Category Archives: Families

Ideas for parents and grandparents to entertain the children.

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.

  • 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

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

Try your hand at curling as ‘Club Curling’ pops up at King’s Cross

Synthetic curling rinks will be appearing at Coal Drops Yard until 30 December 2021.

Club Curling comes to Coal Drops Yard this festive season

Ever watched the Winter Olympics and found yourself getting curious about curling? Well, this winter, you’ll have the chance to try the sport with the launch of Club Curling at King’s Cross.

Popping up at Coal Drops Yard from 11 November 2021, friends, families and couples will be able to aim for the targets on the six synthetic ice rinks. Club Curling will be running through the festive season against the backdrop of the Victorian arches and yards of Coal Drops Yard, a shopping and entertainment destination.

As well as trying out your curling skills on the rinks, you can also enjoy a Christmas cocktail at the adjacent Club Curling Cocktail Bar. Visitors are advised to pre-book, but Club Curling is also open to walk-ups subject to availability.

  • Club Curling runs from 11 November – 30 December 2021. At Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. Open daily 11am-9pm. Tickets (45 minute sessions): Adults £5, Children under 12 free. For more information and booking, visit the King’s Cross website.

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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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What’s on in London this Halloween 2021

Find out what fairs, club nights, film screenings, family fun and other Halloween activities are on this October.

After a rather lacklustre Halloween in 2020 due to the pandemic, fans of the spooky season will be in for rather more choice with ways to celebrate it this year.

Halloween itself falls on a weekend at the end of the autumn half-term break, so there’s plenty of ghostly events for families during daytime and evenings.

Find out what exhibitions, boat trips, film screenings, story-telling, installations, club nights, ghost tours, supper clubs and beer fests this Halloween. While most day-time events are for families, there are some evening events open to children.

Be aware, some events or locations may have Covid-19 requirements for entry, such as vaccination proof, negative rest results or other protocols.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Daytime Halloween events

  • 23 September – 7 November 2021 : Dark Arts @ Warner Bros. Studios

Dark Arts returns to the Harry Potter experience for the Halloween season. The Great Hall is full of 100 floating pumpkins, while the table features a Halloween feast. Watch a procession of the Death Eaters. Tickets: Adults £47, Children £38. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For booking, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website. 🐻

  • 9 – 31 October 2021 : The Surgeon @ London Dungeon

A special Halloween show explores the horrors of Victorian surgery. Step into an old operating theatre as things turn gory. Times vary. Show included with general entry. Tickets: Adults from £20, adult entry & ‘Bloody Bellini’ cocktail £38, Children from £24. The London Dungeon, The Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For booking, visit the London Dungeon website. 🐻

  • 16 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween @ Battersea Power Station

Two weeks of family-friendly activities will be taking place around the Power Station, including Halloween Hunt & Competition, Spooky Maze, Halloween-themed food at Queen of the Crepes, Spooky Story Telling & Thriller Dance Sessions and performances. Times and prices vary.  Battersea Power Station, Battersea, SW8 5BN. Nearest station: Battersea Power Station. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website. 🐻

  • 19 October – 13 November 2021 : Halloween @ Backyard Cinema

Spooky screenings at Backyard Cinema’s two winter experiences – the Winter Night Garden or the Snow Kingdom. Full bar and street food stalls available. Matinees and evening screenings. Tickets: £10.50-£29.99. Capital Studios, 13 Wandsworth Plain, Wandsworth, SW18 1ET. Nearest station: Wandsworth Town. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website. 🐻

  • 22 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween @ The London Bridge Experience

Get scared silly at one of two shows at the London Bridge Experience, with the Family Halloween Show taking place during the day. Children can take a spooky stroll through the dark past of London Bridge, before visiting the tombs, while counting the pumpkins along the way. Open 11am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £25, Children 5-15yrs £19. London Bridge Experience, 2-4 Tooley Street, Borough, SE1 2SY. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information and booking, visit the London Bridge Experience website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : Ghost Raiders @ Tower of London

Help a team of ghost raiders investigate spooky occurrences in the Tower and track down the evil spirit trying to take over. Suitable for 8-14yrs. 10am-4pm. Tickets: (event included in tower admission) Adults £29.90, Children £14.90. Tower of London, City of London, EC3N 4AB. Nearest stations: Tower Hill, Tower Gateway or Fenchurch Street. For booking, visit the Tower of London website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween at KidZania

Join a ghost tour through the world of KidZania, visiting haunted spots and listening to terrifying tales. Aspiring fashion designers can make creepy-crawly costumes or perform a spooky soundtrack. Open 10am-7pm. Tickets: Adults from £16, Children from £26. KidZania, Westfield London, Ariel Way, W12 7GA. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush or Wood Lane. For more information, visit the KidZania website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : London Eye River Cruise presents Halloween Spooky Sailing

Enjoy a 40-minute circular boat tour as you learn about the spooky history of the River Thames. Boat departure: 6pm. Tickets: Adults from £20 (in 1 Beefeater Gin mulled drink), Children from £15. Departs from the London Eye Pier, South Bank, SE1 7PB. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Embankment or Westminster. For more information and booking, visit the London Eye website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : Pumpkin Quiz Trail @ Battersea Park Zoo

Find out which animals are hording pumpkins on a family-friendly trail around the zoo. Open 10am-4.30pm. Quiz trail £1.50 entry (includes prize at the end). General entry tickets: Adults £10.95, Children £8.95. Battersea Park Zoo, Battersea Park, Chelsea Embankment, Battersea, SW11 4NJ. Nearest station: Battersea Park. For more information, visit the Battersea Park Zoo website. 🐻

  • 23 – 31 October 2021 : The Wizards of Once Halloween Quest @ Eltham Palace

Follow an adventure trail inspired by Cressida Cowell’s Wizards of Once series. Search for the ingredients for the Spell and find the Cup of Second Chances. Fancy dress competition. Open 10am-5pm. Event included with general admission. Tickets: Adults £17.30, Children 5-17yrs £10.40. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5QE. Nearest station: Eltham or Mottingham. For booking, visit the English Heritage website. 🐻

  • 26 October 2021 : Family Day: Halloween @ Benjamin Franklin House

A spooky family day with spooky 18th century stories told by Polly Hewson and gruesome games and crafts for 5-11 year olds. 11am-12.30pm. Free, but advanced booking recommended. Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, Westminster, WC2N 5NG. Nearest stations: Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information, visit the Benjamin Franklin House website. 🐻

  • 26 – 27 October 2021 : Ghosts, Gargoyles, and Goodies @ Charlton House

South-east London’s Jacobean mansion is a hosting a variety of Halloween sessions, including ghost stories, make-your-own-gargoyle workshop, treasure hunt and spider trail in the gardens. Fancy dress welcome. Suitable for children 5-12yrs, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Sessions @ 10am, 11.30am and 2pm. Tickets: £5 per child, free for accompanying adult. Charlton House, Charlton Road, Charlton, SE7 8RE. Nearest station: Charlton. For more information, visit the Royal Greenwich Heritage Trust website. 🐻

  • 26 – 29 October 2021 : Halloween @ King’s Cross

A series of children’s activities are taking place during half-term across the King’s Cross site. Including Spooky Drawing Workshop, ‘Pimp your Pumpkin’ digital art class, Spooky Costume Swap Shop, scary storytelling, and more. Times and dates for each activity varies. Free, but advanced booking recommended. At various locations across King’s Cross, N1C. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the King’s Cross website. 🐻

  • 27 October – 1 November 2021 : Halloween @ Merchant Square

Enjoy a host of Halloween activities for the family, including pumpkin carving, photo competitions, pirate treasure hunts and a free film screening of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Times vary. Merchant Square, Paddington Basin, W2 1JS. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website. 🐻

Greenwich Domes in fog

Enjoy a spooky evening at the Old Royal Naval College for Halloween

  • 29 – 31 October 2021 : Halloween @ Old Royal Naval College

Celebrate with the spooky season with a series of Halloween-themed events for children or adults at the Old Royal Naval College. Children can listen to Icy Mystery: Halloween Voyage Into The Unknown, story-telling session (29-30 Oct, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm); or adults can enjoy late-night visits, with Ghoulish Ghost Tours accompanied by either a Spooky Supper (29-30 Oct, 7pm) or Chilling Cocktails (29-31 Oct, 7pm). Tickets vary depending on event. Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest stations: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the ORNC website. 🐻

  • 31 October 2021 : Kids’ Halloween Party @ Beckenham Place

Head to a Georgian mansion for a children’s party, featuring interactive games, funky dancing, monster hat making and treasure hunt. For ages 4-7yrs. Fancy dress encouraged. Session 1: 2pm-3.15pm, Session 2: 4pm-5.15pm. Tickets: £15 (1 adult and 1 child). Beckenham Place Mansion, Beckenham Hill Road, Beckenham, BR3 1SY. Nearest station: Beckenham Hill. For more information, visit the Beckenham Place website. 🐻

Evening and late-night Halloween events

  • 6 – 21 October 2021 : Burials, Bombs and Fantastic Beasts’ walking tours @ Leadenhall Market

Every Wednesday in October, explore the dark side of Leadenhall Market on a guided tour. Discover the history of the site, dating back to Roman times, featuring witchcraft, murder and death. 6.30pm-8pm. Tickets: £8.14. Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Bank. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in October 2021

Find out what events are on in London in October, including London Cocktail Week, the Marathon, and lots of art fairs.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Support the runners at the London Marathon

Autumn is here and one of London’s busiest festival months is back! As well as the half-term break for schools, there’s also Halloween. The capital is bustling with events this month, including art fairs, cocktail week, MCM Comic Con and the London Restaurant Festival, and the long-awaited return of the London Marathon.

Find out what’s on in London for Halloween.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 3 October 2021 : The Cake and Bake Show

Three-days of all things baking, including demo theatre, celebrity bakers and experts, sugar craft, market stands, shopping, free-from exhibitors, doughnut masterclass, and champagne and nail bar. Open 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £15, Children 7-15yrs £9.50. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent (DLR). For tickets, visit the Cake and Bake Show website. 🐻

  • 1 – 3 October 2021 : Whisky Show

Whisky Show returns to London for a physical event following last year’s online offering. Featuring masterclasses, tastings, whisky experts, food pairings, demonstrations and more. Tickets vary. Old Billingsgate, 1 Old Billingsgate Walk, City of London, EC3R 6DX. Nearest station: Monument. For more information, visit The Whisky Show website.

  • 1 – 31 October 2021 : London Cocktail Week Month

This year’s ‘week’ is extended to a whole month to give London’s bar scene a much-needed boost. Hundreds of bars across the capital will be taking part, offering £7 special LCW cocktail week concoctions for those with a wristband. There will also be self-guided bar crawls, masterclasses, bar takeovers, pop-ups and cocktail dinners. Tickets: £15 (valid for entire month). For more information, visit the London Cocktail Week website.

  • 1 – 31 October 2021 : London Restaurant Festival

Celebrate London’s spectacular restaurant scene by sitting down to a fine meal or foodie experience. Enjoy small-scale in-restaurant experiences, Chef’s tables, feasts-at-home, drinks masterclasses, tasting menus and foodie masterclasses. For more information, visit the London Restaurant Festival website.

  • Now until 2 October 2021 : Crystal Palace International Film Festival

Independent film festival returns to south London, featuring screenings and premieres of full-length, short films and documentaries, culminating in an awards night presented by Johnny Vegas. Tickets: £9-£25. At various locations in SE19, SE27 and SE25. Nearest stations: Crystal Palace, West Norwood or South Norwood. For more information, visit the festival website.

  • Now until 2 October 2021 : Openaire Float-In Cinema

Watch your favourite film while sitting on a boat floating in the Paddington Basin. Hire a boat and enjoy a ride around Little Venice before mooring by the big screen. Times vary. Tickets: Boat for up to 8 people £248.40. Deckchair £19.25. Merchant Square, Paddington, W2. Nearest stations: Paddington or Edgware Road. For more information and booking, visit the Openaire website. 🐻

  • 3 October 2021 : Virgin London Marathon

The delayed London Marathon is taking place in the autumn this year. Cheer on 100,000 runners raising money for plenty of good causes and pushing their bodies to the limit. The 26 mile marathon starts in Greenwich/Blackheath and ends in The Mall. Free for spectators. For more information and spectator maps, visit the London Marathon website. 🐻

  • Now until 3 October 2021 : Luna Cinema

Roaming alfresco cinema pops up at various locations across the capital (and the UK). Expect old classics and new favourites. Times vary. Tickets: Adults from £16, Children from £11. Venues include Brompton Cemetery, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Regent’s Park Open-Air Cinema, Chiswick House, Kensington Palace, Dulwich Park, Victoria Tower Gardens, Wandsworth Park, Westminster Abbey, Wimbledon Park, Clapham Common, Kenwood House, Hampton Court Palace, Marble Hill and Old Royal Naval College. For more information and tickets, visit the Luna Cinema website. 🐻

  • 4 – 10 October 2021 : London Craft Week

A celebration of British and international crafters, featuring over 250 makers, designers, brands and galleries. At various locations across London. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website.

  • 6 – 17 October 2021 : BFI London Film Festival

International film festival returns to the capital, featuring premieres, screenings, Q&As, special presentations, shorts, talks and more. Ticket prices vary between £10-£40, festival passes £21-£60. At various cinemas in London. For more information, visit the BFI website.

  • 6 – 21 October 2021 : Burials, Bombs and Fantastic Beasts’ walking tours @ Leadenhall Market

Every Wednesday in October, explore the dark side of Leadenhall Market on a guided tour. Discover the history of the site, dating back to Roman times, featuring witchcraft, murder and death. 6.30pm-8pm. Tickets: £8.14. Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street, City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Bank. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website.

  • 7 October 2021 – 23 January 2022 : Mulan Rouge

An immersive, foodie, theatrical mash-up of Disney’s Mulan and Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! Overs 18s only. Dress Code: ‘A hot Paris night in the Mulan Rouge’. Times vary. Tickets: £45-£60. The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN. Nearest stations: Waterloo, Lambeth North or Waterloo East. For more information, visit The Vaults website.

  • 8 – 17 October 2021 : Streatham Festival

Explore the culture of this vibrant south London neighbourhood. Including talks, dance and music classes for kids, comedy shows, music and dance performances, art exhibitions, drag shows and much more. Various venues in SW16 and SW2. Nearest stations: Streatham Hill, Streatham Common and Streatham. For more information, visit the Streatham Festival website. 🐻

  • 8 – 17 October 2021 : Vauxtoberfest

Two week beer festival comes to the pubs and bars of Vauxhall. Featuring opportunities to try new brews and prizes. Venues include Mother Kellys, the Black Dog, Jolly Gardeners, Tamesis Dock, Casa Madeira, Above the Stag, Pico Bar & Grill, and Vauxhall Street Food Garden. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the BeInVauxhall website.

  • Now until 9 October 2021 : Dogstagram @ Leadenhall Market

Dog lovers should head to Leadenhall Market for the UK’s first pop-up photo station for dogs. There are four photo stations featuring different backdrops and props to jazz up your pet. Open Wed, Thur and Sat 12pm-8pm. Free to use. 13-15 Leadenhall Market, City of London, EC3V 1LR. Nearest stations: Bank, Monument, or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website. 🐻

  • 9 – 10 October 2021 : Classic Car Boot Sale

Vintage lovers can shop pre-loved and upcycled goods, including fashion, homewares, fashion and more as this retro festival returns. 10am-6pm. Tickets: £5, free entry for under 12s. Granary Square, Lewis Cubitt Square and Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the Classic Car Boot Sale website.

  • Now until 10 October 2021 : Chila Burman installation @ Covent Garden

British artist Chila Burman has created a large-scale, neon art installation in Covent Garden’s iconic market hall. Main installation on daily, 7am-12am; the James Street tiger 7am-11pm. Free. Covent Garden Market, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BU. Nearest stations: Covent Garden, Leicester Square or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Covent Garden website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the installation. 🐻

Chila Burman’s installation in Covent Garden market hall

  • 12 October – 4 December 2021 : Jeff Koons & Cy Twombly: Primal Gestures @ BASTIAN

Artists Jeff Koons and Cy Twombly’s striking work is brought together in an unusual exhibition. Open Tues-Sat 10am-6pm. Free entry. BASTIAN, 8 Davies Street, Mayfair, W1K 3DW. Nearest station: Green Park or Bond Street. For more information, visit the Bastian website.

  • 13 – 17 October 2021 : Frieze London

London contemporary art fair returns to Regents’ Park, focusing on living artists. Expect over 160 galleries, performance-based work, talks and more. Covid-19 vaccination or test requirements apply. Tickets: £46-£145 (depending on day and entry time). Regents’ Park (south side), off Park Square West, NW1 4LL. Nearest station: Regent’s Park, Baker Street and Great Portland Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Frieze website.

  • 14 – 17 October 2021 : The Other Art Fair

Over 140 emerging artists will be displaying their art at this independent fair. Open Thu 3pm-10pm, Fri 1pm-9pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £11 (advance), £14 (on the door). Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, E1 6QR. Nearest stations: Aldgate, Liverpool Street or Shoreditch High Street. For tickets, visit the Other Art Fair website.

  • 14 – 31 October 2021 : Royal Docks Originals Festival

Two week festival of creativity and culture in the Docklands. Including theatre, music, artworks, installations (such as the Royal Docks Rainbow from Bompas & Parr), family activities and workshops. At various locations in the Royal Docks and online. Nearest stations: Cyprus, King George V, Custom House, Prince Regent or London City Airport. For more information, visit the Royal Docks website. 🐻

  • 14 October – 14 November 2021 : Wes Anderson – The French Dispatch

A new exhibition of original sets, props, costumes, and artwork from film-maker Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch. Open Tues & Sun 11am-7pm, Wed 10am-7pm, Thur-Sat 10am-9pm. Tickets: £10, under 12s free. 180 The Strand, Temple, WC2R 1EA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the 180 The Strand website.

  • 15 – 24 October 2021 : Bloomsbury Festival

Popular central London neighbourhood festival returns, with this year’s theme being ‘Shining Light’. Check out exhibitions, children’s activities, talks, performances, and more. At various locations in and around Bloomsbury. Nearest stations: Russell Square, Euston or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit the Bloomsbury Festival website. 🐻

  • 15 October 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition

Explore the Vatican’s majestic chapel in an immersive experience, featuring the iconic ceiling paintings, which have been reproduced with HD photography. Open Wed-Sun 10am-6pm. Tickets: Adults from £11, Children from £8. Cannon Factory. Ashley Road, Tottenham, N17 9LH. Nearest station: Tottenham Hale. For tickets, visit the exhibition website.

  • 16 October 2021 : Rumfest

Festival for rum lovers, featuring over 400 rums on offer. Enjoy tastings, makers, seminars, cocktail masterclasses, food and live Caribbean music and dancing. Over 18s only. Open: Afternoon Session 12pm–4pm, Evening Session 5pm–9pm. Tickets: £25. ILEC Conference Centre, 47 Lillie Road, West Brompton, SW6 1UD. Nearest station: West Brompton. For more information, visit the Rumfest website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in September 2021

Discover what’s on in the capital this September, including Chelsea Flower Show, Totally Thames, Open House Festival and London Fashion Week.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

The Chelsea Flower Show is back

Autumn is here, but London is certainly open as many postponed festivals make a long awaited return after being postponed due to COVID-19. Horticulturists will be thrilled to see the Chelsea Flower Show back, while gin lovers will be looking forward to boozing away at Junipalooza. The hugely-popular Open House Festival returns, giving the public access to 100s of buildings normally off-limits.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 30 September 2021 : Totally Thames

Month-long festival celebration the river and its heritage. Featuring a host of online and in-person events focusing on the heritage, environment and culture of the Thames. At various locations. Some events are free. For more information and booking, visit the Thames Festival Trust website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the festival. 🐻

  • 1 – 30 September 2021 : Lambeth Heritage Festival 2021

Month-long festival celebrates the diverse history of Lambeth, including workshops, lectures, history fair, exhibitions, harvest festival, talks, guided tours and walks. Most events are free, but some are ticketed. At various locations across Lambeth. For more information, visit the Lambeth Council website.

  • 3 – 5 September : Meatopia 2021

A festival for carnivores, for those who love cooking with fire. Featuring over 60 of the world’s top fire chefs, bars, live music, DJs, and more. Open Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 11.30am-6.30pm. Tickets from £23.85. Tobacco Dock (Pennington Street entrance), Wapping, E1W 2SF. Nearest stations: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information, visit the Meatopia website.

  • 4 – 5 September 2021 : Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

Shop for vintage fashion, accessories and textiles from the 1900s onwards from over 50 dealers at the striking Art Deco Freemasons Hall. Open 11am-5pm. Tickets: £5. Freemasons Hall, 60 Great Queen Street, Covent Garden, WC2B 5AZ. Nearest stations: Holborn or Covent Garden. For more information, visit the fair website.

  • 4 – 12 September 2021 : Open House Festival

Step inside some of London’s most interesting buildings, from innovative new builds to historic centuries-old structures. Featuring nearly 700 events, including 100 walking tours and children’s activities. Many of these buildings are usually off-limits to the public. Free. Various locations. For more information, visit the Open City website. Read Metro Girl’s guide to this year’s festival. 🐻 

  • Now until 5 September 2021 : IQL Summer Screen @ Stratford

Enjoying screenings of classic movies, sporting events (Tokyo Paralympics) and new releases on the big screen, as well as yoga classes. Times vary. Tickets are free, but need to be booked in advance due to limited numbers. IQL Summer Screen (near Layard Street), Stratford, E20 1JN. Nearest station: Stratford. For more information and listings, visit the International Quarter website. 🐻

  • Now until 5 September 2021 : Summer Festival @ Hammersmith BID

A season of free, family-friendly activities in Hammersmith city centre. Featuring Tokyo Paralympic screenings, alfresco film nights, opera, wellness classes and more. Times vary. Free. Events take place at St Paul’s Green, Lyric Square and 245 Hammersmith. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For more information, visit the Hammersmith BID website. 🐻

  • Now until 5 September 2021 : Dub London – Bassline of a City

A new exhibition explores dub reggae and its influence on the capital. Open Mon-Fri 11.30am-3.30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-6pm. Free entry, but book a time slot in advance. Museum Of London, 150 London Wall, Barbican, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest stations: Moorgate or Barbican. For more information, visit the Museum of London website.

  • Now until 5 September 2021 : The Romance of Ruins @ Sir John Soane Museum

Exhibition showcases watercolours from a 1764 expedition to ancient Ionia (modern Turkey), against the backdrop of the Sir John Soane’s museum. Open 10am-5pm. Entry: free (timed ticket). Sir John’s Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, WC2A 3BP. Nearest station: Holborn. For more information, visit the Sir John Soane Museum website.

  • 8 – 12 September 2021 : Hampstead Heath Outdoor Film Festival

The Hideaway Cinema sets up camp in Hampstead for five days, screening new releases, classic and family movies. Times vary. Tickets: Adults from £15, under 15 yrs from £5. Hampstead Heath, Hampstead, NW3. Nearest station: Hampstead or Hampstead Heath. For booking, visit the Hideaway Cinema website. 🐻

  • 8 September – 2 October 2021 : Openaire Float-In Cinema

Watch your favourite film while sitting on a boat floating in the Paddington Basin. Hire a boat and enjoy a ride around Little Venice before mooring by the big screen. Times vary. Tickets: Boat for up to 8 people £248.40. Deckchair £19.25. Merchant Square, Paddington, W2. Nearest stations: Paddington or Edgware Road. For more information and booking, visit the Openaire website. 🐻

  • 9 September : Beerfest Lite

Beer festival outside historic Guildhall, featuring live music, food and drink. 12pm-9pm. Free entry. Guildhall Yard, Gresham Street, City of London, EC2V 5AE. Nearest station: St Paul’s or Monument. For more information, visit the City of London website

  • 9 – 12 September 2021 : Photo London

Exhibition of world-class photography, featuring galleries, publishers, talks, guided walks, workshops and more. Open Thu 1pm-9pm, Fri 1pm-7pm, Sat 12pm-7pm and Sun 12pm-6.30pm. Tickets: Adults from £29, Youth (13-17yrs) £19. Somerset House, Strand, Aldwych, WC2R 1LA. Nearest stations: Temple or Holborn. For more information, visit the Photo London website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Head to Somerset House for Photo London

  • Now until 9 September 2021 : Summer Staycation Live Music Sessions @ Paddington Basin

Enjoy free, live music every Thursday lunchtime at the Paddington basin. Thursdays only 12.30pm-2.30pm. Free. Floating Pocket Park, Paddington Basin, W2 1AN. Nearest station: Paddington. For more information, visit the Merchant Square website.

  • 9 – 19 September 2021 : Peckham & Nunhead Free Film Festival

Eleven day film festival at various venues across Peckham and Nunhead. Including screenings of short films and feature-length movies, and pub quiz. All events are free. Nearest stations: Nunhead, Peckham Rye and Queenstown Road Peckham. For more information, visit the Free Film Festival website.

  • 9 September – 2 October 2021 : Crystal Palace International Film Festival

Independent film festival returns to south London, featuring screenings and premieres of full-length, short films and documentaries, culminating in an awards night presented by Johnny Vegas. Tickets: £9-£25. At various locations in SE19, SE27 and SE25. Nearest stations: Crystal Palace, West Norwood or South Norwood. For more information, visit the festival website. 🐻

  • Now until 11 September 2021 : Greenwich + Docklands International Festival (GDIF)

Two week festival of free outdoor theatre and performing arts returns. Installations, theatre, dance, circus, street games, music and kids’ entertainment will be taking place at various locations. Most events are free. For more information, visit the GDIF website. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry

Totally Thames 2021: Celebrate the capital’s river as the heritage and culture festival returns

Enjoy walking tours, talks, workshops, art exhibitions and more as the annual festival returns 1 – 30 September 2021.

The Rivers of the World exhibition returns for the Totally Thames festival
© Milo Robinson

Without the River Thames, London wouldn’t be the city it is today. With the capital returning to life following the end of lockdown, why not head to this year’s Totally Thames? The annual festival returns for the 25th year from 1 – 30 September 2021, boasting a host of events celebrating the heritage, environment and culture of the Thames. From mudlarking to art exhibitions to light installations and walking tours, there’s a variety of events for all ages. While many events are in-person, there will also be plenty to enjoy online as well.

This year’s festival will feature a series of mudlarking events, including an exhibition of fascinating finds, portraits of mudlarkers, an immersive talk, an online writing workshop and Archaeological Foreshore Walks. Meanwhile, the riverside neighbourhoods of Silvertown and Woolwich will be the focus of heritage events, such as walking tours, a photography exhibition and history talks.

The Rivers of the World exhibition will return to the riverside by the Tate Modern with children’s artwork inspired by the river. Children and youth from Greenwich have teamed up with Ghanian schools and professional artists to produce a collection of artworks.

There will also be a series of events marking the completion of Leo Villareal’s Illuminated River project. The world’s longest public art installation sees the bridges of Lambeth, Westminster, Golden Jubilee, Waterloo, Blackfriars, Millennium, Southwark, Cannon Street and London lit up from sunset to 2am. Illuminated River will curate a three-day celebration from 23 – 25 September, including guided tours, talks and sketching workshops.

  • Totally Thames runs from 1 – 30 September 2021. At various locations on and around the River Thames. Prices for events vary, but many are free. For more information and booking, visit the Thames Festival Trust website.

Find out what else is on in London in September 2021 here.

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