What’s on this Winter: Fun things around London this December 2012
With Christmas fast approaching, there’s a host of activities- both Xmassy and not so festive – to do in and around London this November and December. Autumn seems to have whizzed by, and with the temperatures really plummeting, the only thing to do is to is keep warm by doing one of the many activities on around the capital. Here’s my pre-Christmas guide to what’s on London for the remainder of 2012.
For the most up to date guide to what’s on in London, click here.
- Various dates in November until early January 2013 – Open air ice skating
Get your skates on! Pop-up ice rinks have become a popular festive activity in London and this year sees the re-appearance of many popular locations from last year. Among those are Somerset House (16 Nov – 6 Jan), Natural History Museum (2 Nov – 6 Jan), Tower Of London (17 Nov – 6 Jan), Canary Wharf (3 Nov – 13 Jan), Eyeskate at the London Eye (17 Nov – 6 Jan), Hampton Court Palace (1 Dec – 13 Jan). As well as regular skating sessions, many of the rinks have special events, including ice discos and a Vintage Festival on ice at Somerset House on 28-30 November and a New Year’s Eve party at the Natural History Museum. For further details of times and prices, read my blog post on London’s ice rinks.
- 16 November – 23 December – Christmas Market at Southbank
The German-style market returns to the Southbank as vendors sell food, drink and gifts along the Thames. Wooden huts pop-up alongside the Thames in front of the Southbank Centre. Choirs will also perform twice a day. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment.
- 23 November – 6 January 2013 – Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park
Winter Wonderland does exactly what is say on the tin – the south east corner of the park is transformed into a Christmas fair with rides, food and lots of mulled wine, as well as Christmas gifts. It’s free to enter, but of course the aforementioned will cost. There is also an open air ice rink for those who fancy a twirl and Zippos Cirque Berserk – an alternative circus show. For photos and a review, read about MOAMG’s visit to Winter Wonderland. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.
- 24 November – 23 December (weekends only) – Everyman Cinema @ The Old Vic Tunnels
Everyman Cinemas host pop-up screenings at the Old Vic Tunnels under Waterloo every weekend over the season. Films include The Wizard Of Oz, Edward Scissorhands, Back To The Future and It’s A Wonderful Life, among others. The venue will have a festive mood with a volcanic lake, a Northern Lights installation and walk through falling snow, while you can munch on seasonal food and sip Christmas cocktails while watching the film. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Tickets: £27. Nearest station: Waterloo or Lambeth North. For more information, visit the Old Vic Tunnels’ website.
- 29 November – 3 March 2012 – Valentino: Master Of Couture
An exhibition celebrating the iconic designer Valentino and his creations. Over 130 designs from across the years, including ones worn by Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Jackie O will be on display at the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House. Tickets available online £12.50 or £9 for concessions. Nearest tube: Temple. For more information, visit Somerset House’s website.
- 30 November – 5 December – Nordic Film Festival
A week-long celebration of the best films to come out of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The inaugural festival will features old and new films and will take place at the Riverside Studios, Cine Lumiere and Prince Charles Cinema. For more information, visit the Nordic Film Festival website.
4 – 8 December – Pig’s Ear Beer Festival
Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA at the Round Chapel in Hackney. Over 200 beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, London E5 0PU. Admission £2 for CAMRA members, £4 for non-members. Open from noon until 11pm. Nearest rail station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. Visit the Pig’s Ear website for more information.
- 7 – 9 December – Chocolate Festival
Outdoor festival in the square behind the Royal Festival Hall on the Southbank. A celebration of all things chocolate, with tastings, lessons on how to make your own chocolate, recipes, masterclasses and plenty of opportunity to purchase chocolate. Fri 7 and Sat 8: 12-8pm. Sun 9: 12-6pm at Southbank Centre Square, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8xx. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Chocolate Festival website.
- 7 – 9 December – Taste of Christmas
Sister event to the hugely popular Taste Of London event which celebrates food. Three day festival at ExCel in Docklands offers tastings, demonstrations, masterclasses and food theatre with Jamie Oliver, Jean-Christophe Novelli, the Baker Brothers and Michael Roux Jnr among those giving their tips. Prices start from £18.50 (advance) or £23.50 (on door). Nearest tube: Custom House (DLR). For more information, visit the Taste of Christmas website.
- 11 – 23 December – Carol singing in Trafalgar Square
What could be more Christmassy than singing in the shadows of the famous tree in Trafalgar Square. Following the tree lighting ceremony on 6 December, different carol groups will perform every evening in the run-up to Christmas, while collecting donations for their chosen charities. Nearest tube: Charing Cross.
- 26 December – 6 January 2013 – Walking With Dinosaurs
The £10million arena spectacle featuring life-size moving recreations of dinosaurs returns to London’s O2 Arena for two weeks. Huge recreations from the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic period move across a rugged landscape to transport the audience back millions of years. Tickets start from £29. Nearest tube: North Greenwich. For more information and tickets, visit Dinosaurs Live website.
- Now until 12 January 2013 – Take A View: Landscape Photographer Of The Year
Over 100 entries from the annual competition are on display in the Lyttelton Exhibition Space at the National Theatre. Entrance is free with the space open Monday – Saturday 9.30am-11pm, Sundays 12-6pm. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the National Theatre website.
- Now until 27 January 2013 – Hollywood Costume @ V&A
Special exhibition of over 100 costumes from some of Hollywood’s classic movies, including Wizard Of Oz, Singin’ In The Rain, Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Star Wars. Although entrance to the Victoria & Albert Museum is free, this particular exhibition costs and is highly recommended that timed tickets are bought online. Adult tickets online £15.80. Nearest tube: South Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the V&A’s website.
- Now until 3 February 2013 – Mario Testino: British Royal Portraits exhibition
It’s been a bumper two years for the Royal Family with 2011′s wedding of Prince William and Catherine and the Diamond Jubilee earlier this year. Acclaimed photographer Mario Testino is displaying his collection of Royal portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in four-month free exhibition. National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE. Nearest tube: Charing Cross or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the National Portrait Gallery website.
- Now until 3 March 2012 – Random International: Rain Room @ Barbican
Experience what it’s like to control the rain… indoors! Visitors can either watch or if they’re brave enough walk through the rain and trust they won’t get wet! Due to the unique experience of this exhibition, be prepared to queue. Free admission. Open daily from 11am – 8pm, or 10pm on Thursday. Rain Room at The Curve, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube: Barbican. For more information visit the Barbican website.
While it’s very early as I write this, I would like to wish the readers of MOAMG a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I started this blog on the spur of the moment in May and have been amazed by the support and feedback. However, I am still looking for new readers so please tell your friends about the blog or get them to follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Thanks for your continued support.