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Lumiere London 2018: The capital becomes a gallery of neon

Where to celebrate Burns’ Night 2018 in London

© Pear Tree Cafe

Listen to a live bagpiper at the Pear Tree Cafe’s Burns’ Night celebrations

You don’t have to be Scottish to celebrate Burns’ Night, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. January 25 is an annual festivity to mark the birthday of Scottish poet Robert ‘Robbie’ Burns, who died in 1796. Traditionally, a meal of soup, haggis, tatties, neeps and lots of whisky is served to celebrate his life and poetry. With a host of Scots living in the capital, there are tons of Burns’ Night celebrations on around town.

  • Burns’ Dinner and Music @ Boisdale (22 – 27 January)

Scottish restaurant chain Boisdale will be hosting a series of Burns evenings, featuring special three or four-course meals, with live music in some venues (each branch’s menu choice and price differs). Menus from £35.

– Boisdale – Four branches in Canary Wharf, Belgravia, Bishopsgate and Mayfair. For more information, visit the Boisdale website.

  • Burns events @ Barworks (various venues) (22 – 27 January)

Barworks will be running special Burns events at a selection of their bars and restaurants across the capital. Haggis and Neeps & Tatties will be on offer, as well as a dram of R&B Distillery’s Raasay While We Wait. Meanwhile, Harrild & Sons in Farringdon will be hosting a three-course traditional supper on actual Burns’ Night, coupled with Scottish cocktails which includes the Grain & Ginger a of R&B Distillers’ Borders Single Grain Scotch Whisky with fiery Ginger Ale.  From 7.30pm. Dinner: £45 pp including whiskies.

– Venues taking part included the Slaughtered Lamb, Exmouth Arms, Well & Bucket, Harrild & Sons and Singer Tavern. For more information, visit the Barworks website.

  • Week Of Burns @ Mac & Wild (22 – 28 January)

Scottish eaterie Mac & Wild will be celebrating with a whole week of Burns inspired menu and events. Including Whisky and Beer Pairing, Haggis Making Masterclass, Whisky Tour Tasting Experience, Whisky and Chocolate Pairing Masterclass and traditional Burns’ Night menu. Throughout the week, customers can order Mac & Wild Haggis, Neeps & Tatties Burgers and Rabbie’s Drams whisky flights.

– Mac & Wild Fitzrovia: 65 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PS (Nearest station: Oxford Circus) or Mac & Wild City: 9A Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M 4YN (Nearest station: Liverpool Street). For booking and more information, visit the Mac & Wild website.

  • Whisky 101 @ The Gallery (25 January)

The Gallery bar has created a special Robbie Burns drinks menu featuring their favourite whiskies and beers, including Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve and beer and whisky pairings including Chivas 12 with 6° North Four Saisons. Open 12pm-12.30am. Free entry.

– The Gallery, 190 Broadhurst Gardens, West Hampstead, NW6 3AY. Nearest station: West Hampstead. For more information, visit their website. Read the rest of this entry

Vault Festival 2018: Comedy, theatre and immersive experiences as London’s biggest arts festival returns

Vault Festival 2018

The Vault Festival returns to the tunnels underneath Waterloo station
© Vault Festival

Returning to the tunnels underneath Waterloo this winter is one of the country’s biggest arts festivals. Now its in sixth year, the Vault Festival features over 300 shows over eight weeks. Expect a jam-packed schedule of comedy, film, circus, musicals, theatre, immersive experiences and late-night parties. As well taking over the atmospheric and historic tunnels, the festival is also expanding to satellite venues such as Waterloo East Theatre and Network Theatre. Expect to see homegrown and international talent, with a spotlight on names to watch at the Vault New Writers Award.

One of this year’s big shows is Neverland, an immersive musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s classic tale. Guests will come face-to-face with glittering pirates, mermaids, food fights, absinthe bars and live music from a band of lost boys. If immersive experiences floats your boat, there is also Caravan, a journey through hip-hop dance, or Lamplighters, an improvised spy story in the style of John Le Carre.

If you want to be amazed, there’s plenty of mind-blowing circus acts, including the Chivaree Circus’ award-winning re-imagining of the Persephone myth, Becoming Shades. Explore hypnotism with David Aula and Simon Evans in their show The Vanishing Mankind, or be wowed by the brilliant Madhi The Magician, who was born without hands or feet. There will also be a busy comedy schedule, with Joe Lycett, Bridget Christie, Richard Gadd, Phil Wang and Adam Riches, Mat Ewins, Graham Dickson and Joe Sutherland aiming to tickle your funny bone.

The Vault Festival promises to showcase some of the best female and BAME talent, with over 52 per cent of shows written or directed by women. Fringe First winner Katie Bonna explores gender conditioning in Paper Scissors Stone, while Edinburgh hit Glitter Punch deals with student/teacher relationship boundaries. Nicole Acquah examines racism in the UK in her powerful piece For a Black Girl, while round-table discussions on gender equality will also be providing food for thought.

Among the late-night parties at the weekends, includes Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Ball, St Patrick’s Day, the South London Soul Train and the opening and closing bashes. As well as all the entertainment, there will be plenty of options to keep you fed and watered with intimate themed bars and street food stalls.

  • The Vault Festival runs from 24 January – 18 March 2018 and takes place at The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo, SE1 7NN; Network Theatre, 246a Lower Road, SE1 8SJ and Waterloo East Theatre, Brad Street, SE1 8TN. Nearest stations: Waterloo or Lambeth North. For more information and tickets, visit the Vault Festival website.

To find out what else is on in January, click here.

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Guide to what’s on in London in January 2018

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Winter Lights Festival lights up Canary Wharf

Happy New Year! All the festivities are over and things are a bit calmer and cash-strapped after the big blow-out of Christmas and New Year. In January, it can feel tempting to curl up in front of the TV in the warm and not go out. However, if you’re not the type for cosy days in, there’s plenty of events and festivals going on around town, many free.

To find out where to celebrate Burns’ Night in London on 25 January, 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 1 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 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 1 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 £16, Children £10. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website.

  • Now until 1 January : South Pole Saloon @ Brixton Rooftop

Brixton Rooftop has had a festive makeover, with plenty of bars, street food, live music, DJs and entertainment to keep you occupied. Opening Hours: Thur: 5pm-12am, Fri: 5pm-2am, Sat: 4pm-2am. South Pole Saloon @ Brixton Rooftop, Pope’s Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH. Nearest station: Brixton. For more information, visit the Brixton Rooftop website. For Metro Girl’s review, click here.

  • Now until 1 January : Magical Lantern Festival

Go on an immersive journey through a sea of lights. Over 50 life-sized sculpted lanterns will be dotted through the gardens with light depictions of animals and nature. Open 5pm-10pm daily (except Xmas Eve, Xmas Day and Boxing Day). Tickets: Adults £16.50, Child £10. Chiswick House Gardens, Chiswick, W4 2QN. Nearest stations: Turnham Green and Gunnersbury. For tickets, visit the Magical Lantern Festival website. For photos of a previous year’s festival, click here.

  • Now until 1 January : Winterville

An alternative festive wonderland in south London, featuring Christmas markets, ice rink, roller disco, cinema, plonk golf, fairground, spiegeltent and more. Free entry (except Fri and Sat nights). Clapham Common, SW4 9DE. Nearest station: Clapham Common. For more information, visit the Winterville website.

  • Now until 4 January : Beauty And The Feast

Go on an underground dining immersive theatrical experience, featuring pantomime, performers, cocktails, food and fabulous fun. For 16+. Show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets from £35 (includes dinner, dessert and DJs). The Vaults (entrance via Leake Street tunnel), Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For booking, visit The Vaults website. For Metro Girl’s review, click here.

  • 7 JanuaryTwelfth 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.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Cirque du Soleil is on at the Royal Albert Hall

  • 7 January – 4 March : Ovo by Cirque du Soleil

The newest touring production from the Cirque, a spectacular exploration of the ecosystem, with insects working, playing, fighting and looking for love. Tickets range from £25-£231. Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. Nearest stations: South Kensington, Knightsbridge or High Street Kensington. For more information and booking, visit the Cirque Du Soleil website.

  • Now until 7 January : Christmas in Leicester Square

The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market and a Spiegeltent, hosting shows including A Christmas Carol, Al Murray: The Pub Landlord, Austentatious, Black Cat Cabaret, Fascinating Aida, House of Burlesque 2.0 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.

  • Now until 8 January : Winter Forest

New winter installation comes to Exchange Square, featuring food and drink stalls, Tipi cinema, market and art exhibitions. Open Mon-Fri 9am-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun closed. Free entry. Exchange Square, Broadgate, EC2. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit The Winter Forest website.

  • 10 – 14 January : London Boat Show

Boats of all shapes and sizes on show at ExCel in Docklands. Open Fri-Sun 10am-6pm (late nights Thurs until 8pm). Tickets: Adult £15-£22, Children 15 years and under free with a paying adult. ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information and to book tickets, visit the London Boat Show website.

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Guide to London’s open-air and pop-up ice rinks this winter 2017/2018

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Break the ice on a rink (and hopefully no bones!)

It’s that time of year again. With the temperatures dropping and the lights a twinkling, it’s no surprise many people want to take to the ice. As usual, there are a host of pop-up, open air rinks on around town. Many are accompanied by other wintry activities and festive food and drink offerings. Here’s a guide to open-air and pop-up ice skating in London this winter season.

 

  • 26 October – 7 January 2018Natural 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.

  • 2 November – 14 January 2018 : Skylight London

London’s highest ice rink surface on top of Tobacco Dock’s car park. Features alfresco and covered bars, fondue and ice hockey slap shot. Under 18s allowed until 6pm. 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. For Metro Girl’s review, click here.

  • 4 November – 24 February 2018 : 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.

  • 15 November – 14 January 2018Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason

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 10.30pm (later for club nights and New Year’s Eve). Tickets start from £8.90. Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Nearest station: Temple. To book, visit the Somerset House website.  Read the rest of this entry