Twelve things to do in West Hampstead before Christmas

With Christmas less than a month away (eeek!),  time to let you know about twelve events in West Hampstead in the first half of December, to get you into that Christmas mood. To be followed by a Christmas survival guide as we get closer to the day.

1. Kingsgate Studio’s Winter Show 2016 (Thu, 1st Dec to Sun 4th – see below for times)

If you like artists or designer-makers and you haven’t been to Kingsgate, you’re in for a treat. Even if you have been it’s worth a return visit.

The Winter Show is a chance to pick up some interesting artwork or ceramics which will make a very special Christmas present. Where is it, you ask? Down on Kingsgate Road.

Image: Kingsgate centre

Image: Kingsgate centre

2.  Christmas Art Workshop @ the Sherriff  Centre – Fri 2nd Dec 3.30pm

Sherriff Centre will be holding a kid’s Christmas Art workshop (4 years and up). Tickets £4.50 in advance from Hullabaloo.

3. West Hampstead Fire Station open day – Sat 3rd Dec 12-6pm

OK, not that Christmassy (except it is red like Father Christmas). The open day is a must for all those kids who want to follow in Fireman Sam footsteps, plus an appearance from a life-sized playmobil fireman.  Celebrating 150 years of the London Fire Brigade, don’t you know.

4. Beckford School Christmas Fair Sat 3rd 2-4pm

On the same afternoon along Mill Lane it’s the Beckford School Christmas fair. Come and support your local school.

Three floors of fun for all the family, including lots of games, Santa’s storytelling, live auction, food and drink stalls. Plus Street Dance Stars, the junior and senior choirs and the Beckford African Drummers.

The school has been tweeting furiously about all the donations from local business for its raffle (think we will need to win a prize from Insight Opticians to read the tiny print on this flyer). Basically, it says lots of great prizes from local businesses.

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5. JW3 open air skating rink (opening on Sat 3rd Dec )

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Almost the Rockefeller Centre…   Image: JW3

West Hampstead has its own ice rink! And as an added bonus it’s also open on Christmas day. A novel way to work off the Christmas lunch calories.

It’s also a good opportunity to explore JW3 if you haven’t been. It has a great café, Zest, and a cinema too.

The ice rink is even recommended by Londonist as the best value peak time (i.e. evening and weekends) skating rink in London.

 

6. West End Lane Books – One day Winter Sale Thu 8th Dec (9am-9pm)

Harrods? Forget it? Hamleys? Meh! The real harbinger of the festive season is the advent of West End Lane Books’ one-day Winter Sale. The shop will be offering its customary exemplary range of books, new and classic, plus seasonal stationery, diaries, calendars etc at 20% off…and this includes an extensive selection of signed books! There will be seasonal nibbles throughout the day and the hard stuff will be coming out after 6pm. All free. Gratis gift wrap available on all purchases over £30 and tonnes of Whamp bonhomie and literary banter to boot.

7. The West Hampstead Christmas market – Sat, 10th Dec 10am-4pm

Ho ho ho - it's nearly that time of year again. Image: Xmas Market

Ho ho ho – it’s nearly that time of year again. Image: Xmas Market

It’s the 7th Annual Christmas market, held on West End Green. There will be a range of stalls selling Christmas gifts and decorations, including local businesses such as Monsters of Art, Achillea Flowers and the Camden Society. The organisers have upped the craft element; we are intrigued by leather goods from the Friday club and Japanese knitwear from Fukushima knit. Edible treats will also be available – The Kitchen Table and Welsh teacakes are among the cake stalls.

It’s not all about shopping however – there are fun, free activities for kids in the neighbouring Emmanuel Church. There will be music, dance and storytelling as well as plenty of Christmas crafts including flower making and ‘up-cycled’ Christmas baubles.

Not forgetting carol singing on the Green at 2pm!

8. Emmanuel School Christmas fair – Sat, 10th Dec 2-5pm

Come and support another local school. On the afternoon of the West Hampstead Christmas fair on West End Green, and practically next door, Emmanuel School is holding its own fair (inside the warm school)!

As if there is isn’t enough sweet stuff at this time of year, Emmanuel is having a bake-off. As well as the usual tombola, raffles and mulled wine.

Top draw looks like Santa’s grotto – kids you can let him know what you want for Christmas (but you better have been good).

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9. Fortune Green Choir Christmas charity concert – Mon, 12th Dec 7.30-9pm

A relaxed concert with a Christmas touch held in the newly refurbished Emmanuel Church. The choir is singing Broadway tunes, traditional choral pieces and of course carols. Cantereas, the choir within the choir, will be singing a couple of pieces and there will also be carols for the audience too.

Mince pies and mulled wine after the concert.  Festive spirit guaranteed.

Suggested donation £4, as they are raising money for the De Capo foundation, a local charity that encourages music education from toddlers to teens.

Hark! the herald angels sing ...

Hark! the herald angels sing …

10. Wishing you a FoWHL Christmas – Monday, 12th Dec 7.30-9pm

It’s the Friends of West Hampstead Library (FoWHL) AGM, but to lighten the doom and gloom of staff and budget cuts there will be some festive readings by the FoWHL players – how many other libraries friends group have their own acting troupe?

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11. Panto at the Sherriff Centre – 16th Dec.

A first this year – panto in West Hampstead, but a travelling not local production – so no chance to see the Linda Snell or Eddie Grundy of West Hampstead. Alas, it has proved extremely popular and it sold out already.  Bah humbug!

12.  Festive Mod and Soul Party at the Railway– 17th Dec 8pm-midnight

Live band Serious Chord Squad playing The Who, The Jam, The Small Faces plus classic Mod & Soul tunes. Soul DJ set to party til late. Free entry.

And finally, looking for a Christmas tree?

They’re on sale outside the Sherriff Centre on the corner of Sherriff Road and West End Lane, and if you’re at the other end of town, you can find a good selection of trees at the Mill Lane Garden Centre.

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