Children’s theatre, cooking, family cinema and more to do in December
Until 4 January North Pole ice skating
Bringing a touch of festive magic to Parker’s Piece each winter, the North Pole Cambridge has become a beloved fixture of the local calendar over the last few years. The centrepiece is the huge open-air ice rink, which spans 600m2 and offers ample space for gliding and scooting about and practising your moves. For those who don’t fancy taking to the ice themselves, there’s a decked terrace area where you can watch all the action while enjoying a hot chocolate or mulled wine.
There’s lots more to enjoy too, from relaxing in the cosy Alpine Cabin Bar to having a go on bungee trampolines, penguin bumper cars and fair games. Feeling peckish? Sample traditional German sausage and bratwurst, tuck into gourmet burgers, vegetarian treats and turkey and stuffing rolls, washed down with warm cider, mulled wine, festive cocktails or hot cocoa with marshmallows.
North Pole is open daily (excluding Christmas Day) until 4 January and skates start at £8.50 for children.
10, 11 December Christmas Baking for Families
Many of us have fond memories of baking with our parents as youngsters. A lovely bonding experience, it’s also fun, educational and, of course, results in tasty treats – what could be better! The only problem is the catastrophic mess levels that can ensue, especially if you want the little rascals to get really hands-on in the kitchen.
Fear not: Cambridge Cookery School are hosting a series of festive-themed cookery classes geared especially towards parents and children or teenagers baking together.
On the menu is a pair of Christmas classics: panettone and mince pies. With morning and afternoon sessions on both 10 and 11 December, the classes will include sparkling wine for the grown-ups, soft drinks for kids and a box to take home all of the perfect panettone and magnificent mince pies in. All in all, a thoroughly lovely festive outing for the family.
Priced at £75 per pair and £25 per additional child (maximum one extra child per adult).
16-18 December Santa Kids Show
Over at the ADC this month, enjoy a magic and song-filled performance for the whole family when the theatre welcomes the Santa Kids Show. Taking place from 16 to 18 December, the story follows Santa and his assistant, Ellie the Elf, as they try and get everything ready for Christmas.
The only problem is that Santa’s newfangled present-making machine is on the fritz – can Ellie the Elf get everything back on track so that all the children get their presents on time?
Expect singalong festive songs, spectacular magic tricks and even a chance to meet Santa himself at the end, when he’ll be dishing out prezzies for all the kids.
The show is approximately 45 minutes long and takes place at 2.30pm and 7pm on the 16th, and 10.30am, 2.30pm and 7pm on 17 and 18 December. Tickets are £10 for children and £7 for adults.
17 December Toys of Christmas Past
Get nostalgic this month with a night of retro fun at the Centre for Computing History (CCH) on Coldhams Road. A pioneering educational charity, CCH aims to increase knowledge of digital technology and explore the social and cultural impact of the so-called Information Era. It also hosts loads of fun events throughout the year, including this one, which has a Christmassy twist and takes place on 17 December.
As well as the usual selection of retro computer games and consoles to play, this time around there will be a very special private collection of vintage toys on show as well. Relive the magic of Christmases past and introduce your kids to the toys that you adored as kid, from Meccano, LEGO and Scalextric to Sindy, Weebles, Mastermind, Snugglebumms, Polly Pocket, CrossFire and Cascade. Taking place from 6pm until 10pm, tickets are £10 per adult, £8 per child and £30 for a family ticket (two adults, two children).
17 December The Muppet Christmas Carol
The Arts Picturehouse is offering the chance to see another wonderful family classic at their Kids’ Club this month when they screen The Muppet Christmas Carol on 17 December. Priced at just £2 per ticket, these regular screenings are a great-value way of getting your brood to the flicks at a fraction of the usual cost. Even better, as well as showing new films, they delve into the archives and unearth some real gems, giving a rare chance to see old favourites on the big screen.
This playful, hilarious take on Dickens’ classic Christmas story sees Michael Caine in the role of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, with Kermit as his long-suffering employee Bob Cratchit. Miss Piggy and Gonzo (as an unlikely Charles Dickens) also star in this offbeat, warm and thoroughly festive film, which has lost none of its charm since its release way back in 1992.