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Guide to what’s on in London this Christmas 2013

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Tourists drinking mulled cider underneath giant candy canes in Covent Garden

December is one of the best months to be in London. Yes, the weather is rather cold, but there’s so much going on. Obviously, most of it involves Christmassy stuff. Just because  the temperatures have plummeted, it doesn’t mean outside is totally off-limits – there’s plenty of fairs, winter wonderlands and other places to have fun in the fresh air. Or if you can’t stomach being outside, there’s also tons of activities and places to visit in the warm too.

For the 2014 guide to what’s on in London this Christmas, click here.

  • 3 – 7 December : Pig’s Ear Beer Festival

Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA at the Round Chapel in Hackney. Over 200 beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU. Admission £2 for CAMRA members, £4 for non-members. Open from noon until 11pm. Nearest rail station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. Visit the Pig’s Ear website for more information.

  • 3 December : Candlelight evening opening at Sir John Soane’s Museum

The former home of 19th century architect Sir John Soane is a treasure trove of sculptures, painting and antiquities which he collected over his lifetime. Once a month, the museum is open on the first Tuesday of the month for an evening candlelight opening Bookings are not taken in advance, with tickets only issued to the first 200 people. Open from 6-9pm, however tickets are issued at 5.30pm. Sir John’s Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP. Nearest tube: Holborn. For more information, visit the Sir John Soane website.

  • Now until 4 December : Nordic Film Festival

A celebration of the best films to come out of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden at various locations across London, including Riverside Studios, ICA and Ciné Lumière. For more information, visit the Nordic Film Festival website.

  • 5 – 8 December : East London Design Show

Showcasing the best in UK contemporary design, including homewares, ceramics, furniture, jewellery, lighting and fashion. Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, Shoreditch, EC1V 9LT. Nearest tube: Old Street, Shoreditch High Street or Hoxton. For more information, visit the East London Design Show website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Norwegian Wood: The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square

  • 5 – 22 December : Christmas at Trafalgar Square

After the lighting of the Christmas Tree on December 5 (a gift from Norway), there is annual carol singing in the Square. Carol singing weekdays 4-8pm, weekends 2-6pm. Trafalgar Square. Nearest tube: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Embankment. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.

  • 6 – 17 December : Spitalfields Winter Festival

Music festival in the Spitalfields area of the East End featuring music old and new. For listings and more information, visit the Spitalfields Music website.

  • 7 December : 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. Covent Garden Piazza, WC1. Nearest tube: Covent Garden, Charing Cross or Embankment. For more information and details on entering, visit the Xmas Pudding Race website.

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Guide to open air ice rinks in London this winter 2013

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Get your skates on!

Open-air ice skating has fast become a tradition for many Londoners around Christmas time. This year sees some temporary venues open earlier than ever, with many open for over two months. The activity is incredibly popular so it’s highly recommended that you book tickets in advance. Session lengths and times vary between venues. Of course, all are closed on Christmas Day, with most finishing early on Christmas Eve. Some – such as Somerset House – have club nights so you can try your hand at ice dancing.

  • 31 October – 5 January 2014 : 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 £11.50/£13.50, Children 12 and under £8/£9. Nearest tube: South Kensington. To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.

  • 4 November – 27 February 2014 : Broadgate Ice

Temporary ice rink at Broadgate Circle in the City of London is open for nearly four months. Open 10am-10pm. Session times last 1 hour. Adults £12.50, Children £8.50. Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2QS. Nearest tube: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit Broadgate’s website.

  • 11 November – 5 January 2014 : Bluebird Skating Rink

The courtyard of the Bluebird in the King’s Road will play host to an ice rink this festive season for the first time. Tickets available on the day at £10. Open 1-9pm daily. 350 King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3 5UU. Nearest tube: South Kensington or Sloane Square. For more information, visit the Bluebird website.

  • 14 November – 5 January 2014 : Skate at Somerset House

One of the original pop-up ice rinks located in the 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 9.15pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Adults £10.00/£16.00, Children £7.50. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest tube: Temple. To book, visit the Somerset House website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

Gliding: Take to the ice at the Winter Wonderland’s ice rink

  • 16 November – 5 January 2014 : Tower Of London Ice Rink

Skate in the moat of one of the most iconic and historic buildings in the capital. Session times last 1 hour. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11.50/£13.50, Children £9/£8.50. Tower Of London (off Lower Thames Street or Tower Hill), EC3N 4AB. Nearest tube Tower Hill. To book, visit the Tower of London Ice Rink website.

  • 21 November – 5 January 2014 : Westfield Ice Rink

    © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

    Whole lotta history: Skate in the dry moat of the Tower Of London

In between shopping, enjoy a spot of skating at Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush. Will host also host DJ evenings, family days, date nights and student events. Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-6pm. Adults: £7-£11.50 (online), £8.50-£13 (walk up). Children: £5-£6.50 (online), £6.50-£8.50 (walk up). Westfield shopping centre, Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GF. Nearest tube: Wood Lane or Shepherd’s Bush. To book, visit the Westfield website.

  • 22 November – 5 January 2014 : Ice Rink @ Winter Wonderland

A pop-up ice rink at the annual Winter Wonderland in the south east corner of Hyde Park. Session times last 1 hour. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £10.50/£14.50, Children £8.50/£9.50. Hyde Park, W2 2UH. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. To book, visit the Winter Wonderland website. For a sneak peek, check out MOAMG blog posting on last year’s Winter Wonderland.

  • 26 October – 16 February 2014 : Ice Rink Canary Wharf

In the middle of the soaring skyscrapers on Canary Wharf and surrounded by shops is another pop-up rink. Session times last 1 hour. First session times vary from 9.45am/10.45am ending at 11pm most nights. Adults £13.50, Children £9. Canada Square, E14 5AB. Nearest tube Canary Wharf. To book, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.

  • 27 November – 9 January 2014 : Eyeskate @ London Eye

A newer addition to the open air ice rinks is the raised rink in the park shadowed by the London Eye. Open daily from 10am until 9pm. Session times last 45 minutes . Adults £10.50 (£9.45 online), Children £7.50 (£6.75 online). London Eye, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment. To book, visit the Eyeskate website.

  • 30 November – 12 January 2014 : Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink

Skate in front of King Henry VIII’s favourite London residence. Session times last 1 hour. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11.50/£13, Children £9/£9.50. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU. Nearest train Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). To book, visit the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink website.

  • 8 December – 12 January 2014 : JW3

Pop-up ice rink at the Piazza at JW3, the Jewish Community Centre London. Also including café serving mulled wine, hot drinks, etc. Tickets: Adults £10, Children £6 (includes skate hire). JW3, 341-351 Finchley Road, NW3 6ET. Nearest station: Finchley Road and Frognal. To book, visit the JW3 website.

And if you fancy ice skating any other times of the year, these rinks are open all year round…

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

In the courtyard: Skate at Somerset House on The Strand


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Get your skates on: Guide to ice rinks in London for Christmas 2012

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Get your skates on!

Open air ice rinks have been rising in popularity over the past 10 years. In December, I can’t think of many activities more festive than going ice-skating with friends, family or a date, before warming up afterwards with a hot chocolate or mulled wine. While there’s a handful of permanent ice rinks open all year round, from late November until early January, a host of iconic venues host pop-up ice rinks. Here’s a guide to some of the rinks open this season. Although walks up may be possible, I recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment, especially at weekends and Christmas holidays. (NB: Most ice rinks will be closed on Christmas Day and early closing on Christmas Eve).

For the updated 2014 guide, click here.

  • Natural History Museum Ice Rink

A 950 square metre rink in the gardens of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Open from 2 November until 6 January 2013. Mon-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-10pm. Adults £11.50/£13.50, Children 12 and under £8/£9. Nearest tube: South Kensington (Circle, District and Piccadilly line). To book, visit the Natural History Museum website.

  • Skate at Somerset House

One of the original pop-up ice rinks located in the courtyard of Somerset House. As well as general skating, they also host club nights on ice and skate lessons. Open from 16 November until 6 January 2013. Session times last an hour and are bookable from 10am until 9.15pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Adults £12.50/£15.00, Children £7.50. Nearest tube: Temple (Circle and District line). To book, visit the Somerset House website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

In the courtyard: Skate at Somerset House on The Strand

  • Eyeskate

A newer addition to the open air ice rinks is the raised rink in the park shadowed by the London Eye. Open from 17th November until 6 January 2013. Open daily from 10am until 9pm. Session times last 45 minutes . Adults £10.50 (£9.45 online), Children £7.50 (£6.75 online). Nearest tube: Waterloo (Overland, Jubilee or Bakerloo line) or Embankment (Circle, District or Northern Line). To book, visit the Eyeskate website.

  • Ice Rink Canary Wharf

In the middle of the soaring skyscrapers on Canary Wharf and surrounded by shops is another pop-up rink. Open from 3rd November until 13 January 2013. Session times last 1 hour. First session times vary from 9.45am/10.45am ending at 11pm most nights. Adults £12.50, Children £8.50. Nearest tube Canary Wharf (Jubilee line). To book, visit the Ice Rink Canary Wharf website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Whole lotta history: Skate in the dry moat of the Tower Of London

  • Tower Of London Ice Rink

Skate in the moat of one of the most iconic and historic buildings in the capital. Open from 17th November until 6th January 2013. Session times last 1 hour. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11/£13, Children £8.50/£9. Nearest tube Tower Hill (Circle or District Line). To book, visit the Tower of London Ice Rink website.

  • Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink

Skate in front of King Henry VIII’s favourite London residence. Session times last 1 hour. Open from 1st December until 13th January 2013. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £11/£12.50, Children £8.50/£9. Nearest train Hampton Court (overland from Waterloo). To book, visit the Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink website.

  • Ice Age 4 Ice Rink @ Winter Wonderland

A pop-up ice rink at the annual Winter Wonderland in the south east corner of Hyde Park. Session times last 1 hour. Open from 23rd November until 6th January 2013. First sessions start at 10am, last session starts at 9pm. Adults £10.50/£13.50, Children £8.50/£9.50. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line). To book, visit the Winter Wonderland website. For a sneak peek, check out MOAMG blog posting on Winter Wonderland.

  • Broadgate Ice

Temporary ice rink at Broadgate Circle in the City of London where you can actually turn up and skate without a need to book. Open from 9 November until 24th February 2013. Weekday sessions 12.15-9pm, weekends 9.30am-9pm. Adults £9, Children £7, Skate Hire £2. Nearest tube: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit Broadgate’s website.


For more fun things to do around London this January and February, read my blog post Guide to what’s on in London in January and February 2013.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

Gliding: Take to the ice at the Winter Wonderland’s Ice Age 4 ice rink

What’s on this Winter: Fun things around London this December 2012

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

It’s Christmaaaassss!

With Christmas fast approaching, there’s a host of activities- both Xmassy and not so festive – to do in and around London this November and December. Autumn seems to have whizzed by, and with the temperatures really plummeting, the only thing to do is to is keep warm by doing one of the many activities on around the capital. Here’s my pre-Christmas guide to what’s on London for the remainder of 2012.

For the most up to date guide to what’s on in London, click here.

  • Various dates in November until early January 2013Open air ice skating

Get your skates on! Pop-up ice rinks have become a popular festive activity in London and this year sees the re-appearance of many popular locations from last year. Among those are Somerset House (16 Nov – 6 Jan), Natural History Museum (2 Nov – 6 Jan), Tower Of London (17 Nov – 6 Jan), Canary Wharf (3 Nov – 13 Jan), Eyeskate at the London Eye (17 Nov – 6 Jan), Hampton Court Palace (1 Dec – 13 Jan). As well as regular skating sessions, many of the rinks have special events, including ice discos and a Vintage Festival on ice at Somerset House on 28-30 November and a New Year’s Eve party at the Natural History Museum. For further details of times and prices, read my blog post on London’s ice rinks.

  • 16 November – 23 DecemberChristmas Market at Southbank

The German-style market returns to the Southbank as vendors sell food, drink and gifts along the Thames. Wooden huts pop-up alongside the Thames in front of the Southbank Centre. Choirs will also perform twice a day. Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Shop, eat and be merry: The Christmas Market @ Southbank

  • 23 November – 6 January 2013Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park

Winter Wonderland does exactly what is say on the tin – the south east corner of the park is transformed into a Christmas fair with rides, food and lots of mulled wine, as well as Christmas gifts. It’s free to enter, but of course the aforementioned will cost. There is also an open air ice rink for those who fancy a twirl and Zippos Cirque Berserk – an alternative circus show. For photos and a review, read about MOAMG’s visit to Winter Wonderland. Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge or Marble Arch. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.

  • 24 November – 23 December (weekends only)Everyman Cinema @ The Old Vic Tunnels

Everyman Cinemas host pop-up screenings at the Old Vic Tunnels under Waterloo every weekend over the season. Films include The Wizard Of Oz, Edward Scissorhands, Back To The Future and It’s A Wonderful Life, among others. The venue will have a festive mood with a volcanic lake, a Northern Lights installation and walk through falling snow, while you can munch on seasonal food and sip Christmas cocktails while watching the film. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Tickets: £27. Nearest station: Waterloo or Lambeth North. For more information, visit the Old Vic Tunnels’ website.

  • 29 November – 3 March 2012Valentino: Master Of Couture

An exhibition celebrating the iconic designer Valentino and his creations. Over 130 designs from across the years, including ones worn by Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Jackie O will be on display at the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House. Tickets available online £12.50 or £9 for concessions. Nearest tube: Temple. For more information, visit Somerset House’s website.

  • 30 November – 5 DecemberNordic Film Festival

A week-long celebration of the best films to come out of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The inaugural festival will features old and new films and will take place at the Riverside Studios, Cine Lumiere and Prince Charles Cinema. For more information, visit the Nordic Film Festival website.

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