Family fun in Dubai

Night market at JESS, eco-rafts, Global Village and more

Thursday 25

Wander the world at Global Village
Immerse yourself in the cultural atmosphere of this annual international extravaganza. Boasting 140 culinary destinations, 28 pavilions (from some 41 countries) and cultural entertainment from Turkish and Bollywood dance groups to African acrobats, Emirati bands and Japanese drummers, this promises to be a mesmerising day out for minis. Kids will be blown away by the spectacular shows (think FMX Stunt Show and Skycycle
High Wire Show) and thrilled by the 40-ride funfair.
Dhs10 per person. Open daily 4pm-midnight until February 28. Global Village, Dubailand, Emirates Road, (04 362 4114).

Friday 26

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its popular night market, this fabulous free seasonal craft fair is the biggest in Dubai, offering exciting entertainment and amazing attractions for all the family. Soak up the atmosphere – think 6,000 twinkling fairy lights and Christmas tunes – and enjoy performances from local dance, drumming and music groups. The games area promises to be the biggest yet, and there’ll be bouncy castles, a festive food court and some 130 craft stalls (perfect for pressie purchases). And, of course, the man in red will be making a suitably grand entrance.
Free. 3.30pm-7.30pm. JESS Jumeirah school campus, off Al Wasl Road, (04 394 5515).

FREE! Cheer on the eco rafts at Festival City Marina
Be amazed by the wacky rafts recycled from rubbish that are racing (or rambling) along Dubai Creek in this year’s Whatever Floats Your Boat competition. Afterwards, enjoy the promenade party featuring street performers and bands.
Free. 1pm-6pm. Festival City Marina (04 701 1071).

Saturday 27

FREE! Celebrate National Day at Kensington Nursery
Join in the National Day celebrations at Kensington Nursery, which will be laying on local activities including camel rides, henna tattooing and traditional yola dancing, as well as offering yummy Emirati food.
Free entry; activity prices vary. 4pm-6pm. Umm Al Sheif Road, Umm Suqeim, (04 394 4473).

Ride the waves at Surf School
Kids aged under 12 can have a splashing good time while getting fighting fit with Surf School’s popular Fit To Surf lessons. Beach babies will have a blast wobbling about on the waves, while mums will love the fact they’re getting a good workout (parents can practise themselves with complimentary stand-up paddleboards). And if your demanding diddies don’t have fun, you’ll get your money back. Dhs125 per session or Dhs400 for four lessons, including coaching, equipment and drinks. Every Saturday 7am-8.30am. Sunset Beach, Jumeirah, (04 399 0989).

Sunday 28

Seasonal shopping at Pop-Up Shop
Head down to Harvest Home’s unique Festive Pop-Up Shop for all your festive bits and bobs, from tree baubles and trimmings to tableware and giftware, by cool designers including Gisela Graham and Emma Bridgewater.
Daily until December 31. Jumeirah Centre, Beach Road (04 342 0225).

Monday 29

EDITOR’S PICK See the birds of prey show
Join Hetterich the barn owl, Harri the Harris hawk and Jon the bald eagle for this spectacular show. Both educational and entertaining, kids will discover fascinating facts about these majestic creatures, from hawks’ hunting techniques to the feeding habits of falcons. They’ll also have a hoot with a hands-on experience at the end.
Dhs50 for adults, Dhs25 for kids aged three to 12, under threes free. Mon-Sat 4pm until March 30. Near Mushrif Park on Al Khawaneej Road, (050 289 1863).

Tuesday 30

Treat the family to a festive film
A cinematic institution, see the season of goodwill in with a family viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life. Back in cinemas for a short time, this fabulous film follows an angel who helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been if he never existed. It still holds the same core values of compassion and loyalty as it did 50 years ago. Take tissues!

Wednesday December 1

EDITOR’S PICK Meet the man in red at Wafi
Santa will camp out in his sumptuous toy factory grotto, waiting to greet good little boys and girls with a snowman, a smile and a photograph. Always a huge hit (chiefly because queuing mums and dads get free coffee), this year, the mall will bring the story of toy-making to life with animatronics, wonderful displays and, of course, a 40ft tree.
Dhs50 per child. Daily 10am-10pm until December 24. Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 4555).

Order your National Day cupcakes
Lap up some local flavour with Sugar Daddy’s tempting treats, iced in the UAE’s flag colours. For a super-size celebration, order the giant National Day cupcake (Dhs125).
Cupcakes from Dhs12. Galeries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall (04 344 8202).

Dubai’s popular Italian joint is getting a “cheesy facelift”

Don't miss last remaining places in 5,000-strong ambassador team

Entering couldn’t be easier…

Sponsored: Tickets to the five-day festival of music and culture are now on sale

FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai launches exclusive new club

A kid accidentally calls in the universe’s deadliest hunter, the world’s clumsiest spy is out to save the world again and Blake Lively has a ‘simple’ favour to ask


Follow us