Blog Archives

Guide to what’s on in London in December 2021

Find out what festive events and exhibitions are on in London over the Christmas 2021 period.

Christmas tree in Hay's Galleria, LondonDecember is finally here! We’re sure many of us can’t wait for this difficult year to be over after another long struggle through pandemic and Brexit impacts. As usual, many festive events already started in November, but they really ramp up in the run-up to Christmas.

Among the events on in the capital this December include festive cinematic experiences, illumination and light trails, and many events celebrating food and drink on the most gluttonous time of the year.

As you would expect, there’s plenty of family-friendly activities as many relatives are reunited after spending last Christmas apart. Theatreland is well and truly back in action with a host of pantomimes, ballets and other Christmas shows to keep the whole family entertained. There’s also opportunities for alfresco ice skating or shopping at one of London’s many Christmas markets.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 5 December 2021 : Sparkle in the Park

Follow a festive light trail around the park alongside fire art installations, before enjoying live music, children’s shows, a Christmas disco, market stalls and hot food and drink. From 4pm-9pm. Free entry. Maryon Park, Maryon Road, Charlton, SE7 8EN. Nearest stations: Charlton or Woolwich Dockyard. For more information, visit the Royal Greenwich website. 🐻

  • 1 – 19 December 2021 : Cinema in the Snow

Pop Up Screens are bringing their festive, cinematic experience to south London. Step through a magical wardrobe into a winter wonderland, where you can watch classic Christmas films and newer festive releases on the big screen (indoors!). Licensed bar and snacks available. Tickets: Under 12s £12, Adults £22. Brockwell Park (Lido gate), Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, SE24 0PA. Nearest station: Herne Hill. For booking, visit the Pop Up Screens website. 🐻

  • 1 – 30 December 2021 : Backyard Cinema’s Christmas Movie Spectacular

Cinematic experience experts Backyard Cinema are launching a third festive spectacular away from their permanent home in Wandsworth. Watch one of the three classic Christmas films (Love Actually, Home Alone or Elf) along with a live choir and performances by George The Poet in a stunning Art Deco setting. Times vary. Tickets start from £15.  Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, Limehouse, E1 0HX. Nearest station: Limehouse. For tickets, visit the Backyard Cinema website. 🐻

  • 2 December 2021 : Christmas Lights Walk @ Marylebone

Explore the light installations of the Baker Street Quarter, telling the story of famous people and places from the district. Starts at 6pm. Free. Starts at Punch Tavern, 55 Baker Street, Marylebone, W1U 7DA. Nearest station: Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Baker Street Quarter website. 🐻

  • 3 – 5 December 2021 : Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre

A celebration of festive food in the grounds of historic Hampton Court Palace. Featuring street food, pop-up bars, artisanal producers, live music, and more. 10am-5pm. Tickets (inc entry to courtyard and gardens): Adults £25.30, Children 5-15yr £12.60, Under 5s free. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). For more information and tickets, visit the HRP Food Festivals website. 🐻

  • 4 December 2021 : Rumblin’ Cocktails Rum Education @ Museum of London Docklands

Rum cocktail experts Rumblin’ host a history and mixology workshop in the old Rum Store. Explore the heritage of the tipple, before mixing your own and take a bottle of rum punch home. Over 18s only. From 5.30pm. Tickets: £55. Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14 4AL. Nearest stations: West India Quay or Canary Wharf. For booking, visit the Museum of London website.

  • Now until 4 December 2021 : Pigs Ear Festival 2021

Annual beer festival in conjunction with CAMRA, featuring over 230 real ales plus ciders, perries and bottled beers, food stalls and unique festival brews. Open 12pm-10.30pm. Tickets: £3 (CAMRA members), £5 (general). Round Chapel, Glenarm Road, Hackney, E5 0LY. Nearest station: Hackney Downs or Hackney Central. For more information, visit the Pig’s Ear website.

  • 4 December 2021 – 9 January 2022 : The Gingerbread City 2021

The Museum of Architecture returns with another Gingerbread City. Over 100 architects, artists and engineers create a mini city made entirely of gingerbread and icing. In addition to the exhibition of the final creation, there is also the opportunity to take part in gingerbread house-making workshops. Open daily 9am-9pm. Tickets (45 min sessions): Adults and over 12 yrs: £14, Children 3-12yrs £8.50. 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, SW1X 8JU. Nearest station: Knightsbridge or Hyde Park Corner. For more information, visit the Gingerbread City website. 🐻

  • Now until 5 December 2021 : Christmas Floating Film Festival

Cosy up on a sofa or deckchair on a floating pontoon to watch your favourite festive films against the backdrop of St Katharine Docks. Screenings at 7pm (weekday and weekends), 2pm (weekends). Tickets: £16.76-£32.93. St Katharine Docks, 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. Nearest station: Tower Hill or Tower Gateway. For more information, visit the St Kats website. 🐻

  • 7 – 9 December 2021 : Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen

Get inspired for your festive food with live demonstrations, tastings, masterclasses, tips and tricks at Borough Market. Events from 11am-4pm. Free entry. Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL. Nearest station: London Bridge. For more information, visit the Borough Market website.

  • 8 December 2021 : Festive evening @ Leadenhall Market

Enjoy Christmas workshops, live music and late-night shopping at historic Leadenhall Market. Open 6pm-10pm. Free to attend, but register for a place on one of the workshops via Eventbrite. Leadenhall Market (access from Gracechurch Street, Lime Street and Whittington Avenue), City of London, EC3V 1LT. Nearest stations: Monument or Fenchurch Street. For more information, visit the Leadenhall Market website.

  • 8 December 2021 – 3 January 2022 : Palace of Stardust @ Hampton Court Palace

A spectacular new light trail illuminates the historic Hampton Court Palace, as it winds around the gardens. Expect illuminations, projects and festive food and drink. Open daily 4pm-8pm (closed 11, 24-26 Dec). Tickets: Adults £12.50, Children £8, under 5s free. Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU. Nearest station: Hampton Court (36 minutes from Waterloo). To book, visit the Hampton Court Palace website. 🐻

  • 9 December 2021 : Miracle on Leake Street 2021

A one-off Christmas event comes to the colourful, graffiti-decorated tunnels of Leake Street. Featuring market stalls, free wreath-making workshops, face paint, activations, food and drink, comedy and cabaret teasers of the Vault Festival 2022 and a free screening of Home Alone. From 6pm-9pm. Free entry. Leake Street tunnels, Lambeth, SE1 7NN. Nearest station: Lambeth North or Waterloo. For more information, visit the We Are Waterloo website.

  • Now until 9 January 2022 : Wave @ Greenwich Peninsula

Squidsoup presents an interactive sculptural light installation, offering an audio-visual experience. Open 7pm-10pm. Free entry, but queues expected at busy times. Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, SE10 0SQ. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the Greenwich Peninsula website. 🐻

Enchanted Eltham lights up the grounds of Eltham Palace

  • 9 – 30 December 2021 : Enchanted Eltham

Late-night opening of Eltham Palace sees the Tudor and Art Deco buildings and gardens dazzle in a show of light, colour and sound. Follow the trail around the gardens. Also including fairground rides and hot food and drink on offer, including a roasting marshmallow pit. Open Thu-Sun 4.30pm-9pm (staggered entry times). Tickets: Adults £14/£16, Children 5-15 yrs £9.50/£11.50. Eltham Palace, Court Yard, Eltham, SE9 5QE. Nearest stations: Eltham or Mottingham. For more information, visit the English Heritage website. 🐻

  • 10 December 2021 : Paper Craft Masterclass – Christmas Card Making

Using images from the British Library’s collections, design and make your own Christmas cards under the guidance of expert Shelagh McCarthy. From 10:30am-4.30pm. Tickets: £65, seniors, students or young people (18-25yrs) £55. Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest stations: King’s Cross St Pancras or Euston. For booking, visit the British Library website. Read the rest of this entry

The Art of Banksy exhibition extended until Spring 2022

Exhibition of works by the elusive street artist runs in Covent Garden until May 2022.

The Art of Banksy exhibition has now been extended until May 2022
© Art of Banksy exhibition

The hugely-popular Art of Banksy exhibition has been extended until Spring 2022. The world’s largest collection of privately-owned Banksy pieces will continue to be displayed in London after previous stints in world cities, such as Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Chicago.

The exhibition has been on show in Covent Garden since May 2021, giving Londoners and visitors to the capital the opportunity to check out over 90 authentic, original pieces by the elusive street artist. Among the artwork from private collections include prints, screen prints, canvasses and limited-edition pieces created between 1997-2008.

Street art aficionados will recognise iconic creations such as ‘Girl with a Balloon’, ‘Rude Copper’ and ‘Brace Yourself’. There is also an installation of six video screens broadcasting a series of interviews with Banksy’s former printer, giving an exclusive insight to working with the famous street artist.

Alongside the exhibition will be private tours by Blue Badge tour guides and school workshops.

  • The Art of Banksy is on from May 2021 until 22 May 2022. Open Mon-Wed & Sun 10am-6pm, Thu-Fri 10am-9pm, Sat 9.30am-7pm. Tickets: £14.50-£29.50, under 6s free. 50 Earlham Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9LJ. Nearest stations: Leicester Square or Covent Garden. For tickets, visit the Art of Banksy website.
  • NB: The Art of Banksy has not been authorised or curated in collaboration with the artist Banksy.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

National Archives launches 20sPeople events and exhibitions to celebrate release of the 1921 census

The National Archives are hosting special events and activities to mark the publication of the 1921 Census for England and Wales

A century later, the decade of the 1920s continues to fascinate many of us. In between two World Wars, it was a time of great change, with many discovering new freedoms and exploring their creativity following the restrictive constraints of Victorian and Edwardian society. The fashion and architecture of the period remains popular today, with events and parties often opting for 1920s themes.

If you’ve ever wondered what life was like in the 1920s, particularly for your ancestors, the publication of the 1921 Census for England and Wales will answer some of those questions. To celebrate the release of the Census in January 2022, The National Archives are hosting a programme of events and activities, entitled 20sPeople.

The main part of the programme will be The 1920s: Beyond the Roar exhibition. Visitors can explore the decade’s politics, social changes, design and more as they happen upon a series of encounters walking down a typical 1920s street. Using the Archives’ vast collection of records and artefacts, you can find out the truth behind the era’s stereotypes and the turbulence, as women fought for the right to vote and people recovered from the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic. The exhibition will take visitors to a newspaper stand, polling station, draper’s shop, and typical 1920s home, before ending in a nightclub. A reimagining of popular Soho nightspot, The 43 club, tells the story of the venue, which was owned by Kate Meyrick and entertained film stars and gangsters of the day.

Along with the exhibition, there will be a series of events (both online and in-person), along with digital activities and access of learning resources. 20sPeople events, such as online talks, audio dramas and webinars on how to research your family history are already taking place from November 2021.

  • The 1920s: Beyond the Roar exhibition runs from 21 January 2022 until TBA. 20sPeople events are on from November 2021 onwards. The National Archives, Kew, TW9 4DU. Nearest station: Kew. For more information, visit the National Archives website.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Guide to London’s Christmas markets and fairs 2021

Discover festive markets and fairs in central, north, south, east, and west London in November and December 2021.

With Christmas getting closer all the time and depressing warnings about ‘supply issues’ at the big chain stores, the thought of in-person shopping from independent traders is more appealing than ever. What better way to pick up some gifts for your loved ones, while getting an injection of festive spirit at one of London’s many Christmas markets and fairs.

Whether you live in north, south, east or west London, or just visiting the capital, there’s plenty of festive shopping opportunities around town. This season we’ll see the return of some popular, long-term markets, while many local communities, museums and charities are hosting one-off or weekend fairs.

Many of the markets and fairs have free entry, while some charge a small entry fee to raise money for charity. Be aware that some events are asking visitors to register for a free ticket online so they can control crowd numbers as the pandemic continues.

Here’s a guide to London’s best Christmas markets and fairs this 2021.

Long-term Christmas markets in London

Some markets are opening throughout the run-up to Christmas, with some still going into the new year. 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.

  • 4 November – 24 December 2021 : Southbank Centre Winter Market

Wooden chalets selling festive food, drink, gifts and treats alongside the river on the South Bank. Open daily 11am-11pm. Free. Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1. Nearest station: Waterloo, Westminster or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  •  12 November 2021 – 9 January 2022 : Christmas in Leicester Square

The West End’s famous square will feature a Christmas market in Bavarian-style huts. There will also be a Santa’s Grotto for kids and a Spiegeltent, which will host a production of La Clique. Open Mon-Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. Free entry to the market, 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.

  • 16 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Christmas By The River 2021

Annual festive market featuring food, drink, craft and gift stalls across The Scoop More London, Hay’s Galleria and London Bridge City Pier. Open daily 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.

  • 18 November – 24 December 2021 : Kingston Christmas Market

Over 40 wooden cabins will be selling festive food, drink and gifts. Times TBC. Free entry. Market is located across two sites: The first in between Clarence Street and High Street, and the 2nd in front of All Saints Church, Kingston-upon-Thames, KT1. Nearest station: Kingston. For more information, visit the Kingston Christmas Market website.

  • 19 November 2021 – 3 January 2022 : Winter Wonderland Market

Winter Wonderland returns to Hyde Park and offers a German market selling gifts, as well as food and drink. You can bring the whole family and get into the festive spirit with a fun fair, circus, live shows and an ice rink. Open daily 10am-10pm. General entry: (must be pre-booked) Peak £5-£7.50, Off-peak free. Entrance fee waived if you spend over £20 on attractions, rides or games in advance. Hyde Park, Westminster, W2 2UH. Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch or Knightsbridge. For more information, visit the Winter Wonderland website.


One-off or short-term London Christmas fairs and markets

  • 1 – 7 November 2021: 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. Open Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Thur: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults start from £21 (from £25 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £14 (£18 on the door), 12 and under free. Olympia Grand, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.

Visit one of London’s Christmas markets

  • 7 November and 4 – 5 December 2021 : Crafty Fox Christmas Market @ Mercato Metropolitano

Buy gifts directly from crafters and makers, enjoy food and drink from street food stalls or take part in a make-your-own-botanical-necklace workshop. 11am-5pm. Free entry. Mercato Metropolitano, 47 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6BD. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. For more information, visit the Crafty Fox website.

  • 10 November 2021 : Merry Marylebone

A festive evening to coincide with the Christmas lights switch-on with charity partner Mind Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster. Featuring retailer discounts, food and gift stalls, charity tombola, wreath-making, live music, Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, with a celebrity switching on the lights. 3pm-7pm. Free to attend. Marylebone Village (Marylebone High Street, Paddington Street and Devonshire Street), W1. Nearest stations: Bond Street, Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website.

  • 10 – 14 November 2021 : Country Living Christmas

Prepare for the festive season with a host of Christmas stalls and events, including expert talks, workshops, food hall, shopping emporium, meet-the-makers and champagne bar. Open Wed-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Tickets: Adults from £20, Children 5-16yrs £9. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the County Living Fair website.

  • 10 – 14 and 22 – 26 November 2021 : Finnish Church Christmas Fair

Christmas market featuring live music, Finnish treats and gifts, food and drink from the cafeteria. Opening hours vary. Free entry. Finnish Church, 33 Albion Street, Rotherhithe, SE16 7JG. Nearest station: Rotherhithe. For more information, visit the Finnish Church website. Read the rest of this entry

A visit to the Summer Exhibition 2021 at the Royal Academy

London pantomimes, ballets and Christmas shows 2021

Find out which Christmas shows are on in London this 2021/2022 season, including ticket prices, transport options and more.

Theatres on Shaftesbury AvenueEntertainment is back in the capital after a long absence due to the pandemic. And what better time to show your support for the arts, while being entertained with one of the many festive performances on in London.

From pantomimes to ballets to plays and ice-skating shows, there’s a wide selection of productions to suit many tastes. There’s even a few naughty adults-only pantomimes if you’re in the mood for some smut!

Curtain up times vary, but many pantomimes have matinees, including weekday performances for both school audiences and families during the school holidays.

Here’s a guide to London Christmas pantomimes, ballets and shows this 2021 season.

London pantomimes

  • 19 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Aladdin (Hammersmith)

Travel to Agrabah to find the Genie in a production starring Qasim Mahmood, Stephan Boyce, Kate Donnachie, Irvine Iqbal, Gracie McGonigal and Ellena Vincent. Tickets from £10. Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King Street, Hammersmith, W6 0QL. Nearest station: Hammersmith. For tickets, visit the Lyric website.

  • 19 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 : The Queen of Hearts (Greenwich)

A traditional pantomime starring Andrew Pollard and Anthony Spargo. Times vary. Tickets: Adults from £32.50, Children from £16.50. Greenwich Theatre, Croom’s Hill, Greenwich, SE10 8ES. Nearest station: Greenwich or Cutty Sark (DLR). For tickets, visit the Greenwich Theatre website.

  • 20 November 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Jack and the Beanstalk (Hackney)

Bring your magic beans to the East End for a production starring ‘the doyen of dames’ Clive Rowe, among others. Tickets £10-£42. Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, Hackney, E8 1EJ. Nearest station: Hackney Central. For tickets, visit the Hackney Empire website.

  • 25 November 2021 – 6 January 2022 : Pricked (Vauxhall)

Billed as ‘Sleeping Beauty got Woke’, Pricked is a saucy adults-only panto. Shows at 7pm. Tickets: £20 (over 18s only). Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11 5HY. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall Tavern’s website.

  • 26 November 2021 – 8 January 2022 : Beowulf – An Epic Panto (Islington)

Charles Court Opera’s boutique pantomime brings the Medieval epic to the stage. Tickets: £16-£32. King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, Islington, N1 1QN. Nearest station: Angel or Highbury & Islington. For tickets, visit the King’s Head Theatre website.

  • 27 November – 31 December 2021 : Red Riding Hood (Stratford)

Hold on to your grannies as Red heads into the wood. Starring Maisey Bawden, Raphael Bushay, Ashley Goh, Jodie Jacobs, Luke Latchman, Phil Nichol and Elise Zavou. Offering performances both regular and socially distanced. Tickets £10-£35. Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, Stratford, E15 1BN. Nearest station: Stratford. For tickets, visit the Stratford East website.

  • 2 December 2021 – 1 January 2022 : Rapunzel – A Tangled Tale (Barking)

Let down your hair for a production of Rapunzel. Tickets: Adults £19, Children £17. The Broadway, Broadway, Barking, IG11 7LS. Nearest station: Barking. For tickets, visit the Broadway Barking website.

  • 3 December 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Cinderella (Richmond)

Strictly judge Anton du Beke stars as Buttons in the classic fairytale. Tickets range from £19-£47. Richmond Theatre, The Green, Richmond, TW9 1QJ. Nearest station: Richmond. For tickets, visit the ATG website.

  • 4 December 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Dick Whittington (Wimbledon)

Discover the story of the former Mayor of London, starring Shane Richie, Peter Piper and Hiba Elchikhe. Tickets start from £13. New Wimbledon Theatre, 93 The Broadway, Wimbledon, SW19 1QG. Nearest station: Wimbledon. For tickets, visit the ATG website.

  • 4 December 2021 – 2 January 2022 : Sleeping Beauty (Bromley)

All-star production starring Lee Mead, Bonnie Langford, Myra DuBois and Lloyd Hollett. Tickets: £20-£39.50 (child tickets £4 off depending on seat). Churchill Theatre, High Street, Bromley, BR1 1HA. Nearest station: Bromley South or Bromley North. For tickets, visit the Churchill Theatre website. Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in November 2021

Find out what events are on in the capital in November, including the Lord Mayor’s Show, motor shows, Christmas shopping events, and more.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2015

Autumn is in full swing

November is here, the nights are drawing in, it’s getting colder… but on the bright side, it’s all getting a bit Christmassy. After last year’s lockdown, this year Londoners will be wanting to make up for lost time and prepare for a fabulous festive season. As well as host of Christmas shopping events, expect to see light shows and trails; the Lord Mayor’s Show; Oktoberfest, Diwali celebrations, music festivals and the return of Winter Wonderland.

Look out for the 🐻 for family-friendly activities.

  • 1 – 7 November 2021 : Spirit of Christmas

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 600 independent boutiques and artisan makers. There will also be a winter restaurant and a champagne bar. Open Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm, Thur: 10am-9pm, Sun: 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults start from £21 (from £25 on the door), Children 13-16 yrs from £14 (£18 on the door), 12 and under free. Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website. 🐻

  • 2 – 7 November 2021 : Winter Art & Antiques Fair

Arts and antiques event, featuring over 70 dealers showcasing over 20,000 pieces, ranging in price from £100 to £500,000. Open Tues-Wed & Fri-Sat 11am–6pm, Thur 11am–9pm, Sun 11am–5pm. Tickets: Tues-Fri – Adults £21, Children 13-16yrs £14. Weekends – Adults £23 (advance, more on the door), Children 13-16 yrs £16, 12 and under free. National Hall, Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Olympia Antiques website.

  • 2 – 7 November 2021 : Diwali @ Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf celebrates the Hindu festival Diwali with a floating flower installation. Lights on from 5pm-11pm. Free. Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf, E14. Nearest station: Canary Wharf. For more information, visit the Canary Wharf website. 🐻

  • 3 – 14 November 2021 : UK Green Film Festival

Watch documentaries exploring environmental issues. The UK-wide festival will be hosting London screenings in Dalston. Times and prices vary. Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 2PB. Nearest station: Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction. For more information, visit the festival website.

  • 4 November 2021 : Diwali Festival @ Devonshire Square

Head to Devonshire Square to celebrate the Indian festival of lights. Featuring a dance show with Indian folk and classical dancers; complimentary tastings of Indian confectionary, Diwali canapes and tamarind soda drink from Cinnamon Kitchen; and the visual art of Rangoli lit by candles. 5.30pm-8pm. Free to attend, but register for a place through Eventbrite. Devonshire Square, City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

  • 4 November 2021 : Carnaby Christmas Shopping & Dining Party

Festive evening sees over 100 shops, boutiques and restaurants of the Carnaby district are offering 20% discounts, in-store events, free drinks and goodie bags. Carnaby Street’s festive light installation will also be switched on. 12pm-8pm. Register online for a free ticket. Carnaby London, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website. 🐻

  • 4 – 6 and 11 – 13 November 2021 : Oktoberfest London

Celebrate the German beer festival with plenty of Bavarian food, beer, and more. Open Thu-Fri 5pm-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm. Tickets: General admission £5-£15, Bavarian £21-£29 (inc 1 Mass of Bavarian FestBeer, Brezel snack and Bratwurst in bread). Dock X, Canada Water, 40 Surrey Quays Road, Docklands, SE16 7DX. Nearest station: Canada Water or Rotherhithe. For more information and tickets, visit the Oktoberfest London website.

  • 6 November 2021 : Regent Street Motor Show

Dozens of vintage 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. 🐻

  • 7 November 2021 : 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 6.56am and 8.15am. Expect many drivers and passengers to be suitably dressed in costume and vintage clothing for the spectacle. Route starts at Serpentine Road in Hyde Park, 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. 🐻

  • 10 November 2021 : Merry Marylebone

A festive evening to coincide with the Christmas lights switch-on with charity partner Mind Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster. Featuring retailer discounts, food and gift stalls, charity tombola, wreath-making, live music, Santa’s grotto, fairground rides, with a celebrity switching on the lights. 3pm-7pm. Free to attend. Marylebone Village (Marylebone High Street, Paddington Street and Devonshire Street), W1. Nearest stations: Bond Street, Baker Street or Marylebone. For more information, visit the Marylebone Village website. 🐻

  • 10 – 14 November 2021 : Country Living Christmas

Prepare for the festive season with a host of Christmas stalls and events, including expert talks, workshops, food hall, shopping emporium, meet-the-makers and champagne bar. Open Wed-Thur 10am-5pm, Fri-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-3pm. Tickets: Adults from £20, Children 5-16yrs £9. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and booking, visit the County Living Fair website. 🐻

  • 11 November – 18 December 2021 : The Great Feast

A new music and food festival pops up at the Selfridges Hotel. Featuring Michelin-starred chefs, immersive dining, creative cocktails and live music. Over 18s only. Open 11-20 Nov: Thu-Sat 6pm-12am, 25-27 Nov: 12pm-3pm and 6pm-12am, 1-18 Dec: Wed-Sat 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am. Tickets: £20-£60. Old Selfridges Hotel, 1 Orchard St, Marylebone, W1H 6HJ. Nearest stations: Bond Street or Marble Arch. For more information and booking, visit The Great Feast website.

  • 11 November – 30 December 2021 : Club Curling

Try your hand at curling as the winter sports pops up at King’s Cross for the festive season. Visitors can enjoy a 45 minute curling slot on one of the six synthetic ice rinks, before enjoying a cocktail at the bar. Open daily 11am-9pm. Tickets: Adults £5, Children under 12 free. Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information and booking, visit the King’s Cross website. Check out Metro Girl’s post for more details. 🐻

  • 12 – 14 November 2021 : Destination Star Trek

Europe’s official Star Trek convention comes to London, with the chance to see some of the series’ iconic faces, including George Takei, Kate Mulgrew, Jeri Ryan, Doug Jones, Robert Beltran, Marianna Hill, Mark Rolston, Alice Krige and more. Open Fri 2pm-8pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. Tickets: One day £29 (Sat or Sun), Weekend £44 (Sat & Sun), three day £54. Premium ticket packages also available. ExCel London, Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, Docklands, E16 1XL. Nearest station: Prince Regent or Custom House (DLR). For more information and tickets, visit the Destination Star Trek website. 🐻

  • 12 – 14 November 2021 : Balance Festival 2021

Wellness festival returns to the East End for a weekend of mindfulness, fitness, relaxation and more. Opening times vary (morning and afternoon sessions). Tickets vary depending on day and session. Adults start from £26.50 (half-day), from £50 (full-day). The Old Truman Brewery, 15 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, E1 6QR. Nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street. For more information and tickets, visit the Balance Festival website.

  • 12 – 21 November 2021 : EFG London Jazz Festival

International jazz stars gather at venues all over the capital, including Dave Holland and John Scofield; Nu Civilisation Orchestra; Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita; Gwenifer Raymound; Black Midi & Moor Mother; Robocobra Quartet & Archipelago; Archie Sheep and Jason Moran; and many more. Gigs range from free to ticketed. At various locations across London. For listings and bookings, visit the EFG London Jazz Festival website.

  • 12 – 28 November 2021 : Enchanted Woodland

Follow an illuminated trail through the gardens and arboretum of Syon Park. Lighting will transform the trees, plants and lake. Hot food and drinks available for sale. Open Fri-Sun, entry slots every 20 minutes from 5pm-7.40pm. Tickets: Adults £10, Children £7.50. Syon Park, London Road, Brentford, TW8 8JF. Nearest station: Syon Lane. For more information, visit the Enchanted Woodland website. 🐻

  • 13 November 2021 : Lord Mayor’s Show

The spectacle is known as the oldest and largest civic procession in the world and marks the new Lord Mayor of London in a three-mile procession. The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am, passes St Pauls before heading down Ludgate Hill to Fleet Street, then returns via the Victoria Embankment (approx 1.15pm-2.30pm) to Mansion House (arriving 2.30pm). Free to spectate. Nearest stations: Mansion House, Temple, Blackfriars, St Paul’s and Cannon Street. For more information visit the Lord Mayor’s Show website. 🐻

  • 13 – 28 November 2021 : Wimbledon International Music Festival

A host of world-class musicians gather in Wimbledon for a series of classical, opera and jazz concerts and recitals. Artists include Sir Willard White, Imogen Cooper, The Tallis Scholars and Tango Club. Ticket prices vary. At various venues in Wimbledon, including King’s College School, Trinity United Reformed Church, St. John’s Church, Wimbledon College Hall, Wimbledon Synagogue. Nearest stations: Wimbledon or Raynes Park. For more information and tickets, visit the WIMF website.

  • 13 November 2021 – 16 January 2022 : Hogwarts in the Snow

Visit your favourite Harry Potter sets, such as the Forbidden Forest, Diagon Alley, Hagrid’s Hut and the Hogwarts castle, which have been transformed with snow for the festive season. Tickets from £47. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LR. Nearest station: Watford (then a shuttle bus to studios). For more information and tickets, visit the WB Studio Tour website. 🐻

  • Now until 14 November 2021 : Remember the Future exhibition

Artists in residence will set up studio at Orleans House and explore in art ways we could fix the Earth’s ecological crisis. Among the artists taking part in the six-month project include Ackroyd & Harvey; Nestor Pestana; Bryony Benge-Abbott; Vicky Long and Eloise Moody. During the exhibition, there will also be workshops, talks, family activities and late night events. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm. Entry: Free (donations welcome). Orleans House Gallery, Orleans Road, Twickenham, TW1 3BL. Nearest station: St Margaret’s. For more information, visit the Orleans House Gallery website.

  • 17 November 2021 – 9 January 2022 : Christmas at Kew

Follow a magical trail around Kew Gardens, through tunnels of light, past dancing waterfalls, illuminations and the Fire Garden, and a light display at the Palm House. 4pm-10pm. Tickets: Standard advance adult: Off peak £21.50/Peak £26.50, Children: Off peak £14/peak £16.50. Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, TW9 3AB. Nearest station: Kew Gardens. For more information, visit the Kew Gardens website. 🐻 Read the rest of this entry

Try your hand at curling as ‘Club Curling’ pops up at King’s Cross

Synthetic curling rinks will be appearing at Coal Drops Yard until 30 December 2021.

Club Curling comes to Coal Drops Yard this festive season

Ever watched the Winter Olympics and found yourself getting curious about curling? Well, this winter, you’ll have the chance to try the sport with the launch of Club Curling at King’s Cross.

Popping up at Coal Drops Yard from 11 November 2021, friends, families and couples will be able to aim for the targets on the six synthetic ice rinks. Club Curling will be running through the festive season against the backdrop of the Victorian arches and yards of Coal Drops Yard, a shopping and entertainment destination.

As well as trying out your curling skills on the rinks, you can also enjoy a Christmas cocktail at the adjacent Club Curling Cocktail Bar. Visitors are advised to pre-book, but Club Curling is also open to walk-ups subject to availability.

  • Club Curling runs from 11 November – 30 December 2021. At Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, N1C 4DQ. Nearest station: King’s Cross St Pancras. Open daily 11am-9pm. Tickets (45 minute sessions): Adults £5, Children under 12 free. For more information and booking, visit the King’s Cross website.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Middle Temple Gatehouse | Step through a 17th century gateway to London’s legal heartland

The story behind the neo-classical grand entrance to Middle Temple, which has prompted debate over the identity of its architect.

Middle Temple Gatehouse stands on Fleet Street

Fleet Street is one of London’s most famous streets – after all it has coveted spot on Monopoly board! However, it is also home to some of the capital’s most varied architecture; from the Neo-Gothic splendour of St Dunstan-in-the-West to the Art Deco temple of Peterborough Court. One of these interesting buildings is the Middle Temple Gatehouse, a grand 17th century entrance to the district of Middle Temple. Located across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice, it stands at the western end of Fleet Street.

Today, the Middle Temple is home to one of London’s legal districts. The name Temple comes from the Medieval group, the Knights Templar, who based their headquarters in the area from the 1160s until they were dissolved in 1312. Temple became synonymous with legal industry later in the 14th century, establishing accommodation and offices for lawyers and students.

The current building you see today is the second gatehouse on the site. The original was erected in the early 16th century by English official and soldier, Sir Amias Paulet (d.1538), who served as treasurer for Middle Temple. Although it’s not clear if it was damaged during the Middle Temple fire of 1678, it was certainly in bad condition by this stage and needed to be replaced.

The emblem of Middle Temple – a lamb holding a St George’s flag

When it comes to the architect of the current building, there has been much debate about who was responsible. Historic England, British Listed Buildings and architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983) all state it was designed by Roger North (1653-1734). However, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and Museum of London have cited the gatehouse as the work of Sir Christopher Wren. North was a lawyer who trained at Middle Temple and an amateur architect, as well as a friend of Wren. While it’s unlikely we’ll never know for sure, who knows… perhaps both men dreamt up the design over an ale or two in the pub?

The current red brick and Portland stone structure was built in 1684 and Grade I listed in 1950. The ground floor features a central carriageway sandwiched between two arched footways, all featuring black gates. Above the carriageway is the Agnus Dei symbol of the ‘lamb of God’, holding a flag of St George. The symbol can be spotted throughout the district and is part of the Middle Temple’s arms. As a gatehouse to London’s prestigious legal district, it is given an air of superiority with the classical details of four Ionic pilasters, with the top storey crowned by an entablature and pediment. The first floor features two full-length windows which open out to iron balconies, situated underneath a narrow stone band depicting the Latin phrase: ‘SVRREXIT . IMPENS . SOC . M . TEMPLI . MDCLXXXIV.’

  • Middle Temple Gatehouse, Middle Temple Lane, Temple, EC4Y 9BB. Nearest station: Temple.

Follow Metro Girl on Instagram for more photos of hidden London.

For more of Metro Girl’s history posts, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Winterfest returns to Wembley Park for 2021 with ‘Reunited in Light’

Head to Wembley this winter to check out the festive light show, on until early January 2022.

London’s largest LED Christmas tree returns to Wembley Park
© Chris Winter

This winter, Wembley Park’s festive light festival is returning to bring some neon and colour to the dark nights. Following the success of the inaugural Winterfest two years ago, the collection of installations is returning to the streets of HA9 for six weeks. Launching on 25 November 2021, the open-air light trail, themed ‘Reunited in Light’, will be open to the public seven days a week.

The launch of Winterfest will coincide of the switch-on ceremony of London’s largest LED Christmas tree on Wembley Park Boulevard. The 25-metre high, electronic conifer has been decorated with new digital artwork by local Brent artist Yoni Alter, including 100,000 kinetic lights which pulse to different rhythms.

Meanwhile, bespoke light installations will be peppered throughout the entertainment district, through trees, digital totems, lampposts and light banners. ‘Reunion’, a new light installation from Kumquat Lab, will have its world exclusive unveiling in Market Square. The structure features a series of light arches which visitors are invited to walk through and meet under. Joining the collection on 9 December 2021, will be the light installation ‘Reflections of the Future’, offering guests the chance to explore a multi-sensory journey walkway.

Along with the light show, Wembley Park’s new permanent outdoor gallery will launch on Olympic Way with the ‘Reunited in Light’ photography exhibition (25 November 2021 – 27 February 2022). The collection features work from 12 UK-based photographers, including Tami Aftab and Sophie Harris-Taylor.

  • Winterfest runs from 24 November 2021 – 9 January 2022. Free admission. Open 10am-10pm (but best viewed after dark!). At Wembley Park, Wembley, HA9 0FD. Nearest stations: Wembley Park or Wembley Stadium. For more information, visit the Wembley Park website.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin