Must-see shows
• Slava’s Snowshow is the hottest ticket in town this Christmas. The Russian clowning show with a very big twist has been running for decades but it hasn’t been in London for 15 years. Children and adults alike will be moved and amused by the antics of the cheeky, silent actors with a larger than life show encompassing gigantic inflatable balls and lots of interaction with the audience during the interval.

• For a bit of off-kilter festive (but not Christmassy) theatre, check out Howl’s Moving Castle at the Southwark Playhouse. The innovative combination of animation and live performance and the surreal storyline (as adapted by master animator Hayao Miyazaki) is a sure-fire hit.

The best of panto
• The east end is famed for its panto and this year Cinderella at the Hackney Empire is the pick of the bunch. The camper-than-a-row-of-pink-tents performance has enough slapstick humour for kids and enough double entendres to keep their parents chuckling too.

• For a certain generation, there is no greater panto story than Aladdin, which is playing at the Lyric Hammersmith. Shaun Prendergast’s Widow Twankey is worth the admission fee alone.

• Jack and the Beanstalk at the Shaw Theatre, featuring Linda and Maureen Nolan, is the go-to panto for those in north London.

• Dame Edna Everage makes her panto debut in Dick Whittington at the New Wimbledon Theatre. The Aussie comic talent will be one of the biggest things in panto this year – don’t miss it.

Services at St Paul’s
• Services will run as usual on both Christmas Eve (including the traditional midnight service) and the big day itself. there is no need to book and it is all free but it is recommended you arrive early to avoid disappointment. The Crypt cafe downstairs also serves a great mulled wine to warm you up afterwards.

Christmas Markets
• Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is the daddy of Christmas markets, featuring a big wheel, various entertainment and eating venues and an ice rink. For a one stop festive shop, you can’t beat this.

• The traditional-style Southbank Centre Christmas Market is on until Christmas Eve and features all the usual bratwurst and jewellery stores right in the centre of London.