Category Archives: Festivals

Special events and festivals

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

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

fool britannia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guide to what’s on in London in February 2019

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

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

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

  • 1 – 2 February : London Remixed Festival

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

  • 1 February – 7 April : Lost Lagoon

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

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

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

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

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

  • 3 February : The Vintage Collections

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

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

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

  • 3 February – 19 March : Festival of New Masculinity

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

  • Now until 3 February : London International Mime Festival

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

  • Now until 3 February : Take A View exhibition

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

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

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

  • 4 February : The WineBarn’s Annual Portfolio Tasting

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

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

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

  • 8 February – 2 June : Swinging Sixties exhibition

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

  • 9 February – 10 March : Orchid Festival

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

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Celebrate Chinese New Year in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square

  • 10 February : Chinese New Year

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

  • 13 – 17 February : Ealing Music and Film Festival

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

  • 13 – 24 February : Imagine Children’s Festival

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

Winter Lights festival 2019: Ghost whales, mazes and trees as Canary Wharf is lit up in neon

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

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

vault festival © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

The Vault Festival returns to Waterloo

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

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

  • Fool Britannia

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

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

Yours Sincerely © elafris photography

Yours Sincerely
© elafris photography

  • Yours Sincerely

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

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

  • Salaam

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

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

  • Infinity

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

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

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

London Remixed Festival

The London Remixed Festival returns to Rich Mix

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

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

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

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

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

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Guide to what’s on in London in January 2019

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

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Winter Lights Festival lights up Canary Wharf

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

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

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

  • 1 January : New Year’s Day Parade

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

  • Now until 5 January : Alice In Winterland

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

  • Now until 5 January : Christmas at Kew

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

  • Now until 5 January : Christmas In Leicester Square

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

  • Now until 5 January : Moonshine Saloon

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

  • 6 January : Twelfth Night Celebration

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

  • Now until 6 January : Winter Wonderland

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

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

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

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

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

  • 9 January – 3 February : London International Mime Festival

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

Merry Christmas to MOAMG readers and some tips if you’re staying in London

Christmas Holly bush © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018Wishing all Memoirs Of A Metro Girl readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I would just like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas wherever you will be. As usual, it will be another traditional Christmas with my family in my hometown of London.

For those who are staying in the capital over the festive period, here’s a few ideas of things to do:

– Bring the family – or relive your childhood – at The Snowman Experience at Winter Wonderland.

– Sip on a Christmas cocktail from one of these London bars and festive pop-ups.

– Or if you fancy a spot of ice-skating at one of London’s many pop-up rinks, check out where to go here.

– For a guide to what’s on in London this Christmas, click here.

– Why not check out some of the capital’s Christmas lights and decorations.

– Or if you need some ideas of how to see in the New Year, click here.

See you in 2019 for more London fun and frolics!

Metro Girl

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Walking in a Christmas wonderland: Photos of London’s 2018 festive lights and decorations

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

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

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

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

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

Backyard Cinema Snowman Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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Christmas gift guide for the Londoner in your life

Looking for gift inspiration this Christmas? If you have a Londoner or Londonphile in your life and you’re stuck for ideas for what to get them for festive season, then look no further. Here’s a few suggestions for some London-centric presents.

 

  • The British Library membership

British Library © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2018£80 (direct debit) or £87 (via credit/debit card) per year from The British Library.

If you know a Londoner who loves literature, then an annual membership to the British Library could be a perfect gift. They can enjoy unlimited free entry to BL exhibitions (plus 1 guest), access to the exclusive Members’ Room, or the Knowledge Centre Bar (plus up to 3 guests) on weeknight evenings. Members also enjoy priority booking for the BL’s programme of talks, events and performances as well 20% discount in their public restaurants, cafes and shops. The British Library has a series of specially curated exhibitions and events throughout the year. Current exhibitions include Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War (until 19 February 2019); and Cats on the Page (until 17 March 2019).

– The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras or Euston.

  • London Playset in a Bag

£19.99 from House of Marbles.

Although aimed at children, plenty of big kids will also like these miniature London landmarks and characters. Iconic sights such as Big Ben, the BT Tower, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye have been carved in wood and painted in bright colours. (9cm/3in figures come in a drawstring bag. Not suitable for children under three).

London-Playset-in-a-Bag

  • Soapsmith Soaps

£8.00 from Soapsmith.

Make a traditional gift of toiletries a little bit special with some London-themed soaps. All Soapsmith soaps are handmade in London using high quality, moisturising oils and butters. A range of soaps have taken inspiration from some of the capital’s famous districts, such as Baker Street (almond, honey and goat’s milk); Bloomsbury (primrose, peony and roses), and Hackney (Bergamot, Sandalwood, Rosemary and Geranium); among others. Founded by born and bred Londoner Samantha Jameson in 2012, all of Soapsmith’s products are manufactured in an East London workshop.

© Soapsmith Marble Arch soap

  • Half Hitch Gin

£35.00 from Half Hitch Gin website.

Back in the Victorian era, Camden was famous for its gin. Half Hitch Gin have brought ‘mother’s ruin’ back to NW1. Half Hitch Gin has been made in the former warehouse vaults of Camden Lock since it launched in 2014. Half Hitch Gin is made with tinctures of black tea, pepper, hay, English wood and bergamot. You could buy the gin lover in your life a bottle of Half Hitch, or perhaps book a visit to the gin school at their micro-distillery.

  • London Alphabet Screenprints by Lucy Loves This

£20-£50 from Lucy Loves This.

Brixton-based illustration studio Lucy Loves This has created a series of screenprints detailing some of the capital’s areas and their popular haunts. For example, Shoreditch features landmarks such as Boxpark, Truman Brewery and Arnold Circus entwinned in a giant S. The prints can be bought unframed (21 x 29.7cm) or framed (32.5 x 45cm) and are printed on 300gsm paper. Free delivery on orders over £40.

  • Prettycitylondon: Discovering London’s Beautiful Places

PrettyCityLondon book cover£25.00 from Waterstones.

London Instagram sensation Siobhan Ferguson has been photographing the capital’s most beautiful places since 2010. She now has over 351,000 followers on her PrettycityLondon Instagram account and another 358,000 on her sister account @theprettycities. Her coffee table book published this year features beautiful photos of the capital and provides a guide to some of London’s less explored parts, as well as tips on how to plan and photograph the capital to help make your ‘gram pop.

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

To find out where London’s outdoor ice rinks are this winter season, click here.

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