Category Archives: Christmas

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

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

London pantomimes, ballets and Christmas shows 2021

Find out which Christmas shows are on in London this 2021/2022 season, including ticket prices, transport options and more.

Theatres on Shaftesbury AvenueEntertainment is back in the capital after a long absence due to the pandemic. And what better time to show your support for the arts, while being entertained with one of the many festive performances on in London.

From pantomimes to ballets to plays and ice-skating shows, there’s a wide selection of productions to suit many tastes. There’s even a few naughty adults-only pantomimes if you’re in the mood for some smut!

Curtain up times vary, but many pantomimes have matinees, including weekday performances for both school audiences and families during the school holidays.

Here’s a guide to London Christmas pantomimes, ballets and shows this 2021 season.

London pantomimes

  • 19 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Aladdin (Hammersmith)

Travel to Agrabah to find the Genie in a production starring Qasim Mahmood, Stephan Boyce, Kate Donnachie, Irvine Iqbal, Gracie McGonigal and Ellena Vincent. Tickets from £10. Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 0QL. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For tickets, visit the Lyric website.

  • 19 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 : The Queen of Hearts (Greenwich)

A traditional pantomime starring Andrew Pollard and Anthony Spargo. Times vary. Tickets: Adults from £32.50, Children from £16.50. Greenwich Theatre, Croom’s Hill, Greenwich, SE10 8ES. Nearest station: Greenwich or Cutty Sark (DLR). For tickets, visit the Greenwich Theatre website.

  • 20 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Jack and the Beanstalk (Hackney)

Bring your magic beans to the East End for a production starring ‘the doyen of dames’ Clive Rowe, among others. Tickets £10-£42. Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ. Nearest station: Hackney Central. For tickets, visit the Hackney Empire website.

  • 25 November 2021 – 6 January 2022 : Pricked (Vauxhall)

Billed as ‘Sleeping Beauty got Woke’, Pricked is a saucy adults-only panto. Shows at 7pm. Tickets: £20 (over 18s only). Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11 5HY. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall Tavern’s website.

  • 26 November 2021 – 8 January 2022 : Beowulf – An Epic Panto (Islington)

Charles Court Opera’s boutique pantomime brings the Medieval epic to the stage. Tickets: £16-£32. King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1QN. Nearest station: Angel or Highbury & Islington. For tickets, visit the King’s Head Theatre website.

  • 27 November – 31 December 2021 : Red Riding Hood (Stratford)

Hold on to your grannies as Red heads into the wood. Starring Maisey Bawden, Raphael Bushay, Ashley Goh, Jodie Jacobs, Luke Latchman, Phil Nichol and Elise Zavou. Offering performances both regular and socially distanced. Tickets £10-£35. Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford, E15 1BN. Nearest station: Stratford. For tickets, visit the Stratford East website.

  • 2 December 2021 – 1 January 2022 : Rapunzel – A Tangled Tale (Barking)

Let down your hair for a production of Rapunzel. Tickets: Adults £19, Children £17. The Broadway, Broadway, Barking, IG11 7LS. Nearest station: Barking. For tickets, visit the Broadway Barking website.

  • 3 December 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Cinderella (Richmond)

Strictly judge Anton du Beke stars as Buttons in the classic fairytale. Tickets range from £19-£47. Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9 1QJ. Nearest station: Richmond. For tickets, visit the ATG website.

  • 4 December 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Dick Whittington (Wimbledon)

Discover the story of the former Mayor of London, starring Shane Richie, Peter Piper and Hiba Elchikhe. Tickets start from £13. New Wimbledon Theatre, 93 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1QG. Nearest station: Wimbledon. For tickets, visit the ATG website.

  • 4 December 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Sleeping Beauty (Bromley)

All-star production starring Lee Mead, Bonnie Langford, Myra DuBois and Lloyd Hollett. Tickets: £20-£39.50 (child tickets £4 off depending on seat). Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley, BR1 1HA. Nearest station: Bromley South or Bromley North. For tickets, visit the Churchill Theatre website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in November 2021

Find out what events are on in the capital in November, including the Lord Mayor’s Show, motor shows, Christmas shopping events, and more.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Autumn is in full swing

November is here, the nights are drawing in, it’s getting colder… but on the bright side, it’s all getting a bit Christmassy. After last year’s lockdown, this year Londoners will be wanting to make up for lost time and prepare for a fabulous festive season. As well as host of Christmas shopping events, expect to see light shows and trails; the Lord Mayor’s Show; Oktoberfest, Diwali celebrations, music festivals and the return of Winter Wonderland.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 7 November 2021 : 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 600 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 £21 (from £25 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £14 (£18 on the door), 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. 🐻

  • 2 – 7 November 2021 : 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-Wed & Fri-Sat 11am–6pm, Thur 11am–9pm, Sun 11am–5pm. Tickets: Tues-Fri – Adults £21, Children 13-16yrs £14. Weekends – Adults £23 (advance, more on the door), Children 13-16 yrs £16, 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.

  • 2 – 7 November 2021 : Diwali @ Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf celebrates the Hindu festival Diwali with a floating flower installation. Lights on from 5pm-11pm. Free. Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website. 🐻

  • 3 – 14 November 2021 : UK Green Film Festival

Watch documentaries exploring environmental issues. The UK-wide festival will be hosting London screenings in Dalston. Times and prices vary. Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 2PB. Nearest station: Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction. For more information, visit the festival website.

  • 4 November 2021 : Diwali Festival @ Devonshire Square

Head to Devonshire Square to celebrate the Indian festival of lights. Featuring a dance show with Indian folk and classical dancers; complimentary tastings of Indian confectionary, Diwali canapes and tamarind soda drink from Cinnamon Kitchen; and the visual art of Rangoli lit by candles. 5.30pm-8pm. Free to attend, but register for a place through Eventbrite. Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

  • 4 November 2021 : Carnaby Christmas Shopping & Dining Party

Festive evening sees over 100 shops, boutiques and restaurants of the Carnaby district are offering 20% discounts, in-store events, free drinks and goodie bags. Carnaby Street’s festive light installation will also be switched on. 12pm-8pm. Register online for a free ticket. Carnaby London, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website. 🐻

  • 4 – 6 and 11 – 13 November 2021 : Oktoberfest London

Celebrate the German beer festival with plenty of Bavarian food, beer, and more. Open Thu-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm. Tickets: General admission £5-£15, Bavarian £21-£29 (inc 1 Mass of Bavarian FestBeer, Brezel snack and Bratwurst in bread). Dock X, Canada Water, 40 Surrey Quays Road, Docklands, SE16 7DX. Nearest station: Canada Water or Rotherhithe. For more information and tickets, visit the Oktoberfest London website.

  • 6 November 2021 : Regent Street Motor Show

Dozens of vintage cars from 125 years of motoring will be on display for the Regent Street Motorshow ahead of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run the following day. Featuring entertainment and interactive displays. The road will be closed to vehicle traffic. 10.30am-4pm. Free. Regent Street, W1B 5TD. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Regent Street Motor Show website. 🐻

  • 7 November 2021 : 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. 🐻

  • 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. 🐻

  • 11 November – 18 December 2021 : The Great Feast

A new music and food festival pops up at the Selfridges Hotel. Featuring Michelin-starred chefs, immersive dining, creative cocktails and live music. Over 18s only. Open 11-20 Nov: Thu-Sat 6pm-12am, 25-27 Nov: 12pm-3pm and 6pm-12am, 1-18 Dec: Wed-Sat 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am. Tickets: £20-£60. Old Selfridges Hotel, 1 Orchard St, Marylebone, W1H 6HJ. Nearest stations: Bond Street or Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit The Great Feast website.

  • 11 November – 30 December 2021 : Club Curling

Try your hand at curling as the winter sports pops up at King’s Cross for the festive season. Visitors can enjoy a 45 minute curling slot on one of the six synthetic ice rinks, before enjoying a cocktail at the bar. Open daily 11am-9pm. Tickets: Adults £5, Children under 12 free. Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information and booking, visit the King’s Cross website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for more details. 🐻

  • 12 – 14 November 2021 : Destination Star Trek

Europe’s official Star Trek convention comes to London, with the chance to see some of the series’ iconic faces, including George Takei, Kate Mulgrew, Jeri Ryan, Doug Jones, Robert Beltran, Marianna Hill, Mark Rolston, Alice Krige and more. Open Fri 2pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. Tickets: One day £29 (Sat or Sun), Weekend £44 (Sat & Sun), three day £54. Premium ticket packages also available. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information and tickets, visit the Destination Star Trek website. 🐻

  • 12 – 14 November 2021 : Balance Festival 2021

Wellness festival returns to the East End for a weekend of mindfulness, fitness, relaxation and more. Opening times vary (morning and afternoon sessions). Tickets vary depending on day and session. Adults start from £26.50 (half-day), from £50 (full-day). The Old Truman Brewery, 15 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, E1 6QR. Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Balance Festival website.

  • 12 – 21 November 2021 : EFG London Jazz Festival

International jazz stars gather at venues all over the capital, including Dave Holland and John Scofield; Nu Civilisation Orchestra; Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita; Gwenifer Raymound; Black Midi & Moor Mother; Robocobra Quartet & Archipelago; Archie Sheep and Jason Moran; and many more. Gigs range from free to ticketed. At various locations across London. For listings and bookings, visit the EFG London Jazz Festival website.

  • 12 – 28 November 2021 : 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 slots every 20 minutes from 5pm-7.40pm. Tickets: Adults £10, Children £7.50. Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website. 🐻

  • 13 November 2021 : Lord Mayor’s Show

The spectacle is known as the oldest and largest civic procession in the world and marks the new Lord Mayor of London in a three-mile procession. The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am, passes St Pauls before heading down Ludgate Hill to Fleet Street, then returns via the Victoria Embankment (approx 1.15pm-2.30pm) to Mansion House (arriving 2.30pm). Free to spectate. Nearest stations: Mansion House, Temple, Blackfriars, St Paul’s and Cannon Street. For more information visit the Lord Mayor’s Show website. 🐻

  • 13 – 28 November 2021 : 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 Sir Willard White, Imogen Cooper, The Tallis Scholars and Tango Club. Ticket prices vary. At various venues in Wimbledon, including King’s College School, Trinity United Reformed Church, St. John’s Church, Wimbledon College Hall, Wimbledon Synagogue. Nearest stations: Wimbledon or Raynes Park. For more information and tickets, visit the WIMF website.

  • 13 November 2021 – 16 January 2022 : Hogwarts in the Snow

Visit your favourite Harry Potter sets, such as the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley, Hagrid’s Hut and the Hogwarts castle, which have been transformed with snow for the festive season. Tickets from £47. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For more information and tickets, visit the WB Studio Tour website. 🐻

  • Now until 14 November 2021 : Remember the Future exhibition

Artists in residence will set up studio at Orleans House and explore in art ways we could fix the Earth’s ecological crisis. Among the artists taking part in the six-month project include Ackroyd & Harvey; Nestor Pestana; Bryony Benge-Abbott; Vicky Long and Eloise Moody. During the exhibition, there will also be workshops, talks, family activities and late night events. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Entry: Free (donations welcome). Orleans House Gallery, Orleans Road, Twickenham, TW1 3BL. Nearest station: St Margaret’s. For more information, visit the Orleans House Gallery website.

  • 17 November 2021 – 9 January 2022 : Christmas at Kew

Follow a magical trail around Kew Gardens, through tunnels of light, past dancing waterfalls, illuminations and the Fire Garden, and a light display at the Palm House. 4pm-10pm. Tickets: Standard advance adult: Off peak £21.50/Peak £26.50, Children: Off peak £14/peak £16.50. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry

Guide to London’s open-air ice rinks this winter 2021/2022

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

Natural History Museum ice rink © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The Natural History Museum ice rink is returning

After an absence last year due to the pandemic, London’s alfresco ice rinks are back again for the 2021 festive season. Some of the capital’s most iconic buildings are transforming their courtyards and outdoor spaces into winter sports venues. Along with pop-up ice rinks, many are accompanied by heated bars and stalls, selling festive food and drink to warm you up after a spot of ice skating.

This 2021/2022 season will be the last year ever for the Natural History Museum’s outdoor rink as the space is being transformed into an urban wildlife hub, while a bit further east, the Tower of London’s rink is also taking a hiatus until next year.

Most rinks are open daily during their seasonal sessions, including Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but are closed on Christmas Day.

Here’s a guide to London ice rinks – both outdoor and permanent – open this winter season.

London’s outdoor temporary rinks

  • 22 October 2021 – 16 January 2022 : Natural History Museum Ice Rink

One of the capital’s favourite open-air ice rink returns for the winter season for its final time. There is also a rink side café bar serving hot and cold drinks and meals. There is also a Penguin Skate Club, offering lessons for children aged 4-8yrs. Open 11am-10pm. Tickets: Adults from £12.65, Children from £8.80. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.

  • 23 October 2021 – 26 February 2022 : Ice Rink Canary Wharf

London’s longest open-air winter ice rink returns to Docklands after last year’s absence. There will also be the heated, Off Piste bar from Pravha serving drinks. Open daily 10am-10pm. Tickets (45 min sessions inc. skate hire): Adults and teens 13-18yrs £17.95, Children 4-12yrs £11.95. Canada Square Park, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For booking, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.

  • 11 November 2021 – TBC January 2022 : 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: TBC (45 minutes inc. skate hire). Skylight (Pennington Street entrance), Tobacco Quay, WappingE1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For booking and more information, visit the Skylight London website.

Somerset House ice rink © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

Skate in the historic Georgian courtyard of Somerset House

  • 17 November 2021 – 16 January 2022 : Skate @ Somerset House

Take to the ice in the courtyard of the historic Somerset House. As well as general skating, they are also club nights on ice and skating lessons. Also in the courtyard will be gourmet dining at Chalet Barragiste with Jimmy Garcia and hot and cold drinks at the Skate Lounge by Moët & Chandon. Session times last 45 minutes. Tickets: Adults from £11, children from £8.50. Somerset House, Strand, Westminster, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the Somerset House website. Read the rest of this entry

Winterfest returns to Wembley Park for 2021 with ‘Reunited in Light’

Head to Wembley this winter to check out the festive light show, on until early January 2022.

London’s largest LED Christmas tree returns to Wembley Park
© Chris Winter

This winter, Wembley Park’s festive light festival is returning to bring some neon and colour to the dark nights. Following the success of the inaugural Winterfest two years ago, the collection of installations is returning to the streets of HA9 for six weeks. Launching on 25 November 2021, the open-air light trail, themed ‘Reunited in Light’, will be open to the public seven days a week.

The launch of Winterfest will coincide of the switch-on ceremony of London’s largest LED Christmas tree on Wembley Park Boulevard. The 25-metre high, electronic conifer has been decorated with new digital artwork by local Brent artist Yoni Alter, including 100,000 kinetic lights which pulse to different rhythms.

Meanwhile, bespoke light installations will be peppered throughout the entertainment district, through trees, digital totems, lampposts and light banners. ‘Reunion’, a new light installation from Kumquat Lab, will have its world exclusive unveiling in Market Square. The structure features a series of light arches which visitors are invited to walk through and meet under. Joining the collection on 9 December 2021, will be the light installation ‘Reflections of the Future’, offering guests the chance to explore a multi-sensory journey walkway.

Along with the light show, Wembley Park’s new permanent outdoor gallery will launch on Olympic Way with the ‘Reunited in Light’ photography exhibition (25 November 2021 – 27 February 2022). The collection features work from 12 UK-based photographers, including Tami Aftab and Sophie Harris-Taylor.

  • Winterfest runs from 24 November 2021 – 9 January 2022. Free admission. Open 10am-10pm (but best viewed after dark!). At Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website.

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Christmas cocktails to your front door with The Sun Tavern’s Quarantini kits

Top London bars The Sun Tavern (Bethnal Green) and Discount Suit Company are offering festive concoctions to drink at home.

Choose from Terry’s Chocolate Orange Negroni, Three Kings, Umbrella Buttered Brandy and Xmas Old Fashioned

Although we’re currently in Tier 2, not all Londoners can get to their favourite cocktail bars. However, two of the capital’s award-winning drinking spots are bringing some festive concoctions to your door. The Umbrella Project, the team behind The Sun Tavern and Discount Suit Company, have launched pre-bottled Christmas cocktail Quarantini Kits.

Cocktail fans can enjoy four exclusive bottled cocktails inspired by festive aromas and tastes, including:

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Negroni (Cacao Nib & Orange Peel Gin, Sweet Vermouth, Campari).

Three Kings (Gold Rum, Frankincense, Myrrh, Umbrella London Ginger Beer Syrup, Bitters).

Umbrella Buttered Brandy (Butter Washed Cognac, Rosso Vermut, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Umbrella Brewing Apple Cider).

Xmas Old Fashioned (Bourbon, Pimento Spiced Liqueur, Douglas Fir & Jasmine Tea Syrup, Bitters).

Christmas Quarantini Cocktail Kits available with two (£30) or four (£50) bottles. Each bottle contains three serves. Can be drunk within three months.

  • The Umbrella Project’s Christmas cocktails are available for their online shop. National and international delivery available. Free delivery within a 3-mile radius of The Sun Tavern in Bethnal Green. Click & Collect also available.
  • The Sun Tavern, 441 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN. Nearest station: Bethnal Green. For more information, check out The Sun Tavern website.
  • Discount Suit Company, 29A Wentworth Street, Spitalfields, E1 7TB. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, check out the Discount Suit Company website

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Guide to what’s on in London in December 2020

Find out what’s on in London over the Christmas period.

Christmas © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018Well, 2020 is nearly over, and I’m sure most of the country is glad to see the back of a very difficult year. While Christmas will undoubtedly be different to what we’re used to, plenty of London’s hospitality and entertainment businesses will be pulling out all the stops to offer a safe and entertaining social event. Expect social distancing, frequent cleaning and masks may be required so you can feel protected while enjoying the festivities. Among the events taking place are foodie fayres, film screenings, pantomimes and art exhibitions.

For December, London will be Tier 2, which means no mixing indoors with people outside your household or support bubble. Up to six people can meet outdoors in parks, private gardens and pub’s outdoor spaces.

20 Dec update: London is now in Tier 4 so a majority of events and attractions are likely to be cancelled or postponed. Please check the event website for further up-to-date information.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Look out for the computer symbol 💻 for online events.

  • 2 – 24 December : Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen

Enjoy cookalongs, masterclasses and talks from foodie experts and chefs streamed live from a special kitchen in the historic London market. Events take place Wed-Fri online. All live content will be streamed on the market’s Facebook page. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the event. 💻 

  • 2 December – 27 February 2021 : Connected by Light

Although the Winter Lights festival has been postponed, Canary Wharf’s contemporary streets have been lit by a series of light installations. Dusk until 10pm. Free. Installations dotted throughout Canary Wharf estate, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website. 🐻

  • 3 – 7 December : The Parking Lot Social @ Syon Park

A line-up of drive-in festive events, including Cinderella pantomime, film nights, car-a-oke, silent disco and festive food market, all from the safety of your car. Times vary. Tickets: £38.78 per car. Syon Park, Park Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. For tickets, visit the Parking Lot Social website. 🐻

  • 3 – 20 December : Cinema in the Snow

Enjoy a festive cinematic experience. Enter through a magical wardrobe and walk through a winter wonderland to the screening room. Watch a mix of classic and recent favourites. Covid-19 safety precautions being taken, including cleaning and socially-distanced seats. Tickets from £19.50. Unit 8, Copeland Park, Peckham, SE15 3SN. Nearest station: Peckham Rye. For more information, visit the Pop up Screens website. 🐻

  • 4 December – 31 January 2021 : Dante’s In-Furlough

Step into the Underworld to see The Devil getting married. An immersive, theatrical show with dining options. Social distancing and mandatory face coverings. Thur-Sat: Entry times from 5.30pm-8.30pm, Sun: Entry times from 4.30pm-7.30pm. Tickets: From £25, Dining from £55. The Vaults, Launcelot Street (off Lower Marsh), Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo, Lambeth North or Waterloo East. For more information, visit The Vaults website.

  • 11 – 13 December : 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 £24.50, Children 5-15yr £12.20, 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.

  • 11 – 13 and 18 – 21 December : Christmas @ Old Royal Naval College

A host of Christmas festivities are taking place at the Old Royal Naval College. Including the illuminated Christmas tree, festive market (12, 13, 18, 19 & 20 December), carol services, winter dining at the Painted Hall and a production of The Little Match Girl. Event timings and dates vary. Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, SE10. Nearest station: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Old Royal Naval College website. 🐻

  • 13 – 19 December : We’re All Human exhibition @ Pi Artworks

Dutch artist Jade van der Mark presents an exhibition of her large-scale paintings on city life. Open 11am-6pm. Pi Artworks, 55 Eastcastle Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 8EG. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit the artist’s website or the Pi Artworks website.

  • 17 – 20 December : Love Actually in Concert

Watch the iconic film’s soundtrack performed live by an orchestra accompanying the screening. Socially distanced seating. Times: Matinee 2pm, Evening 6.30pm (staggered entry times). Tickets: £65-£81. Eventim Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, W6 9QH. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For more information and booking, visit the Eventim Apollo website.

London’s largest LED Christmas tree @ Wembley Park
© Chris Winter

  • Now until 31 December : The Drive In

Drive-in cinema offers film screenings and live experiences (e.g. musical performances, theatre, etc) in Enfield. With refreshments available, social distancing guidelines and the audio beamed in through your car stereo. Tickets: One car £35. The Drive In, Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road, Enfield, N18 3QQ. For tickets and more information, visit The Drive In website. 🐻

  • Now until 3 January 2021 : United in Light @ Wembley Park

Wembley Park has unveiled a selection of light installations for the festive period, including London’s tallest LED Christmas tree, festive selfie spots and ‘United in Light’, a new Instagram artwork on the Spanish steps. Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website.

  • Now until 3 January 2021 : Summer Winter exhibition @ Royal Academy of Arts

The summer exhibition is now winter as it was delayed due to Covid-19. Check out new art from a mix of established and emerging artists and architects, including Tracey Emin, Rebecca Horn, Anselm Kiefer, Julian Schnabel, Gillian Wearing and Ai Weiwei. Open daily 10am-6pm. Tickets: £20-£22. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the RA website.

  • Now until 3 January 2021 : Christmas at Kew

A glittering trail which weaves its way through Kew Gardens with stunning sights lit up upon the way. 4pm-10pm. Tickets (advance): Adults £19.50/£24.50, Children £14.50, Under 4 free. Select your entrance gate when booking. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻

  • Now until 3 January 2021: The Magic of Christmas @ London Zoo

London Zoo are hosting a series of festive events alongside the usual animal enclosures. You can meet Santa, enjoy VIP Santa Breakfasts and Animal Gift Giving sessions. 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. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry

‘Traditionally untraditional’ Christmas lights up King’s Cross with three spectacular trees

A trio of alternative Christmas trees are on display until the new year.

The Terrarium Tree © John Sturrock

The Terrarium Tree in Coal Drops Yard is one of King’s Cross’ Christmas installations
© John Sturrock

As we’re just a month away from Christmas, it’s time for London’s sights to be transformed with festive lights. Offering something different from the typical spruces are three alternative Christmas trees for the ‘traditionally untraditional’ Christmas at King’s Cross. After such an unusual year, why not take a different approach to festive decorations?

Unveiled on 23 November and on show until the new year are three different interpretation of the traditional Christmas tree. All the light installations have been dotted throughout the 67 acres of open space in King’s Cross so spectators can safely enjoy them while socially distancing.

The Electric Nemeton Tree in Granary Square has been designed by local architecture practice Sam Jacob Studio. The 36ft high tree is a futuristic metal construction inspired by the origins of the Christmas tree tradition. Surrounded by water fountains, the structure can be admired from the side and below.

The Terrarium Tree in Coal Drops Yard has been created by the Botanical Boys. The 28ft tree is comprised of 70 terrariums containing miniature gardens and 168 mirror baubles. Following the close of the festive period, the terrariums will be rehomed in the new year.

The People’s Tree at Battle Bridge Place is a multi-coloured, interactive tree. The lights are powered by people with censors picking up vibrations from nearby footprints or people’s movements. The dynamic light installation is located just moments from the popular IFO (Identified Flying Object), aka ‘the birdcage’.

  • The King’s Cross’ ‘Untraditional’ Christmas is on show now until 4 January 2021. Installations on show at Coal Drops Yard, Battle Bridge Place and Granary Square, King’s Cross, NC1. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website.

 

Find out what’s on in London in December 2020 here.

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Find inspiration for your Christmas food and drink at Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen

Enjoy cookalongs, masterclasses and talks to make sure this festive season is a culinary treat.

Borough Market's Festive Kitchen

Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen runs from 2 December 2020

We all know Christmas will be rather different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But one thing about the festive season that can’t be ruined is all the wonderful food and drink. In the run-up to Yuletide, the capital’s famous food market is giving Londoners plenty of ‘food for thought’ in a three-week digital pop-up. Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen will feature plenty of foodie events to inspire and entertain from 2 December 2020.

Streamed live from a special kitchen set in the market, chefs and food experts will be hosting cookalongs, masterclasses and talks. Running on Wednesdays to Fridays throughout December, the live activities and events will showcase the market’s fantastic produce and inspire festive recipes and Christmas food and drink. Whatever you fancy, from meat, baking, vegetable, chocolate, and even floristry, you can make sure your kitchen is ready for the celebrations, no matter how large or small we’re allowed to have.

Each week will be curated and compered by three hosts, including food author and presenter Angela Clutton, plant-based cooking expert and Bettina’s Kitchen founder Bettina Campolucci Bordi and GBBO’s first winner and author Edd Kimber. Wednesdays will kick off with a series of live cookalongs, with guest chefs – such as Ben Ebbrell and Olia Hercules – dropping by on Thursday evenings. Londoners can pre-order recipe produce boxes from the market so they can cook along at home.

Among the chefs, stallholders, and food and drink experts taking part in the pop-up include: Mei Mei, Shuk, Juma, Calum Franklin, Anna Jones, Gizzi Erskine, Ryan ‘Mr Lyan’ Chetiyawardana, Signe Johansen, Nina Parker, Alexandra Dudley, Ed Smith, Benjamina Ebuehi, Northfield Farm, Turnips, Bread Ahead, Rabot 1745, and The Gated Garden.

  • Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen runs from 2 – 24 December 2020. All events are free of charge. The full schedule and details on how to order recipe produce boxes can be found on the Borough Market website. All live content will be streamed on the market’s Facebook page.

Find out what’s on in London in December 2020 here.

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