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What's on in London this December 2016 near Kensington

The festive season is well and truly here but we've also got other ideas too to ensure this is another wonderful month to be in London.


An annual theatre tradition at this time of year is pantomime fun for all the family. Girls dress up as boys and boys as girls. There's a villain for the audience to 'boo' and lots to make you roar with laughter.

Cinderella at The London Palladium has a great cast with Paul O'Grady as the wicked stepmother, Julian Clary as Dandini, Amanda Holden as the fairy godmother and Nigel Havers as the Lord Chamberlain.

Cinderella was last seen at The London Palladium nearly 30 years ago so this is a welcome return of the rags-to-riches fairy tale. The show opens on 10 December and runs for just five weeks.

For National Pantomime Day on Friday 16 December (I didn't know about that either!), The V&A has a seminar called A History and Celebration of Pantomime to celebrate this wonderful institution.


The new Design Museum has opened at the former Commonwealth Institute building on Kensington High Street. It has three times more space than in its previous location at Shad Thames, near Tower Bridge.

The first exhibition is Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World and is about our hopes and doubts plus the pace and impact of change. Eleven new installations by a selection of the world's leading designers have been commissioned to create artworks evoking and responding to contemporary design.

And for the first time in the museum's history, it now also has a free permanent display: Designer Maker User, which tells the story of contemporary design through these three interconnected roles using the museum's collection.


Described as the world's best equestrian Christmas party, The London International Horse Show at Olympia also includes dog agility as well. There's elegant dressage events plus show jumping too and even a visit from Santa.

The show is on from 13 to 19 December. Look out for double gold medal winner Victoria Pendleton and Frankie Dettori in the Jump vs Flat Jockey Clash. Victoria is competing in the Markel Champions Challenge in aid of The Injured Jockeys Fund on Friday 16 December.


The new Mathematics Gallery at the Science Museum opens on 8 December 2016. It includes more than 100 objects from the museum’s collection, including a 1929 Handley Page aircraft that inspired its overall design. The gallery's design is another part of architect Dame Zaha Hadid's legacy as she died earlier this year.

Among the objects on show in the gallery is a 17th-century Islamic astrolabe that uses ancient mathematical techniques to map the night sky, and an early example of the Enigma machine, which was used by the Nazis to send coded messages in the Second World War before mathematicians working for the Allies broke the codes.

The exhibition explores how mathematicians, their tools and ideas have helped to shape the modern world over the last four hundred years.


If the '80s was your musical era then you'll want to see the original line up of Culture Club at the SSE Arena, Wembley on 14 December in their only UK appearance on this tour, supported by Kid Creole and the Coconuts. The show is part of a world tour but this is their homecoming so definitely the one to be at.

The original band line-up is Mike Craig (bass guitar), Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards), Jon Moss (drums and percussion) and flamboyant front-man Boy George (lead vocals).

The band will perform favourites from their albums including Kissing to Be Clever and Colour By Numbers, as well as their latest album Tribes. You can expect the crowd to sing louder than the band when they play Karma Chameleon.


With Digital Loom and Weaving Futures The London Transport Museum is featuring different weavers each week. The Weaving Futures Data and Transport brief given to artists explores the significance of Jacquard loom weaving beyond textiles, looking at how the Jacquard loom punch card system led to the development of computers and digital data, and how these have affected transport systems as a whole. 

The season also brings to the fore London's most loved urban fabric – the moquette. Many people who have travelled on the London transport network will be familiar with the patterned seating fabric. Derived from the French word for carpet, moquette is a type of woven pile fabric in which cut or uncut threads form a short dense cut or loop pile. As well as giving it a distinctive velvet-like feel the pile construction is particularly durable, and ideally suited to applications such as public transport.


For 14 weeks from 9 December you can see two comedies by William Shakespeare at Theatre Royal Haymarket. Love's Labour's Lost and Much Ado About Nothing (or Love's Labour's Won) are coming to London following hugely successful runs in Stratford‑upon‑Avon and Chichester.

Performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, these two sparklingly funny romances are brought together by the innovative matching of events, characters and themes. The two productions are set either side of the First World War. Love's Labour's Lost conjures up the carefree elegance of a pre‑war Edwardian summer, while Much Ado About Nothing presents a changed world with the roaring 20s just around the corner.

Both plays can be seen as single performances or enjoyed together on the two‑show days.


For the festive season, Harry Potter fans will love the transformation at The Warner Bros Studio Tour. Hogwarts in the Snow is on from 19 November 2016 to 29 January 2017.

The iconic Great Hall has Christmas decorations and even witches on miniature broomsticks on top of the Christmas trees. The long dining tables are laid for a seasonal feast including flaming Christmas puddings.

Look for the sweet wrappers on the Gryffindor common room floor and the handmade Christmas cards, some of which were made by the cast members during production.

The fireplaces are 'lit' and the Hogwarts castle model has a blanket of filmmaking snow made from a mixture of granulated paper and grains of salt sprinkled onto the model by hand with a sieve – like dusting sugar onto a cake.

Visitors can also see the hand-knitted jumpers that Molly Weasley gave Ron and Harry for Christmas in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone plus one of the first Christmas presents Harry ever received at Hogwarts, his Invisibility Cloak.

By choosing to stay at Fraser Suites Queens Gate, you will be in the heart of Kensington, and a short ride away from some of these great events happening in December. Check out our Special Offers and we hope to welcome you soon! 

You can also explore what is happening near Canary Wharf by clicking here


Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on Twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

Image credits required: Design Museum: © Luke Hayes | Warner Bros Studio Tour: © TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.