Party through the decades at a Vintage New Year’s Eve @ Southbank Centre

© Neil Buchan Grant

Party through the decades as you welcome 2018 at the Vintage New Year’s Eve Party
© Neil Buchan Grant

Fancy something a bit different than a house party or your local pub for New Year’s Eve? How about celebrating the dawn of a new year in a vintage nightclub and enjoying stunning views of the capital and its fireworks?

Returning to the Southbank Centre this month is A Vintage New Year’s Eve Party, an extravaganza of dancing, drinking, dining and more from HemingwayDesign. Curators Wayne, Gerardine and Jack Hemingway will transform five floors of the Royal Festival Hall into vintage nightclubs, dining rooms, a vintage hair and beauty salon and photo studios. At midnight, guests will have the opportunity to watch the capital’s iconic fireworks over the Thames from the riverside terrace (weather permitting).

Highlights of this year’s party include:

  • The Torch Club

Enjoy the sounds of the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s with live big band music from Alex Meedham and his 18 piece orchestra. Meanwhile, DJ Daddy Rich will be spinning original vinyl and dance, while vintage dance tutors Mark & Hoc will be showing guests the moves from yesteryear.

  • Bar Bonkers

Experience pure joy as you immerse yourself in the world of ’80s and ’90s, with the best pop, rock and dance anthems, musical bingo and karaoke. Cheer along to the sounds mixed by disco dancing DJ Anna Greenwood, Jess Indeedy, DJ Helix, while their dancing grannies deliver a special edition of Indeedy Musical Bingo.

  • The TIKI Bar

Sip colourful cocktails while gazing over stunning views of the River Thames in a very tropical pop-up. Listen to the sounds of 1950s exotica Martin Green and DJ Martin Karminsky while revellers show off their samba and mambo skills, as hula girls do the limbo.

  • The Studio

Explore the history of disco as The Studio revisits some of the greatest club nights from the mid ’70s to the early ’80s. Partiers will be treated to the sounds of funk and disco, to electro and Northern Soul.

Throughout the evening, top Jive teacher Andrew Hall will help guests learn the Jive basics, while DJ Mr Jinx will be hitting the decks and The Jive Romeros will be mixing classic American and early British rock ‘n’ roll in Let It Rock. After midnight, The Clore Ballroom will become a cabaret club with live performances and vintage dancing and music.

In addition to the wealth of entertainment, there are also some dining packages available to add on to your ticket. Guests can feast on a three-course meal and have the use of a reserved table by the main ballroom floor for the whole night and access to a dedicated bar. Or if you want something lighter, there is also a buffet dining option.

  • A Vintage New Year’s Eve Party takes place on 31 December 2017 from 7pm until late. At Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. Tickets: Party £99 (second release), £119 (final release), Add buffet for £35, Add dining, reserved table all night and access to dedicated bar for £85. For more information and tickets, visit the Southbank Centre website or phone 020 3879 9555.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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Where to get merry this Christmas: Guide to London’s festive cocktails

Skylon on the South Bank have looked to the night sky and the planets to inspire their winter cocktail menu.

As we approach Christmas, our social lives are busier than ever as we meet up with friends, family and work colleagues to celebrate the end of another year. While mulled wine can easily be found in many pubs and bars, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. With some of the world’s best cocktail bars in the capital, it’s no wonder that London’s mixologists have created some special festive concoctions for the Christmas period.

Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to the capital’s best festive cocktails this 2017 season.

  • Skylon

South Bank bar and restaurant Skylon have looked to the night sky for inspiration with their festive cocktail menu. Each drink is based on the eight planets of the Solar System. Mars (Campari, Ciroc infused hibiscus, Martini Rosso), Jupiter (Tanqueray 10, Staibano creamy limoncello, mulled wine reduction), Mercury (Ciroc infused thyme, Masticha, Lemongrass, Sherbet Prosecco), Uranus (Ciroc, passion fruit and chilly syrup), Venus (Ciroc, truffle oil, cacao blanco, Prosecco), Saturn (Zacapa 23 infused caramel, Liquor 43, angostura bitter), Neptune (Ciroc, Blue Caracao infused pineapple, lemon grass sugar syrup) and Earth (J.W Blue label, Hennessey fine cognac, red and dry vermouth, angostura bitter). Drinks range from £12.50-£14.50. On sale until 31 January 2018.

Skylon, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo.

© One Aldwych

A Christmas Cheer at One Aldwych Lobby Bar

  • The Lobby Bar @ One Aldwych

Enjoy a touch of luxury at the lavish Lobby Bar at the One Aldwych Hotel. They’ve teamed up with Perrier-Jouët Brut Champagne to create five limited-edition drinks. Christmas Club – inspired by Home Alone. (Home-made orange liqueur, raspberry syrup, fresh lemon juice, topped up with Perrier-Jouët Brut), Golden Snitch – inspired by Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Havana 7 rum, Antica Formula, Lapponia blueberry liqueur, blueberry cheesecake flavour, sugar syrup, fresh lemon juice, topped up with Perrier-Jouët Brut), Carol Fizz – inspired by A Christmas Carol (Plymouth gin, rhubarb liqueur, framboise liqueur, elderflower cordial, fresh lemon juice, gold leaf, topped up with Perrier-Jouët Brut), Nutcracker (Beluga Russian vodka, fig liqueur, green apple purée, drops of cardamom bitters, topped up with Perrier-Jouët Brut) and Royal Santa – inspired by Miracle on 34th Street (Home-made hibiscus liqueur, fresh pomegranate juice, cinnamon foam, topped with Perrier-Jouët Brut).

One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, Covent Garden, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest stations: Covent Garden or Temple.

  • Charlotte’s W5

Cosy up in Charlotte’s Winter Terrace from Sipsmith, featuring blankets, fairy lights, hot cocktails and roasted chestnuts. Winter Sloe Gin (Sipsmith Sloe Gin, cinnamon, star anise and apple), Winter Negroni Sipsmith (London Dry Gin, Campari, sweet vermouth and rooibos tea) and the Hot Espresso Martini (Sipsmith Sipping Vodka, Electric coffee and vanilla cream).

Charlotte’s W5, Longfield Avenue, Ealing, W5 2UQ. Nearest station: Ealing BroadwayRead the rest of this entry

Go on a musical journey at Spitalfields Music Festival 2017

© Brian Sweeney

This year’s Spitalfields Music Festival is curated by Andre de Ridder
© Brian Sweeney

Returning to London this December is the annual Spitalfields Music Festival. Over eight days, local and international musicians will gather in east London for a programme of bold and innovative performance. This year has been curated by conductor André de Ridder, with his vision shaking up the festival for 2017. Ridder is Artistic Director of Finland’s largest Contemporary Music Festival, founder of the ground-breaking ensemble s t a r g a z e and has worked across many genres with artists such as Nico Muhly, Damon Albarn, Max Richter, Uri Caine, Brian Eno and  Jonny Greenwood.

Among the wide variety of performances and experiences include an immersive time-travel journey in a Spitalfields Huguenot House, meditation-inspired music under an interactive light display, an art commission in a church and a new work inspired by US punk band Fugazi. Acts include Sam Amidon, Bryan Benner, Sam Beste, Liam Byrne, Uri Caine, Mara Carlyle, Rahel Debebe-Desselegne, Anne Denholm, Abimaro, Lisa Hannigan, Topi Lehtipuu, Katherine Manley, Phil Minton, James McVinnie, Robert Murray, Ben Nelson, Alex Reeve, Shapla Salique, Saied Silbak, Aart Strootman, Heloise Werner and Apollo 47.

Among the highlights include:

An unpredictable adventure through history including tales from actors, historians and authors in a mystery location not usually open to the public. 2pm and 4pm. Tickets: £10. At secret location, meet at steps of Christ Church.

Classic Album Sundays presents an evening with composer Max Richter and conductor André de Ridder to discuss Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons. 7pm. Tickets: £15. Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s).

From the award-winning Musical Rumpus series, explore the multi-sensory world of Fogonogo – an opera specially created for babies and toddlers. 11am and 1.30pm. Tickets: Child £8, Accompanying Adult £2. Rich Mix.

Presented by André de Ridder’s orchestral collective s t a r g a z e, listen to the realms of classical collide with minimal techno, experimental and electronic music. 8.30pm. Tickets: £10-£28. Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s).

Festival-featured artist James McVinnie performs a stunning 40-minute set of solo keyboard music by JS Bach. 9pm. Pay what you decide. Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s).

An ambitious staging and (re)interpretation of Schumann’s iconic song cycle: Dichterliebe. Set across the stunning Huguenot Houses of Spitalfields, each of the 16 songs in Schumann’s cycle will be performed by a different artist drawn from a wide range of stylistic backgrounds including Bengali folk, rap, classical, soul and jazz. 5pm and 7.30pm. Tickets: £35. Huguenot Homes of Spitalfields.

  • The Spitalfields Music Festival takes place from 2-10 December 2017. At various venues around Spitalfields. Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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Music, dance and giving back at the ‘Art for Love’ Christmas festival at Devonshire Square

Devonshire Square © Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

Help those less fortunate at Devonshire Square’s Giving Tree during the ‘Art for Love’ festival
© Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

December is finally here so the Christmas countdown can really begin. This month, Londoners will be entertained with a festive extravaganza with music, dance, ice skating and more. The ‘Art for Love’ festival will take place in Devonshire Square’s historic Western Courtyard, with lunchtime and after-work performances.

The events are:

Of course, Christmas is all about the spirit of giving so Devonshire Square will be teaming up with homeless charity The Connection to grant Christmas wishes and raise money for an important cause. Taking centre stage will be the Christmas Giving Tree, featuring wishes written on paper hearts. You can help them come true by writing ‘honoured’ on them and pledging to make that special request a reality. Surrounding the trees will be the stunning ‘Twilight Trees’ installation by artist Susie Reid, featuring sparkling cherry trees covered in illuminated blossom.

Amidst all the entertainment and festive fun will be plenty of restaurant and bars in the square if you’re feeling peckish, including Mac & Wild, Cinnamon Kitchen and Pitt Cue. Located in the City of London, just a short walk from Liverpool Street or Spitalfields Market, Devonshire Square is a historic business and entertainment quarter, dating back to the 18th century.

  • Art For Love Christmas Festival takes place from 1-19 December 2017. At Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in December 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Wishing my readers a Merry Christmas

It’s all very festive in the capital. If you haven’t been forced into the Christmas spirit already with the sheer volume of red, green and glitter around the capital, it won’t take long before it hits you. There is a host of events on around the capital for both adults and families. Foodies will be particularly well catered for with seasonal markets and shows on. Across town, there’s plenty of festive pop-ups, with many listed below. Of course, there are many open-air ice skating rinks for those with a good sense of balance.

For a guide to London’s ice rinks, click here.

For a guide to the capital’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here,  or find out which bars are serving special Christmas cocktails and Winter Warmers here.

  • 1 December : Dreamworks Animation in Concert

Listen to songs from your favourite Dreamworks animated films performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. From 6pm. Tickets start from £28.32. Wembley SSE Arena, Arena Square, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0AA. Nearest station: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For tickets, visit the Dreamworks SeeTickets website. For more information, visit Metro Girl’s blog post on the concert.

  • 1 – 2 DecemberThe Spirit Show

Fans of gin, vodka and the like will enjoy this boozy festival, featuring masterclasses, tastings, street food, interactive lounge, VIP speakeasy and more. Open Fri 1-9pm, Sat 12-5pm. Tickets from £25 (standard tickets inc unlimited tastings, showguide and 6 bottle jute). Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit The Spirit Show website.

  • 1 – 3 DecemberLondon Illustration Fair

Three-day event celebrating illustration, featuring artist-led stands, talks, workshops, music, DJs, live signings. Entry: £8 advance, Under 12s free. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bankside, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Waterloo . For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.

  • 1 – 10 December : London International Animation Festival

Showcase of animation from around the world featuring gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmakers Q&As, workshops, audience voting and screenings. Tickets start from £12 (Barbican standard tickets) to £95 for full pass. At the Barbican, The Horse Hospital, Close-Up Cinema and The Whitechapel Gallery. For more information and tickets, visit the LIAF website.

  • 1 – 17 December : Ferrero Rocher – Behind The Layers

Ferrero Rocher are creating an immersive sensory tasting experience for chocolate fans. Open 1pm-10.30pm (last experience 9.30pm). Tickets: £25 (45 minute experience, includes a glass of Prosecco or non-alcoholic beverage). Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GF. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush, Shepherd’s Bush Market or Wood Lane. For booking, visit BehindTheLayers.co.uk. Read Metro Girl’s blog post to find out more.

  • 1 – 19 December : Art For Love festival

A Christmas extravaganza in the historic surrounds of Devonshire Square, featuring live music, carol singing, ballet, ice skating performances and more. Times vary. Free. Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on the festival.

  • 1 – 31 December : Greenwich Winter Time

The royal borough of Greenwich are hosting a winter festival, featuring open-air ice skating outside the Old Naval College, festive market, food and drink, entertainment on the mirrored stage and Father Christmas’ launch pad. Entry tickets (morning, afternoon or evening sessions): Adults £15-£18, Children £8. Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9LS. Nearest station: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Greenwich Winter Time website.

  • 2 DecemberThe Great Christmas Pudding Race

Watch or take part in the annual Great Christmas Pudding Race in Covent Garden, which sees participants dressing up and raising money for Cancer Research UK. From 11am. Free for spectators. Covent Garden Piazza, WC1. Nearest station: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information and details on entering, visit the Great Christmas Pudding Race website.

  • 2 DecemberBeautycon

Social media influencers and celebrities will come together to talk beauty, fashion and style. Featuring Olivia Buckland, Jordyn Woods, Patricia Bright, Montana Brown, Grace Victory, Jayde Pierce and many more. 12-6pm. Tickets start from £30. Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Beautycon website.

  • 2 – 3 December : Santa and his huskies come to the London Wetland Centre

Special Christmas weekend event at the London Wetland Centre, where families can visit Santa’s Grotto, enjoy a sleigh ride with the huskies or a donkey ride or make decorations in the elves’ workshop. Normal admission prices to LWC apply: Adults £13.49, Children £7.42. Santa visit £8 per child (includes gift). London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes. For more information, visit the WWT London Wetland Centre website.

  • 2 – 10 December : Spitalfields Music Festival

Spitalfields Music return with their winter festival. Acts include Mark Titchner, Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Musical Rumpus, Max Richter and André de Ridder among others. At various venues in the Spitalfields area including Shoreditch Church, Rich Mix and the Huguenot Houses of Spitalfields. For booking, visit the Spitalfields Music website. For this year’s highlights, read Metro Girl’s blog post.

  • 2 – 23 December : Santa’s Grotto @ Museum Of London

Meet Santa in a Victorian Santa’s Grotto. Professional photographer available to capture the moment. £10 per child (includes gift, book in advance). Museum of London, 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest station: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Museum Of London website.

  • 5 DecemberHome Front – Immersive Time Travel

One-off evening of an immersive time travel experience set in London during World War II. Featuring performances, escape rooms, live music, five bars and more. From 5.15pm-10.30pm. Tickets start from £25. At a secret east London location. For booking, visit DesignMyNight. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog post.

  • 5 – 8 December : Vauxhall One’s Christmas Music Week

Every night, a different choir will perform in front of Vauxhall One’s Christmas tree. Choirs include West End Musical Choir, Sunday Assembly Choir, House Gospel Choir and Real Voices. 5.30pm-6.30pm. Free to spectate. Vauxhall One (outside Vauxhall station), SW8. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall One website.

  • 5 – 9 DecemberPigs Ear Beer And Cider Festival

Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA, featuring over 230 real ales plus ciders, perries and bottled beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Opening hours TBC. Entry: £3 (members), £5 (non-members). Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website

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South Pole Saloon @ Brixton Rooftop review: Be naughty AND nice at south London’s festive playground

© Ross Silcocks

South Pole Saloon comes to Brixton Rooftop for the winter
© Ross Silcocks

When it comes to a festive pop-up, the thought of standing outside can dampen even the most Christmassy of spirits. While rooftop venues are all the rage right now, our unpredictable London weather can make them more miss than hit at this time of year. However, summer destination Brixton Rooftop has had a winter makeover, bringing all the fun undercover in a cosy, heated environment. Taking over the rooftop this season is the South Pole Saloon, providing food, booze and entertainment.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Mac ‘n’ cheese with chorizo (front) and spinach (back) from Mac To The Future

I went along to the launch last week and was initially struck by how big it was, and also how cosy and warm it is. The venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland, with fir trees, twinkling lights and tinsel. Upon arrival, you are greeted by rows of picnic seating with the main bar and small stage behind. To the right, was the street food market, private candy caner cabins, themed VIP rooms and the nightclub in the saloon bar. Adding to the festive spirit were gangs of candy caner girls and naughty elves, providing plenty of material for some Christmas Instagram poses.

The three on-site bars offer a wide range of premium draft and bottled beers, typical spirits and the winter warmer cocktail menu. Among the original creations on offer were The Snow Globe (Spiced Bacardi Rum, Ginger Beer, Angostura, Coconut Syrup, topped with Cocoa Powder) and Santa’s Tart (Bacardi 8YO, Cherry Syrup, Cinnamon Syrup and Lime Juice). We were in the mood for mixing it up so tried the delicious Snow Globe, before moving on to Prosecco. Pretty much whatever your tipple is, you’ll be easily catered for.

With all the booze flowing, there’s plenty of opportunities to line your stomachs at the street food market, featuring The Lambassadors, Fancy Funkin Chicken, Vudu Food and Mac To The Future serving up. My friend and I ordered the classic ‘DeLorean’ mac ‘n’ cheese with a side of spinach from Mac To The Future which was absolutely delicious. Fortunately there was plenty of seating around so we grabbed a table with our drinks and grub and were entertained by the brilliant live music on the bar stage. Late night revellers can head to the saloon nightclub for a host of DJs and club nights performing until 2am over the next month, with Cirque Du Soul, The Doctor’s Orders, Applebum, For The Love Of Garage among the hosts.

Overall, it’s a great winter venue that would make a perfect meeting place for Christmas drinks with pals. What’s great about South Pole Saloon is that there will always be something different. The food traders create special dishes every week to follow the weekly food theme, while supper clubs will also be visiting. Among the events taking place will be cheese nights, bottomless brunches, burlesque shows and shared Christmas party nights, which caters for work or friends’ parties. I’ll definitely be heading back for a festive knees-up.

  • South Pole Saloon @ Brixton Rooftop. Open from 23 November 2017 – 1 January 2018. Opening Hours: Thur: 5pm-12am, Fri: 5pm-2am, Sat: 4pm-2am. South Pole Saloon @ Brixton Rooftop, Pope’s Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH. Nearest station: Brixton. For more information, visit the Brixton Rooftop website.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Brixton Rooftop has had a winter makeover, bringing all the fun undercover in a cosy, heated environment

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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Indulge your sweet tooth at Ferrero Rocher: Behind The Layers pop-up experience

Ferrero Rocher Behind The Layers

Ferrero Rocher: Behind The Layers takes place at Westfield London

Christmas is that time of year to ditch the diet and indulge your sweet tooth. This festive season, chocolate lovers will be in for a treat with a new pop-up experience from Ferrero Rocher.

Following their successful dessert experience last Christmas, the Italian chocolatier is bringing a taste exploration to Westfield London. Launching on 1 December, the Ferrero Rocher: Behind the Layers will take guests on a multi-sensory tasting experience. Participants will sample delicious mini-desserts inspired by the five layers of Ferrero Rocher. The different flavours will be enriched by powerful light projections, music and motion.

Guests will start their journey in the golden bar and lounge, where they discover a drink menu created by the mixologists from Liquid Chefs. Next, they will take their seats to progress to the multi-sensory dessert experience. Visitors will watch their mini-desserts being hand-made in the spectacular setting. Chef Paul Hannagen has devised the special dessert menu, each creation inspired by the layers of a Ferrero Rocher – hazelnut, chocolate wafer and gold.

Following their experience, guests will be able to visit the on-site shop to buy Ferrero Rocher, which can be accompanied by personalised calligraphy labels for your loved ones. The bar will also be open to all those who haven’t been able to get tickets to the main event.

  • Ferrero Rocher: Behind The Layers takes place on 1-17 December 2017. At Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GF. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush, Shepherd’s Bush Market or Wood Lane. Open 1pm-10.30pm (last experience 9.30pm). Tickets: £25 (45 minute experience, includes a glass of Prosecco or non-alcoholic beverage). For more information and booking, visit BehindTheLayers.co.uk.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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Alpine-style fun, food and drink as Vauxhall Winter Village returns

Vauxhall Winter Village

The Vauxhall Winter Village is returning to South London

Snow bunnies living in London usually find themselves disappointed when it comes to the capital’s rare offering of the white stuff. However, if you’re looking for a bit of alpine-style fun but can’t be bothered getting an Easyjet flight to Tignes, there’s an alternative solution right here.

Following its successful launch last year, Vauxhall Winter Village is back in London for a six-week run over the festive period. Launching on 16 November, the seasonal pop-up offers après-ski style food, drink and entertainment. Expect twinkling lights, decorations, drinking and dining in an undercover, heated, cosy environment.

Located just moments from Vauxhall station, the pop-up alpine ski village features plenty to keep you amused, including the chance to get Instagramming in Retro Ski Wear at the Cable Car Photo Booth. You can host a Christmas social gathering for your friends by renting one of the bookable heated alpine cabin booths, themed after some of the world’s top ski resorts, such as St. Moritz, Klosters, Aspen, and Davos.

There’s plenty of foodie options to keep your hunger at bay at the street food stalls, including Jamakin Me Crazy Caribbean cuisine, Hola Guacamole Mexican treats, Country Kitchen’s British grub, City Burgers and Ye Olde Fish And Chips. Meanwhile, there will be plenty of opportunities to drink, with festive cocktails, mulled wine and your favourite tipples.

  • Vauxhall Winter Village is open from 16 November – 22 December 2017 on Monday to Fridays only (and selected weekends) from 11.30am-10pm. Free entry. Vauxhall Winter Village, South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1SP. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall Winter Village website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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Ready for some curl power! Try a spot of curling as Sliders comes to Queens

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Red or yellow? Curlers are given a pair of grips before taking to the ice

Ever thought about curling? It’s likely you may have watched it on TV since the sport has been an official game at the Winter Olympics since 1998. However, when it comes to winter leisure activities we’ve actually done, it hasn’t reached the popularity of ice skating, skiing, snowboarding or sledding. However, that could be set to change with curling club Sliders pitching up at Queens this winter.

Following their successful run at Roof East in Stratford last year (and back again this winter), Sliders is going west at Queensway’s versatile leisure venue Queens. Known for its year-round indoor ice rink, Queens is also home to cocktail and burger haven MeatLiquor, a bowling alley and arcade following its recent £4million refurbishment.

I went along last week with a group of friends to try out the new curling experience. We started off in MeatLiquor first for cocktails and burgers. The restaurant is diner style, spacious with low ceilings featuring a mix of sofas, stools and chairs, with the options to order to your bowling lane. I opted for a Bristol Fizz cocktail (Grey Goose vodka shaken with pear, strawberry and lemon juice, topped with fizz), which was fruity, sweet and easy to drink. People with special dietary requirements (halal, gluten-free, etc) will be pleasantly surprised to see plenty of menu options. I ordered a really good halloumi burger, with a generous halloumi portion which was cooked perfectly so it wasn’t tough and chewy. I find many restaurants overcook halloumi so especially enjoyed the MeatLiquor one.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Curling is a game which requires balance, strength and mental dexterity

Following our meal we headed to the rink for a spot of curling. All four of our party were novices and admittedly hadn’t watched much of the sport on television. A portion of the rink has been transformed into curling lanes, with coaches on hand to explain the rules. As you would expect, it’s pretty cold so coats, hats and gloves wouldn’t go amiss. Unlike ice skating where you’re likely to keep warm through movement, there are periods during curling where you’ll be standing still on the ice, so make sure you’re wrapped up. Before entering the lanes, we were given grips to help transform our shoes into ice-suitable footwear.

Curling is a game which requires balance, strength and mental dexterity. I like to think (hopefully!) I have an adequate amount of all three, but needless to say, I wasn’t too good at curling. The game involves hurling a stone towards the target area. If you end up in the target, you can’t always be certain you’ll remain there during the round as you can get knocked out by a rival team or even your own teammate. My friends and I played against another team of four. Despite our team managing to win by 1 point, I was probably the weakest link and didn’t get any stone near the target. However, we all enjoyed the game and I would be keen to return in the hope of improving. By the end of our curling, we were pretty chilly so headed to the handily located ringside café, with hot drinks and heat lamps which were much appreciated.

While so many festive attractions in London are outside, Queens offers a range of fun activities inside. You could easily spend hours here with your friends drinking, eating and showing off your sporting prowess… or not so much. My group had a great evening and would be keen to try curling again… hopefully with better results. See you on the ice!

  • Queens, 17 Queensway, W2 4PQ. Nearest station: Queensway or Bayswater. Tickets: From £12.50pp for teams of 4 or 8 (including curling, grips, drinks service and welcome drink). For more information and booking, visit the Queens website.
© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Vegan burgers at MeatLiquor

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

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Festive fun, frolics and food as ‘Christmess’ comes to Borough

Santa goes wild at Christmess

When it comes to Christmas, it can often feel like children get the most excitement out of the festive season. However, in the run-up to Yuletide, a festive pop-up is giving us grown-ups the chance for some seasonal fun.

Launching near Borough Market on 15 November for six weeks is Christmess, an opportunity to visit a naughty and anarchistic world featuring St Nicky and his pals. An old Victorian warehouse is being transformed for a new instalment from supper club supremos Slap Ya Papa and artistic collective Marbles & Ware. Guests can check out Mama Claus’ hidden parlour-come-blues room, and a Santa’s Whiskey Grotto. Expect plenty of entertainment with live music, Santa’s little helpers and plenty of Christmas sparkle. Be sure not to miss the Green Fairy granting wishes in the hidden absinthe bar.

Finally, revellers will head to the dining room for a 12 dish lunch or dinner, featuring the likes of Cajun roasted turkey and candied yams. Table etiquette will go out the window with diners encouraged to drink a lot and dance on the tables.

Meanwhile, during the day downstairs will be workshops so you can make your own Christmas presents or decoration, such as floral wreath weaving, beeswax candle making, writing workshops, yoga and life drawing.

  • Christmess @ The Imaginarium, Hunter Penrose, 32 Southwark Street, London Bridge, SE1 1TU. Nearest station: London Bridge. Tickets from £55 (dinner). For more information and booking, visit the Christmess website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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