The Virtual Festive Season: Digital Events To Tune Into This Winter
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The Virtual Festive Season: Digital Events To Tune Into This Winter

Yuletide festivities you can join from the sofa

In a normal year, our winter calendars would be filled up with Christmas drinks parties, shopping trips and festive getaways by now. But this is 2020, so of course virtual events will be taking centre stage. Here we highlight the best virtual festive events to tune into in the run up to Christmas, from live streamed carol concerts to digital shopping fairs.

Virtual Festive Events For Christmas 2020

Dick Whittington

Dick Whittington

Many theatres have sadly had to cancel and postpone Christmas shows, but you can still get your pantomime fix by tuning into The National Theatre’s live streamed performance of Dick Whittington this December. Directed by Ned Bennett, the show features Melanie La Barrie as Bow Belles, Dickie Beau as Sarah and Amy Booth-Steel as Queen Rat, among others. Watch live on 23 December or on demand until 27 December.

The Royal Opera Christmas Concert

The Royal Opera Christmas Concert

A live streamed festive concert at The Royal Opera House will include extracts from fairy-tale opera favourites including Rossini’s La Cenerentola and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel. Alongside this, viewers can expect Royal Opera repertory classics such as Puccini’s La bohème and Mozart’s The Magic Flute. 18 December, 7pm.

Annabel’s Christmas Fair

Handpainted Annabel's Glass Christmas Tree Bauble

Missing Christmas markets? Tune into Annabel’s festive fair from home, an emporium of branded items available for members to buy. The collection includes everything from baubles to satin pyjamas, alongside a range of Christmas hampers. It’s for a good cause too: the market was launched in collaboration with The Caring Family Foundation to support the charity’s Christmas campaign, Food From The Heart.

Twinkle of Christmas, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

The Twinkle of Christmas, Design Centre Chelsea Harbour

Christmas kicks off on 1 December at Chelsea’s Design Centre with a virtual gathering designed to bring the design community together. Expect music and readings from the likes of Hugh Bonneville, Claudia Winkleman and Joanna Lumley, alongside appearances from A-list interior designers such as Kit Kemp and Timothy Corrigan. The festive spirit will continue throughout the month with a series of design masterclasses, including Christmas styling, gift-wrapping, wreath-making, fashion illustration and calligraphy, plus a session on eating well this season with Daylesford. Throughout December.

Wardian London x Botanical Boys

Wardian London wreath-making class

Book the ultimate at-home wreath making workshop with Wardian, a biophilic-designed residential development in Canary Wharf. In partnership with the Botanical Boys, the duo whose mission it is to connect people with nature, the classes will take place on 1 and 15 December via Zoom. Beforehand participants will be sent a kit featuring seasonal mosses, English-grown dried fruit, 30m wired wreath base, a reel of wire and pine cuttings – all of which are easily recyclable. You’ll use these to create a beautiful wreath, which can take pride of place on your front door throughout the festive season.

Fancy winning a spot? Wardian and Botanical Boys are offering one lucky pair the chance to win two tickets for the 15 December class. To enter the competition, follow @botanicalboys on Instagram and look out for the ‘swipe up’ story on 19 November. Find out more here. £87pp, book via

The Royal Opera House’s Craft Classes

Royal Opera House's craft classes

Bring The Nutcracker to life with your hands at one of The Royal Opera House’s weekly online crafting activities, designed for both children and adults. Across the course of December you’ll have the chance to create a number of pieces inspired by the timeless story, including a pop-up Christmas card, a spinning top, a snow globe, a stop-motion animation and some delicious gingerbread. Proud of your creation? Share on your social platforms with the hashtag  #OurHouseToYourHouse and you’ll be in with a chance of winning prizes from the ROH shop.

Fever-Tree’s Festive Masterclasses

Fever-Tree Cocktail Box

Learn the art of creating the perfect G&T by tuning into one of Fever-Tree’s virtual festive events, led by expert mixologists. Before the class you’ll be sent a box containing all the key ingredients to create four gin drinks at home, including dehydrated garnishes. There will also be a live Q&A for all your cocktail-making queries. Better still, it’s for a good cause, with £5 from each ticket being donated to Fever-Tree’s long-standing charity partner Malaria No More UK. 10 and 17 December.

The Hepworth Wakefield Online Christmas Fair

Hepworth Christmas Fair

Every year thousands of people attend The Hepworth Wakefield’s Christmas Fair, but this year things will look a little different as the event takes place online via the gallery’s Instagram. Shoppers can tune in online to see the expansive collection of candles, ceramics, cosmetics, homeware, jewellery and more, all handpicked by the team at The Hepworth Wakefield. Alongside this, visitors can watch videos of festive artist-led family activities to try at home, as well as enjoy live tours of the gallery’s garden. Across the two weekends, virtual stall-holders will be profiled across The Hepworth Wakefield’s website and social platforms, offering opportunities to buy direct from makers via Instagram stories. 27 – 29 November and 4 – 6 December.

Christmas at 67 with Pall Mall

67 Pall Mall wine pairing

Private members’ club 67 Pall Mall will be sharing its expert food and wine knowledge this season through a series of virtual tastings and masterclasses. Get inspiration for festive canapés, learn how to cook the perfect turkey or master the art of the Christmas pudding in one of the workshops taking place this December. The club will also be hosting a virtual carol concert on 16 December.

Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen

Borough Market Festive Kitchen

From turkeys to cheese boards, half the fun of Christmas is the food – which is why Borough Market is celebrating the festive season with a three-week digital pop-up dedicated to feasting. Chefs and food experts will be hosting a whole host of virtual festive events and cook-a-longs, streamed live from Borough Market’s specially constructed virtual kitchen set. Guests include our plant-based columnist Bettina Campolucci Bordi, food writer Angela Clutton and Edd Kimber, winner of the very first Great British Bake Off. Other things to be excited about include Bread Ahead masterclasses, cheese pairing workshops and interviews with the likes of Calum Franklin, Anna Jones and Gizzi Erskine. Launching 2 December, check out the full schedule at

How To Have a River Cottage Christmas

River Cottage Christmas Classes

Up your festive cooking game with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and the River Cottage team this Christmas. Across four sessions, you’ll learn how to cook festive vegetables with Hugh, plus meat and poultry with Gelf Alderson – think glazed ham, mince pies made with lamb and the perfect Christmas goose. Then for the sweet stuff: Andy Tyrell will teach you how to make a Christmas pudding, while Lucy Brazier will give offer ideas for creating edible gifts. £185pp.

Carols by Candlelight

Judi Dench

Robert Wilson

Dame Judi Dench and Damian Lewis star alongside the Winchester College Chapel Choir in the 18th edition of Carols by Candlelight. The annual concert – which has gone virtual this year – raises money for the Alice Martineau Appeal for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, organised by Alice’s brother Luke. The pre-recorded event is being streamed online via YouTube, featuring celebrity messages and readings alongside songs from the choir, filmed live from Abbey Road Studios. 17 December, 7pm, £10pp.

Ballet On Demand

English National Ballet

We’re still crossing our fingers for theatres to re-open in December so we can get our annual Nutcracker fix, but in the meantime English National Ballet is streaming stream five world premieres via its new on-demand video platform. Available to rent for 72-hour periods, the productions include the old movie musical-inspired Jolly Folly and Take Five Blues, a response to Bach’s Vivace and Paul Desmond’s jazz standard, Take Five. Feeling inspired? The platform also offers a variety of ballet-based classes.

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