Category Archives: Entertainment

Fool Britannia @ Vault Festival review: An hour of silliness at Britain’s worst school

Fool Britannia. Brick Hall @ The Vaults. Vault Festival 2019.

fool britannia

Dan Lees and Neil Frost in Mad Etiquette’s Fool Britannia

One of the opening shows at this year’s Vault Festival was Fool Britannia. The two-man show is the brainchild of Dan Lees and Neil Frost, with the premise being an insight to Britain’s worst school. Lees and Frost’s company Mad Etiquette are famed for putting on shows combining modern clowning and interactive performances.

Arriving at the Brick Hall venue within the Vaults below Waterloo, we were a little worried when we were placed in the second row. When it comes to comedy and immersive theatre, I (like many others) prefer to stay far away from the accessible seating to the cast as possible over fears of being singled out. Fortunately, we needn’t have worried as the interactivity was at a perfectly comfortable level.

After a build up of some suitable school-esque music, such as Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall, we were introduced to Lees, wearing a gown and mortar board as the headmaster of the so-called worst school. His beginning of term address eased us in to the humour style with some throwaway comments about some rather dodgy goings on in school, suggesting the headmaster wasn’t so professional as you would hope. His co-star Frost soon joined him on stage as a meek and terrified supply teacher, who we were invited to throw plastic balls at. The physical comedy continued as we were taken on a haphazard story through Britain’s history, with caveman being nonsensical, Hadrian getting dismal dating advice from his builder and Vikings rowing their boats. A scene educating us about Shakespeare and the snobbery around his plays was particularly funny.

During the history segments, the show felt like a series of sketches. I really liked their choice of handmade props, which really added to the silliness. As the one-hour show progressed, the audience had really got caught up in the silliness of it all and were drawn in at times to become a part of the narrative. It took me a while to warm up to the humour style, but by the end I was laughing along at the whole ridiculousness of it all.

  • Vault Festival 2019 takes place from 23 January – 17 March 2019. The Vaults, 10 Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Waterloo and Lambeth North. Other venues include Network Theatre, Travelling Through…, The Horse & Stables and Unit 9. For booking, visit the Vault Festival website. For more information on Mad Etiquette, visit their website.

For Metro Girl’s top shows to watch at this year’s Vault Festival, click here.

For a guide to what’s on in London in February, click here.

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Dabbers Social Bingo review: Pink gin, prizes and very saucy rhyming

dabbers bingo © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Party at the bingo at Dabbers Social Bingo

If you think bingo is just for pensioners, you’re very much mistaken. In recent years, modern approaches to bingo has been gaining popularity with younger generations. In late 2018, London’s first permanent modern bingo hall opened and I went along to check it out last month. Like traditional bingo, it involves dabbing your numbers in the hope of winning a prize when your numbers are called. However, Dabbers Social Bingo involves a lot of saucy innuendo, cocktails galore, fabulous food and a general party atmosphere.

dabbers bingo © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Pink gin cocktails while you dab

Dabbers Social Bingo is located on Houndsditch, where the City meets the East End. From the street, you enter a medium-sized bar with outdoor terrace (would be great in summer, but definitely not in January thanks!). I liked the fact the cocktail bar gives no hint of the wildness to come downstairs! After a glass of Prosecco to loosen us up, we headed down to the expansive bingo hall in the basement. It was a surprisingly large space with a variety of tables to suit different sizes from couples to larger groups of friends.

After my companion and I grabbed a well-situated table with a view of the stage, we started with simple, but refreshing pink gin cocktails and settled down for some pre-bingo grub. The food menu has been inspired by bingo balls so features many physically round dishes. It consists mostly of sharing plates, sort of tapas style portions in the spirit of the ‘social’ part of the game. They range from £4-£9.50 and have a wide choice, with a decent amount of vegetarian options. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the food was as I had expected it to take a back seat to the bingo, entertainment and cocktails. We really enjoyed the seared prawn tiger skewers, buffalo glazed chicken skewers, mozzarella ball skewers and pizza bread. It’s worth noting they have brunch bingo on Saturdays and family brunch bingo on Sundays.

Round food rules! Meatballs, arancini and greens

Once we were fed and watered, it was time for the main event to kick off. Our compere for the evening was the fabulous Boogaloo Stu. After Stu gave us an introduction to the night, it was over to host James Loveridge and the glamorous bingo calling duo. Bingo newbies are given an explanation to the rules and prizes, before the first game kicks off at a steady pace. While there’s some traditional bingo lingo like ‘legs eleven’, be prepared for some very saucy numerical rhyming, which can be hilariously distracting when you’re trying to strike off your numbers. At various points during the game, a special ball being drawn kicks off a mini disco with the crowd encouraged to drop their dabbers and throw some shapes as the DJ cranks up the music. Throughout the game, people who win one or two lines or a full house are invited on stage to compete for a prize. By this stage, the alcoholic lubrication and the building excitement in the room had clearly got some of the winners as they got on stage so their enthusiastic celebrations were pretty jubilant and amusing to the rest of us in the room.

Overall, we had a really fun evening and it was probably the most raucous Wednesday night I’ve seen in years! The food and drink were brilliant and there was a really fun, high-energy atmosphere. Dabbers certainly offers a more entertaining alternative to the usual catch-up in the a pub, with the added bonus of being able to walk away with a prize. I would particularly recommend Dabbers for group nights out, particularly for birthdays and hen nights.

  • Dabbers Social Bingo, 13-22 Houndsditch, City of London, EC3A 7DB. Nearest stations: Aldgate, Liverpool Street or Fenchurch Street. Open Mon-Wed and Sun 12pm-11pm, Thu-Sat 12pm-3am. For more information, visit the Dabbers Social Bingo website.

For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant and bar reviews, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in February 2019

Guide to what’s on in London this February 2019, including festivals, Chinese New Year events, winter pop-ups and more.

Winter snow London © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019It’s February and winter is in full swing. The weather is pretty freezing, so a host of London’s events are taking place inside. Halfway through the month, things get a bit soppy for Valentine’s Day. Throughout the month, there’s music, beer and winter pop-ups. There will also be celebrations for Chinese New Year in the West End, while half-term means there’s plenty of family-friendly events on around town.

For a guide to London’s Valentine’s Day events for singles and couples, click here.

  • 1 – 2 February : London Remixed Festival

A two-day celebration of emerging talents from the worlds of Latin Grooves, Afro beats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix and more. Open: Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £11.19–£21.79. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit the London Remixed Festival website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the London Remixed Festival.

  • 1 February – 7 April : Lost Lagoon

Bompas & Parr have created an immersive, subterranean journey inspired by the world’s most famous buccaneer Captain Henry Morgan. Expect whirlpool cocktail station, beach-inspired food and entertainment. Tickets: £20-£30. West 12 shopping centre, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 8PP. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush. For booking, visit the Lost Lagoon website.

  • Now until 1 February : French Winter Village @ The Langham

The Langham Hotel are teaming up with Grey Goose to create a winter paradise in their courtyard garden. Expect hot and cold Grey Goose vodka cocktails, festive food from the woodfire, heaters, cosy blankets and more. Open Wed-Sat 4pm–10pm. Minimum spend of £60pp (for bookings between 6-60 people). The Langham Hotel, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, W1B 1JA. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit The Langham website.

  • 2 February – 14 July : Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams @ V&A

Exhibition of Christian Dior designs, from 1947 to the present day. Open daily 10am-5.45pm. Tickets: £20-£24. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information, visit the V&A website.

  • 3 February : The Vintage Collections

Vintage fashion fair comes to the stunning art deco surrounds of Freemasons Hall, featuring 50 traders, cocktails and afternoon tea. 11am-5:30pm. Entry: £5 (£2 with NUS card). Freemasons Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AZ. Nearest station: Holborn or Covent Garden. For more information, visit the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair website.

  • 3 – 9 February : Pisco Sour Week @ Mr Foggs Society of Exploration

A special menu will be on offer all week celebrating Peru’s iconic cocktail. Relax with a concoction in the Map Room or the Train Carriage. Open Mon-Sat 4pm-12am. Mr Foggs Society of Exploration, 1A Bedford Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9HH. Nearest station: Charing Cross or Covent Garden. For more information, visit Mr Foggs website.

  • 3 February – 19 March : Festival of New Masculinity

Inaugural festival from the Book of Man, featuring 10 events across two east London venues. Exploring issues facing modern men today. Including live podcasts, special guest panels, photography exhibition, grooming lounges, boys brunches, and a Penis Gallery. Ticket prices vary. Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, 2-4 Hoxton Square, Hoxton, N1 6NU and the Book Club, 100-106 Leonard Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4RH. Nearest station: Old Street. For more information, visit the Book Of Man website.

  • Now until 3 February : London International Mime Festival

Festival at various events across London including performances of physical theatre, dance, circus, puppetry and live art. Workshops also available. Tickets range from £12.50-£30. Venues include the Barbican, Jacksons Lane, Platform Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Shoreditch Town Hall and Southbank Centre. For more information, visit the Mime London website.

  • Now until 3 February : Take A View exhibition

Exhibition of the winning and shortlisted images from this year’s Landscape Photographer Of The Year are on display on the balcony at Waterloo station. Open during station hours. Free. Mezzanine level, Waterloo Station, SE1 8SW. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Take A View website.

  • Now until 3 February : Destinations – the Holiday & Travel Show

Travel show, featuring tourist boards, travel agencies, cultural entertainment, world food and drink, travel celebrities, talks, presentations, workshops, panel sessions and more. Open 10am-5.30pm. Tickets: £11 in advance. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the Destinations – Holiday & Travel Show website.

  • 4 February : The WineBarn’s Annual Portfolio Tasting

An evening of German wine, featuring over 120 to choose from and learn more about how the wines are made. 6pm-8pm. Tickets: £35pp. Army & Navy Club, 36-39 Pall Mall, St James, SW1Y 5JN. Nearest station: Green Park. For more information, visit the Wine Barn website.

  • 6 – 7 February : Dining With Daisy Supper Club @ The Little Blue Door

Hollyoaks actress and foodie Daisy Wood Davis teams up with the flatmates to host a supper club over two nights. The four-course menu features sentimental dishes with names such as The Hangover, Scampi Fry @ The SU, and Lambrini Sundae. 7pm-9.30pm. Tickets: £40. The Little Blue Door, 871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5HP. Nearest station: Parsons Green. For more information and booking, visit DesignMyNight. Read Metro Girl’s review of, The Little Blue Door.

  • 8 February – 2 June : Swinging Sixties exhibition

New exhibition celebrates the fashion, textiles, homewares and furniture of the Swinging Sixties. Including vintage designs by Mary Quant, Laura Ashley and Terence Conran. Open Tues-Sat 11am–6pm, Thurs until 8pm, Sun 11am–5pm. Tickets: £9.90. Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the museum website.

  • 9 February – 10 March : Orchid Festival

An orchid display is coming to the Princess of Wales Conservatory for four weeks, with this year being inspired by Colombia. General entrance tickets to Kew Gardens includes orchid exhibition: Adults £18.15, Children (4-16yr) £4.95. Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Celebrate Chinese New Year in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square

  • 10 February : Chinese New Year

Festivities to mark the Year of the Pig take place across Chinatown, Shaftesbury Avenue and Trafalgar Square. The parade from north of Trafalgar Square to Shaftesbury Avenue will start at 10am. From 11am-6pm there will be performances from Chinese artists in Trafalgar Square. Free. Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, check out Visit London.

  • 13 – 17 February : Ealing Music and Film Festival

Five day festival in Ealing featuring musical performances, film screenings and walks. Events take place at various venues, including St Mary’s Church in South Ealing, St Mary’s Perivale, University Of West London, the Brentham Club, St Barnabas Church and MetFilm School. Tickets range from free to £25. Nearest stations: Ealing Broadway or South Ealing. For booking, visit the Ealing Music & Film website.

  • 13 – 24 February : Imagine Children’s Festival

Two week children’s festival at the Southbank Centre, including art, theatre, books, music, performances and workshops. Including Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Chris Riddell, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Peppa Pig, Nadine Kaadan, the Singing Mermaid and more. 10.30am-4pm daily. Many activities and events are free, but some go up to £16. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information and booking visit the Southbank Centre website. Read the rest of this entry

What’s on in London this Valentine’s Day 2019 for couples and singles

Whether you love or hate Valentine’s Day, are single or loved up, there’s something for everyone in London over the Valentine’s Day period. From slushfest romantic dates to fun and cheese-free events.

Valentines hearts © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019Valentine’s Day is fast approaching so Londoners everywhere are being bombarded with images of hearts and roses. Of course, it’s a commercial day which encourages you to spend money on your beloved. If you’re in a couple and looking for something a bit different from the standard overpriced set menu in a restaurant, check out this guide to what’s on in London. Many of the events, such as balls and comedy nights, are open to singles and couples, so you can still have fun and embrace the day regardless of your single status.

  • 9 February : Lost Hearts – A Valentine’s Ball

A masked ball spanning four floors at the Century Club, featuring eerie, exotic and eccentric performers, drinking and dancing. 9pm-3am. Tickets from £20. The Century Club, 61-63 Shaftesbury Avenue, Soho, W1D 6LQ. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit A Curious Invitation website.

  • 9 February : The Candlelight Club’s Valentine’s Ball

Pop-up vintage nightclub The Candlelight Club host a Valentine’s ball. Hosted by Champagne Charlie, there will live music from the Bubbly Boys, tunes from vintage DJs Bee’s Knees and dancing from the Gatsby Girls. Meanwhile, in the Cabaret Lounge, Hot Swing Bohème will be playing gypsy jazz, while Marcel Lucont will host two cabaret shows featuring acrobatics duo Deux Ailes, burlesque bombshell Bonnie Fox and comic singing by La Poule Plombée. Despite Valentine’s styling, the event welcomes groups and singles, rather than just couples. 7pm-12am. Tickets from £30pp. Tables start from £65pp. At a secret east London location. For tickets, visit the Candlelight Club website. For Metro Girl’s review of TCC, click here.

  • 10 and 14 February : Valentine’s @ Keat’s House

A series of Valentine’s events at the stunning house where poet John Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne, who inspired his most romantic verses. Afternoon Poems: Love Poetry on Sunday 10 February (2pm-3pm) and Valentine’s Late Night Keats on Thursday 14 February (6.30pm-9pm). Afternoon Poems is free, while Late Night Keats is £15 (includes drink). Keats’ House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, NW3 2RR. Nearest station: Hampstead Heath or Hampstead. For more information, visit the City of London website.

chocolate cocktail Old Bengal Bar

Enjoy a chocolate cocktail at the Old Bengal Bar

  • 11 – 17 February : Chocolate Cocktails @ Old Bengal Bar

The Old Bengal Bar are creating a special chocolate cocktail menu for Valentine’s Day. Drinks include Dark Chocolate and Chilli Martini, White Chocolate Delight and a Baileys and Mint Chocolate Martini. Drinks: £9.75 (include complimentary mint chocolate shot). Old Bengal Bar, 16 New Street, City of London, EC2M 4TR. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit the Old Bengal Bar website.

  • 12 – 15 February : Barry White: Love God of Soul: Starring Shenton Dixon @ Boisdale

The Canary Wharf branch of Boisdale is hosting four days of music and food, inspired by the late Barry White. Tribute act Shenton Dixon will perform the Walrus of Soul’s classic hits while you enjoy a meal. Gig starts at 9.15pm. Tickets: £15-£99 (depending on date, package or drinks only). Boisdale, Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, E14 4QT. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Boisdale website.

  • 13 – 14 February : Valentine’s @ Dirty Bones

Dirty Bones in Kensington are celebrating Valentine’s with special events and menus. On 13 February, enjoy a screening of When Harry Met Sally with popcorn, 2 cocktails and 25% food discounts if you eat before, after or during the movie. On actual Valentine’s Day, you can take part in the ‘Uh Huh Honey Cocktail Masterclass’ and learn how to make Dirty Bones’ Valentine’s cocktail, the Rose-Tinted Club (available 11-17 Feb). Film screening on Wed 13 Feb @ 7.30pm, tickets £10pp. Masterclass on Thu 14 Feb @ 6.30pm, tickets £45pp. Dirty Bones, Kensington Church Street, Kensington, W8. Nearest station: High Street Kensington. For more information, visit Dirty Bones website. To book masterclass, email Kensington@dirty-bones.com or for movie tickets, check out DesignMyNight.

  • 13 – 15 February : Pop-Up Cinema @ Rivoli Ballroom

Watch classic movies Pretty Woman, Romeo + Juliet or Ghost in the striking 1950s surrounds of the Rivoli Ballroom. 8pm. Tickets: £12. Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road, Crofton Park, SE4 2BY. Nearest station: Crofton Park. For more information, visit the Rivoli Ballroom websiteRead the rest of this entry

The best shows to see at Vault Festival 2019 as London’s fringe fest returns to Waterloo

Find out what shows to check out at this year’s Vault Festival, the capital’s very own fringe arts festival running from 23 January – 17 March.

vault festival © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

The Vault Festival returns to Waterloo

Vault Festival is returning to Waterloo this January for two months of entertainment. London’s very own fringe festival is back in the atmospheric Victorian tunnels below Waterloo mainline station. Over eight weeks, over 2,000 artists will perform in over 400 shows. Londoners will be entertained by theatre, comedy, cabaret, immersive experiences, late night parties and more. Now in its seventh year, Vault Festival runs from 23 January to 17 March 2019. As well as giving a platform to rising new talents from the arts world, proceeds from ticket sales go to Help Refugees and Child.org’s Team Mum campaign.

Here’s Metro Girl’s recommendations of shows to check out at the Vault Festival 2019:

  • Fool Britannia

Pay a visit to Britain’s worst school! Masters of the absurd Dan Lees and Neil Frost take you back to your school days with an hour of side-splitting comedy. Taunt the supply teacher, bunk off PE and get caught smoking behind the bike shed.

23 – 26 January. Brick Hall @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.

Yours Sincerely © elafris photography

Yours Sincerely
© elafris photography

  • Yours Sincerely

A queer coming-of-age comedy exploring the complications of communicating in the 21st century. After accidentally stealing 300 2nd class stamps, Will Jackson decides to revive letter writing as he puts pen to paper and gets in touch with old friends and ex-boyfriends. Based on actual correspondence, Will tells the story through the letters and lip-sync cabaret. The show was originally produced by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in November 2018 for their Foundry Artist festival.

30 January – 3 February. Cage @ The Vaults. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Salaam

A thought-provoking new play by Sara Aniqah Malik explores what it means to be a Muslim in London today. Telling the story through two Muslim women using live music and performance, Salaam explores mental health issues and racial abuse.

30 January – 3 February. Cavern @ The Vaults. Tickets: £15. For more information and tickets, click here.

  • Infinity

Go on a universal quest to find hope in a galaxy of loneliness. A lone astronaut is on a one-way mission the edge of the universe. This Dublin Fringe play is presented by Nessa Matthews with Eoghan Carrick.

6 – 10 February. Network Theatre. Tickets: £12. For more information and tickets, click here.
Read the rest of this entry

Latin grooves, Afro beats, brass band remix and more at the London Remixed Festival 2019

London Remixed Festival

The London Remixed Festival returns to Rich Mix

Returning to East London to brighten up gloomy February is the eclectic London Remixed Festival. Over two days, 25 musical acts and DJs will be taking over four stages at Richmix in Shoreditch. Promising all of the fun and sounds of a festival without the mud and cold, the London Remixed Festival will feature Latin Grooves, Afro beats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix, Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix.

Among the fabulous names performing are Sam And The Womp with their soundsystem show of Balkan-influenced heavy dance beats. London Remixed Festival’s very own new UK Garage Orchestra will be performing UK garage classics with the Blue Lion Band and special guests MCs. Meanwhile, The True Stays will be playing vintage rock ‘n’ roll in the Folk Ghetto.

On Friday night, the Brass Off stage curated by Continental Drifts features Deadbeat Brass vs Das Brass. On Saturday, revellers will be spoiled for choice with severals stages to choose from, including Tropicarnival curated by Wormfood + Movimientos; Polka Club curated by Continental Drifts + MARSM; and the Folk Ghetto curated by Fire in the Mountain + Woodburner. There will also be the popular Silent Disco, with music from PantherPanther, DJ Hiphoppapotamus, Ecklectic Mick and Madame Electrifie.

  • The London Remixed Festival takes place from 1-2 February 2019. Open: Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £11.19–£21.79. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit the London Remixed Festival website.

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

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Guide to what’s on in London in January 2019

All the best events and festivals in London in January 2019.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Winter Lights Festival lights up Canary Wharf

Happy new year! 2019 is here and we’ve got a whole 12 months to have fun in the capital. With many of us feeling a little light in our purses this month after the excesses of Christmas and New Year.

This January sees a host of arts and entertainment festivals, light shows and more, with many events free. Here’s Metro Girl’s round-up of the best events in the capital this January 2019.

For a guide to London’s Valentine’s Day events for singles and couples, click here.

  • 1 January : New Year’s Day Parade

Hundreds of thousands of spectators will line the streets of London 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 5 January : Alice In Winterland

A new lantern festival sees the characters of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland brought to life with over 160 giant lanterns and immersive experiences, such as sliding down the rabbit hole and tea cup rides. There’s also a Santa’s Grotto on-site. Tickets: Adults £15, Children 4-16yrs £9. Southwark Park (Paradise Gate entrance), Jamaica Road, SE16 4RS. Nearest stations: Canada Water or Rotherhithe. For more information, visit the Alice In Winterland website.

  • Now until 5 January : Christmas at Kew

A one mile glittering trail which weaves its way through Kew Gardens with stunning sights lit up upon the way. There will also be Santa at the North Pole Village, a Tunnel of Light, vintage rides, festive food and drinks. 5-10pm. Tickets (advance): Adults £19.50, Children £12, Under 4 free. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

  • Now until 5 January : Christmas In Leicester Square

The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market and Santa’s Grotto. A Spiegeltent will play host shows including Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, Briefs: Close Encounters and Club Briefs. Free entry to Leicester Square, but tickets required for Santa’s Grotto and the Spiegeltent. Leicester Square, WC2H. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Christmas In Leicester Square website.

  • Now until 5 January : Moonshine Saloon

A new immersive cocktail experience from the same team behind Alcotraz. Bring your own liquor to the Wild West and learn about the dark world of moonshining. Dress in cowboy gear and Stetsons and let experienced mixologists whip up some cocktails using your spirit of choice. Open Wed-Fri 6.15pm-10.15pm, Sat 12.15pm-11pm. Booking fee: £33.99 (includes 4 cocktails from brought drink of choice and 1hr 45m inside the saloon). 535 Kings Road, Fulham, SW10 0SZ. Nearest station: Fulham Broadway. Bookings can be made on the Moonshine Saloon website or DesignMyNight. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the pop-up.

  • 6 January : Twelfth Night Celebration

Theatre company the Lions Part host their annual celebration of the new year, ‘mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity’ in the Bankside area of London. From 2pm. Free. Outside Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, SE1 9DT. Nearest stations: Blackfriars, London Bridge or Southwark. For more information, visit the Lions Part website.

  • Now until 6 January : Winter Wonderland

The south east corner of Hyde Park is transformed into a Christmas fair with rides, food and drink stalls, ice rink, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, The Sooty Christmas Show, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Backyard Cinema‘s Snowman Experience. and more. Open 10am-10pm daily. Free to enter. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Victoria, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the Snowman Experience

  • Now until 6 January : Disney On Ice – Dream Big

Some of your favourite Disney characters take to the ice for a show for all the family. Show times vary. Tickets: £32.25-£91.50. The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich, SE10 0DX. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Disney UK website.

  • Now until 6 January : Backyard Cinema Presents: The Snowman™ Experience

A cinematic walk-through experience to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Snowman. The classic book and short film is brought to life in an immersive experience. Times vary. Tickets (vary between standard, off-peak, and peak): Adults/teen £9.95-£14.95, Children £6.96-£12.95. Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, W2. Nearest stations: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. For booking, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Read Metro Girl’s review on the Snowman Experience.

  • 9 January – 3 February : London International Mime Festival

Festival at various events across London including performances of physical theatre, dance, circus, puppetry and live art. Workshops also available. Tickets range from £12.50-£30. Venues include the Barbican, Jacksons Lane, Platform Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Shoreditch Town Hall and Southbank Centre. For more information, visit the Mime London websiteRead the rest of this entry

Guide to New Year’s Eve 2018 parties and events in London

Find out what’s on in London this New Year’s Eve 2018. Including the top parties and events in central, north, south, east and west London.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Toast the arrival of 2019 at one of London’s many events or parties

What a year 2018 has been! While some of you may have enjoy the year, there’s some others that can’t wait to put it behind them. However, 2019 is sure to be a year of uncertainty and change for Londoners as the UK leaves the EU. But whatever the new year holds, why not make the start of it a good one.

This New Year’s Eve, there will be a wide range of entertainment and activities to suit all tastes. From clubbing to themed parties to posh dinners to concerts. Many of these events will set out in advance, so make sure you get your tickets as soon as possible.

Most events are over 18s, unless otherwise stipulated.

Don’t forget, TFL will be providing free public transport from 11.45pm on New Year’s Eve until 4.30am on New Year’s Day.

Central London

  • New Year’s Eve firework display over the River Thames

Thousands expected to take to the north and south of the River to watch the fireworks display near the London Eye. Tickets went on sale in November so tend to sell out well in advance. There will be a lot of congestion or potential closures of some tube stations around the Embankments so check with TFL before you travel. Tickets: £10. For more information of where you can and can’t access without a ticket, visit the London.gov.uk website.

  • New Year’s Eve @ View From The Shard

Watch the fireworks from the highest party in London, featuring DJs, complimentary champagne toast and 360 degree view of the capital. 10pm-2am. Tickets from £199. View From The Shard, Floor 72, Joiner Street, London Bridge, SE1 9QU. Nearest station: London Bridge. For booking, visit View From The Shard.

  • A Vintage New Year’s Eve @ Cahoots

Vintage lovers will enjoy this post-war shenangians in an old underground war shelter, featuring a Moet & Chandon champagne reception, Bottomless cocktails, live entertainment by the Hotsie Totsies, New Year’s Eve toast and DJ set by The Roustabouts. Dress code: Post-war chic. 8pm-3am. Tickets: £150pp (includes a table for the evening, Moët & Chandon champagne reception, Bottomless cocktails all night and food rations & canapés). Cahoots, 13 Kingly Court, Soho, W1B 5PW. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For booking, visit the Cahoots website. For Metro Girl’s review of Cahoots, click here.

  • New Year’s Eve Snow Ball @ Tropicana Beach Club

Tropical themed night club has a wintry makeover, featuring live entertainment, DJs playing R’n’B, party anthems, and Latin beats under a snowball installation. 6pm-4am. Tickets £30-£70. Tropicana Beach Club, New London Theatre, Parker Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5PW. Nearest station: Covent Garden. For more information, visit the Tropicana Beach Club website.

  • Studio 54 New Year’s Eve @ Sky Garden

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the top of the ‘Walkie Talkie’ in the bars and restaurants of the Sky Garden with views over London. Relive the glamour of Studio 54 with food, drink, nine-piece live party band and DJs. 6pm-2am. Tickets range from £110-£395 depending on bar or dining package. Sky Garden, 20 Fenchurch Street, City of London, EC3M 3BY. Nearest station: Fenchurch Street or Monument. For booking, visit the Sky Garden website. For Metro Girl’s review of the Sky Garden, click here.

  • Mr Fogg’s Victorian Masquerade Ball

This fabulous masquerade ball kicks off with a Moët & Chandon Champagne and canapé reception. Expect entertainment and bottomless Bombay Sapphire and Star of Bombay libations, opera singers, a silhouette artist, Victorian games and DJs playing electro swing. 8pm-3am. Table tickets: £145pp, Bar tickets: £90pp. Mr. Fogg’s Residence, 15 Bruton Lane, Mayfair, WIJ 6JD. Nearest station: Bond Street or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Mr Fogg’s website.

  • New Year’s Eve Stand Up Show @ Comedy Store

See in the new year laughing your socks off with Tom Lucy, Shappi Khorsandi, Larry Dean, Rhys James, London Hughes, Mark Simmons, MC Laura Lexx, Zoe Lyons, Christian Reilly, Nigel Ng and Larry Dean. There are two shows – an early one if you’ve got plans for midnight or the later one, with a DJ spinning tracks for the after-party. Two shows at 6pm and 9.30pm. Finishes at 2am. Tickets start from £25 (early show) or £50 (late show and after party). The Comedy Store, 1a Oxendon Street, SW1Y 4EE. Nearest stations: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Comedy Store website.

© Maya Jancar (B&H Group)

Shake a tail feather at the Prohibition Party(B&H Group)

  • The Prohibition Party

Welcome the new year, 1920s style at this prohibition-themed party from Bourne & Hollingsworth, featuring live music, gramophone DJs, gambling, dancers and cocktails. Dress code: 1920s. 9pm-3am. Tickets from £55. In a secret London location to be revealed two weeks before. For more information, visit the Prohibition Party websiteRead the rest of this entry

The Snowman Experience review: A magical and nostalgic immersive screening of a Christmas classic at Winter Wonderland

Backyard Cinema presents The Snowman Experience is an immersive screening of the classic Christmas animation for adults and children alike.

Backyard Cinema Snowman Experience
This year marks the 40th anniversary of The Snowman book. Created by author Raymond Briggs, it was adapted into animated short film in 1982. Directed by Dianne Jackson, the film has become a Christmas classic and is shown on TV every year. As a child of the 1980s, I found The Snowman enchanting and moving and continue to watch it every Christmas as a tradition.

This festive season, Backyard Cinema has created an immersive live experience at Winter Wonderland. The walk-through experience is more than just a film screening, allowing you to visit the sets and even say hello to The Snowman himself.

This week, I went along to check out The Snowman Experience and absolutely loved it. Although the film is just 25 minutes long, the experience actually lasts 45 minutes and spans many different spaces inspired by the classic tale. Located near the giant wheel in Winter Wonderland, the experience starts every 20 minutes. Upon entering the huge tent, you walk through an atmospheric ‘snowy forest’ to reach the reception, where a photographer is waiting to capture you in a ‘flying’ pose to commemorate your visit.

Backyard Cinema Snowman Experience

The experience eventually begins in a large screening room in what appears to be the family home from the film. The familiar blue kitchen cabinets, Christmas cake, fireplace, TV and sleeping cat have been recreated faithfully, which helps kickstart the nostalgia before the film starts. Two windows with moving snowing scenes adds to the atmosphere. As the animation begins on the big screen, it is accompanied by a variety of effects in the surrounding rooms of the house, bringing a sense of magic. When its time for The Snowman and James to take off and fly on their night-time journey, we move on to the next room to watch it in a forest under a twinkling sky. Next, the action progresses to the snowmen’s party as we head into the third and final screening room, featuring a table full of balloons, streamers, hats and glasses ready for the celebrations. Children particularly are in for a treat when the star of the show – The Snowman himself – enters the room to say hello and show off some of his dance moves. Despite being a grown adult, I must admit it was lovely to see the Snowman and really made me feel nostalgic about how magical I found the character as a child.

Overall, it was a great experience. While children are guaranteed to love it, anyone that grew up watching The Snowman or reading the book are equally likely to be enthralled. Backyard Cinema have really brought the film to life and seeing it on a big screen along with the stunning soundtrack really showcases the beauty of Howard Blake’s music and vocals of Peter Auty. The experience made me feel like a little girl again and I am highly tempted to go back again I enjoyed it so much.

  • Backyard Cinema Presents: The Snowman™ Experience is on at Winter Wonderland until 6 January 2019. At Hyde Park, W2. Nearest stations: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch. Tickets (vary between standard, off-peak, and peak): Adults/teen £9.95-£14.95, Children £6.96-£12.95, Family tickets £27.80-£51.80. Shows start every 20 minutes. For booking, visit the Winter Wonderland website.

To find out what’s on in London in January 2019, click here.

For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in December 2018

Find out things to do in London this Christmas and December 2018.

Festive door Fitzrovia Christmas © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018

London turns festive

It’s finally December! Although retailers have been pretending it’s the festive season for a month or more, it’s that time of year where things really crank up. All around town is a host of Christmas activities, pop-ups and events, with plenty of mulled booze and hot food on offer.

As well as guide to London’s events and festivals in December, Metro Girl has also rounded up an entertainment guide to all the capital’s ballets and pantomimes on this season.

For a guide to London’s outdoor ice rinks this festive and winter season, click here.

For a guide to London’s Christmas pop-ups and festive cocktails, click here.

Find out what’s on in London on New Year’s Eve.

  • 1 – 9 DecemberSpitalfields Music Festival

Spitalfields Music return with their winter festival. Acts include Richard Reeve Parry, Fidelio Trio, Mary Bevan and Katherine Manley, among others. Including concerts, promenade performances, walks and more. At various venues in the Spitalfields area including Shoreditch Church, Rich Mix and the Huguenot Houses of Spitalfields. For booking, visit the Spitalfields Music website. Read Metro Girl’s review on last year’s festival.

  • 1 – 16 December : Ally Pally Christmas Carnival

Celebrate the re-opening of the historic theatre with a host of Christmas activities over three consecutive weekends and some weekdays. Including Luna Cinema screenings, Christmas market, street food and drink, Santa’s Grotto, Horrible Histories’ Horrible Christmas, and more. Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest station: Alexandra Palace. For more information, visit the Ally Pally website.

  • Now until 2 December : London Illustration Fair

Three-day event celebrating illustration, featuring artist-led stands, talks, workshops, music, DJs, live signings. Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Entry: £10 advance. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bankside, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Waterloo. For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.

  • Now until 4 December : Foodflix @ Bluebird Chelsea

Weekly film night comes to Bluebird Chelsea in their new cosy orangery. Expect Cointreau cocktails, gourmet fast food, popcorn and modern classic films. Tickets: £25 (includes film, welcome Cointreau cocktail and a Bluebird hotdog or vegan burger). Bluebird Chelsea, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information, visit the Bluebird Chelsea website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the Foodflix.

  • 4 – 8 DecemberPigs Ear Beer And Cider Festival

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

  • 6 – 22 December : Enchanted Eltham

Late-night opening of Eltham Palace sees the Tudor and Art Deco buildings and gardens dazzle in a show of light, colour and sound. Follow the trail around the gardens. Also including fairground rides and hot food and drink on offer, including a roasting marshmallow pit. 4.30pm-9pm on Thu-Sun only. Tickets: Adults £12, Children 5-15 yrs £7.50. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit the English Heritage website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of Eltham Palace

  • 7 – 9 DecemberHampton Court Palace Festive Fayre

Festive food event in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace, featuring shopping, live music, mulled wine, seasonal demos, tastings, choirs and more. Tickets: Adults £19.20, Children £9.60. 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.

  • 8 December : The Great Christmas Pudding Race

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

  • Now until 9 December : Strange Days – Memories Of the Future

Video and films by 21 radical film-makers, presented as large-scale, multi-screen video installations. Tues-Sat 12pm-7pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Free entry. The Store X, 180 The Strand, WC2R 1EA. Nearest station: Temple or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the website.

  • 10 – 30 December : The Four Realms at Christmas

Creative wizards Bompas & Parr have created a special, immersive Christmas experience, inspired by Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Enter the Land of Snowflakes, navigate the icy mirror maze, tickle your senses in the Land of Flowers and the Land of Sweets, before arriving at the Fourth Realm. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-9pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Tickets: Adults £5, Children 12 and under Free (but still need to register for a ticket). The Atrium, Westfield London, Ariel Way, White City, W12 7GF. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush, White City or Shepherd’s Bush Market. For more information and booking, visit the Westfield London website.

  • 11 December : The Honeypot Children’s Charity’s Christmas Carol Concert

A night of festive entertainment and carols to raise money for The Honeypot Children charity. Featuring Portobello Live Choir, West End Kids and Alex Gibson Music. Complimentary mulled wine and mince pies following the concert. Doors open 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Tickets: Adults and teens £15, Children under 12 £12. St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, WC2E 9ED. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For tickets, click here.

  • 12 December : An Evening Of Cheese

Late-night opening of Borough Market celebrates cheese. Twenty of the Market’s renowned cheesemongers showcase their range of UK and International cheeses. There are also demo kitchens and tastings, carol singers and traders competing in the ‘cracking of the parmesan wheel’ competition. 6pm-9pm. Free entry. Borough Market, Borough, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website. Read Metro Girl’s blog on an Evening of Cheese.
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