Category Archives: Christmas

Festive fun, attractions and things to do over the Christmas and New Year period.

Lightopia 2022 gallery | Festive light show returns to Crystal Palace Park

Guide to what’s on in London in January 2023

Find out what’s on in the capital this month, including Winter Lights at Canary Wharf, the London Short Film Festival and the launch of the Vault Festival.

Lightopia

Happy New Year! 2023 is here at last after a challenging 2022 for many. While the cost of living crisis is unfortunately looking set to rumble on for a while yet, there are some free events to keep your entertained. January is famously a dark and cold winter month, so expect some illuminations, such as the hugely popular Winter Lights festival in Docklands, to brighten up proceedings. Meanwhile, London’s equivalent to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Waterloo’s Vault Festival is returning to the arches for the 11th year.

There’s also still some festive outdoor ice rinks on around town, check out this guide for more information.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 January 2023 : New Year’s Day Parade

Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to gather to watch 10,000 performers from around the world. Starts from Piccadilly’s Berkeley Street at 12pm, ending at Parliament Square at 3.30pm. Free. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus, Westminster or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Parade website. 🐻

  • Now until 2 January 2023 : Gingerbread City

The Museum of Architecture returns with another Gingerbread City. Over 100 architects, artists, designers and engineers create five miniature cities made entirely of gingerbread and icing. There are also daily gingerbread house-making workshops. Open Mon-Sat: 9am-9pm, Sun: 9am-6pm. Tickets: Adults £15, Under 12s £10. 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, SW1X 8JU. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Gingerbread City website. 🐻

  • Now until 2 January 2023 : Lightopia Festival

The award-winning festival of lights is return to the capital, but this time to south London’s Crystal Palace. Talk a winter walk through a light display with illuminations, interactive displays and installations. Open 5pm-10pm (last entry 8.30pm). Tickets: Adults £19.50/£24.50, Child 3-15yrs £13/£16.50. Crystal Palace Park, Thicket Road, Crystal Palace, SE19 2GA. Nearest stations: Crystal Palace or Penge West. For more information and booking, visit the Lightopia website. Check out Metro Girl’s gallery of the festival. 🐻 

  • Now until 2 January 2023 : Winter Festival Brent Cross

Take a break from your Christmas shopping at the Winter Festival, featuring Santa’s Grotto, ice rink, fun fair rides and food and drink. Open Mon-Fri 4pm-9pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-9pm (From 17 December onwards, opening times extend to 12pm-9pm daily). Entry: £3. Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Brent Cross, NW4 3FP. Nearest station: Brent Cross. For more information and booking, visit the Winter Festival Brent Cross website. 🐻

  • Now until 2 January 2023 : Winter Wonderland

The south-east corner of Hyde Park is transformed into a festive fair with rides, food and drink stalls, ice rink, the Magical Ice Kingdom, the Giant Wheel, Bar Ice, Real Ice Slide, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, Ice Sculpting Workshops, Santa Land, Bavarian Village, and more. Open daily 10am-10pm. Tickets (must be pre-booked) Standard £5, Peak £7.50, Off-peak free. Entrance fee waived if you spend over £25 on attractions, rides or games in advance. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Victoria, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website. 🐻

  • Now until 3 January 2023 : Christmas @ Kenwood

The fabulous grounds and buildings at Kenwood will be lit up in a Christmas light trail. There will also be festive food and drink. From 4.30pm-9.30pm. Tickets: Adults £29.50, Children £22.50. Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, NW3 7JR. Nearest stations: Highgate or Hampstead. For tickets, visit the Christmas at Kenwood website. 🐻

  • Now until 3 January 2023 : The Magic of Christmas

London Zoo are hosting a series of festive events alongside the usual animal enclosures. Meet Santa, visit the Polar Post Room, enjoy Christmas festivities, animal crafts, Christmas-themed animal talks, marshmallow toasting and more. Open 10am-4pm. General entry: Adults range from £26.50-£33, Children 3-15yrs £17.25-£21.45. Additional charges apply for some activities. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website. 🐻

  • 6 – 8 January 2023 : RuPaul’s DragCon UK

Meet your favourite Drag Race icons from the UK and abroad, such as Lawrence Chaney, The Vivenne, Tia Kofi, Yvie Oddly, Baga Chipz, Danny Beard, Cheryl Hole, Jaida Essence Hall, Jinkx Monsoon, Kita Mean, Krystal Versace, Michelle Visage, and many more. Featuring catwalks, live performances, a DJ set from RuPaul, panel discussions and more. Open Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets from £60, Children age 8yrs and under free. ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Custom House or Prince Regent. For more information, visit the RuPaul’s DragCon UK website. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in December 2022

Find out what festive events and exhibitions are on in London this month.

It’s Christmaaasssss!

This year has flown by and it’s finally December! After two pared-back Decembers thanks to the pandemic-that-should-not-be-named, many will be making up for lost time by fully embracing the festive season this year. However, with the cost of living crisis rumbling on, plenty of Londoners will be looking for more affordable celebrations to share with friend and families in the run-up to Christmas.

Among the events on in the capital this December include illumination and light trails, festive cinematic experiences, and many events celebrating food and drink on the most gluttonous time of the year.

There’s also opportunities for alfresco ice skating or shopping at one of London’s many Christmas markets.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 December 2022 : Christmas Late Night Shopping & Workshops @ Japan House

Japan House is opening its doors for an evening of demonstrations, workshops, and tastings of Japanese food and drink, as well as the opportunity to learn about Japanese card making and gift wrapping. 6pm-9pm. Free entry. Japan House London, 101-111 Kensington High Street, Kensington, W8 5SA. Nearest station: High Street Kensington. For more information, visit the Japan House London website.

  • 1 – 4 December 2022 : Sparkle in the Park 2022

The Royal Borough of Greenwich’s annual light trail moves to a new location this year. Along with the lights, there will also be festive food and drink. From 4pm-9pm. Free entry. Well Hall Pleasaunce Park, Well Hall Road, Eltham, SE9 6SN. Nearest station: Eltham. For more information, visit the Greenwich Council website.

  • 2, 9 and 16 December 2022 : Hackney Christmas Beer Festival

Sample beer from over 20 breweries, alongside cocktails, mulled wine, street food, and DJs on three consecutive Fridays. 6pm-10pm. Free entry. Bohemia Place Market, Hackney, E8 1DU. Nearest station: Hackney Central. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

  • 2 – 4 December 2022 : Festive Fayre @ Hampton Court Palace

The courtyards of the historic royal palace will be transformed into a foodies’ paradise, with artisan food and drink, gift stalls, and carol services. From 10am-6pm. Tickets (included with palace admission): Adults from £26.10, Children from £13, Under 5s free. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court. For booking, visit the Hampton Court Palace website. 🐻

  • 2 – 25 December 2022 : Shadow Play

Art installation sees shadow images and stories celebrating London’s diverse communities light up the windows of the Royal Albert Wharf. From 4pm-10pm. Free. Royal Albert Wharf, Dock Walk, E16 2GU. Nearest station: Gallions Reach. For more information, visit the Royal Docks website. 🐻

  • 2 December 2022 – 3 January 2023 : Christmas @ Kenwood

The fabulous grounds and buildings at Kenwood will be lit up in a Christmas light trail. There will also be festive food and drink. From 4.30pm-9.30pm. Tickets: Adults £29.50, Children £22.50. Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath, NW3 7JR. Nearest stations: Highgate or Hampstead. For tickets, visit the Christmas at Kenwood website. 🐻

  • 2 December 2022 – 31 January 2023 : Avora – A New World Cocktail Experience

Step into an immersive cocktail experience, featuring theartical sets, a talented cast of actors and unique cocktails. Over 18s only. Open Tues-Wed: 6pm–10:45pm, Thur 6pm-11:45pm, Fri 4pm-11.45pm, Sat 12pm-11.45pm, Sun 2pm-7.45pm. Tickets: £47 (includes 3 cocktails). Rosewood Building, Hackney Road, Hoxton, E2 8GY. Nearest station: Hoxton. For tickets, visit the Avora website.

  • 3 – 4 December 2022 : London’s Greatest Weekends

The Museum of London marks its last weekend at its London Wall museum site before its big move with a festival-themed celebrations. Exploring music from the ’70s to present day, a late-night film festival, performances from the Walking Theatre Company and more. All ages welcome. Daily from 10am. Free entry. Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest station: Barbican or St Pauls. For more information, visit the MoL website. 🐻

  • 3 December 2022 – 2 January 2023 : Gingerbread City

The Museum of Architecture returns with another Gingerbread City. Over 100 architects, artists, designers and engineers create five miniature cities made entirely of gingerbread and icing. There are also daily gingerbread house-making workshops. Open Mon-Sat: 9am-9pm, Sun: 9am-6pm. Tickets: Adults £15, Under 12s £10. 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, SW1X 8JU. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Gingerbread City website. 🐻

  • 4 December 2022 : Soul Royalty Winter Festival

Free evening of music in the courtyard of Devonshire Square, curated and headlined by Zalon, showcasing young emerging talent in soul, funk and reggae music. 4.30pm-9pm. Free to attend, but register on Eventbrite in advance. Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

  • 5 – 11 December 2022 : Floating Film Festival

Cosy up on a deckchair with a blanket and watch classic Christmas films against the backdrop of St Katharine Docks. Screenings at 7pm and 2pm on weekends. Tickets: £16.76-£32.93.St Katharine Docks, 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway. For more information, visit the St Kats website. 🐻

  • 7 – 26 December 2022 : Palace of Light

Follow a light and lantern trail around the gardens of Hampton Court Palace. Street food and drink available from KERB. From 5.15pm-8.15pm. Tickets: Light trail only: Adult: £14.50, Child: £9.50 (palace & trail combi tickets also available). Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court. For booking, visit the Hampton Court Palace website. 🐻

  • 10 December 2022 : All the Wonder of Jermyn Street

 Jermyn Street in St James will be closed to traffic for one day only for a festive celebration. Featuring lights, live entertainment, stilt walkers, craft workshops, pop-up stores and KERB street food market. 12pm-6pm. Free to attend. Jermyn Street, St James, SW1Y. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Green Park. For more information, visit the Regent Street website. 🐻

  • Now until 11 December 2022 : Supermodels exhibition

Architectural and design studio Piercy & Co presents an exhibition of its architectural models. Open Mon-Fri 12pm-7pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm. Free entry. Jahn Court, Regent Quarter, 34 York Way, King’s Cross, N1 9AB. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Piercy & Co website.

Read the rest of this entry

Guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs 2022

Discover festive markets and fairs in central, north, south, east, and west London in November and December 2022.

Visit one of London’s Christmas markets

Are you ready to shop till you drop this Christmas? If you’re looking for something a bit more atmospheric than a department store or high street chain, then one of London’s Christmas markets or fairs may just be for you.

Whether you live in east, west, north, or south, London, or are just visiting the capital, there’s plenty of festive shopping opportunities around town. This season the capital will see the return of some popular, long-term markets, such as the Southbank Centre Winter Market or Winter Wonderland, while many local communities, museums and charities are hosting one-off or weekend long fairs.

Many of the markets and fairs have free entry, while some charge a small entry fee to raise money for charity. Some also offer Christmas activities, including crafting workshops, carol-singing and Santa’s Grottoes.

Discover London’s best Christmas markets and fairs this 2022 festive season:

Long-term Christmas markets in London

Some markets are opening throughout the run-up to Christmas, with some still going into the new year. Most of these markets will close earlier than usual on Christmas Eve and be closed all day on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

  • 3 November 2022 – 8 January 2023 : Southbank Centre Winter Market

Shop at riverside chalets selling festive food, drink, gifts and treats on the South Bank. Open Sun-Thur 11am–10pm, Fri & Sat 11am–11pm. Free entry. Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • 10 November – 24 December 2022 : Kingston Christmas Market

Over 40 wooden cabins will be selling festive food, drink and gifts. Open Sun-Wed -10am-6pm, Tues-Sat 10am-8pm. Free entry. Market is located across two sites: The first in between Clarence Street and High Street, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1. Nearest station: Kingston. For more information, visit the Kingston Christmas Market website.

  • 15 November 2022 – 2 January 2023 : Christmas By The River

Annual festive market featuring food, drink, craft and gift stalls across The Scoop More London, Hay’s Galleria and London Bridge City Pier. There will also be choir performances, outdoor film screenings and local community activations. Open daily 11am-10pm. Free entry. Queen’s Walk and Hay’s Galleria, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • 18 November 2022 – 2 January 2023 : Christmas Markets @ Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park and offers a German market selling gifts, as well as food and drink. You can bring the whole family and get into the festive spirit with a fun fair, circus, live shows and an ice rink. Open daily 10am-10pm. Tickets (must be pre-booked) Standard £5, Peak £7.50, Off-peak free. Entrance fee waived if you spend over £25 on attractions, rides or games in advance. Hyde Park, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.

  • 26 November – 23 December 2022 : Canopy Christmas Market

Festive edition of the popular Canopy Market, with shopping stalls, food and drink, and live music. Open Tues–Thur 12-7pm, Fri 12pm-8pm and Sat-Sun 12pm-6pm. Free entry. West Handyside Canopy, King’s Cross, N1C 4BH. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website.

  • 27 November – 17 December 2022 : London Love Affair’s Christmas Market

Daily Christmas market on Tower Hill, featuring live music, mulled wine, festive food and shopping stalls. Open Thu-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun-Wed 11am-9pm. Free entry. The Crescent, Tower Hill, EC3N 1JY. Nearest stations: Tower Hill or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the London Love Affair website.

 

One-off or short-term London Christmas fairs and markets

 

  • 17 – 20 November 2022 : Swedish Church Christmas Fair

London’s Swedish church opens their doors, offering plenty of Scandi treats, crafts and gifts. There will also be a cafe serving Swedish food and glögg. Open Thu 17 12pm-8pm, Sat 19 11am-6pm, Sun 20 11.30am-5pm. Entry: £3. Swedish Church, 6 Harcourt Street, Marylebone, W1H 4AG. Nearest station: Edgware Road or Marylebone. For more information, visit the church website.

  • 20 November 2022 : Blackheath Christmas Fair

Christmas charity fair selling festive gifts, gourmet food and drink, raffles and more. Open 10.30am- 4.45pm. Entry: £2.50. Blackheath Halls, 3 Lee Road, Blackheath, SE3 9RQ. Nearest station: Blackheath. For more information, visit the Blackheath Halls website. Christmas Mince pies

  • 24 – 26 November 2022 : Novikov Christmas Street Market

Mayfair restaurant Novikov host their annual festive market, featuring stalls, house DJs, Champagne Ice Bar, carol singers, food market, Ashai Bar, as well as Santa and his reindeer. Open 11am-9pm. Free entry. Mayfair Place, Mayfair, W1J. Nearest station: Green Park. For more information, visit the Novikov website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to London’s open-air ice rinks this winter 2022/2023

Find out prices, opening times and transport details for the capital’s alfresco, pop-up ice rinks this Christmas and winter season.

One of the most festive activities you can do in London is glide – or stumble – across one of London’s many pop-up ice rinks. Some of the capital’s most stunning buildings and palaces provide the backdrop to temporary outdoor ice rinks during the winter season. Along with the ice, you can often expect hot toddies, Christmas food, and special events, such as ice discos. Some rinks offer lessons for those new to the sport or lacking confidence in their balance.

This year, the Natural History Museum is no longer hosting a rink, however there’s a new addition at the recently-opened Battersea Power Station complex.

Here’s a guide to London’s temporary outdoor ice rinks this 2022/2023 season:

  • 22 October 2022 – 25 February 2023 : Canary Wharf Ice Rink

London’s longest outdoor rink is in the capital’s financial centre and comes with a roof so offers rain-proof fun! There’s also an off-piste bar serving food and drink. Open daily. Sessions last 50 minutes. Tickets only available online. Tickets: Adults and over 13yrs £19.95, Children 3-12 yrs £14.95. Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For booking, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.

  • 28 October 2022 – January 2023 : Skylight London (Tobacco Dock)

Skate on London’s rooftops with views of the City of London’s skyscrapers. Features alfresco and covered bars, igloos, and street food. Open Thu-Sun only. Free entry to Skylight. Skating tickets: £15 (45 minutes inc. skate hire). Skylight (Pennington Street entrance), Tobacco Quay, Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For booking and more information, visit the Skylight London website.

  • 11 November 2022 – 8 January 2023 : Glide @ Battersea Power Station

The newest addition to London’s pop-up ice rinks is set against the Art Deco backdrop of the renovated Battersea Power Station complex. Nearby you can enjoy live entertainment, vintage fun fair rides or food and drink. Open Mon-Fri 10am-10pm, Sat-Sun 9am-11pm. Tickets: Adults £12-£19.80, Children 12 yrs and under £8-£12.75. Battersea Power Station, Circus Road West, Battersea, SW8 5BN. Nearest stations: Battersea Power Station, Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station ice rink website.

  • 16 November 2022 – 15 January 2023 : Skate @ Somerset House

One of London’s most popular outdoor rinks returns to the Neo-Classical courtyard of Somerset House. There will also be rinkside food and drink, skating lessons, club nights and more. Open daily 9.30am-9.30pm. Tickets: Adults £10-£22. Somerset House, Strand, Westminster, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For booking, visit the Somerset House website.

Somerset House ice rink © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Skate in the historic Georgian courtyard of Somerset House

  • 17 November 2022 – 8 January 2023 : Queen’s House Ice Rink

An ice rink fit for a queen is situated outside the majestic Palladian Queen’s House in Greenwich, with views towards the Old Royal Naval College and the Thames beyond. Open 10am-9pm. Tickets: Adults from £16, Children from £10. Queen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich, SE10 9NF. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For tickets, visit the Royal Museums Greenwich website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in November 2022

Check out November’s best events and exhibitions, including London Mela, London Jazz Festival, Stylist Live and more.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018The nights are darker and it’s all getting a bit cooler. Although many may be gearing up for Christmas, there’s still plenty of non-festive special events and festivals on across the capital in November, such as the London Jazz Festival, the Lord Mayor’s Show and Stylist Live.

Although Christmas isn’t until next month, the festive preparation really ramps up in November for those super-organised, with events like Ideal Home Show Christmas, Spirit of Christmas and the Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 6 November 2022 : Winter Art & Antiques Fair

Arts and antiques event, featuring over 70 dealers showcasing over 20,000 pieces, ranging in price from £100 to £500,000. Open Tues-Sun 10.30am–6pm. Tickets: Tues-Fri – Adults £23.50, Children 13-16yrs £16. Weekends – Adults £25.50, Children 13-16 yrs £18, 12 and under free. National Hall, Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Olympia Antiques website.

  • 3 – 5 November 2022 : Oktoberfest London 2022

Celebrate the German beer festival with plenty of Bavarian food, beer, and more. Open Thu-Fri 4pm-10.30pm, Sat 11am-10.30pm. Tickets: General admission £5-£10, Bavarian £26-£29 (inc 1 Mass of Bavarian FestBeer, Bahlsen snack and Bratwurst in bread). Lillie Road Recreation Ground, Fulham, SW6 7PD. Nearest station: Hammersmith or Barons Court. For more information, visit the Oktoberfest London website.

  • 3 November 2022 – 8 January 2023 : Winter Festival @ Southbank Centre

Winter market, The Curling Club, pop-up food and drink experiences, including Jimmy’s Lodge igloos and festive shows, such as Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Christmas Carol and Hey Duggee – The Live Theatre Show. Times and prices vary. Free entry to winter market. South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Waterloo East or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • Now until 3 November 2022 : Jurassic World – The Exhibition

Immerse yourself in scenes inspired by the classic film franchise as you get up close with dinosaurs. Open Mon-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 9am-6pm. Tickets: Adults from £26, Children from £18.50. ExCeL London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, E16 1XL. Nearest stations: Custom House or Prince Regent. For more information, visit the Jurassic World Exhibition website. 🐻

  • 5 – 29 November 2022 : Wimbledon International Music Festival

A host of world-class musicians gather in Wimbledon for a series of classical, opera and jazz concerts and recitals. Artists include The Academy Choir, Philharmonia, The Brodsky Quartet, Lortie-Mercier and Chineke!. Ticket prices vary. At various venues in Wimbledon, including St. John’s Church, St Mary’s Church, Sacred Heart Church, New Wimbledon Theatre, and Trinity Church. Nearest stations: Raynes Park or Wimbledon. For more information and tickets, visit the WIMF website.

  • 6 November 2022 : Veteran Car Run

Watch the beginning of 64 mile route from the capital to Brighton. Get up early to watch 500 classic cars setting off from Hyde Park Corner between 6.56am and 8.15am. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Route starts at Serpentine Road in Hyde Park, past Buckingham Palace, over Westminster Bridge and south via Kennington, Brixton and Streatham. Free to spectate. Hyde Park Corner, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Veteran Car Run website. 🐻

  • Now until 6 November 2022 : Spirit of Christmas

For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season from over 700 independent boutiques and artisan makers. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Open Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Thur: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults start from £23.50 (from £27.50 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £18, 12 and under free. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website. 🐻

  • 9 November 2022 : Belgravia Christmas Lights Switch

Watch the Christmas lights being switched on, along with live music, festive floral displays, canine fancy dress competition, Santa Claus, food and drink, shopping promotions and in-store events. From 5.50pm. In and around Elizabeth Street, Motcomb Street, and Pimlico Road, Belgravia, SW1X. Nearest stations: Victoria or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Belgravia London website.

  • 9 – 13 November 2022 : Country Living Christmas

Prepare for the festive season with a host of Christmas stalls and events, including expert talks, food hall, workshops, shopping emporium, meet-the-makers and champagne bar. Open Wed-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Tickets: Adults from £20, Children 5-16yrs £9. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the County Living Fair website🐻 Read the rest of this entry

Merry Christmas to MoaMG readers | What’s on in London if you’re staying put

A round-up of what’s on in London during the 2021 festive period.

Just a short blog post to wish readers of Memoirs of a Metro Girl a safe and Merry Christmas and a happy New Year! As the pandemic continues to rumble on, some people may be isolating over the festive period or scaling down their plans – I am certainly doing the latter.

If you’re like me and are staying in the London over the Christmas and New Year period, there are still plenty of events and activities on around town to keep you entertained. Of course, many venues may have amended their Covid-19 precautions, such as limiting numbers, requiring masks and asking for proof of vaccination or negative tests. Other venues have decided to close as well so always check their websites or social media accounts before heading out.

Here’s some ideas of what’s on in London during Christmas and New Year:

– Follow the Illuminature lights trail around the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes

– Fans of the Fab Four can check out unseen photographs of The Beatles at the Shapero Modern gallery in Mayfair.

– Check out the Winterfest light festival in Wembley.

– Try out a spot of curling in King’s Cross.

– Head to the theatre to watch one of the capital’s pantomimes, ballets or other festive shows.

– Enjoy the contemporary art at the Sculpture in the City exhibition in the City of London.

 – Go skating on one of London’s outdoor ice rinks.

– Peruse the eclectic art at the last few days of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.

– Bring your kids to pose with their favourite movie heroes at the Scenes in the Square trail in Leicester Square.

Stay safe and enjoy the festive period!

Metro Girl

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Illuminature @ WWT London | Walking in a Winter (Wetland) Wonderland

Discover the London Wetlands Centre after dark on a festive trail

Illuminature at the WWT London

There are many festive light experiences on in London at the moment. However, most of these illuminated trails don’t allow visitors the chance to witness nature after dark at the same time.

Recently, we went along to the London Wetlands Centre in Barnes, to check out their winter lights trail passing by the habitats of its wildlife. While other nocturnal neon experiences tend to be Christmas themed, the Wetlands Centre have turn to their feathered inhabitants and other creatures for inspiration, with light sculpture of birds dotted along the trail. Among our group were my six-year-old niece and nine-year-old nephew, who loved dancing under the rainfall lights and hopping from lily pad to pad, which lit up in green in response to human feet. There are also opportunities to control some illuminations with interactive buttons, as well as a spotlight shed to hide in to create-your-own shadow animals. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in December 2021

Find out what festive events and exhibitions are on in London over the Christmas 2021 period.

Christmas tree in Hay's Galleria, LondonDecember is finally here! We’re sure many of us can’t wait for this difficult year to be over after another long struggle through pandemic and Brexit impacts. As usual, many festive events already started in November, but they really ramp up in the run-up to Christmas.

Among the events on in the capital this December include festive cinematic experiences, illumination and light trails, and many events celebrating food and drink on the most gluttonous time of the year.

As you would expect, there’s plenty of family-friendly activities as many relatives are reunited after spending last Christmas apart. Theatreland is well and truly back in action with a host of pantomimes, ballets and other Christmas shows to keep the whole family entertained. There’s also opportunities for alfresco ice skating or shopping at one of London’s many Christmas markets.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 5 December 2021 : Sparkle in the Park

Follow a festive light trail around the park alongside fire art installations, before enjoying live music, children’s shows, a Christmas disco, market stalls and hot food and drink. From 4pm-9pm. Free entry. Maryon Park, Maryon Road, Charlton, SE7 8EN. Nearest stations: Charlton or Woolwich Dockyard. For more information, visit the Royal Greenwich website. 🐻

  • 1 – 19 December 2021 : Cinema in the Snow

Pop Up Screens are bringing their festive, cinematic experience to south London. Step through a magical wardrobe into a winter wonderland, where you can watch classic Christmas films and newer festive releases on the big screen (indoors!). Licensed bar and snacks available. Tickets: Under 12s £12, Adults £22. Brockwell Park (Lido gate), Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, SE24 0PA. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For booking, visit the Pop Up Screens website. 🐻

  • 1 – 30 December 2021 : Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Movie Spectacular

Cinematic experience experts Backyard Cinema are launching a third festive spectacular away from their permanent home in Wandsworth. Watch one of the three classic Christmas films (Love Actually, Home Alone or Elf) along with a live choir and performances by George The Poet in a stunning Art Deco setting. Times vary. Tickets start from £15.  Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, Limehouse, E1 0HX. Nearest station: Limehouse. For tickets, visit the Backyard Cinema website. 🐻

  • 2 December 2021 : Christmas Lights Walk @ Marylebone

Explore the light installations of the Baker Street Quarter, telling the story of famous people and places from the district. Starts at 6pm. Free. Starts at Punch Tavern, 55 Baker Street, Marylebone, W1U 7DA. Nearest station: Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Baker Street Quarter website. 🐻

  • 3 – 5 December 2021 : Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre

A celebration of festive food in the grounds of historic Hampton Court Palace. Featuring street food, pop-up bars, artisanal producers, live music, and more. 10am-5pm. Tickets (inc entry to courtyard and gardens): Adults £25.30, Children 5-15yr £12.60, Under 5s free. 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. 🐻

  • 4 December 2021 : Rumblin’ Cocktails Rum Education @ Museum of London Docklands

Rum cocktail experts Rumblin’ host a history and mixology workshop in the old Rum Store. Explore the heritage of the tipple, before mixing your own and take a bottle of rum punch home. Over 18s only. From 5.30pm. Tickets: £55. Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14 4AL. Nearest stations: West India Quay or Canary Wharf. For booking, visit the Museum of London website.

  • Now until 4 December 2021 : Pigs Ear Festival 2021

Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA, featuring over 230 real ales plus ciders, perries and bottled beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Open 12pm-10.30pm. Tickets: £3 (CAMRA members), £5 (general). 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 2021 – 9 January 2022 : The Gingerbread City 2021

The Museum of Architecture returns with another Gingerbread City. Over 100 architects, artists and engineers create a mini city made entirely of gingerbread and icing. In addition to the exhibition of the final creation, there is also the opportunity to take part in gingerbread house-making workshops. Open daily 9am-9pm. Tickets (45 min sessions): Adults and over 12 yrs: £14, Children 3-12yrs £8.50. 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, SW1X 8JU. Nearest station: Knightsbridge or Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Gingerbread City website. 🐻

  • Now until 5 December 2021 : Christmas Floating Film Festival

Cosy up on a sofa or deckchair on a floating pontoon to watch your favourite festive films against the backdrop of St Katharine Docks. Screenings at 7pm (weekday and weekends), 2pm (weekends). Tickets: £16.76-£32.93. St Katharine Docks, 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway. For more information, visit the St Kats website. 🐻

  • 7 – 9 December 2021 : Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen

Get inspired for your festive food with live demonstrations, tastings, masterclasses, tips and tricks at Borough Market. Events from 11am-4pm. Free entry. Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.

  • 8 December 2021 : Festive evening @ Leadenhall Market

Enjoy Christmas workshops, live music and late-night shopping at historic Leadenhall Market. Open 6pm-10pm. Free to attend, but register for a place on one of the workshops via Eventbrite. Leadenhall Market (access from Gracechurch Street, Lime Street and Whittington Avenue), City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website.

  • 8 December 2021 – 3 January 2022 : Palace of Stardust @ Hampton Court Palace

A spectacular new light trail illuminates the historic Hampton Court Palace, as it winds around the gardens. Expect illuminations, projects and festive food and drink. Open daily 4pm-8pm (closed 11, 24-26 Dec). Tickets: Adults £12.50, Children £8, under 5s free. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). To book, visit the Hampton Court Palace website. 🐻

  • 9 December 2021 : Miracle on Leake Street 2021

A one-off Christmas event comes to the colourful, graffiti-decorated tunnels of Leake Street. Featuring market stalls, free wreath-making workshops, face paint, activations, food and drink, comedy and cabaret teasers of the Vault Festival 2022 and a free screening of Home Alone. From 6pm-9pm. Free entry. Leake Street tunnels, Lambeth, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Lambeth North or Waterloo. For more information, visit the We Are Waterloo website.

  • 9 December 2021 – 16 January 2022 : The Beatles exhibition @ Shapero Modern

Exhibition of newly-discovered photographs of The Beatles filming A Hard Day’s Night in 1964. Open Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm. Free entry. Shapero Modern, 41-43 Maddox Street, Mayfair, W1S 2PD. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Shapero Modern website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details.

  • Now until 9 January 2022 : Wave @ Greenwich Peninsula

Squidsoup presents an interactive sculptural light installation, offering an audio-visual experience. Open 7pm-10pm. Free entry, but queues expected at busy times. Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0SQ. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Greenwich Peninsula website. 🐻

Enchanted Eltham lights up the grounds of Eltham Palace

  • 9 – 30 December 2021 : 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. Open Thu-Sun 4.30pm-9pm (staggered entry times). Tickets: Adults £14/£16, Children 5-15 yrs £9.50/£11.50. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5QE. Nearest stations: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit the English Heritage website. 🐻

  • 10 December 2021 : Paper Craft Masterclass – Christmas Card Making

Using images from the British Library’s collections, design and make your own Christmas cards under the guidance of expert Shelagh McCarthy. From 10:30am-4.30pm. Tickets: £65, seniors, students or young people (18-25yrs) £55. Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest stations: King’s Cross St Pancras or Euston. For booking, visit the British Library website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs 2021

Discover festive markets and fairs in central, north, south, east, and west London in November and December 2021.

With Christmas getting closer all the time and depressing warnings about ‘supply issues’ at the big chain stores, the thought of in-person shopping from independent traders is more appealing than ever. What better way to pick up some gifts for your loved ones, while getting an injection of festive spirit at one of London’s many Christmas markets and fairs.

Whether you live in north, south, east or west London, or just visiting the capital, there’s plenty of festive shopping opportunities around town. This season we’ll see the return of some popular, long-term markets, while many local communities, museums and charities are hosting one-off or weekend fairs.

Many of the markets and fairs have free entry, while some charge a small entry fee to raise money for charity. Be aware that some events are asking visitors to register for a free ticket online so they can control crowd numbers as the pandemic continues.

Here’s a guide to London’s best Christmas markets and fairs this 2021.

Long-term Christmas markets in London

Some markets are opening throughout the run-up to Christmas, with some still going into the new year. Most of these markets will close earlier than usual on Christmas Eve and be closed all day on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

  • 4 November – 24 December 2021 : Southbank Centre Winter Market

Wooden chalets selling festive food, drink, gifts and treats alongside the river on the South Bank. Open daily 11am-11pm. Free. Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  •  12 November 2021 – 9 January 2022 : Christmas in Leicester Square

The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market in Bavarian-style huts. There will also be a Santa’s Grotto for kids and a Spiegeltent, which will host a production of La Clique. Open Mon-Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. Free entry to the market, 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.

  • 16 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Christmas By The River 2021

Annual festive market featuring food, drink, craft and gift stalls across The Scoop More London, Hay’s Galleria and London Bridge City Pier. Open daily 11am-10pm. Free entry. Queen’s Walk and Hay’s Galleria, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.

  • 18 November – 24 December 2021 : Kingston Christmas Market

Over 40 wooden cabins will be selling festive food, drink and gifts. Times TBC. Free entry. Market is located across two sites: The first in between Clarence Street and High Street, and the 2nd in front of All Saints Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1. Nearest station: Kingston. For more information, visit the Kingston Christmas Market website.

  • 19 November 2021 – 3 January 2022 : Winter Wonderland Market

Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park and offers a German market selling gifts, as well as food and drink. You can bring the whole family and get into the festive spirit with a fun fair, circus, live shows and an ice rink. Open daily 10am-10pm. General entry: (must be pre-booked) Peak £5-£7.50, Off-peak free. Entrance fee waived if you spend over £20 on attractions, rides or games in advance. Hyde Park, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.

 


One-off or short-term London Christmas fairs and markets

  • 1 – 7 November 2021: Spirit Of Christmas Fair

For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season from over 750 independent boutiques. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Open Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Thur: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults start from £21 (from £25 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £14 (£18 on the door), 12 and under free. Olympia Grand, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.

Visit one of London’s Christmas markets

  • 7 November and 4 – 5 December 2021 : Crafty Fox Christmas Market @ Mercato Metropolitano

Buy gifts directly from crafters and makers, enjoy food and drink from street food stalls or take part in a make-your-own-botanical-necklace workshop. 11am-5pm. Free entry. Mercato Metropolitano, 47 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6BD. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. For more information, visit the Crafty Fox website.

  • 10 November 2021 : Merry Marylebone

A festive evening to coincide with the Christmas lights switch-on with charity partner Mind Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster. Featuring retailer discounts, food and gift stalls, charity tombola, wreath-making, live music, Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, with a celebrity switching on the lights. 3pm-7pm. Free to attend. Marylebone Village (Marylebone High Street, Paddington Street and Devonshire Street), W1. Nearest stations: Bond Street, Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website.

  • 10 – 14 November 2021 : Country Living Christmas

Prepare for the festive season with a host of Christmas stalls and events, including expert talks, workshops, food hall, shopping emporium, meet-the-makers and champagne bar. Open Wed-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Tickets: Adults from £20, Children 5-16yrs £9. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the County Living Fair website.

  • 10 – 14 and 22 – 26 November 2021 : Finnish Church Christmas Fair

Christmas market featuring live music, Finnish treats and gifts, food and drink from the cafeteria. Opening hours vary. Free entry. Finnish Church, 33 Albion Street, Rotherhithe, SE16 7JG. Nearest station: Rotherhithe. For more information, visit the Finnish Church website. Read the rest of this entry