Christmas Holiday Events
Raymond Briggs is lending 15 copies of his stories including The Snowman and Father Christmas to this exhibition of children's books, Victorian picture books and Grandma's treasures at Ditchling Museum, Hassocks, West Sussex. The museum is open at weekends only during the winter. Details: 0273 844744.
UNTIL DECEMBER 31 BARBICAN FESTIVITIES.
Seasonal concerts at the Barbican, Silk Street, London EC2, include: Christmas carols with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Handel's Messiah performed by the National Westminster Choir and City of London Sinfonia, and Mozart in Costume. The London City Ballet will interpret scenes from Coppelia, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, and the Royal Shakespeare Company is performing John Mortimer's adaptation of A Christmas Carol until mid-March. Children's events include: two Teddy Bear concerts and The Snowman narrated by Robert Hardy. Details: 071 638 8891.
UNTIL DECEMBER 30 FESTIVE SEASON AT THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM, GREENWICH.
The Greenwich Planetarium at the Old Royal Observatory is putting on winter sky and Christmas star shows and a Stuart Christmas will be celebrated with music and dance in the Queen's House. Children following a Christmas trail through the galleries will unearth tales of great shipwrecks, and seven to 12-year-olds participating in Christmas at Sea workshops will learn the skills and crafts of the Victorian sailor. Details: 081-293 9618.
UNTIL DECEMBER 31 MGM MUSICALS, HOLLYWOOD DRAMA AND DICKENS.
A film series celebrating women screenwriters in Hollywood is among the forthcoming highlights at the National Film Theatre, South Bank, London SE1. Several of Judy Garland's films will be screened (to tie in with an exhibition of costumes, memorabilia and clips at the neighbouring Museum of the Moving Image) and Dickens' television adaptations of Hard Times, Our Mutual Friend, and David Copperfield, plus the RSC's Nicholas Nickleby and Sir David Lean's Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. Details: 071-928 3232.
UNTIL JANUARY 3 LEAVES AMONG THORNS.
Objects inspired by Grimms' fairy tales and a forest of enormous, revolving trees have been created by IOU Theatre on the Royal Festival Hall's ballroom floor, South Bank, London SE1. Visitors can listen to stories through ear trumpets and watch the IOU Theatre perform Court in the Woods, December 28-31, in which a scuttling cocktail cabinet, singing steel tower and ladling ladies will escort a royal procession on mechanical thrones to tea in the tin forest. Free admission. Details: 071 921 0600.
DECEMBER 21-JANUARY 14 AND JANUARY 16-JANUARY 21 THE NUTCRACKER AND SWAN LAKE.
The English National Ballet will transport the audience at the Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London SE1 across the Lemonade Sea to the fairytale Land of Sweets to see flying pastry cooks, a Christmas tree which grows and grows, and the mighty monster mouse king and his army of mouse-soldiers. Swan Lake is staged by one of the Bolshoi Ballet's prima ballerinas, Raissa Struchkova. Details: 071 928 8800.
UNTIL JANUARY 7 SLEEPING BEAUTY.
Fearless-but-fireless Bryff, the ugliest half-dragon in the world, is the star of the show at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff. His task is to help wet-and-wimpy Prince Owain save Princess Briar Rose from the 100-year sleeping spell and survive encounters with the scary Spider King, mischievous Welsh fairies and the wicked witch Modron along the way.
In the neighbouring Arena theatre The Lost Child will be performed for under-fives until December 24. Details: 0222 230451.
UNTIL JANUARY 7 THE PIED PIPER.
At the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, the town of Hamelin is jumping to the sound of the Fat Rat Rap and the Pied Piper leads the way clutching a saxophone. Father Christmas is visiting from 6.30 pm on December 23 with a gift for every child booked to see the evening performance. Details: 0646 695267.
DECEMBER 9-JANUARY 14 THE SNOW QUEEN.
The deadly Snow Queen, portable refrigerator under her arm, scours the world for an evil child, although one that's a bit of a handful will do. In desperation she destroys the Devil's mirror and a trillion splinters fly heavenward, of which one gets in the eye of a Bradford boy. Can his friend Gerda save him and the world from the eternal rule of snow and ice? Find out at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds. Details: 0532 442111.
DECEMBER 11,17,18 AND 24 SANTA STEAMINGS.
All children visiting Santa's grotto on board the Great Western Railway steam train departing from Didcot Railway Centre, Oxfordshire will receive a present. Tickets Pounds 5, Pounds 3.50 over 60s including mincepies and a drink, advance booking recommended. New Year steamings on January 1 and 2. Details: 0235 817200.
DECEMBER 17 CHRISTMAS AT THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON SW7.
Christmas creatures drop-in workshop in which visitors aged over seven will be able to make a range of festive decorations using ideas from nature and specimens found in the museum. Carols will be sung in the galleries on December 19 and 21, 12.30 pm. Details: 071 938 8811.
DECEMBER 17 ONWARDS CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR AT THE LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM, LONDON WC2.
Events include Christmas crackers workshops, December 17-18, a tinsel trail until January 2, and New Year Time Travel, December 28-30, a trip, with actors, through scenes from 200 years of London's public transport. Details: Becky Lee, 071 379 6344.
DECEMBER 17,20, 22, 29 AND 31.
CHRISTMAS LECTURES "Journey to the centres of the brain" is the theme of a series of lectures for young people at the Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1, 3 pm, to be given by Dr Susan Greenfield, lecturer in synaptic pharmacology at Oxford University.
These lectures have been given by such famous scientists as Michael Faraday every year since 1826, and will be broadcast on BBC2. Tickets: Pounds 50 adults, Pounds 20 children (aged 10-18), Pounds 32 members, Pounds 14 members' children. Details: 071 409 2992.
DECEMBER 19-23 CHRISTMAS REVISION WORKSHOPS.
Collingham Independent Sixth Form College, 23 Collingham Gardens, London SW5, invites A-level and GCSE students to get down to some serious studying. A-level courses last six hours and cost Pounds 90 per subject, GCSE courses last half a day and cost Pounds 45 per subject. Details: Gerald Hattee, 071 244 7414.
DECEMBER 22-23 HARRY'S CHRISTMAS.
Christmas can be a lonely time. This one-man show, written by Steven Berkoff and performed by Colin McIntyre at the Barbican Theatre, Plymouth, introduces Harry, an isolated man trying to come to terms with his situation at this time of enforced camaraderie. Details: 0752 267131.
DECEMBER 22-FEBRUARY 25 JACK AND THE BEANSTALK.
Su Pollard as Jack and Scorpio, the Gladiator, as the Giant Killer are among the cast at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Special effects include: "the largest beanstalk in Pantoland" and "the biggest giant in the world". Details: 021 622 7486.
DECEMBER 27-30 DAVID WOOD MAGIC AND MUSIC SHOW.
David Wood, well-known from BBC TV's Playaway , will combine magic, music and audience participation in the Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, London SE1 at 3 pm. Tickets: Pounds 5, family ticket (one adult, two children) Pounds 12. Details: 071 928 8800.