Category Archives: Festivals

Special events and festivals

Guide to what’s on in London in July 2021

There’s a host of events on, including Taste of London, RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, Cocktails in the City and London Wonderground.

Taste of London © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

Taste of London returns to Regent’s Park

Lockdown appears to be largely relaxing this month so London’s seasonal events are starting to return. A host of festivals, exhibitions and more are bringing life back to the capital. With the school holidays kicking off later this month, expect lots of attractions for families. Many events will be offering limited numbers compared to previous years to provide social distancing, so are likely to sell out fast.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 July : Meet Me in Marylebone Shopping and Dining Day

One-day shopping event in Marylebone Village, featuring local shops and restaurants offering activations, promotions, offers, freebies and special menus. Event takes place all day. Marylebone Village is a short walk from Marble Arch and Oxford Street. Nearest stations: Baker Street, Regent’s Park and Great Portland Street. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website.

  • 1 July – 31 August 2021 : Louis Roederer pop-up @ The Savoy

Champagne house Louis Roederer is hosting a chic pop-up at London’s iconic Savoy this summer. Along with a boutique selling Louis Roederer champagnes, including rare vintages, there will also be a Suite Dining Experience, offering a three-course private dinner accompanied by Champagne in a riverview suite. Find out more on The Savoy website.

  • 5 – 11 July 2021 : London Cocktail Week Warm-Up Festival

A one-off reopening celebration to support our favourite bars returning to their glory after a difficult time, ahead of the official LCW in October. Thirty bars across the capital will be offering special £7 signature cocktails to those with a participating wristband. Tickets £15. At participating bars only. For more information, visit the LCW website.

  • 6 – 11 July 2021 : RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival 2021

The world’s largest garden show returns to the grounds of the historical Hampton Court. Attractions include show gardens, floral marquee, plant village, shopping, Festival of Roses, and celebrity talks, demonstrations and workshops. Open Tues-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm. Tickets: £28.75-£43.75 (cheaper for RHS members). Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court. For tickets, visit the RHS website.

  • 7 – 11 and 14 – 18 July 2021 : Taste of London

Following a hiatus due to the pandemic, Taste of London is back with a bang, taking place over two consecutive weekends so Londoners can get reacquainted with London’s restaurant scene after a challenging time for the industry. Expect pop-ups, tasting menus, workshops, demos, talks and plenty of opportunities to eat and drink to your heart’s content. Tickets start from £23 (choose a timeslot). Regent’s Park, NW1 4NR. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Great Portland Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Taste Of London website.

  • 7 July – late August 2021 : The Summer of 1321 @ Leadenhall Market

The City of London market celebrates 700 years of history with a series of free events. From live music to art exhibitions to guided and self-guided history tours. 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.

  • 13 July 2021 : The Comedy Store @ Skylight Rooftop

Rooftop destination Skylight are teaming up with The Comedy Store for a night of alfresco laughs. Acts include Jarred Christmas (MC), Dane Baptiste and Jo Caulfield, among others. Doors: 5.30pm, First act: 7.30pm. Tickets: £15. Skylight, Tobacco Quay, Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For more information or tickets, visit Design My Night.

  • 13 – 31 July 2021 : Sommergäste: Jean Dubuffet exhibition

A new summer series of single work spotlight exhibitions launches at the BASTIAN gallery. For three weeks in July, it will showcase French artist Jean Dubuffet’s Site avec 5 personnages (Site with 5 characters). 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.

  • 14 – 17 July 2021 : Vauxhall Pride

Celebrate Pride with four days of entertainment at Vauxhall Food & Beer Garden. Including bingo, live music, drag and cabaret performances and a closing party. Times and ticket prices vary. Vauxhall Food & Beer Garden, 6A South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1SP. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Be In Vauxhall website.

  • 15 July – 22 August 2021 : Dodge @ Somerset House

The iconic courtyard of Somerset House is transformed into an open-air fun palace, featuring dodgems, art installations and drinking and dining options, as well as late-night DJ events. Times vary. Dodgem tickets: £5pp. Somerset House, Strand, Aldwych, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. For more information and booking, visit the Somerset House website.

  • 15 July – 25 September 2021 : London Wonderground

Summer culture extravaganza has moved from the South Bank to Earls Court. Expect the best in comedy, circus, music and family entertainment in the big top and upside cow Udderbelly. As well as performances, there will also be outdoor bars, street food, musical bandstand performances, vintage fairground rides, family activities and a ‘beach’. Tickets: free entry to site, but shows are ticketed. London Wonderground, Empress Place, Earls Court, SW6 1TT. Nearest station: West Brompton. For more information and tickets, visit the London Wonderground website. 🐻

  • 17 July 2021 : Crouch End Festival Chorus

Enjoy some big band jazz and works for an unaccompanied choir at the concert hall of Ally Pally. Doors 6pm, Curtains: 7.30pm. Tickets: £10-£20. Alexandra Palace Theatre, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY. Nearest stations: Alexandra Palace or Wood Green. For more information, visit the Alexandra Palace website.

  • 17 July 2021 : Nocturnal Creatures

A late-night art festival, featuring new installations, films, live performances, music and food experiences. 6pm-11pm. Free. Aldgate Square, Aldgate High Street, Aldgate, EC3N 1AF. Nearest station: Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Whitechapel Art Gallery website.

  • 17 July – 30 August 2021 : Summer Showtime on The Coaling Jetty

Enjoy open-air theatre and cinema against the backdrop of the River Thames and the iconic Battersea Power Station. The theatre will features many family-friendly productions. Times vary. Cinema tickets: Two seats £35, Four seats £60. Theatre tickets vary. The Coaling Jetty, Battersea Power Station Pier, SW8 4NR. Nearest stations: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website. 🐻

  • 18 July 2021 : Independent Label Market

As part of Soho Music Month, a one-day vinyl market comes to Carnaby Street. Expect to see a host of independent labels for sale across many stalls. 12pm-6pm. Free entry. Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby website.

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Guide to what’s on in London in June 2021

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018Summer is here! It’s been a long, tough winter and spring thanks to lockdown and the dismal weather of May! But thankfully, London is starting to open up a bit more and everyone is feeling more positive. While, some big events will be missing from the usual London summer calendar, there’s no chance of getting bored with plenty of culture and fun on around town. Of course, half-term has kicked off already so parents will no doubt be looking for ways to entertain the children after spending way more time at home recently than anyone wanted!

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 30 June 2021 : London Festival of Architecture

After the year we’ve had, it’s no surprise to see this year’s festival theme is ‘care’. Expect a host of virtual and physical events across town, including exhibitions, walks, talks, workshops, conferences and many more. For more information, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.

  • 4 June – 26 September 2021 : Van Gogh Alive UK

An immersive, multi-sensory experience inspired by the art and life of Vincent Van Gogh. Open: Sun–Thur 10am–8pm, Fri–Sat 10am–9pm. Tickets: Adults £24. Kensington Gardens (East Albert Lawn), Kensington, SW7 2AP. Nearest stations: Gloucester Road, Knightsbridge or High Street Kensington. For more information, visit the Van Gogh Alive website.

  • 4 June – September 2021 : Summer of Play @ Wembley Park

A whole season of free events are taking place in and around Wembley Park, including live music, outdoor cinema screenings, public art trail and sporting activities. Free. At various locations in Wembley Park. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition. 🐻

  • Now until 10 June 2021 : Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2020 exhibition

Check out 160 travel photographs of landscapes and people from around the world during a crazy year. Alfresco exhibition allows social-distancing and safe perusal of the imagery. Open 24/7. Free. Coal Drops Yard, Stable Street, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the TPOTY website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post on the exhibition.

  • 11 June – 17 October 2021 : Serpentine Pavilion 2021

After a 2020 hiatus, the latest temporary pavilion by the Serpentine Gallery has been unveiled. This year’s Serpentine Pavilion is designed by Johannesburg-based practice Counterspace, directed by Sumayya Vally. Open 10am-6pm. Free. Serpentine Pavilion, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA. Nearest stations: Lancaster Gate, Knightsbridge or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Serpentine Gallery website.

  • 12 – 14 June 2021 : London Fashion Week

The latest season of fashion week is dedicated to gender-neutral fashion. Expect a mix of virtual and physical events showcasing what we’ll be wearing next season. For more information, visit the London Fashion Week website.

  • 18 – 19 June 2021 : Cocktails in The City Summers Series

This season, the London summer series of  the popular cocktail festival with take place over three weekend monthly. Kicking off the first one in June, with London’s top bars setting up their own pop-ups, as well as live music, street food, tastings and demonstrations. Open 12pm-4pm and 5pm-10pm. Tickets: £20 (daytime or evening slots). Bedford Square Gardens, Bloomsbury, WC1B. Nearest stations: Goodge Street or Tottenham Court Road. For tickets, visit the Cocktails In The City website.

  • 25 – 27 June 2021 : London Classic Car Show 2021

Petrolheads with a penchant for the old school motors should head to Syon Park for a COVID-safe, outdoor car show. Expect vehicles dating back over the past 135 years, with opportunities to view and even purchase. Open Fri 10am–6pm, Sat 10am–7pm, Sun 10am–6pm. Tickets start from £26.62. Syon Park, Brent Lea, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the London Classic Car Show website.

  • Now until 27 June 2021 : Sonia Delaunay: Rhythm and Colour

An exhibition of abstraction art pioneer Sonia Delaunay’s works from her Rythmes-Coleurs series. 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 Gallery website.

  • Now until 1 July 2021: Gaia at the Painted Hall

Luke Jerram’s striking Earth installation is suspended in the recently-restored Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College for one month only. Late night openings on Fridays 5.30pm-10pm. Tickets: £13.50. Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN. Nearest stations: Greenwich, Cutty Sark or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the ORNC website.  Check out Metro Girl’s post for details. 
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Christmas cocktails to your front door with The Sun Tavern’s Quarantini kits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guide to what’s on in London in December 2020

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

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

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

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

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Look out for the computer symbol 💻 for online events.

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

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

  • 2 December – 27 February 2021 : Connected by Light

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

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

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

  • 3 – 20 December : Cinema in the Snow

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

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

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

  • 11 – 13 December : Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre

A celebration of festive food in the grounds of historic Hampton Court Palace. Featuring street food, pop-up bars, artisanal producers, live music, and more. 10am-5pm. Tickets (inc entry to courtyard and gardens): Adults £24.50, Children 5-15yr £12.20, Under 5s free. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the HRP Food Festivals website.

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

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

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

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

  • 17 – 20 December : Love Actually in Concert

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

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

  • Now until 31 December : The Drive In

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

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

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

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

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

  • Now until 3 January 2021 : Christmas at Kew

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

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

London Zoo are hosting a series of festive events alongside the usual animal enclosures. You can meet Santa, enjoy VIP Santa Breakfasts and Animal Gift Giving sessions. Open 10am-4pm. Ticket prices vary depending on activities. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, Marylebone, NW1 4RY. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Camden Town. For booking, visit the ZSL website. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry

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

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

The Terrarium Tree © John Sturrock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Borough Market's Festive Kitchen

Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen runs from 2 December 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guide to what’s on in London in November 2020

Autumn tree Brockwell Park © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2020Our strangest autumn ever continues with the dawn of November. It looks doubtful we’ll be able to enjoy many fireworks on 5th November. While current government rules mean our social and leisure time is limited, there are festivals and events on around the capital, many virtually so you can take part from the safety of your home. We’re also on the countdown to Christmas so expect to see festive events and lights switch on ceremonies throughout the month. Movie lovers can enjoy immersive film experiences or drive-in cinemas.

Events, dates and rules are subject to change or last-minute cancellations due to the pandemic, so always make sure you keep up to date with the event websites to avoid disappointment. Many events require or suggest booking in advance as they have reduced and limited availability. Some venues may require evidence that groups are from the same household.

UPDATE: Following the UK Government announcement of a month-long lockdown starting 5 November, some of the below events could be cancelled, postponed or altered. Please check each event’s website or social media for further information.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Look out for the computer symbol 💻 for online events.

  • Now until 1 November : Face to Face exhibition @ King’s Cross

A new exhibition of social documentary and portrait photography, curated by Ekow Eshun (Chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group). It features art from around the world by international artists being displayed on the the 90-metre long tunnel. Free. King’s Cross Tunnel, 1 Pancras Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AG. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit the project’s website.

  • 6 – 27 November : Richmond Lit Fest

Annual festival of books and words returns to Richmond, including readings, workshops, ‘in conversation with…’, and other events. Programme features a mix of physical (TBD) and online events. For more information, visit the Richmond Lit Fest website. 💻

  • Now until 8 November : Pop Up Screens presents Forbidden Forest Cinema

Watch your favourite films in an immersive film experience, with plenty of spooky films on in the run-up to Halloween and following days. Tickets from £19.50 (Kids go free in half-term). Unit 8, Copeland Park, Peckham, SE15 3SN. Nearest station: Peckham Rye. For more information, visit the Pop up Screens website. 🐻

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

The summer exhibition is now winter as it was delayed due to Covid-19. Check out new art from a mix of established and emerging artists and architects, including Tracey Emin, Rebecca Horn, Anselm Kiefer, Julian Schnabel, Gillian Wearing and Ai Weiwei. Open daily 10am-6pm. Tickets: £20-£22. Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, W1J 0BD. Nearest station: Green Park or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the RA website. UPDATE: The RA will be closed from 5 November – 3 December, depending on government advice.

The late ‘Summer’ Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

  • 13 – 22 November : Wimbledon International Music Festival

Annual music festival returns virtually with a celebration of Beethoven’s 250th anniversary. Participating artists include Clare Hammond, Michael Collins, Robin O’Neill, Michael McHale, Raphael Wallfisch, Paul Lewis, John York and more. Tickets: Events £10, festival pass £80. For more information, visit the festival website. 💻

  • 13 – 22 November : EFG London Jazz Festival

International jazz artists performs at a mix of virtual and physical events. Participating acts include Morten Schantz and Anton Eger; Yuri Goloubev, Barb Jungr, Jamie Safir, Imaani, Wakey Blakey, Basil Hodge Trio, Nathaniel Facey and many more. For more information, visit the London Jazz Festival website. 💻

  • 14 – 15 November : Stylist Live @ Home

A weekend of virtual events from the Stylist magazine team. Enjoy online workshops, talks and interviews, as well as shopping discounts at independent brands. Tickets: £15 (includes access to all online events), VIP £30. For more information and tickets, visit the Stylist website. 💻

  • 14 November – 17 January 2021 : Hogwarts in the Snow

The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has been given a festive makeover. Featuring a snowy visit to Diagon Alley and the Great Hall. Tickets: Adults £47, Children £38, 4yrs and under free. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For more information, visit the Warner Bros Studio Tour website. UPDATE: Warner Bros Studio Tour will temporarily close on 4 November. Read the rest of this entry

Winterfest returns to Wembley | Light installations bring joy for the festive season

Wembley Park are hosting a collection of light installations from November 2020.

Wembley Park – Winterfest 2020

Winterfest returns to Wembley Park this autumn

UPDATE: Winterfest and the ‘Reflections of the Future’ installation has been postponed until November 2021 due to the latest Covid-19 lockdown. However, the LED Christmas tree and other illuminations and digital artworks will still be on display.

As the pandemic continues to change our lives, it will undoubtedly be a different winter this year. With indoor and large activities restricted, we are looking to the great outdoors for our entertainment. One such alfresco event set to light up the dark wintry nights is Winterfest 2020.

Following the inaugural event in 2019, the free, immersive light festival is returning to Wembley Park on 26 November 2020. The theme for this year is ‘United in Light’ and hopes to bring joy to the local community and visitors over the festive period.

Among the pieces on show will be the new ‘Reflections of the Future’, a 100 metre long corridor of lights and mirrors, which alters perception of distance and space. The tallest LED Christmas tree in London returns following last year, adorned with a new digital art commission. The walk-through tree stands tall at 25 metres and features 100,000 LED light display. Along with other light installations, there will also be an outdoor photography exhibition in Arena Square during December.

  • Winterfest runs from 26 November 2020 – 17 January 2021. At Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. Installations will be on from 12pm-10pm daily. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website.

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

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Guide to what’s on in London in October 2020

St Augustine church tower autumn © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2020

Although lockdown rules are constantly in flux and subject to change, London’s attractions, exhibitions and festivals have been gradually returning (albeit adapted to be Covid-19 safe as the pandemic continues). While physical events are continuing in adapted ways and for smaller attendees, many festivals are going online this year so you can experience the fun from the safety of your home. This month, there is Black History Month and Halloween, so expect to see many events inspired by these annual celebrations. October has plenty of boozy events on, including a month-long London Cocktail Week, Oktoberfest, Rum Week and The Whisky Show. Half-term is taking place towards the end of the month, so no doubt parents will be looking for some safe activities to entertain the kids.

Events, dates and rules are subject to change or last-minute cancellations, so always make sure you keep up to date with the relevant websites to avoid disappointment. Many events require or suggest booking in advance as they have reduced and limited availability.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Look out for the computer symbol 💻 for online events.

  • 30 September – 8 October : London Craft Week

Week long event celebrating British and international designers, makers, brands and galleries. Various events (physical and virtual) on around town, including art tours, talks, fairs, installations, walking tours, demonstrations, open studios, craft trails, wine flights and more. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website. 💻

  • 1 – 11 October : Kensington & Chelsea Art Week

A celebration of culture in the exclusive Zone 1 neighbourhoods, including exhibitions, workshops, talks, public art displays and more. At various venues in the district, including The Muse Gallery, Museum of Brands, Goldfinger Factory, Serena Morton Gallery. Find out more on the Art Week website.

  • 1 – 31 October : London Cocktail Week

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 £6 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. Sadly, the cocktail village won’t be open this year due to the pandemic. Tickets: £15 (valid for entire month). For more information, visit the London Cocktail Week website.

  • 1 – 31 October : London Restaurant Festival

Support London’s amazing restaurant industry 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. 💻

  • 1 – 31 October : Mayfair Sculpture Trail

Existing Mayfair artworks will be joined by new installations for one month only. Walk along the iconic streets of Mayfair and spot creations by Lawrence Holofcener, Henry Moore, Antony Gormley, Patrick O’Reilly and Manolo Valder, among others. You can also download accompany audio commentary on Smartify. Free. For more information, visit the Mayfair Art Weekend website. 🐻

  • 2 – 9 October : Whisky Show – Virtual Show

This year’s whisky event is going online, bringing together whisky connoisseurs with the distillers of their favourite and yet-to-be-discovered brands. You can order tasting packs in advance to taste with the virtual tasting sessions, as well as attend workshops, demos, talks and meet the brands. Tickets: £20. For more information, visit the Whisky Show website. 💻

  • 2 October – 31 January 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.

  • 2 October – 31 January 2021 : The Murder Express

Enjoy an immersive fine dining experience on board a 19th century train carriage. Enjoy a four-course meal cooked by a Masterchef finalist, while sipping on cocktails and watching a murder mystery unfold. Times vary. Tickets: From £60. Located at 63 Pedley Street, E1 5FB. Nearest stations: Bethnal Green, Shoreditch High Street or Whitechapel. For more information, visit Funicular Productions. Check out Metro Girl’s post for details.

  • 3 – 4 October : Fun Palaces Weekend

Fun for the family through online and in-person experiences, artworks and workshops exploring arts, science, craft, technology, heritage and sports. At libraries and other venues. For more information, visit the Fun Palaces Weekend website. 🐻💻

  • 3, 10, 17 and 24 October : The Official Camden Oktoberfest

Celebrate Oktoberfest in a socially-distanced festival of beers on Saturdays in October. Featuring live music, DJs, German meat and plenty of beer. Entry in timed sessions (12pm-4.30pm or 5.30pm-10pm). Tickets: From £20.00. Electric Ballroom, 184 Camden High Street, NW1 8BP. Nearest station: Camden Town. For more information, visit the Camden Oktoberfest website. Read the rest of this entry

Totally Thames 2020: Celebrate the capital’s lifeblood with an outdoors and digital festival

This year’s festival will feature a mix of online and socially-distanced outdoor events.

Aïcha El Beloui Totally Thames

Moroccan artist Aïcha El Beloui took part in the Rivers of the World project at this year’s Totally Thames festival

Although many popular London festivals have been postponed until next year, one of my favourite ones – Totally Thames – is fortunately returning in September (its usual slot). However, the 2020 edition of the annual festival will be a mix of digital and outdoor events, so people can take part safely through social distancing or the comfort of their own home.

Now in its 24th year, Totally Thames is a celebration of the River Thames which flows through our capital. Kicking off on 1 September, the month-long festival will include arts events, activities, environmental initiatives, heritage and education programmes. Some of the outdoor events include paddlesports (kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding), angling competition, public art walks, workshops, boat trips, guided walks, art exhibitions and more. Meanwhile, there are plenty of digital offerings, including storytelling, audio and virtual tours, kids’ choir and more.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival is Rivers of the World, with artists working remotely with over 2,000 13 and 13-year-old students around the world to create river-themed art. The participating students created art from home during the Covid-19 lockdown thanks to digital briefs and short films by the artists teaching them new skills and about the importance of the river. The artworks will be displayed on boards and flags by the river alongside the Tate Modern this September.

  • Totally Thames 2020 takes place from 1 – 30 September 2020. At various locations (physically and online) including the South Bank and the Totally Thames website.

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