Make Hackney Sparkle: Events

Enjoy fabulous, festive fun and activities this Christmas in Hackney

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:

Christmas Past at the Geffrye Museum

Free. Until 8 Jan, times vary 

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 seasonal events for everyone to enjoy. 

Sleeping Beauty

From £10. Until 8 Jan, times vary

Hackney Empire’s famous panto is back. This year’s performance of Sleeping Beauty (pictured below) provides lots of laughter and fun for all the family, with show stopping songs and performances. 


Festival of Light at Dalston Curve Garden

Free. Throughout December

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

Christmas Bizarre Exhibition 

Free. Until 23 Dec, 6-9pm 

Well Hung Gallery, Hoxton invites people to ‘Christmas Bizarre’ an exhibition of affordable art by 30 gallery artists old and new.

The Selfish Giant at Arcola Theatre

From £8.50. 7-16 Dec, various times

Every afternoon, as they were coming home from school, the children used to play in the giant’s garden. It was a large lovely garden, with soft green grass. ‘How happy we are here!’ they cried to each other, until one day, the giant came back... The Arcola Theatre’s first Christmas children’s show is a new adaptation by Richard O’Brien of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Selfish Giant’. 

Hackney Speaker Gala Christmas Dinner

£50. 9 Dec, 7.30pm

Join the Speaker of Hackney and friends at Urfa Ocakbasi Restaurant, Stoke Newington, for a three-course meal with live entertainment to help raise money for local charities The Hackney Migrant Centre and North London Action for the Homeless. For more info, email:

Kingsland Basin Christmas Carol Singalong

Free entry. 10 Dec, 5pm

A floating choir, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and festive merriment taking place at Kingsland Basin. All proceeds from the night will go to Contact the Elderly, a charity dedicated to reducing loneliness in older people



Santa’s Grotto at St Augustine’s Tower 

Free. 10 and 17 Dec, 11am-4.30pm

Father Christmas is set to visit St Augustine’s Tower, Narrow Way (pictured above) for a free meet and greet with children in a historic setting.

Beauty and the Beast

From £8 (child)/£12 (adult). 12-22 Dec, various times

Tea Break Theatre will bring the beautiful historical Sutton House, Homerton, to life for an interactive promenade performance of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. This piece of theatre uses puppetry, music and drama as the audience follows Belle through the enchanted palace to help her break the spell. This play is part of Sutton House's season of events, including decorating each of its rooms in a theme of a different pantomime story, a Christmas fair plus carol concerts, theatre and film.

Hackney Christmas Carol Concert

Free. 14 Dec, 3.30-5pm

Listen to traditional carols and modern Christmas classics and sing along to them too. All at Hackney Town Hall Square, Mare Street.

Children’s Christmas Fancy Dress Party

£3. 16 Dec, 1-6pm

Children get to meet Father Christmas and play games while dressed as their favourite characters, at Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street. For more info, email:

Kermesse de Noël

£3. 17 Dec, 2pm

Enjoy a bouncy castle, crepe and food stalls, French games and an adaption of ‘Scrooge’ by Hackney French Youth Theatre Group at Haggerston School Hall.

Festive Play Days with Universal Board Games

Free. 27, 28, 29 Dec, 11am-2pm 

Enjoy free games from around the world, arts and crafts, face painting, skipping, hula hooping and more at the Robin Hood Community Garden. Recommended age 6+. For more info, email:


Also don't miss out on...

Hackney Museum: The museum’s current exhibition ‘People Power: Black British Arts & Activism in Hackney 1960s-2000s’ explores activism, identity and belonging. The museum shop also has lots of great gifts too. 

Christmas in Hackney libraries: Free seasonal events are planned across Hackney libraries throughout December. Activities include family craft sessions, film clubs, rhyme times and a toy library.

Santa Claus Trail: From 7 December, search for Santa Claus in the shops along Green Lanes, as well as surrounding streets. Visit Green Lanes' event page to find out where to pick up the trail and how to claim rewards for spotting him.

Christmas events at The Old Church: Stoke Newington’s beautiful events space housed in an old church has a packed season of festivities, including a candlelit evening of Celtic Christmas Music with Caitlin Downie, storytelling and music from Nick Hunt and the Owl Parliament Choir; and a pay-what-you-can open art session for all ages.