Make Hackney Sparkle: Christmas events

A round-up of festive-themed events and activities taking place across the borough

THE festive season is well and truly upon us and Hackney has a host of fun activities lined up, for young and old, as part of the 'Make Hackney Sparkle' programme of Christmas events.

There's the best panto in town, obvs. Plus Santa's grotto, craft fairs, carols and exhibitions, live music and even a snowman trail.

So don't let the endless grey days get you down, inject a little fun into the countdown to Christmas and enjoy all Hackney has to offer this December:

Snowman Trail

Free. Various times, until 19 December

Homemade snowmen can be seen in the shops along Green Lanes, Stoke Newington, as well as surrounding streets. Spot 20 or more snowmen to get a prize, just note down the addresses and shops where you find them and visit Tangerina Coffee Shop, T&Shop, or That Hair Place, to claim your reward.

Festival of Light at Dalston Curve Garden

Free. Various times, until 20 December

Celebrate the importance of light in the darkest months by making magical installations which illuminate Dalston Eastern Curve Garden (pictured below) throughout winter. All of the hand-made lanterns will be a glow on ‘Light Nights’, when the garden stays open late with choir singing and festive film screenings.

Christmas in Hackney Libraries

Free. Various times, until 22 December

Free seasonal events are planned across Hackney’s libraries throughout December. Activities include family craft sessions, film clubs, rhyme times and treasure hunts.

Christmas Past

Free. Various times, until 3 January

Festive decorations transform the Geffrye Museum’s period rooms, giving visitors a magical glimpse into how Christmas has been celebrated in English homes over the past 400 years. There are also a range of festive events for everyone to enjoy.

Jack and the Beanstalk

£10-34.50. Various times, until 5 January

Hackney Empire’s famous panto is back. This year’s performance of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ provides lots of laughter and fun for all the family, with show-stopping songs and performances.

Wick Wonderland

Contact for prices. 6-10pm/10am-10pm, Fri 11 & Sat 12 December

Head to the Wick Wonderland for delicious food, gifts, arts and crafts, jewellery workshops, art sessions, music and loads of stuff for kids too.

Bootyard Bazaar 

Free. Various times, Fri 11 - Sun 13 December

A festive launch of a new type of start-up and community-led workspace. Using shipping containers to house Bootyard tenants, the bazaar in Dalston will showcase community groups, makers, brewers, bakers and more.

African Christmas

Free entry. 12noon-4pm, Sat 12 December

Sounds of African drumming (pictured above) will fill the air at this event. Dancing, acrobatics and story-telling, as well as free drumming workshops, will be on offer alongside traditional African crafts.

Abney Park Fun Day

Free entry. 11am-3pm, Sat 12 December

Head to the main gates of Abney Park (pictured top) for a day of family-friendly fun including wreath-making, gifts from Santa, woodworking and stone carving demonstrations, a raffle, plenty of stalls and festive food and drink.

A Towering Christmas at St Augustine’s Tower

Contact for prices. 10am-4pm, Saturday 12 & 19 December

Visit Santa at his grotto hidden in St Augustine’s Tower, the remains of a 13th century parish church, in Hackney Central. 

Hackney City Farm Christmas Craft Fayre

Free entry. 12noon-4.30pm, Sun 13 December

A fun day of carol singing, mulled wine and craft stalls at Hackney City Farm. As well as activities for children and a visit from Santa.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Various prices. 2pm & 6pm, Mon 14 - Thurs 24 December

Hoxton Hall presents its first ever panto, with an East End twist. From the icy pavements of Hoxton Street to the magic of the enchanted forest, join this thrilling adventure complete with a wicked queen, handsome prince, hilarious panto Dame (pictured above) and Snow White herself. Expect lots of laughs, songs and surprises.

Christmas Carols at Hackney Town Hall

Free. From 4pm, Thurs 17 December

Join Hackney councillors and local school children for Christmas carols on the Hackney Town Hall steps. 

Christmas at The Old Church

Various prices. Various times, throughout December 

Stoke Newington’s beautiful events space housed in an old church has a packed programme this season, including performances from Wreckless Eric and Howard Eynon. There will also be art workshops and a ‘Baby Broadway’ family concert featuring performers singing well-loved show songs.