Guide to what’s on in London in December 2019
Find out what beer and cocktail festivals, art exhibitions and Christmas events are on in London this December.
It’s December! When it comes to events on around town, you can be guaranteed most of them will have a festive feel. At this time of year, a host of venues are hosting festivals and activities for both children and adults to enjoy as a family. Fans of Friends, Stranger Things or The Wolf Of Wall Street will also have a chance to live for real with special immersive experiences. Of course, there will be plenty of Christmas themed fun on around town.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
To find out where London’s Christmas pantomimes, ballets and shows are on, click here.
Discover London’s winter terraces, and Christmas cocktails menus.
- Now until 1 December : London Illustration Fair
Three-day event celebrating illustration, featuring artist-led stands, talks, workshops, music, DJs, live signings. Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Entry: £10 in advance, £12.50 on the door, Children under 12 free. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bankside, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Waterloo. For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.
- Now until 1 December : William Blake’s ‘Ancient of Days’ projection
William Blake’s ambition of having his art exhibited on churches is realised as his masterpiece ‘Ancient of Days’ is projected on the dome of St Paul’s to mark his 262nd birthday. 4.30pm-9pm. Free. St Paul’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s Churchyard, City of London, EC4M 8AD (best vantage point from the Millennium Bridge). Nearest station: St Paul’s or Mansion House. See Metro Girl’s blog post for photos and video.
- Now until 1 December : Architecture of London
Exhibition of 400 years of London architecture. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-4pm. Tickets: Adults £10, concs £7. Guildhall Art Gallery, Guildhall Yard, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest station: St Paul’s, Bank or Moorgate. For more information, visit the City of London.gov website.
- Now until 1 December : Enchanted Woodland
Follow an illuminated trail through the gardens and arboretum of Syon Park. Lighting will transform the trees, plants and lake. Hot food and drinks available for sale. Open Fri-Sun, entry times every 20 minutes from 5pm-7.40pm. Tickets: Adults £10 (Fri), £12 (Sat-Sun), Children £5. Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website.
- 1 December – 25 January 2020 : Big Screen on the Ice
Watch your favourite movie on ice while cosying up with blankets and hot toddies. Screening on Saturday and Sunday evenings at 5pm (family films)or 8pm (adults films). Tickets: Ice skating + film (no seats) – Adults £12, Children £11. Ice skating + film (with seating) – Adults from £16, Children from £13. Skate hire £2.50. QUEENS, 17 Queensway, W2 4PQ. Nearest stations: Queensway or Bayswater. For tickets, visit the Big Screen on the Ice website. or the QUEENS website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post for more information.
- Now until 3 December : Antony Gormley @ RA
One of the Britain’s most famous living artists displays a series of large-scale artworks in this interactive exhibition. Open daily 10am-6pm, late opening on Fri until 8pm. Tickets: £18-£22. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Royal Academy of Arts website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition.
- 3 – 7 December : Pig’s 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. Tickets: (check the website). Round Chapel, Glenarm Road, Hackney, E5 0LY. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website.
- 4 December : Christmas Lights Walk @ Baker Street Quarter
Explore the light installations of the Baker Street Quarter, telling the story of famous people and places from the district. 6pm. Free. Meet at 55 Baker Street, Marylebone, W1U 7DA. Nearest station: Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Baker Street Quarter website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on this year’s lights.
- 5 December : Marylebone Lane Christmas Shopping Evening
A festive evening of live music, activities, workshop, a free cocktail at the 108 Brasserie and exclusive discounts at the area’s retailers. 5pm-8pm. Free. Marylebone Lane, Marylebone, NW1. Nearest station: Bond Street. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website.
- 5 December : Tower Bridge & the Thames on Film
Late-night opening of Tower Bridge, featuring an illustrated talk by British Film Institute curator Simon McCallum presenting clips from the BFI National Archive’s collection of footage about London, with a particular focus the Thames. Arrive at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Tickets: £20pp (includes a welcome drink and a return ticket to visit Tower Bridge within 12 months). Tower Bridge Learning Space, Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP. Nearest stations: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway or London Bridge. For booking, visit the Tower Bridge website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the 125th anniversary of Tower Bridge.
- 5 December : Imperial Lates – Winter Wonderlab
Evening of science and engineering, with live demos, workshops, interactive experiments and inspiring talks. Accompanied with drinks from the bar and liquid nitrogen ice cream. 6pm-9pm. Free. Imperial College London (Main Entrance), Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2AZ. Nearest station: South Kensington. For tickets, visit Eventbrite.
- 5 – 22 December : Enchanted Eltham
Late-night opening of Eltham Palace sees the Tudor and Art Deco buildings and gardens dazzle in a show of light, colour and sound. Follow the trail around the gardens. Also including fairground rides and hot food and drink on offer, including a roasting marshmallow pit. 4.30pm-9pm on Thu-Sun only. Tickets: Adults £12-£14, Children 5-15 yrs £7.50-£9.50. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit the English Heritage website. See Metro Girl’s blog post for photos.
- 6 December : London Christmas Beer Festival
Craft beer festival, featuring winter brews from Beavertown Brewery, The Kernel Brewery, Mikkeller HQ, Beer Merchants Tap (Belgian Specials), The Gipsy Hill Brewing Co., Brick Brewery SE15, and Partizan Brewing. Open Fri 12pm–8pm, Sat-Sun 12pm–6pm. Free entry. Canopy Market, West Handyside Canopy, 1 Wharf Road, N1C 4BZ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.
- 6 – 8 December : Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre
Festive food event in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, featuring shopping, live music, mulled wine, seasonal demos, tastings, choirs and more. Tickets: Adults £21.30, Children £10.70. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the HRP Food Festivals website.
- 7 December : The 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.
- 7 December : The Film Fair
Shopping fair for film buffs, with stalls selling movie and TV memorabilia, such as DVD, Blu-Ray, VHS, books, magazines, posters, stills, autograohs, T-shirts, cards, collectables. This month’s fair’s theme is Hammer Horrror, with cult stars Madeleine Smith, Pauline Peart, Judy Matheson, Damien Thomas and poster artist Graham Humphreys meeting fans. 10am-4pm. Entry: Adults £5, Children £3. Electric Ballroom, 184 Camden High Street, Camden, NW1 8QP. Nearest station: Camden Town. For more information, visit the Midnight Media website.
- 7 December : Woolwich Winter Warmer
One-day of Christmas festivities, featuring live music, street performers, Santa Claus, an illuminated parade and Christmas shopping at the market. 12pm-6pm. Free. General Gordon Square and the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, SE18. Nearest station: Woolwich Arsenal. For more information, visit the Facebook page.
- 7 December : Stepping into Tomorrow presents a Mexican Christmas
Pop-up mezcal bar Dona invite DJ Stepping Into Tomorrow for a night of beats, mezcal cocktails and a curated selection of beers and wine. 8pm-4am. Free before 10pm, £5 after. Doña Bar, 92 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7NY. Nearest station: Rectory Road. For tickets, visit Resident Advisor.
- 8 – 24 December : Havering Christmas Land
A Christmas lights trail, Santa’s Grotto, hot food and drink, entertainment and money raised for to MIND. 5pm-9pm. Entry: £2.50pp. Harrow Lodge Park, Hornchurch, RM12 4PL. Nearest station: Elm Park. For more information, visit the Facebook page.
- 11 December : An Evening Of Cheese @ Borough Market
A celebration of cheese with over 20 cheesemongers offering menus, recommendations and tastings. 6pm-8pm. Free entry. Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post for more information.
- 11 – 13 December : Christmas Puds & Trees Market @ Cowcross Yards
Three days of festive food and drink and London’s first ever ‘Christmas Pudding Tree’ at London’s newest street food destination. Wander through the urban forest and check out the many street food vendors, before picking a pudding from the tree. 4.30pm-7.30pm. Free entry. Cowcross Yards, 9-13 Cowcross Street, Farringdon, EC1M 6DR. Nearest station: Farringdon. For more information, visit the Cowcross Yards’ website.
- 13 December : Speakeasy Gin, Bourbon & Cocktail Festival
Step back to the 1920s at this immersive, cocktail festival. Dress code: 1920s glamour. 6.30pm-10.30pm. Tickets: Standard £15.50, Diamond Club: £38.00. St Mary’s, Wyndham Place, York Street, Marylebone, W1H 1PQ. Nearest station: Edgware Road, Marylebone or Baker Street. For more information, visit the Speakeasy Festival website.
- 13 – 15 December : Forest Uprising
Forest Uprising is the finale of Waltham Forest’s year as the first-ever London Borough of Culture. Over three days in December, an illuminated installation of tree-like structures will grow into a beautiful urban winter garden… 6pm-9pm. Free. Leyton Sports Ground, 485 High Road, Leyton, E10 6PY. Nearest station: Leyton Midland Road. For more information, visit the Waltham Forest website.
- 14 December : Prosecco Festival
Festival of prosecco, featuring over 40 types of Prosecco and fizz, live festive band, Italian street food, dancing, and more. 12pm-4.30pm and 6pm-10.30m. Tickets: £15.50-£38.00. St Mary’s, Wyndham Place, Marylebone, W1H 1PQ. Nearest station: Edgware Road, Marylebone or Baker Street. For tickets, visit the Prosecco Festival website.
- 14 December : House of Illustration Christmas Fair
Dozens of illustrators will be selling their wares at a cosy indoor fair. You can also enjoy entry to the current exhibitions as well. 11am–5pm. Free entry. The Crossing, Central St Martin’s, King’s Cross, NC1 4AA. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the House of Illustration website.
- 15 and 22 December : Christmas Singalongs @ Skylight London
Winter rooftop destination Skylight are hosting Christmas singalong sessions led by Richard Swan – Founder and Director of London City Voices Choir. Guests can also enjoy other festive games, as well as usual choice of street food, hot cocktails and ice skating. 2pm-5.30pm. Tickets: £5-£55. Skylight, Tobacco Quay (Pennington Street entrance), Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell (DLR/TFL Rail) or Wapping. For more information, visit the DesignMyNight website.
- 16 – 22 December : Olympia Horse Show
The world’s biggest equestrian party, featuring displays, dressage, extreme diving and more. Times vary. Tickets range from £28 to £77. Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For tickets, visit the Olympia Horse Show website.
- Now until 21 December : FriendsFestive
A festive edition of the hugely-popular Friendsfest as the show celebrates its 25th anniversary year. Tour the set, dress up as Monica or Joey, visit the Armadillo’s Grotto, and enjoy festive food and drink. Open 11am-10pm. Tickets: £32 (includes a glass of mulled wine). The Old Truman Brewery, 83 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6QR. Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street, Liverpool Street or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the FriendsFestive website. Check out Metro Girl’s review.
- 21 – 22 December : Frost Fair Festival
Weekend of festivities recreating the famous Frost Fairs on the Thames of the past. Featuring interactive games and workshops, performances and arts and crafts. 12pm-4pm. Free. Museum Of London Docklands, West India Quay, No.1 Warehouse, Hertsmere Road, E14 4AL. Nearest station: Canary Wharf or West India Quay. For more information, visit the Museum of London Docklands website.
- Now until 24 December : The Magic of Christmas @ London Zoo
London Zoo are hosting a series of festive events alongside the usual animal enclosures. Meet Santa, watch Christmas films, and more. Open 10am-4pm. Ticket prices vary depending on activities. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website.
- 26 December – 5 January 2020 : Disney On Ice – 100 Years of Magic
Some of your favourite Disney characters take to the ice for a show for all the family. Show times vary. Tickets: £33-£43. The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich, SE10 0DX. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Disney UK website.
- Now until 31 December : A Christmas Carol – An Immersive Dining Experience
Enjoy an immersive, re-telling of Charles Dickens’ classic tale along with a three-course festive feast. Times: 7.15pm-9.15pm. Tickets: £64.50-£71.50. Immersive LDN, 56 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 5HR. Nearest station: Marble Arch. For tickets, visit DesignMyNight.
- Now until 3 January 2020 : Winterfest
A new immersive light festival comes to Wembley Park. Featuring huge light and sound installations, an LED Christmas tree, live bands, community choirs, DJs, and the hit West End production of Fame coming to the new Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Free admission. At Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post for further details.
- Now until 5 January 2020 : Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life
Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson brings his interactive installations to the Tate. Times vary. Tickets: £18 (free for members). Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For more information and tickets, visit the Tate Modern website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition.
- Now until 5 January 2020 : Winter Wonderland
The south east corner of Hyde Park is transformed into a Christmas fair with rides, food and drink stalls, ice rink, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, The Sooty Christmas Show, The Magical Ice Kingdom and more. Open 10am-10pm daily. Free to enter. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Victoria, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.
- Now until 5 January 2020 : Walking with The Snowman
Follow an art trail around the London Bridge district. Twelve Snowmen have been customised by 12 different artists, each inspired by a verse from the 12 Days of Christmas. At London Bridge City, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. To download a map of the sculptures, visit the Walking with The Snowman website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post to find out more..
- Now until 5 January 2020 : Christmas at Kew
A one-mile glittering trail which weaves its way through Kew Gardens with stunning sights lit up upon the way. There will also be Santa at the North Pole Village, a Tunnel of Light, the singing Holly Bushes, a light dance show, vintage rides, festive food and drinks. 5pm-10pm. Tickets (advance): Adults from £18, Children from £11, Under 4 free. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.
- Now until 5 January 2020 : Christmas In Leicester Square
The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market and Santa’s Grotto. A Spiegeltent will play host shows including Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, La Clique, the Showstoppers’ Christmas Show, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass and more. Free entry to Leicester Square, but tickets required for Santa’s Grotto and the Spiegeltent. Leicester Square, WC2H. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Christmas In Leicester Square website.
- Now until 6 January 2020 : Winter Night Garden @ Backyard Cinema
Backyard Cinema’s new permanent home has been transformed into a magical festive garden for its new winter cinematic experience. Walk through a magical wardrobe and travel through a mysterious kingdom to reach the big screen, which will be showing festive favourites and new releases. Tickets from £18.99. Backyard Cinema’s Capital Studios, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, SW18 1ET. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town.For more information and booking, visit Backyard Cinema’s website.
- Now until 11 January 2020 : Chromotherapy Christmas
An interactive light and sound show, inspired by the ancient healing concept of Chromotherapy. 4pm-10pm. Free. Eccleston Yard, (off Eccleston Place), Belgravia, SW1W 9AZ. Nearest station: Victoria. For more information, visit the Mayfair & Belgravia website.
- Now until 12 January 2020 : Windrush – Portrait of a Generation
Photography exhibition by Jim Grover exploring the lives and history of the Windrush generation – Caribbean migrants who moved to Britain in the 1940s-1960s. Free. Arnhem Foyer, Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1DG. Nearest station: East Croydon. For more information, visit the Fairfield Halls website.
- Now until 15 January 2020 : Aladdin and the Feast of Wonders
Darling & Edge return to The Vaults with an immersive, adult pantomime, dining experience. Doors open 6.30pm, Show starts 7.30pm. Tickets from £30. The Vaults (entrance via Leake Street tunnel), Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For tickets, visit The Vaults website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Darling & Edge’s 2017 production Beauty And The Feast.
- Now until 18 January 2020 : Poetic Abstration
A new solo exhibition from Shanghai-based artist Li Lei. A series of academic forums and talks in collaboration with the Royal Drawing School and Unicorn Publishing will also be taking place. Open Mon-Fri 10am-6.30pm, Sat 11am-2pm. 3812 Gallery, 21 Ryder Street, St. James’s, SW1Y 6PX. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the 3812 Gallery website.
- Now until 19 January 2020 : The Immersive Wolf Of Wall Street
Enjoy a taste of ’90s high-flying Wall Street hedonism with an immersive theatre production, adapted from the hit film. Expect a restaurant, bars, supercars and more. Over 18s only. Dress code: 90s American office attire. Times vary. Tickets: £58-£100. 5-15 Sun Street, City of London, EC2M 2PT. Nearest station: Moorgate or Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the Immersive Wolf website.
- Now until 23 February 2020 : Secret Cinema presents Stranger Things
Step into the Upside Down as Secret Cinema bring this ’80s sci-fi horror to live for an immersive, cinematic experience. Times vary. Tickets: £52-£120. At a secret east London location to be revealed to ticket holders. For more information and tickets, visit the Secret Cinema website.
- Now until 31 March 2020 : Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds – The Immersive Experience
A new immersive experience from DotDotLondon. Inspired by the classic story, travel back in time to Victorian London and the Martian invasion of 1898. Experience immersive theatre, virtual reality, augmented reality, holograms and other cutting-edge technology. Times vary. Tickets: £39.50-£84.50. The Old Metal Exchange, 56 Leadenhall Street, City of London, EC3A 2BJ. Nearest station: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For more information and booking, visit DotDotLondon. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the DotDotLondon’s previous experience Somnai.
- Now until 3 May 2020 : Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh
Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt, an exhibition features over 150 priceless treasures from the boy King. Opening hours vary. Tickets: Adult: £28.50/ £24.50. Children: £19.50/£16.50. Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 4RY. Nearest station: Sloane Square. For tickets, visit the Saatchi Gallery website.
- Now until June 2020 : Sculpture In The City 2019/2020
Free public art exhibition, bringing contemporary pieces to the streets and spaces of the City of London. Free. At various sites around the Square Mile. Nearest stations: Fenchurch Street, Monument or Liverpool Street. For more information and a map of the artworks, visit the Sculpture in the City website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the 2019/2020 exhibition.
For a guide to London’s outdoor ice rinks this festive season, click here.
Posted on 30 Nov 2019, in Christmas, Families, Festivals, London, Museums, Tourist Attractions and tagged Families, school holidays, Things to do in London, What's On Guide. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.