The Southbank Centre Winter Festival is returning this year with a joyful programme of events, exhibitions and performances as well as the ever popular Winter Market.
The festival will run from Thursday 3 November to Sunday 8 January 2023. You can expect everything from curling to choirs, Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol to Hey Duggee: The Live Theatre Show.
For those looking for a place to keep warm, Southbank Centre has also registered to be part of Lambeth Council’s network of warm spaces helping people affected by increases in energy costs. Visitors can settle down in The Lounge from 8 December to 30 December between 10am and 6pm at the community space in the Royal Festival Hall.
This year, the Southbank Centre is bringing two brand new shows to its stages.
Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol is a new musical written by the Queen of Country herself. The show is set in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains in the 1930s with Robert Bathurst taking the lead as Scrooge. Anyone aged eight and over is welcome at the Queen Elizabeth Hall from Thursday 8 December – Sunday 8 January.
Hey Duggee: The Live Theatre Show, is a new interactive production with music, puppets and barrels of laughs. This production is based on the multi-award winning CBeebies hit show and has its London debut at the
Royal Festival Hall, from Wednesday 14 December – Sunday 8 January.
You can also look forward to shows by The Guilty Feminist on Saturday 3 December and The Not F**kin’ Sorry Cabaret on Saturday 17 December.
New Year’s Eve
Now in its 10th year, the Southbank Centre and Vintage’s annual NYE celebration is back. Attendees can party through the decades as five floors of the Royal Festival Hall are each transformed into different set-dressed decades, from the twenties to the present day.
You can expect continuous dance lessons, six themed nightclubs, live acts, orchestras, specialist DJs and photo studios across the site. Six bars and a range of dining options will also be open.
Once the countdown to midnight has begun, the outdoor spaces and exclusive terraces will offer the perfect view of the UK’s New Year’s Eve display as it is beamed around the world.
The event is taking place at the Royal Festival Hall on Saturday 31 December from 7pm onwards.
Free Winter Festival Events
Southbank Centre will have free Winter Festival events from Friday 11 November to Saturday 31 December.
Kick off your holiday in style at dance extravaganza Five Go Jiving on Saturday 24 December from 1pm to 4pm; or bring your best moves to the Daytime Rave with Heart n Soul DJs on Sunday 18 December from 4pm to 7pm.
For those eager to celebrate your family’s New Year early, countdown to 12 midday at Kids Countdown with Ida Barr on Saturday 31 December from 10:30pm to 12:30pm.
A variety of musical events will bring seasonal cheer to visitors at the Southbank Centre. You can look forward to performances by the Choral Winter Warmers on Wednesday 21 December from 7.45 to 10.30pm; and the Southbank Centre Youth Voices’ first ever performance on Sunday 17 December from 1pm to 1:30pm.
ShezAr’s Winter Session is happening on Thursday 15 December from 7.45 pm to 9.45pm and brings unified vocals with an open-mic opportunity.
Just Vibez Carribean Winter Carnival will kick off on Friday 16 December from 5pm to 10.30pm and presents traditional music and performances from the Caribbean. You can also experience a night of text-based cabaret at What Words are Ours? on Saturday 17 December from 8pm to 10pm — the performance combines the likes of drag, experimental sound and British Sign Language poetry.
Try something new this season such as Intro to DJing: SWANA sounds with Saliah on Saturday 17 December from 1.30pm to 3.30pm, 4pm to 6pm, or 6.30pm to 8.30pm. The event mixes South West Asian and North African sounds.
There will also be group art sessions Our Naked Truths on Sunday 18 December from 2pm to 4.30pm and Thursday 29 December from 6pm to 8.30pm celebrating the beauty and stories of women and non-binary people of colour.
The Southbank Centre’s free, open-air exhibition Winter Light will set the site’s awe-inspiring buildings and Riverside Walk aglow. The event goes from Thursday 10 November to Sunday 8 January and features 11 low-energy LED light works from 10 internationally acclaimed contemporary artists. The installations utilise light, colour and mixed media to playfully explore topics at the forefront of society, such as individual and collective identity, the environment and technology. Winter Light will be lit each day from 4pm to 11pm.
Look out for artworks such as “STELA” by Lisa Cheung and Alex J. Tuckwood, which explores ecological issues; “Fantasy Star Online” by Emily Mulenga, which creates a surreal video game-like journey; “EGS: Winter Letters” by renowned graffiti artist EGS; the giant orb “SPHERE” by Fred Tschida; “Dark Hart” by Conrad Shawcross; and a projected animation by Caiwei Tang.
There will also be well-loved favourites returning to the festival by artists such as David Ogle, David Batchelor, Zarah Hussain and Jokob Kvist. Look out for a fluorescent tree canopy, chromatic clock, Islamic art and more.
The artworks will appear across the Southbank Centre’s buildings and facades, and along the riverside, from Thursday 10 November. New work will continue to be installed up until December, adding even more festive glimmer to the riverside.
From Thursday 3 November to Monday 26 December you can head to the Southbank Centre’s Winter Market for some festive cheer by the riverside. Featuring traditional alpine-style chalets and an array of seasonal pop-up bars and restaurants, you can eat, drink and be merry alongside the River Thames. Indulge in festive favourites, shop for seasonal goodies, enjoy warming drinks and even dine in private igloos overlooking the London skyline.
The Curling Club will also be bringing festivities to the Southbank Centre for the first time ever. For beginners and enthusiasts alike, The Curling Club combines a unique winter sport with delicious festive cocktails and food, music and a sprinkling of fun competition.
Fire and Fromage returns to its magical riverside spot, with even more twinkly, heated snowglobes as well as its classic Alpine Bar. Take a stroll and enjoy winter warmers and craft beers at Beltane and Pop, delicious Belgian chocolate desserts at Choco Fruit and a glass of fizz from Grays & Feather, the UK’s only sparkling wine specialist.