Family days out

The best, and most accessible, family pantomimes in the UK this Christmas

Last updated 26th November 2023

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to see a Christmas pantomime! There’s nothing like a theatre trip to fill everyone with festive spirit and this year’s glittery line up gives you plenty to choose from all over the UK.

The Snow Queen: a feisty Scottish do-over for the Hans Christian Andersen classic

Ice palaces, pink unicorns, kilts and not a hint of Copenhagen, The Snow Queen is Edinburgh all over at The Lyceum this Christmas. Although kids will still recognise the much loved Hans Christian Andersen tale of young Kai bewitched by the Snow Queen and saved from her clutches by Gerda: his best friend and, in this production, a feisty Scottish lass who’s more than a match for the frosty monarch.

Will Gerda find Kei and melt his frozen heart before it’s too late and the world is turned to eternal winter? Oh yes she will. But expect swordfights and singing and plenty edge of the seat moments along the way, as well as the  happy ending we all know and love, of course. Best for ages 5 and over.

Where and when: now until 31 December 2023, The Lyceum Edinburgh

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Rapunzel: head to Bristol for a hair-raising Christmas pantomime

Want a hair-raising adventure this Christmas? Polka Dot Pantomimes and the Redgrave Theatre have just what you need, Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale.

The fairy tale of the tower-bound beauty and her long, long hair gets the panto treatment here, so look forward to lots of joining in, songs to sing along with. and outstanding special effects: what a difference a jet pack would have made to the original Rapunzel.

This one is perfect for all ages, Family Tickets (2 adults, 2 children) are available, and you can pre-book wheelchair spaces at the Box Office.

Where and when: 15 to 31 December 2023, Redgrave Theatre Bristol

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Gingerbread Man: catch him if you can at The Lowry in Manchester

Another classic tale with a twisty take, Gingerbread Man: The Panto is familiar enough to enchant younger kids, but also has the all-round appeal of witches, whoopee cushions, mayhem and music. In short, it’s a perfect Christmas pantomime, only in the New Year.

Although you might think you know the story of the runaway biscuit, the Barton Theatre Co. has co-opted Hansel & Gretel, Little Red and Merry Berry for this production. Plus, it’s a January show so you get to spin out the festive feels. Recommended for ages 5 and over, look out for Family Tickets when you book.

Where and when: 12 to 14 January 2024, The Lowry Manchester

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The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe: accessible enchantment in Birmingham

Straight from the West End to Birmingham Rep, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe invites you to join Lucy, Edmund, Susan and Peter as they step through the wardrobe into the kingdom of Narnia. This gorgeously designed production introduces (or reintroduces) kids to Mr Tumnus, the talking faun, Aslan the legendary lion, as well as the cold, cruel White Witch. And it’s the ideal Christmas pantomime for younger teenagers who think they’re too old for all that nonsense (they’re not).

Recommended for kids aged 6 and over, this is also an accessible production and features Audio Described and BSL Interpreted performances. All performances are Captioned  and there are several Relaxed performance during the run too.

Where and when: now until 28 January 2024, The Rep Birmingham

Aladdin: Hackney Empire stages the classic Christmas pantomime

Look behind you! It’s Aladdin at the Hackney Empire complete with flying carpets, new-lamps-for-old, wise-cracking genies and that happy ever after, love wins the day, ending we know so well.

If you want to introduce kids to some true Christmas tradition, from its fabulous costumes to Widow Twankey gags and a charming Aladdin, this is the one to choose.

Suitable for all ages, there’s a Relaxed Performance on Saturday 2 December, and several dates are also BSL interpreted.

Where and when: now until 31 December 2023, Hackney Empire London

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Cinderella cast, New Wimbledon Theatre © Craig Sugden

Cinderella: rags to riches at New Wimbledon Theatre

Who wants to go to the ball this Christmas? Join Cinderella and friends as she goes from rags to riches, outsmarts her wicked (wickedly dim) stepsisters, and finally beguiles Prince Charming himself.

Another one with a reliably happy ending – at least for Cinderella and her Prince – this production also has a starry cast including Craig Revel Horwood as Cinders’ wicked stepmother and, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist and Olivier-nominated, Alison Jiear, as her Fairy Godmother.

Where and when: now until 31 December 2023, Hackney Empire London

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Jack and the Beanstalk, Stanley Arts

Jack & The Beanstalk: a giant Christmas pantomime for all the family

Petite Panto and Stanley Arts sprinkle sparkle and glitz over Christmas pantomime favourite, Jack & The Beanstalk this season.

Can Jack defeat that giant in the sky? With the help of his glamorous mum, their cow, and the audience, he might just manage. He just has to watch out for the giant’s wicked wingman!

Look forward to lots of laughs with this one, it’s suitable for all ages, and a bit of a bargain too as they’ve capped all tickets at 2022 prices. Oh yes they have!

Where and when: 15 to 27 December 2023, Stanley Arts London

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Peter Pan, London Palladium

Peter Pan: back for another dazzling run at The London Palladium

Now here’s an all-star cast come to town! Jennifer Saunders, Julian Clary, Nigel Havers and Gary Wilmot tread the boards of the Palladium to delight families with Peter Pan.

Renowned as the most spectacular show staged in the West End – with fabulous sets and costumes, jaw-dropping special effects and all the glitz, fun and magic you’d expect from the UK’s biggest panto – it’s no surprise its on its eighth season.

Where and when: 9 December 2023 to 14 January 2024, The London Palladium

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Snow White, Greenwich Theatre

Snow White & The  Seven Dwarfs: something new at Greenwich Theatre

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest audience of all? Greenwich Theatre says it’s their production of Snow White this season, and who are we to argue?

This year’s Christmas pantomime is written by everyone’s favourite baddie, Anthony Spargo, and it’s fairly aimed at all ages, some performances are captioned and the theatre is wheelchair accessible.

Where and when: now until 7 January 2024, Greenwich Theatre

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The Snow Queen: kindness wins the day at the Polka Theatre, London

Another production of The Snow Queen, this spellbinding version of the Hans Christian Anderson story of Gerda and Kai puts the emphasis on kindness, decency and redemption.

Naturally, the sheer wonder is still in place, and brought to life with songs, beautiful storytelling and a flurry of mythical magic. This imaginative production is aimed at children from 6 to 12 years and features several relaxed, captioned and BSL interpreted performances.

Where and when: now until 11 January 2024, Polka Theatre Wimbledon

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