Category Archives: Festivals

Special events and festivals

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 virtual ‘wristband’ (available on the app). 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.

  • Now until 3 October : 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. 🐻

  • 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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Guide to what’s on in London in March 2020

Things to do in London, including film festivals, celebrations for International Women’s Day, vegan and mindfulness festivals and St Patrick’s Day.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Affordable Art Fair returns to Battersea

It’s spring… apparently! March is always a tricky month weather wise, with recent years experiencing extremes from heatwaves to snow. With that in mind, most of the special events on in London this month are fortunately under cover. In 2020, Easter may not be until April, but expect to see a busy, jam-packed schedule of festivals and events throughout March.

Searching for things to do in London in March 2020, then look no further.

Please note, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, many events are subject to cancellations and postponements. Many museums and galleries have temporarily closed. Some cancellations or postponements have been detailed below, but please check the relevant website or event’s social media before you attend.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • Now until 1 March : Live Well London

Wellbeing, health and fitness festival, featuring different styles of meditation and fitness classes from beginner to expert, talks and shopping. 10am-5pm. Tickets: £11.43–£108.99. Old Billingsgate, 16 Lower Thames Street, City of London, EC3R 6DX. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Old Street. For tickets, visit the Live Well London website.

  • Now until 1 March : The Stitch Festival

Haberdashery festival featuring hundreds of workshops, demonstrations, interactive features and 200 exhibitors selling specialist craft supplies. Open Thu-Sat 10am-5.30pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £15.50, Children £6. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the Stitch Festival website.

  • Now until 1 March : Lightopia Festival

Festival of lights featuring installations, 3D projections, interactive pieces, live music, acrobatics, food and drink, craft stalls and more. 5pm-10pm. Tickets: Adults £20/£22, Children £13/£15. Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, W4 2QN. Nearest stations: Turnham Green and Gunnersbury. For more information, visit the Lightopia Festival website. 🐻

  • Now until 1 March : Luzia by Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil bring their show Luzia to Europe for the first time. The show is inspired by Mexico, with a mix of the traditional and modern acrobatics. Times vary. Tickets range from £28.50-£108. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. Nearest stations: South Kensington, Knightsbridge or High Street Kensington. For booking, visit the Cirque Du Soleil website. 🐻

  • Now until 1 March : London Film and Comic Con Spring

Film and Comic Con returns, giving you the opportunity for autograph sessions, photoshoots, and panels. Names include Jerome Flynn, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Englund, Dan Starkey, Afshan Azad, Femi Taylor, Brenock O’Connor, Ian McCulloch, Ian McDiarmid, Wendy Padbury, Charles Dance, Ashley Walters, Noel Clarke, Indira Varma, Samantha Bond, Colin Baker, Gethin Anthony, Sylvester McCoy, and more. Sat-Sun: 9am-6pm. Tickets: Adults £16-£18, Children £10-£12. Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and tickets, visit the London Comic Con website. 🐻

  • Now until 1 March : Secret Cinema presents Stranger Things

Step into the Upside Down as Secret Cinema bring this ’80s sci-fi horror to live for an immersive, cinematic experience. Visit Hawkins, Indiana for an interactive 80s experience. Times vary. Tickets: £52-£120. At a secret east London location to be revealed to ticket holders. For more information and tickets, visit the Secret Cinema website.

  • 3 – 4 March : The Clumsies pop-up @ Sofitel St James

Acclaimed Athens cocktail bar The Clumsies – one of the World’s 50 Best Bars – is coming to the capital for just two days. Menu available 5pm–12am. At the St James Bar, Sofitel St James, 6 Waterloo Place, St James, SW1Y 4AN. Nearest station: Green Park or Charing Cross. For more information, visit the Sofitel St James website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post to discover more.

Crystal Palace terraces and tower © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2020

The Crystal Palace International Film Festival returns

  • 5 – 28 March : Crystal Palace International Film Festival

The CPIFF returns for the 11th year, featuring shorts and feature-length screenings, animation night, premieres, horror/sci-fi night, and documentary night. Tickets: £9-£22. At various venues including Everyman Crystal Palace, PictureHouse West Norwood, Stanley Halls & Anerley Town Hall. Nearest stations: Crystal Palace, Norwood Junction and West Norwood. For more information, visit the CPIFF website.

  • 5 March – 10 April : London Handel Festival

Six weeks of concerts, talks and walks celebrating Fredrick Handel, with this year’s theme being “Handel and the Hanoverians”. Venues includes Handel’s parish church St Georges in Mayfair, as well as the Bussey Building, Foundling Museum, Grosvenor Chapel, Linbury Theatre, St John’s Smith Square and Wigmore Hall. Ticket prices range from £5-£59. For more information and booking, visit the London Handel Festival website.

  • 6 – 7 March : Mindful Living

A show exploring mindfulness and meditation, featuring talks, workshops and more. Including Health & Science Theatre, Mindful Living Theatre, Sleep Theatre, Mind & Body Space, Creative Calm Space, Taster Zone, Guided Meditation Space, Mindfulness for the young, and more. Open 10am-5.30pm. Tickets: £7.20-£60 (includes entrance to The Sleep Show). Design Business Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the Mindful Living Show website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in February 2020

Find out what’s on in London in February, including music, beer and literary festivals, immersive experiences, or meet your idol at a fan convention.

Winter is in full swing and with people’s bank balances starting to recover from the Christmas splurge, there’s more events on in London. There’s plenty of romantic events on in February for Valentine’s Day, while the half-term break (17-21 February) means parents will have to have to find things to entertain their children for a week.

Look out for 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 31 January – 1 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. Over 18s only. Open Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £11.19–£16.49. 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.

  • 1 – 2 February : Plant Powered Expo

New show celebrating the best of plant-based living. Featuring cookery classes, presentations, Vegan kitchen demos, health, fitness and over 230 stalls. Sat: 10am-6pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults £15. Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Expo website.

  • 2 February : Festival of Confidence

A one-day festival on building confidence in women, including workshops, talks and activities. 10am-5.30pm. Tickets: £19.76–£38.93. Lyric Hammersmith, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 0QL. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For tickets, visit Eventbrite.

  • 2 February : Super Bowl Viewing Party @ Skylight

Fans of American football should head to rooftop destination Skylight for a screening of the big game. The game will be screened on the heated indoor level, with DJs, ping pong, air hockey tables, street food, and bookable cosy booths and igloos. 5pm-11pm. Tickets: £3-£8. Skylight, Tobacco Quay (Pennington Street entrance), Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell (DLR/TFL Rail) or Wapping. For more information, visit DesignMyNight.

  • Now until 2 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.

  • Now until 2 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 £10-£45. Venues include the Shoreditch Town Hall, Soho Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Barbican, Wilton’s Music Hall, The Puppet Barge, Southbank Centre and more. For more information, visit the Mime London website.

  • 6 – 8 February : Classical Vauxhall

An inaugural series of classical music concerts in Vauxhall. From 8pm. Tickets: £20. At St Peter’s Church (6 Feb), Brunswick House (7 Feb) and Garden Museum (8 Feb). Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the BeInVauxhall website.

  • 7 February – 21 May : Meet Vincent Van Gogh

An immersive, multi-sensory exhibition bringing the world of legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh to life. Open Sun-Wed 10am-6pm, Thu-Sat 10am-10pm. Tickets: Standard box office Mon-Fri £19, Sat-Sun £21. Advance online – Mon-Fri £18, Sat-Sun £20. Meet Vincent Van Gogh Experience, 99 Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PP. Nearest station: Waterloo or Waterloo East. For tickets, visit the Meet Vincent website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post, for more information.

  • 8 February – 8 March : Orchid Festival

An orchid display is coming to the Princess of Wales Conservatory for four weeks, with this year being inspired by Indonesia. General entrance tickets to Kew Gardens includes orchid exhibition: Adults £18.15, Children (4-15yr) £4.50. Kew Gardens, Brentford Gate, Kew, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

  • 12 – 16 February : Ealing Music and Film Festival

Five day festival in Ealing featuring musical performances, film screenings (two on Valentine’s Day) and walks. Events take place at various venues, including Weston Hall, St Barnabas, William Barry Theatre and Lawrence Hall. Tickets range from free to £25. Nearest stations: Ealing Broadway or South Ealing. For booking, visit the Ealing Music & Film website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post, for more information.

  • 12 – 23 February : Imagine Children’s Festival

Two week children’s festival at the Southbank Centre, including art, theatre, books, music, performances and workshops. Including Michael Rosen, Dermot O’Leary, Cressida Cowell, Konnie Huq 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

Five days of cultural festivities at the Ealing Music and Film Festival 2020

The Ealing Music & Film Festival returns in 2020

The hit Ealing Music & Film Festival returns to west London for 2020 with five-days of entertainment. Now in its eighth year, this annual cultural festival lights up gloomy February with an eclectic mix of theatre, music, film and more. From 12-16 February, a host of venues across the West London district hosts workshops, screenings, concerts, plays and more for all ages.

The EMFF kicks off with a lunchtime concert by woodwind ensemble The Thorne Trio at St Mary’s Church in South Ealing, followed by an afternoon immersive performance by the UWL’s London College of Music’s Headspace Project, concluded with a screening of Nino Oxilia’s Faustian classic Rapsodia Satanica (1915) accompanied by alternative soundtracks composed by LCM students.

The festival continues with a wide selection of entertainment to suit different tastes, including award-winning choir Tenebrae; a UWL production of the play Enron; the Ealing Youth Orchestra; the Ealing Symphony Orchestra and Opera Holland Park Un Ballo in Maschera. Among the workshops on offer include percussion and vlogging (both on 15 Feb). Meanwhile, for those in the mood for some romance – or not – on Valentine’s Day, watch a screening of classic love story Brief Encounter or rock opera Tommy.

  • Ealing Music and Film Festival is on from 12 – 16 February 2020. Venues include Weston Hall, St Barnabas, William Barry Theatre and Lawrence Hall. Nearest stations: Ealing Broadway, Ealing Common or South Ealing. Tickets range from free to £25. For booking, visit the Ealing Music & Film website.

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 January 2020

Find out what events, art exhibitions and festivals are on in London this month.

Winterfest @ Wembley Park
© Jordan Laboucane

Welcome to 2020! It’s a brand new decade! All the busy schedules and heavy spending of December, no doubt many Londoners are feeling broke and tired. Fortunately, there are plenty of free events on around London to lift you out of the January blues. Expect light shows, art exhibitions, travel shows, and immersive experiences.

Look out for 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

Guide to Burns’ Night celebrations in London.

There’s also some of London’s outdoor ice-rinks and winter terraces still open.

  • 1 January : New Year’s Day Parade

Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to gather 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 3 January : Winterfest

A new immersive light festival comes to Wembley Park. Featuring huge light and sound installations, an LED Christmas tree, live bands, community choirs, DJs, and the hit West End production of Fame coming to the new Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre. Free admission. Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website. Check out Metro Girl’s blog post for further details. 🐻

  • 5 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 5 January : Winter Wonderland

The south east corner of Hyde Park is transformed into a festive fair with rides, food and drink stalls, ice rink, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, The Sooty Christmas Show, The Magical Ice Kingdom 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. 🐻

  • Now until 5 January : Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson brings his interactive installations to the Tate. Times vary. Tickets: £18 (free for members). Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG. Nearest station: Blackfriars. For more information and tickets, visit the Tate Modern website. Check out Metro Girl’s review of the exhibition. 🐻

  • 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, the singing Holly Bushes, a light dance show, vintage rides, festive food and drinks. 5pm-10pm. Tickets (advance): Adults from £18, Children from £11, 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, while a Spiegeltent will play host shows including Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel, La Clique, the Showstoppers’ Christmas Show, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs: The Magic Cutlass and more. Free entry to Leicester Square, but tickets required for the Spiegeltent. Leicester Square, WC2H. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Christmas In Leicester Square website. 🐻

The Snowman trail

  • Now until 5 January : Walking with The Snowman

Follow an art trail around the London Bridge district. Twelve Snowmen have been customised by 12 different artists, each inspired by a verse from the 12 Days of Christmas. Free. At London Bridge City, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge. To download a map of the sculptures, visit the Walking with The Snowman website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post to find out more. 🐻

  • 8 January – 2 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 £10-£45. Venues include the Shoreditch Town Hall, Soho Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Barbican, Wilton’s Music Hall, The Puppet Barge, Southbank Centre and more. For more information, visit the Mime London website.

  • 8 January – 16 February : Light Festival @ Battersea Power Station

Battersea’s first ever light festival features four installations from international artists. Free. Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station, Battersea, SW11 8AH. Nearest stations: Battersea Park or Queenstown Road Battersea. For more information, visit the Battersea Power Station website. 🐻

  • 10 – 19 January : London Short Film Festival

Ten day festival celebrating the best in short film-making at venues across the capital, including the BFI South Bank, Curzon Soho, the ICA, Regent Street Cinema, Rich Mix, the Pickle Factory and the Rio Cinema. For more information, visit the London Short Film Festival website. Read the rest of this entry

Merry Christmas to MOAMG readers: Find out the best of London over Christmas

Just a short blog post to wish Memoirs of a Metro Girl readers a Merry Christmas. Hope you get to spend time with your loved ones and ignoring your diet for a few days and enjoying some good food and drink.

This year, I am taking the rare step to actually leave London for Christmas. It will be strange as I always look forward to the city being so quiet after the mass exodus – this year I will be part of said exodus.

To those people staying in London for the festive period – or perhaps you’re a visitor coming to the capital for Christmas – here’s a few ideas of what’s on around town. Of course, most things are closed on Christmas Day.

 – Visit the Winterfest light festival at Wembley Park.

 – Check out the last few weeks of Olafur Eliasson’s interactive art exhibition @ Tate Modern.

 – Follow the Snowman sculpture trail in London Bridge.

 – Watch a festive film on ice at Big Screen on Ice at QUEENS.

 – Enjoy the contemporary art at the Sculpture in the City exhibition in the City of London.

 – Go skating on one of London’s outdoor ice rinks.

 – Find out where London’s festive terraces, pop-ups and Christmas cocktails are.

 – Check out one of London’s pantomimes, ballets and Christmas shows.

Wishing all readers of Memoirs of a Metro Girl a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you on the other side of the decade!

Metro Girl

x

P.S. Or if you’re ready for January 2020, find out what’s on in London then.

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FriendsFestive review: Recreate your favourite Friends moments on the show’s sets

Sit on the iconic orange sofa in Central Perk at FriendsFestive

You may have noticed in the media in recent months that 2019 marks the 25th anniversary of the TV show Friends. Although I was an original fan back in the 1990s, a whole new younger audience have come to love the show thanks to Netflix and Comedy Central. This Christmas season, the sell-out FriendsFest is back in London with a festive twist. Hosted by ComedyCentral UK, FriendsFestive gives fans of the show a chance to hang out on the sets, see authentic props and costumers from the show, and pose for photos and videos as you recreate memorable scenes.

Ring a bell at Phoebe’s festive stand

I had previously visited the first FriendsFest back in 2015 and was fortunate enough to meet actor James Michael Tyler, who played Gunther. The original FriendsFest was a much smaller affair with only one proper set and I had seen through friends’ social media photos that subsequent Friendsfests had got bigger and better. FriendsFestive differs from the others because it offers a twist on the theme with many references from Thanksgiving and Christmas episodes, as well as a lot more interactive spaces and photo opportunities.

When booking, you are given a timeslot for a set tour, before being given free time at the end to explore the photo areas, shop, and food and drink spaces. As we waited for our tour to begin, we were given time in a sort of Friends mini museum, full of authentic costumes and props from the show. You’ll recognise Rachel’s horrific pink bridesmaid dress for Barry and Mindy’s wedding; Monica’s red prom dress; the turkey ‘headpiece’; Ross’s letter comparing Rachel and Julie; Chandler’s gold ‘bracelet buddy’ from Joey; Ursula’s porn video; amongst many others.

Monica and Rachel’s apartment is very festive

The guided tour started in Monica and Rachel’s apartment living-kitchen area, which had been suitably decked out for Christmas. The kitchen had familiar items fans from the show would recognise such as Phoebe’s skull full of liquorice, Rachel’s disastrous trifle-mince pie hybrid and a cardboard box full of Monica’s broken posh plates. Our group were given opportunity to explore the set and pose for photographs, before clearing the room so an empty photo could be taken. Helpfully, this was factored in for every room so you could get some decent shots without random people ruining your shot. Next, we progressed to the hallway, complete with candy basket hanging on Monica’s door. Moving on to Chandler and Joey’s apartment, it had cute touches like Hugsie the penguin on the sofa, and the drum kit Phoebe bought Joey to try and force Rachel to move out. Finally, it was the Central Perk set, with the iconic orange sofa, the neon service sign and Phoebe’s guitar on stage. Read the rest of this entry

Enchanted Eltham: A magical sound and light show at the historic Eltham Palace

A ‘grate’ night out: An Evening of Cheese returns to Borough Market

An Evening of Cheese returns to Borough Market for one night only

Cheese lovers rejoice! It’s time to research your Christmas dairy needs as the annual ‘An Evening of Cheese’ returns to Borough Market. On Wednesday 11 December, the historic market will be opening its doors for a late-night celebration of cheese. Over 20 cheesemongers will be showcasing their cow, goat and sheep’s milk cheese from UK and international producers. Foodies can get inspired for their festive cheeseboard by talking to cheesemongers and getting advice on drink and cheese pairings. You can also pick up cheese recipes and watching cheese-based cooking demos in the Market Hall’s Demo Kitchen.

Meanwhile, in the run-up to Christmas, Borough Market are extending their opening hours to help Londoners get prepared for their food and drink needs for the festive season. The market will be open daily until 4pm on Christmas Eve, including Sundays. There will be plenty of seasonal fun, with local choirs performing in the Market Hall, festive Demo Kitchens and Cookbook Club sessions with Angela Clutton and Ed Smith, author of the Borough Market Cookbook. Customers will also be able to use the new click-and-collect service, to make their food shopping even more convenient.

  • An Evening Of Cheese takes place on 11 December 2019 from 6pm-8pm. At Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. Free entry. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.
  • Borough Market is open every day during the Christmas period from 4 December until 4pm on Christmas Eve – including Sundays.

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

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