Christmas panto means celebs, fun, songs, slapstick comedy and dancing.
We know what you’re thinking. It’s a bit early to be talking about Christmas plans, isn’t it? To that we say: ‘Oh no it isn’t!’
Christmas might just be our favourite time of year. Yes we love the blossom of spring, and the long days of summer, but there’s something about the festive season that’s hard to beat.
There are a few things that are perfect for getting you into the festive spirit. Seeing the lights get turned on by a celebrity of varying levels of fame in your local town centre, a glass of mulled wine warming up your chilly hands at a Christmas market, and seeing the Christmas adverts appear on TV.
But few things will truly get you into the spirit of Christmas like a good old pantomime.
We always keep an ear to the ground throughout the year to see what events are going on up and down the UK, but we know it’s especially important when it comes to Christmastime. There’s always so much choice, it can be difficult to know where to look! That’s where we come in.
When it comes to pantomimes there are plenty of options across the UK, and we’ve narrowed down the best ones in a range of cities. Many of the most popular ones will be in the largest cities especially in London with tickets for these likely selling fastest. Even if you usually head to your local panto there will be popular dates like Christmas Eve that sell out in no time.
So, whether you’re a world-class planner who like to have plans for December months in advance, or you’re just looking to dip your toe into Christmas without feeling guilty for wishing the time away, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.
Without further ado, here are the best pantomimes to see this year.
Best pantomimes to see in the UK at a glance:
- Mother Goose, Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol | from £13
- Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury | from £13
- The Pantomime Adventure of Peter Pan at the Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol | from £13
- Snow With & The Seven Dwarfs at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow | from £13
- Beauty and the Beast at Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone | from £15
- Cinderella at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes | from £13
- The Pantomime Adventure of Peter Pan at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking | from £13
- Cinderella at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London | from £13
- Jack and the Beanstalk at the Opera House Manchester | from £13
- Jack and the Beanstalk at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent | from £13
- Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at the Richmond Theatre, London | from £13
- Beauty and the Beast at the Sunderland Empire, Sunderland | from £13
Best Pantomimes to see in the UK for Christmas 2023
Sleeping Beauty, Ipswich Regent
Cast to be confirmed.
26 spellbinding performances will take place from 15 to 31 December 2023, including a schools only performance on Friday 15 December at 10.30am.
Mother Goose at the Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol
This might be the most talked about pantomime to grace our theatres last year, and you can catch it now on the final leg of its UK tour. It is of course Mother Goose, starring the rather dazzling Sir Ian McKellen, as well as comedian John Bishop and former Great British Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc.
The story follows Mother Goose, played by McKellen, and her wife, played by Bishop, as they run an animal sanctuary. All is going well until a magic goose comes calling and their world is turned upside down.
The show hit the final venue of it’s tour this April as it heads to the Bristol Hippodrome from Wednesday 12th April until Sunday 16th April.
Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury
Andy Collins, best known for his role on BBC 3 Counties Breakfast Show and a tv audience warm up man will be returning to his role of Muddles for this year’s pantomime in Aylesbury. Be prepared for an evening full of fun and laughter and lots of singing with the classic Twelve days of Christmas routine.
They will be performing the classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from Friday 1st December 2023 until Wednesday 3rd January 2024.
The Pantomime Adventure of Peter Pan at the Bristol Hippodrome, Bristol
The adventure of Peter Pan is coming to Bristol this Christmas. The Bristol Hippodrome is one of our favourite venues, and it’ll be a great place to see the panto whether you’re based in the city or are travelling from further afield.
This panto will be running from Saturday 2nd December until New Year’s Eve, and we expect the bigger nights to sell out fast. There isn’t much of a cast line up yet, but we’ll do our best to keep this page updated as new names come in.
Snow With & The Seven Dwarfs at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow
Elaine C Smith and Johnny Mac have legendary pantomime status in Glasgow and they’ll be returning to the King’s Theatre in 2023. With a slightly longer run than other shows this panto will last from Saturday 2nd December 2023 until Sunday 7th January 2024, so there’ll be lots of opportunity to see it.
The story will of course follow Snow White as she befriends the dwarfs in the forest, but will include all the haunts of panto including audience participation, singing, dancing and fabulous costumes.
Beauty and the Beast at Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone
The tale as old as time is coming to Folkestone this Christmas. Again, it’s a little early for cast information but we do know that this pantomime will run at Leas Cliff Hall from Friday 8th December until Sunday 31st December 2023, with tickets starting at £15.
Cinderella at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keyne
Cinderella is an absolute classic for a pantomime and this is sure to be a great one. A wicked step-mother, fairy god mother, prince charming and a glass slipper — what’s not to love?
This show will be running from Saturday 9th December 2023 until Sunday 14th January 2024.
The Pantomime Adventure of Peter Pan at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking
Join Peter, Wendy and the lost boys on the festive pantomime adventure. Whether you’re local to the Woking area or have family around this is sure to be a great festive evening full of fun and more than a little laughter.
We don’t know too much about this show yet, but it is running from Friday December until Sunday 7th January 2024.
Cinderella at the New Wimbledon Theatre, London
Craig Revel Horwood is back in his role as the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella at the New Wimbledon Theatre this Christmas. The family friendly show will follow Cinderella as she outwits her stepsisters and finds love, all with the help of her Fairy Godmother and best friend Buttons. You can expect all the panto classics — singing, dancing and the audience shouting “It’s behind you!” as someone looks for the key prop in the show.
Jack and the Beanstalk at the Opera House Manchester
Jason Manford returns to the pantomime stage this year for his role in Jack and the Beanstalk in Manchester alongside Ben Nickless. after their success in Peter Pan last year. This show will run from Saturday 2nd December until Sunday 31st December 2023. Manford will star in the show, with Nickless playing Silly Simon, and the duo will be joined by other cast members to tell the story of Jack who sells his beloved cow for some magic beans.
Jack and the Beanstalk at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent
Jonathan Wilkes stars in this rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk in Stoke-on-Trent this Christmas. The show has a slightly later run than many other we’ve seen, not beginning until Friday 15th December 2023, but it does last until Sunday 7th January 2024.
Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs at the Richmond Theatre, London
There isn’t too much information out there yet about this production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but as soon as there is we’ll do our best to let you know. What we do know is that it’ll run from Saturday 9th December 2023 until Sunday 7th January 2024, and if other Richmond productions have been anything to tell by it’ll be a fun for all the family event with lots of laughter and festivity.
Beauty and the Beast at the Sunderland Empire, Sunderland
The North East Queen of comedy are back by popular demand in Sunderland this Christmas! Miss Rory will be joined by Tom Whalley in this rendition of Beauty and the Beast which is sure to delight adults and children alike.
This show will run from Friday 8th December 2023 until Sunday 31st December 2023.
Feature Writer & Interviewer