Weekend city guide: 16 – 18 December

’Tis the season for magical entertainment, and we’ve got plenty of that right here!

With Christmas arriving next weekend, treat yourself and your loved ones to some of the seasonal fun happening all around the UK. Enjoy a musical featuring penguin puppets in London’s West End or head to Manchester for a festive gig by pop icons Madness (shown above), who inject joy into everything they do.

If you’re trying to escape the holiday onslaught for a bit, there are lots of non-Christmassy events to choose from too. Plus, with the new year on the horizon, pull out your calendar and consult our Winter, London, Manchester and Scotland guides for even more great ideas that will take you well into 2017.


Korn & Limp Bizkit
16 December
The SSE Arena, Wembley

Two of the biggest legends in metal in one night? Yes please! Korn and Limp Bizkit are co-headlining together for the first time in nearly two decades, and Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst promises “no one brings the party harder, heavier and more exciting” than they do.

No Man’s Land
Closes 17 December
Wyndham’s Theatre

It’s your last chance to see two titans of acting together on stage. In this existential drama Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart star as a couple of ageing writers who get plastered – and you won’t believe the stories they tell… or will you?

Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight
17 – 18 and 23 – 24 December
Royal Albert Hall

It’s not Christmas until you hear your favourite carols and this exquisite presentation has everything anyone could wish for. An incredible programme of songs from Silent Night to Mozart’s Laudate Dominum. Tick. Readings of Dickens from special guest Bernard Cribbins. Tick. Costumes from the 18th century. Tick.

Mr Popper’s Penguins
Until December 31
Criterion Theatre

Cuteness alert! What’s more adorable than a penguin? Nothing we can think of. You’ll get to see a family of life-size penguin puppets in this heart-warming tale of a man who receives a surprise delivery – a crate with a tuxedoed bird that all too quickly turns into a brood.


16 December
Manchester Arena

The boys from Camden Town have been busy touring the UK. Hear them play tracks from their latest album, Can’t Touch Us Now, along with hits like House of Fun and It Must Be Love. Madness will be in Manchester on Friday night and at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on Saturday 17 December. 

Elf Christmas House Party
18 December
Albert Hall

Loved Will Ferrell in Elf? Then you’ll love this event where the comic Christmas movie is being screened with a “rave along sing song”. What’s more, you can knock back beer, enter a spaghetti-eating contest and watch an elf circus. How’s that for a day you’ll never forget?

Sale Sharks v Saracens
18 December
AJ Bell Stadium

After suffering a 50-3 loss to the Sarries at Allianz Park last weekend, the Sharks are looking to take a bite out of them this time around. Or will the Saracens continue their impressive defence of the European Champions Cup?


Braehead Clan

Braehead Clan v Coventry Blaze
17 December
Braehead Arena

C’mon Purple Army fans! Support the Clan as they take on the Coventry Blaze in Elite Ice Hockey League action. Not only is this sure to be a fiercely competitive fixture, but here’s another great reason to go: Rod Stewart’s son Liam plays for the Blaze, so there’s always a chance the music legend will be in the audience.

Fun Box presents Christmas Wonderland
17 – 18 December
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Go on an Arctic adventure with the Fun Box gang. Anya, Kevin and Gary along with Fluffy, Flossy and that cheeky dog Bonzo are all part of this seasonal show filled with sing-along songs. And who knows, Santa may be there too!


David Gray

David Gray
16 December
Usher Hall

The English songsmith sailed away with our hearts during his Greenwich Music Time festival performance at the Old Royal Naval College last summer. With three UK No.1 albums under his belt, we can hardly wait to listen to Gray’s beautifully crafted music again on Friday night. He’ll also be at Sage Gateshead on 17 December and Bristol’s Colston Hall on 18 December.

Visit our Winter, London, Manchester and Scotland guides to discover even more activities.