Shoreditch might not have the Christmas lights of Piccadilly or the hype of Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, but it celebrates the season in its own, firmly East London way. Expect unadulterated festive cheer and... the unexpected, from Europe’s only rooftop ice rink to Christmas carols in a treehouse...
Ice Skating at Skylight Tobacco Dock
Just two stops from Shoreditch Overground station, you’ll find Tobacco Dock’s Skylight - Europe’s only rooftop ice rink. Head with friends to cut some shapes on the ice, try your hand at ice hockey and then hunker down in their cosy après skate bar for street food, mulled wine and warming cocktails. If you want to take the experience up a notch, rent out one of their private mountain huts or igloos, with table service, a raclette cheese feast and glimmering skyline views.
A Big Fat Christmas Quiz
Spectacular Pub Quizzes are running a cracking charity Christmas pub quiz at the Royal Star in Shoreditch on three dates in December. Gather your friends and your best Santa hats, ready to take on a host of festive challenges: Christmas song lyrics, present wrapping, brussel sprout eating and much more. Book the ‘Whole Shebang’ ticket and you’ll be fuelled with a buffet feast and a glass of bubbly to aid your quizzing skills.
A Christmas Dog Café
On 8 December, Santa paws madness is due to break out at The Allegory in Shoreditch. Hosted by the famous Pug café and the dog brush brand, Pet Teezer, this special puppy pop-up invites pugs, pomeranians and dachshunds for a festively furry celebration. There’s a Christmas menu for humans, but the dogs will be taken care of too with Pawsecco, Champaws and dog-friendly treats. Whether you’re a pet owner or dog lover, you can still enjoy the season’s cuddliest event.
Spitalfields Christmas Market
Spitalfields Market never fails to deliver and their Christmas Market, running throughout December, promises an array of unique gifts from independent designs. On Wednesday 4 December Zero Waste Goods will be joining, offering sustainable, guilt-free gift options, for a reasonable price tag. There are also special late night shopping evenings (11 and 18 December) where you can peruse the goods until 9pm while enjoying mulled wine, festive food and live music.
Renegade London Craft Fair
Originating in America this is Renegade Craft Fair’s only event outside the USA. Held at Brick Lane’s The Truman Brewery on the 14 and 15 December, it hosts an exclusive, carefully curated selection of independent makers and designers. With a drink in hand, discover such stalls as Green Weave design who hand weave upcycled fabric cushions, British handcrafted leather goods from Willow & Hive and the most delightful berets from Elleni the Label.
Secret DEBUT Christmas Concert at Shoreditch Treehouse
If you want to experience the season like a scene from your favourite festive movie, then this is your event. Shoreditch Treehouse, which we’ve featured previously, is putting on a special Christmas concert on Tuesday 17 December. Gather around in a setting that is part heartwarming living room, part magical wonderland adorned with fairy lights. There’ll be carol singers, singalong carols, Christmas tune mashups on the Steinway Grand Piano and amazing classical music performances, including former Only Men Aloud singer, Welsh tenor, Ben Leonard Smith.
Church Carols by Candlelight
If it’s traditional carols you’re looking for, then this charity event, on Friday 6 December, at St Botolph’s Church in Bishopsgate promises it all: a stirring Welsh choir, twinkling candlelight, free mulled wine, mince pies and your favourite hymns. Dating back as far as 1212, the church is surely one of the most historic places in London where you can sing O Come All Ye Faithful at the top of your voice.
A Gospel Carol Concert
Alternatively, if you want your carols with some added energy then head to this Gospel Choir carol evening on Wednesday 11 December. Held at Wesley’s Chapel on Old Street, the IDMC Gospel Choir will be raising the proverbial roof with their infectious vocals. They didn’t make it to the final of the BBC Songs of Praise Gospel Choir of the Year for nothing. Proceeds go to Feed the Minds charity.
Rooftop Movies at The Curtain
The Curtain hotel, music venue and members club in Shoreditch has transformed its pretty rooftop Lido into a Christmassy wonderland complete with festive cinema screenings. In association with Veuve Clicquot, cosy up under a blanket with a hot cocktail and the sparkling lights of Shoreditch beyond, and enjoy a Christmas classic. On Friday 20 December, they are also hosting a Christmas drag cabaret evening which promises to present Santa in a whole new light.
Clementine’s Christmas Cracker
She might be just 15 inches tall, but she’s also a famous international style diva with more sparkle than a tinsel covered Christmas tree. Coming from her regular show on the West End, the puppet Clemetine is returning to The Rosemary Branch pub and theatre venue on Tuesday 17 December for a show that boasts songs, sketches and camp revelry. You can get an all-in-one dinner ticket for a Rosie Christmas burger, drink and access to the show.
Christmas Carol – A Fairy Tale
Wiltons Music Hall is putting on a new production of A Christmas Carol and Scrooge has had a makeover. He’s a woman. Well, actually he’s dead and his sister Fan has taken over the show. Enjoy a night of female power and fairy tale magic, haunting music and petrifying puppets in the enchanting atmosphere of the world’s oldest music hall.
Big Brassy Xmas Party
You think you know Christmas carols? Think again. Held at the XOYO on Thursday 19 December, The Big Brassy Christmas Party promises to blow new life into your favourite classic hymns, performed by 10-piece brass band, The Dirty Brasstards. There’ll be nothing silent about this night. Christmas jumpers essential.
Disco Shed Xmas Knees up w/Chimpo
Disco Shed are a mobile musical collective that perform out of a garden shed. That’s right. DJ sets, a light show and live visuals on their shed’s giant rooftop screen come together to create a night of pure Shedonism. They’re heading to The Book Club on Saturday 21 December for a stomping yuletide party alongside first time Shedonist, MC and DJ Chimpo. A legendary UK performer, Chimpo’s work is a mixed toolbag of genres and influences that will set this shed on fire.
About the author
Cari Thomas is a freelance writer and London explorer with a background in consumer publishing and copywriting.