Category Archives: Christmas
At this time of year, a rooftop bar isn’t always a natural choice for a night out. However, this season, City of London drinking destination Madison have given their terrace a winter makeover. Their outdoor space has been turned into an enticing, cosy festive hideout, with a special winter drinks menu of hot aperitifs.
Last week, I went along with a friend to check out Madison’s new seasonal menu and to try their winter warmers. Madison is a restaurant and bar spanning the top floor of the One New Change complex and boasts amazing views of neighbouring St Paul’s Cathedral and the capital skyline. I’ve previously visited the bar for summer alfresco drinks and have always enjoyed their cocktails so was looking forward to seeing what they could do with the changing season.
The night of our visit was pretty cold, but fortunately Madison are well prepared with patio heaters and cosy faux fur and tartan blankets to snuggle up under. Their rooftop space features a series of alpine-inspired chalets with twinkling lights, which really gives it a Christmassy atmosphere.
As well as their usual wine and cocktail list, Madison’s bartenders have curated a special Hot Aperitifs menu featuring a selection of six warm cocktails. My friend and I both have a sweet tooth so the Chocolate Delight (Bulleit Whisky, chocolate and salted caramel) seemed like a good place to start. There was just a hint of the whisky’s smokiness, but it was predominantly sweet. The cocktail did remind me of a boozy hot chocolate and was very easy to drink. As a regular gin connoisseur, I also couldn’t resist trying the Aromatic Genever (Gin and green apple), which was pretty strong with a hint of fruitiness. Meanwhile, my friend went for a more traditional Christmas drink – a Vin Brule (Italian Mulled Wine), which she really enjoyed.
Aside from our hot concoctions, we also ordered a sharing platter from the bar menu. We ate a selection of warm snacks, including tallegio and walnut arancini (my personal favourite), buttermilk chicken, sautéed mini chorizo sausage and smoked tomato hummus with seeded crackers. There was a good, tasty variety of food and the selection was a great accompaniment for a cocktail session.
Overall, we had a great evening. The service was friendly and attentive, while the atmosphere was very festive. Despite the cool outside temperature, we felt very cosy during our few hours on the roof thanks to the heaters and blankets. The cocktail menu had something for everyone’s tastes, although I particularly loved the Chocolate Delight, which really lived up to its name. I’ll definitely be returning for some Christmas drinks.
- Madison (rooftop terrace), 1 New Change, City of London, EC4M 9AF. Nearest station: St Paul’s. The rooftop terrace chalets is open from 7 November 2018 – 28 February 2019. Open daily 4pm until late. To book a chalet, contact the Madison London events team on email@example.com . For more information, visit the Madison London website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in Febuary, click here.
For more of Metro Girl’s bar reviews, click here.
Christmas is fast approaching and there’s a host of festive pop-ups opening around London. Here’s a guide to the capital’s Christmassy bars and terraces, as well as some of the seasonal cocktails on offer at some of the regular bars.
Around the capital, a host of festive experiences are popping up around the capital. A host of London’s top bars have curated special festive cocktail menus. From Christmas pop-up bars and cosy terraces to winter wonderlands, here’s the best places to have festive fun.
Many London bars and restaurants have created special festive cocktails for the Christmas period, available for a limited time only. Here’s some of London’s top Christmas concoctions.
- The Lobby Bar @ One Aldwych
The Lobby Bar at the luxury One Aldwych hotel has created five Christmas cocktails to sip while looking at their 25ft amazing Snow Dome Christmas Tree. Father Negroni (Beefeater 24 gin, Cinnamon Campari and Antica Formula); Jungle Bells (Havana Club 7, Angostura Reduction, Lime Juice, Sugar Syrup and Crème Des Prunelles); Mulled Berries (Tequila Altos Silver, Mulled Wine, Agave Syrup, Lime Juice and Pedrino Tonic); Rose Stardust (Absolut Elix, Raspberry and Rose Shrub, Orange Juice, Disaronno Amaretto, Grapefruit Juice and Rose Lemonade); and Warm Gift (Maker’s Mark, Double Cream, Mozart Dark Chocolate, Vanilla Syrup, Pedro Ximénez, Frangelico, Vanilla Bitters and Tabasco).
– One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, Covent Garden, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest stations: Covent Garden or Temple. For more information, visit the One Aldwych website.
- The Little Blue Door
‘The Flatmates’ are hosting festive feasts throughout December with a host of cocktail specials. Featuring the Mince Pie Martinis served with mini mince pies and EggNog Whiskey Flips with Grated Nutmeg. Check out Metro Girl’s review on The Little Blue Door.
– The Little Blue Door, 871-873 Fulham Road, Fulham, SW6 5HP. Nearest station: Parsons Green. For more information, visit the The Little Blue Door website.
- Dirty Martini
The sleek bar chain has created a special festive menu, available at its seven central London locations. Includes The Bellringer (Amaretto Disaronno, cranberry juice, blood orange syrup, topped with Prosecco); Grinch’s Espresso Martini (Absolut Vodka, Kahlua, DM Homemade Christmas Syrup, Fresh Espresso, Chocolate Bitters, Gingerbread Foam); and Santa’s Punch (Ketel One Oranje Vodka, Bold Liqueur, Pimento Dram, DM Homemade Xmas Syrup. Fresh Pomegranate Juice, Lime Juice, Orange Bitters). All £9.50.
– Dirty Martini, branches at Bishopsgate, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Minories, Monument and St Paul’s.
Dockside restaurant and bar Bōkan have created a special festive drink to enjoy along with the views of the City. The Hot Mulled Sloe cocktail incorporates Sipsmith gin, spice mulled cloudy apple juice and a slice of orange. £9.
– Bōkan, (Floor 37-39), 40 Marsh Wall, Canary Wharf, E14 9TP. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Bokan website.
- Cantina Laredo
Mexican restaurant Cantina Laredo has created a quirky festive cocktail – Brussel Sprout infused margaritas – to accompany their ultimate festive feasting menus.
– Cantina Laredo, 10 Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FB. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For more information, visit Cantina Laredo’s website.
There’s a host of Christmas pop-ups in London this season. Expect plenty of hot booze, comfort food, fake snow, Christmas trees and sparkling lights.
- 6 November – 24 December : The Winter Forest
Seasonal pop-up returns to Broadgate Circle in the City of London. Featuring 300 snow-covered pine trees, twinkling lights, cosy wood cabins, live music, festive quiz nights (Mons), craft classes, Father Christmas, art exhibition and plenty of hot food and drink. Free.
This year sees Backyard Cinema launching their biggest film events to date. Setting up camp at festive experience Winterville is the Christmas Labyrinth. I’ve been going to Backyard Cinema events for several years and am always impressed by the various theme they come up with. It’s safe to say they’ve surpassed their previous themes with a fantastically Christmassy immersive experience on Clapham Common.
The Christmas Labyrinth is one of two Backyard Cinema’s festive screening experiences – the other being The Snowman Experience at Winter Wonderland. This year, Backyard Cinema has taken over a large section of Winterville, with their huge, cosy tent hosting two screening rooms, a huge labyrinth adventure, cinemas bars, as well as a lobby bar with live entertainment.
Upon arrival, you can stop for a drink at the bar or head straight in to start your journey. Our evening began in a magical room, with a mysterious voice urging us to choose one of four different doors. I’m used to taking a special route to get to Backyard Cinema’s screening room, but this year’s Labyrinth experience is clearly much bigger, with many choices for the visitor. Although you are encouraged to take a separate door from your friend, my pal and I decided to take the same one and headed into the ‘Jester’ door, being the pair of jokers are we (according to my friend!). Our journey through the maze was disorientating, confusing, but exciting as we figured out what way to go. Finally, we ended up in a twinkling forest – which made me feel like I was in Narnia – which opened to the screening room.
While the previous Backyard beanbags have always been comfortable, there’s some higher, bulkier and even cosier ones for their new Winterville home. My friend and I claimed a good set of beanbags with a prime position and headed to the nearby bar for some festive drinks. There’s a selection of craft beer, soft drinks, wine, prosecco and winter warmers. I’m a sucker for hot booze at the time of year so a mulled cider and rum was an easy choice… one I made twice as it happens. As you would expect for a cinema, there’s the typical snacks, including Proper Corn popcorn and pic and mix sweets. The bar is open throughout the screening should you feel the need to refresh yourself.
On our visit last week, we were watching the musical film The Greatest Showman starring Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron. We had never seen it before and I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. Throughout the film, I was really comfortable all settled in the beanbag, although I did use one of the BC provided blankets towards the last half hour to warm me up even further. Overall, it was a entertaining evening and the labyrinth was a creative and fun way to enter the cinema. Tickets are already sold out for many dates in the run-up to Christmas so I recommend buying them ASAP.
- Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Labyrinth runs until 22 December 2018. At Winterville (entrance just north of the Long Pond), Clapham Common, SW4 9BX. Nearest stations: Clapham Common or Clapham South. Tickets: Adults from £18.98, Children from £9.98. Stalls, premium and loungers available. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
- Backyard Cinema Presents: The Snowman™ Experience at Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, W2. Under 6 January 2019. 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. For booking, visit the Winter Wonderland website. Read Metro Girl’s review of the Snowman Experience.
To find out what’s on in London in December, click here.
For a guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
Want to go ice skating in London? Here’s a guide to the capital’s open-air ice rinks (and permanent rinks) this festive season.
The countdown to Christmas in London means many things… mulled wine, lots of tinsel and open-air ice rinks. With the trees, decorations and twinkling lights making the capital looking rather festive, taking to the ice at this time of year can seem rather appealing.
Here’s where to find London’s pop-up ice rinks this Christmas and winter season, with details of prices, times and how to get there.
- 20 October – 6 January 2019 : Skyline Skating @ John Lewis
Skate on the roof of the John Lewis department store. Along with Sipsmith ice rink, there is also Mypies fresh pies and hot gin being served. Sun-Wed 12pm-9pm, Thu-Sat 12pm-11pm. Tickets: £8pp. John Lewis rooftop, 300 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1C 1DX. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the John Lewis website.
- 25 October – 6 January 2019 : Natural History Museum Ice Rink
A 1,000 square metre rink in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Opening hours vary. Session times last 1 hour. Adults from £12.65, Children 12 and under from £8.80. Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 5BD. Nearest station: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.
- 1 November – January 2019 : Skylight London
Skate on London’s rooftops with views of the City of London’s skyscrapers. Features alfresco and covered bars, fondue and ice hockey slap shot. Open Thu-Sun only. Free entry to Skylight. Skating tickets: £10 (45 minutes). Skylight, Tobacco Quay, Pennington Street entrance, Wapping, E1CW 2SF. Nearest station: Shadwell or Wapping. For booking, visit the Skylight London website.
- 2 November – 16 February 2019 : Ice Rink Canary Wharf
Skate over ice in the middle of the soaring skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. Non-skaters can watch the action from the bar or street food stalls. Session times last 1 hour. Opening times vary. Adults £9.95-£16.95, Children £9.95-£10.95. Canada Square Park, E14 5AB. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. To book, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.
- 14 November – 13 January 2019 : Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason
One of the original pop-up ice rinks located in the historic courtyard of Somerset House. As well as general skating, they also host club nights on ice and skate lessons. Session times last 1 hour and are from 10am until 10.30pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Tickets start from £11. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. To book, visit the Somerset House website.
- 15 November – 23 December : Winterville Ice Rink
Clapham‘s alternative winter attraction features an alfresco ice rink over 600 square metres. Mon-Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm. Tickets: Adults £14, Children (under 12s) £9.50, Teens £12. Clapham Common, SW4 9DE. Nearest station: Clapham Common. For more information, visit the Winterville website.
Read the rest of this entry
Shop for unique gifts and soak up some festive cheer at one of London’s many Christmas and markets and fairs this November and December 2018.
If you’re looking for something a bit different for your loved ones this Christmas, why not to head to one of London’s Christmas markets and fairs. There’s a host of long-term, charitable and weekend fairs on in the capital throughout November and December. Most are free entry, however some do charge a small entry fee with the money usually going to charity. Here’s a guide to the best Christmas markets in London for 2018.
Some festive markets are popping up for the whole Christmas period, with some even running into the new year. Be aware, most of these markets will close earlier than usual on Christmas Eve and be closed all day on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
- 9 November – 5 January 2019 : Christmas in Leicester Square
The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market in Bavarian-style huts and Santa’s Grotto. A Spiegeltent will play host shows. 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.
- 9 November – 6 January 2019 : South Bank Winter Market
Wooden chalets selling festive food, drink, gifts and treats alongside the river on the South Bank. Open Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. Free. Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 15 November – 31 December : Kingston Christmas Market
Christmas market pops up in wooden huts pops up in Kingston town centre. Free. Kingston Market Place, Market Place, Kingston, KT1 1JH. Nearest station: Kingston. For more information, check out the Visit Kingston website.
- 17 November – 23 December : Solo Craft Fair @ Winterville
Craft fair featuring independent designers selling art, jewellery, ceramics, kids’ clothing and more. Fair taking place on Saturday and Sundays only. 12pm-5pm. Entry: Sat £2 after 12pm & £5 after 6pm. Sun £2 all day. Winterville, Clapham Common, SW4 9DE. Nearest station: Clapham Common. For more information, visit the Winterville website.
- 22 November – 6 January 2019 : Winter Wonderland Market
Winter Wonderland features a fun fair, food, drink, circus and an ice rink in Hyde Park over the festive period and includes a German market selling gifts too. 10am-10pm. Free entry. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.
- 24 November – 23 December : Christmas Market on the Piazza
Festive market at Wimbledon every weekend and occasional Fridays (7 and 21 December). Featuring over 40 stalls, street food and more. 11am-6pm. Free entry. The Piazza, Wimbledon, SW19 1QB. Nearest station: Wimbledon. For more information, visit the Love Wimbledon website.
- 29 November – 2 January 2019 : Christmas by the River
Annual festive market featuring food, drink, craft and gift stalls across The Scoop More London, Hay’s Galleria and London Bridge City Pier. 11am-10pm. Free entry. Queen’s Walk and Hay’s Galleria, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the London Bridge City website.
One-off or short-term Christmas fairs
- 7 – 11 November : Country Living Christmas
Handmade gifts from hundreds of artisan designers and makers. There will also be a lifestyle theatre with experts giving talks and demonstrations, crafting studio, Hampstead tea room and Champagne bar. Opening times vary. Tickets start from £15 (Adults), £8 (Children). Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and tickets, visit the Country Living Fair website.
- 8 November : Carnaby Christmas Shopping Party
Shopping party at over 90 shops and boutiques of the Carnaby district. Including on-street entertainment and various store activities. Enjoy a 20% discount by signing up for your free ticket on the Carnaby website. 5pm-9pm. Carnaby London, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website
- 14 November : A Merry Marylebone Christmas launch
Marylebone’s annual Christmas Lights charity switch-on, food and drink, gift stalls, tombola and live music performances. From 3-7pm (lights switch on at 6pm). Free. North end of Marylebone High Street, Paddington Street and Devonshire Street, Marylebone, W1G. Nearest station: Regent’s Park or Baker Street. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website.
- 15 November : Christmas Shopping Event @ Seven Dials
Get into the festive spirit with an evening of fashion, food and more as Seven Dials is closed off to traffic. Featuring music from a live orchestra and switching on the Christmas lights. The boutiques and eateries will be offering 20% discount. 5pm-9pm. Register for a free ticket on the website for discounts and freebies. Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H 9HD. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.
- 16 – 17 November : Hyper Japan Christmas
A Christmas edition of the popular summer celebration of Japanese culture and products. Includes cuisine, shopping, mix of pop and traditional culture. Open Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 9am-9pm, Sun 9am-5pm. Tickets: £18.33-£31.59. Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information and advance tickets, visit the Hyper Japan website. Read the rest of this entry
The clocks have gone back, the trees are nearly bare and it now feels like we’re on a countdown to Christmas. However, there’s plenty of reasons to live in the moment and enjoy the main attractions November has to offer. With the festive season fast approaching, expect many themed events around London. Foodies and booze fans will be well catered for with events such as Taste of London, Proseccoville, Metro Mayhem and the Eat & Drink Festival taking place.
Check out the guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs.
For a guide to London’s outdoor ice rinks this festive and winter season, click here.
Check out the guide to London’s Christmas cocktails and festive pop-ups.
Here’s a guide to the best events on in London in November 2018.
- 1 – 28 November : Richmond Literature Festival
A festivals of books and words at various locations across the borough. Featuring workshops, talks and Q&As from authors, including Angela Saini, Roma Agrawal, Stuart Hobday, Frances Welch, Terry Waite, Lynne Truss, Stephen Fay, David Kynaston, Claire Harman, Peter Fiennes, Dan Snow and more. Venues include The Bingham, Marble Hill House, Old Town Hall, Strawberry Hill House, Teddington Library and more. For booking, visit the Richmond Literature Festival website.
- 1 November – summer 2019 : Room To Breathe @ Migration Museum
Interactive exhibition of a migrant’s experiences when they arrive in the UK and what it means to live as migrant. Open Thu 12pm-8pm, Fri-Sun 12pm-6pm. Free admission. At the Migration Museum @ The Workshop, 26 Lambeth High Street, Lambeth, SE1 7AG. Nearest station: Vauxhall, Westminster or Lambeth North. For more information, visit the Migration Museum website. For Metro Girl’s review on the exhibition, click here.
- 2 November : Day Of The Dead Festival @ V&A
Celebrate the Día de Muertos Festival at a late-night opening of the V&A. Featuring live mariachi music, traditional Mexican dancers, giant skeleton puppets, special activities, costume competition and visit an ofrenda dedicated to Frida Kahlo. Fancy dress encouraged. 5pm-10pm. Free entry. Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, SW7 2RL. Nearest station: South Kensington. For more information, visit the V&A website.
- Now until 3 November : London Horror Festival
Festival of live horror performance including cabaret, film screenings, Zombie weekends, midnight performances and a short horror play competition. Ticket prices vary. Most events take place at the Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, Islington, EC1V 4NJ. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the London Horror Festival website.
- 3 November : Regent Street Motor Show
Three hundred cars from 125 years of motoring will be on display for the Regent Street Motorshow ahead of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run the following day. Featuring entertainment and interactive displays. The road will be closed to vehicle traffic. 10.30am-4pm. Free. Regent Street, W1B 5TD. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Regent Street Motor Show website.
- 3 November : Proseccoville
Celebrate the best of prosecco with tastings, street food and music. 3pm-6pm. Tickets £22. Brixton Jamm, Brixton Road, SW9 6LH. Nearest station: Brixton. For more information, visit Brixton Jamm’s website.
- Now until 4 November : Spirit Of Christmas Fair
For the super organised, get ready for Christmas early with this fair, where you can stock up on gifts, design and food all ready for the festive season from over 750 independent boutiques. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Opening times vary. Tickets from £25. Olympia Grand, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.
- Now until 4 November : Winter Art & Antique Fair
Arts and antiques event, featuring over 120 dealers showcasing their unusual objects and art. Opening times vary. Tickets start from £15 (cheaper in advance). Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Olympia Antiques website.
- 4 November : London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
Watch the beginning of 64 mile route from the capital to Brighton. Get up early to watch 500 classic cars setting off from Hyde Park Corner between 7.04-8/8.45am. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Route goes from Hyde Park Corner, past Buckingham Palace, over Westminster Bridge and south via Kennington, Brixton and Streatham. Free to spectate. Hyde Park Corner, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Veteran Car Run website.
- 4 November : Light Up The Night
A celebration of Guy Fawkes and Diwali at Wembley Park. Featuring fireworks show, three stages with live performances, fire installations, fire and light parade, food market and more. 4pm-7pm. Free entry. Wembley Park (inc Arena Square, Olympic Way, Market Square), HA9 0NP. Nearest station: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website.
- 6 November – 24 December : The Winter Forest
Seasonal pop-up returns to Broadgate Circle in the City of London. Featuring 300 snow-covered pine trees, twinkling lights, cosy wood cabins, live music, festive quiz nights (Mons), craft classes, Father Christmas, art exhibition and plenty of hot food and drink. Free. Broadgate Circle, Broadgate, EC2. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit The Broadgate website.
- 7 November : Devonshire Square’s Diwali Festival
Free festival featuring India’s most traditional visual arts, Rangoli, and a dance show performed by some of the UK’s top Indian folk and classical dancers. 5pm-7pm. Free. Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
- 7 – 11 November : Dulwich Literary Festival
Talks, readings, discussions and storytelling, with authors and speakers including Louis de Bernières, Kamal Ahmed, Jo Brand, Oliver Bullough, Stephanie Cross, Dharshini David, Isabel Hardman, Simon Heffer, Nick Hewer, Michael Hughes, John Suchet and more. Events at Dulwich College, Dulwich Common, Dulwich, SE21 7LD and Dulwich Books, 6 Croxted Road, West Dulwich, SE21 8SQ. Nearest station: West Dulwich. For more information, visit the Dulwich Literary Festival website.
- 8 November : Carnaby Christmas Shopping Party
Shopping party at over 90 shops and boutiques of the Carnaby district. Including on-street entertainment and various store activities. Enjoy a 20% discount by signing up for your free ticket on the Carnaby website. 5pm-9pm. Carnaby London, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.
- 9 – 11 November : Stylist Live
Festival featuring the best of Stylist magazine, featuring fashion shows, learning labs, pop-up boutiques, farmers’ market, culture lounge, comedy, debates, street food, cocktails and talks and interviews from the likes of Clara Amfo, Dr Rangan Chatterjee, Matilda Egere-Cooper, Clementine Ford, Bryony Gordon, Nadiya Hussein, Annie Mac, Clio Wood and many more. Open: Fri-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-6pm. Tickets start from £15. Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Stylist Live website.
- 9 – 25 November : Enchanted Woodland
Syon Park in South West London is open after hours, with an illuminated trail through the gardens and arboretum. Exciting lighting effects will transform the trees, plants and lake into a magical place. Hot food and drinks also available. Open Fri-Sun, entry times every 20 minutes from 5pm-7.40pm. Tickets: Adults £10 (Fri), £12 (Sat-Sun), Children £5. Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website.
- 9 November – 5 January 2019 : 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.
Wishing all Memoirs Of A Metro Girl readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Wow, what a year! Here we are again, it’s Christmas Eve and we’re all ready for some down time to relax. If you are working over Christmas, I feel your pain, I’ve worked Christmas Day before and it’s tough working while getting major FOMO.
It’s that time of year when London gets the quietest it can. A mass exodus leaves the capital’s population dramatically shrunken with many bars, restaurants and shops closing up for days. I was out having Christmas drinks with some friends last night and was loving how quiet it was and easy to get a seat everywhere we went.
Wishing all my readers a merry Christmas and hope you’re having a good one wherever you are. I’ll be having another London Christmas as usual, still no white one is sight.
If you’re staying in the capital over the festive period, here’s a few things on around town if you do venture out:
- Try a spot of ice-skating on one of the capital’s pop-up ice rinks, including one on a rooftop with a view of London’s skyline, Skylight.
- Get merry this Christmas with a festive cocktail from one of these London bars.
- For a general guide to what’s on in December, check out this post.
- Party with Santa’s naughty elves with live music, winter warmers, street food and more at the South Pole Saloon.
- Start planning your New Year’s Eve with my Metro Girl’s guide to the best parties in town.
See you in 2018 for more exploring the capital!
As we approach Christmas, our social lives are busier than ever as we meet up with friends, family and work colleagues to celebrate the end of another year. While mulled wine can easily be found in many pubs and bars, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. With some of the world’s best cocktail bars in the capital, it’s no wonder that London’s mixologists have created some special festive concoctions for the Christmas period.
Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to the capital’s best festive cocktails this 2017 season.
South Bank bar and restaurant Skylon have looked to the night sky for inspiration with their festive cocktail menu. Each drink is based on the eight planets of the Solar System. Mars (Campari, Ciroc infused hibiscus, Martini Rosso), Jupiter (Tanqueray 10, Staibano creamy limoncello, mulled wine reduction), Mercury (Ciroc infused thyme, Masticha, Lemongrass, Sherbet Prosecco), Uranus (Ciroc, passion fruit and chilly syrup), Venus (Ciroc, truffle oil, cacao blanco, Prosecco), Saturn (Zacapa 23 infused caramel, Liquor 43, angostura bitter), Neptune (Ciroc, Blue Caracao infused pineapple, lemon grass sugar syrup) and Earth (J.W Blue label, Hennessey fine cognac, red and dry vermouth, angostura bitter). Drinks range from £12.50-£14.50. On sale until 31 January 2018.
Skylon, Royal Festival Hall, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo.
- The Lobby Bar @ One Aldwych
Enjoy a touch of luxury at the lavish Lobby Bar at the One Aldwych Hotel. They’ve teamed up with Perrier-Jouët Brut Champagne to create five limited-edition drinks. Christmas Club – inspired by Home Alone. (Home-made orange liqueur, raspberry syrup, fresh lemon juice, topped up with Perrier-Jouët Brut), Golden Snitch – inspired by Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Havana 7 rum, Antica Formula, Lapponia blueberry liqueur, blueberry cheesecake flavour, sugar syrup, fresh lemon juice, topped up with Perrier-Jouët Brut), Carol Fizz – inspired by A Christmas Carol (Plymouth gin, rhubarb liqueur, framboise liqueur, elderflower cordial, fresh lemon juice, gold leaf, topped up with Perrier-Jouët Brut), Nutcracker (Beluga Russian vodka, fig liqueur, green apple purée, drops of cardamom bitters, topped up with Perrier-Jouët Brut) and Royal Santa – inspired by Miracle on 34th Street (Home-made hibiscus liqueur, fresh pomegranate juice, cinnamon foam, topped with Perrier-Jouët Brut).
One Aldwych, 1 Aldwych, Covent Garden, WC2B 4BZ. Nearest stations: Covent Garden or Temple.
- Charlotte’s W5
Cosy up in Charlotte’s Winter Terrace from Sipsmith, featuring blankets, fairy lights, hot cocktails and roasted chestnuts. Winter Sloe Gin (Sipsmith Sloe Gin, cinnamon, star anise and apple), Winter Negroni Sipsmith (London Dry Gin, Campari, sweet vermouth and rooibos tea) and the Hot Espresso Martini (Sipsmith Sipping Vodka, Electric coffee and vanilla cream).
December is finally here so the Christmas countdown can really begin. This month, Londoners will be entertained with a festive extravaganza with music, dance, ice skating and more. The ‘Art for Love’ festival will take place in Devonshire Square’s historic Western Courtyard, with lunchtime and after-work performances.
The events are:
- 1 December (12.30pm) : Christmas Wonderland ballet show.
- 7 December (5.30pm) : A Magical Christmas – Traditional Carols Concert by The Capital Arts Children’s Choir and London Cantamusica.
- 8 December (12.30pm) : Magic on Ice – Ice skating show.
- 11 December (6pm) – An evening of carols by the Constanza Chorus.
- 14 December (5.30pm) – The Deep End of Sound by Composer Alberto Ferro.
- 15 December (5pm) – Violins and Butterflies Christmas Show: LED Violins concert and illuminated butterfly ballerinas.
- 16 December (6.30pm) – Zalon Live in concert with his band.
- 19 December (5pm) – Saxophonist Aaron Liddard and his band The Argonauts live in concert.
Of course, Christmas is all about the spirit of giving so Devonshire Square will be teaming up with homeless charity The Connection to grant Christmas wishes and raise money for an important cause. Taking centre stage will be the Christmas Giving Tree, featuring wishes written on paper hearts. You can help them come true by writing ‘honoured’ on them and pledging to make that special request a reality. Surrounding the trees will be the stunning ‘Twilight Trees’ installation by artist Susie Reid, featuring sparkling cherry trees covered in illuminated blossom.
Amidst all the entertainment and festive fun will be plenty of restaurant and bars in the square if you’re feeling peckish, including Mac & Wild, Cinnamon Kitchen and Pitt Cue. Located in the City of London, just a short walk from Liverpool Street or Spitalfields Market, Devonshire Square is a historic business and entertainment quarter, dating back to the 18th century.
- Art For Love Christmas Festival takes place from 1-19 December 2017. At Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.
It’s all very festive in the capital. If you haven’t been forced into the Christmas spirit already with the sheer volume of red, green and glitter around the capital, it won’t take long before it hits you. There is a host of events on around the capital for both adults and families. Foodies will be particularly well catered for with seasonal markets and shows on. Across town, there’s plenty of festive pop-ups, with many listed below. Of course, there are many open-air ice skating rinks for those with a good sense of balance.
For a guide to London’s New Year’s Eve events, click here.
For a guide to London’s ice rinks, click here.
To find out which bars are serving special Christmas cocktails and Winter Warmers here.
- 1 December : Dreamworks Animation in Concert
Listen to songs from your favourite Dreamworks animated films performed live by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. From 6pm. Tickets start from £28.32. Wembley SSE Arena, Arena Square, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0AA. Nearest station: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For tickets, visit the Dreamworks SeeTickets website. For more information, visit Metro Girl’s blog post on the concert.
- 1 – 2 December : The Spirit Show
Fans of gin, vodka and the like will enjoy this boozy festival, featuring masterclasses, tastings, street food, interactive lounge, VIP speakeasy and more. Open Fri 1-9pm, Sat 12-5pm. Tickets from £25 (standard tickets inc unlimited tastings, showguide and 6 bottle jute). Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit The Spirit Show website.
- 1 – 3 December : London Illustration Fair
Three-day event celebrating illustration, featuring artist-led stands, talks, workshops, music, DJs, live signings. Entry: £8 advance, Under 12s free. Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bankside, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars or Waterloo . For more information, visit the London Illustration Fair website.
- 1 – 10 December : London International Animation Festival
Showcase of animation from around the world featuring gala premieres, retrospectives, filmmakers Q&As, workshops, audience voting and screenings. Tickets start from £12 (Barbican standard tickets) to £95 for full pass. At the Barbican, The Horse Hospital, Close-Up Cinema and The Whitechapel Gallery. For more information and tickets, visit the LIAF website.
- 1 – 17 December : Ferrero Rocher – Behind The Layers
Ferrero Rocher are creating an immersive sensory tasting experience for chocolate fans. Open 1pm-10.30pm (last experience 9.30pm). Tickets: £25 (45 minute experience, includes a glass of Prosecco or non-alcoholic beverage). Westfield London, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GF. Nearest station: Shepherd’s Bush, Shepherd’s Bush Market or Wood Lane. For booking, visit BehindTheLayers.co.uk. Read Metro Girl’s blog post to find out more.
- 1 – 19 December : Art For Love festival
A Christmas extravaganza in the historic surrounds of Devonshire Square, featuring live music, carol singing, ballet, ice skating performances and more. Times vary. Free. Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website. Read Metro Girl’s blog post on the festival.
- 1 – 31 December : Greenwich Winter Time
The royal borough of Greenwich are hosting a winter festival, featuring open-air ice skating outside the Old Naval College, festive market, food and drink, entertainment on the mirrored stage and Father Christmas’ launch pad. Entry tickets (morning, afternoon or evening sessions): Adults £15-£18, Children £8. Old Royal Naval College, Park Row, Greenwich, SE10 9LS. Nearest station: Cutty Sark, Greenwich or Maze Hill. For more information, visit the Greenwich Winter Time website.
- 2 December : The Great Christmas Pudding Race
Watch or take part in the annual Great Christmas Pudding Race in Covent Garden, which sees participants dressing up and raising money for Cancer Research UK. From 11am. Free for spectators. Covent Garden Piazza, WC1. Nearest station: Covent Garden, Leicester Square, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information and details on entering, visit the Great Christmas Pudding Race website.
- 2 December : Beautycon
Social media influencers and celebrities will come together to talk beauty, fashion and style. Featuring Olivia Buckland, Jordyn Woods, Patricia Bright, Montana Brown, Grace Victory, Jayde Pierce and many more. 12-6pm. Tickets start from £30. Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Beautycon website.
- 2 – 3 December : Santa and his huskies come to the London Wetland Centre
Special Christmas weekend event at the London Wetland Centre, where families can visit Santa’s Grotto, enjoy a sleigh ride with the huskies or a donkey ride or make decorations in the elves’ workshop. Normal admission prices to LWC apply: Adults £13.49, Children £7.42. Santa visit £8 per child (includes gift). London Wetland Centre, Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, SW13 9WT. Nearest station: Barnes. For more information, visit the WWT London Wetland Centre website.
- 2 – 10 December : Spitalfields Music Festival
Spitalfields Music return with their winter festival. Acts include Mark Titchner, Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Musical Rumpus, Max Richter and André de Ridder among others. At various venues in the Spitalfields area including Shoreditch Church, Rich Mix and the Huguenot Houses of Spitalfields. For booking, visit the Spitalfields Music website. For this year’s highlights, read Metro Girl’s blog post.
- 2 – 23 December : Santa’s Grotto @ Museum Of London
Meet Santa in a Victorian Santa’s Grotto. Professional photographer available to capture the moment. £10 per child (includes gift, book in advance). Museum of London, 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN. Nearest station: Barbican or Moorgate. For more information, visit the Museum Of London website.
- 5 December : Home Front – Immersive Time Travel
One-off evening of an immersive time travel experience set in London during World War II. Featuring performances, escape rooms, live music, five bars and more. From 5.15pm-10.30pm. Tickets start from £25. At a secret east London location. For booking, visit DesignMyNight. For more information, read Metro Girl’s blog post.
- 5 – 8 December : Vauxhall One’s Christmas Music Week
Every night, a different choir will perform in front of Vauxhall One’s Christmas tree. Choirs include West End Musical Choir, Sunday Assembly Choir, House Gospel Choir and Real Voices. 5.30pm-6.30pm. Free to spectate. Vauxhall One (outside Vauxhall station), SW8. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall One website.
- 5 – 9 December : Pigs Ear Beer And Cider Festival
Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA, featuring over 230 real ales plus ciders, perries and bottled beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Opening hours TBC. Entry: £3 (members), £5 (non-members). Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website.