounds off the visit.

Tickets are £8.50 (concs £6.50).

Meanwhile, the palace’s traditional Christmas carol concert is staged on Wednesday 13 December at 7pm, in the Victorian chapel.

The Fulham Camerata choir will lead the singing, and there will be seasonal refreshments afterwards, in front of a roaring fire. Tickets £16.

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