South Pole Saloon @ Brixton Rooftop review: Be naughty AND nice at south London’s festive playground
When it comes to a festive pop-up, the thought of standing outside can dampen even the most Christmassy of spirits. While rooftop venues are all the rage right now, our unpredictable London weather can make them more miss than hit at this time of year. However, summer destination Brixton Rooftop has had a winter makeover, bringing all the fun undercover in a cosy, heated environment. Taking over the rooftop this season is the South Pole Saloon, providing food, booze and entertainment.
I went along to the launch last week and was initially struck by how big it was, and also how cosy and warm it is. The venue has been transformed into a winter wonderland, with fir trees, twinkling lights and tinsel. Upon arrival, you are greeted by rows of picnic seating with the main bar and small stage behind. To the right, was the street food market, private candy caner cabins, themed VIP rooms and the nightclub in the saloon bar. Adding to the festive spirit were gangs of candy caner girls and naughty elves, providing plenty of material for some Christmas Instagram poses.
The three on-site bars offer a wide range of premium draft and bottled beers, typical spirits and the winter warmer cocktail menu. Among the original creations on offer were The Snow Globe (Spiced Bacardi Rum, Ginger Beer, Angostura, Coconut Syrup, topped with Cocoa Powder) and Santa’s Tart (Bacardi 8YO, Cherry Syrup, Cinnamon Syrup and Lime Juice). We were in the mood for mixing it up so tried the delicious Snow Globe, before moving on to Prosecco. Pretty much whatever your tipple is, you’ll be easily catered for.
With all the booze flowing, there’s plenty of opportunities to line your stomachs at the street food market, featuring The Lambassadors, Fancy Funkin Chicken, Vudu Food and Mac To The Future serving up. My friend and I ordered the classic ‘DeLorean’ mac ‘n’ cheese with a side of spinach from Mac To The Future which was absolutely delicious. Fortunately there was plenty of seating around so we grabbed a table with our drinks and grub and were entertained by the brilliant live music on the bar stage. Late night revellers can head to the saloon nightclub for a host of DJs and club nights performing until 2am over the next month, with Cirque Du Soul, The Doctor’s Orders, Applebum, For The Love Of Garage among the hosts.
Overall, it’s a great winter venue that would make a perfect meeting place for Christmas drinks with pals. What’s great about South Pole Saloon is that there will always be something different. The food traders create special dishes every week to follow the weekly food theme, while supper clubs will also be visiting. Among the events taking place will be cheese nights, bottomless brunches, burlesque shows and shared Christmas party nights, which caters for work or friends’ parties. I’ll definitely be heading back for a festive knees-up.
- South Pole Saloon @ Brixton Rooftop. Open from 23 November 2017 – 1 January 2018. 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.
Snow bunnies living in London usually find themselves disappointed when it comes to the capital’s rare offering of the white stuff. However, if you’re looking for a bit of alpine-style fun but can’t be bothered getting an Easyjet flight to Tignes, there’s an alternative solution right here.
Following its successful launch last year, Vauxhall Winter Village is back in London for a six-week run over the festive period. Launching on 16 November, the seasonal pop-up offers après-ski style food, drink and entertainment. Expect twinkling lights, decorations, drinking and dining in an undercover, heated, cosy environment.
Located just moments from Vauxhall station, the pop-up alpine ski village features plenty to keep you amused, including the chance to get Instagramming in Retro Ski Wear at the Cable Car Photo Booth. You can host a Christmas social gathering for your friends by renting one of the bookable heated alpine cabin booths, themed after some of the world’s top ski resorts, such as St. Moritz, Klosters, Aspen, and Davos.
There’s plenty of foodie options to keep your hunger at bay at the street food stalls, including Jamakin Me Crazy Caribbean cuisine, Hola Guacamole Mexican treats, Country Kitchen’s British grub, City Burgers and Ye Olde Fish And Chips. Meanwhile, there will be plenty of opportunities to drink, with festive cocktails, mulled wine and your favourite tipples.
- Vauxhall Winter Village is open from 16 November – 22 December 2017 on Monday to Fridays only (and selected weekends) from 11.30am-10pm. Free entry. Vauxhall Winter Village, South Lambeth Place, Vauxhall, SW8 1SP. Nearest station: Vauxhall. For more information, visit the Vauxhall Winter Village website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.
When it comes to Christmas, it can often feel like children get the most excitement out of the festive season. However, in the run-up to Yuletide, a festive pop-up is giving us grown-ups the chance for some seasonal fun.
Launching near Borough Market on 15 November for six weeks is Christmess, an opportunity to visit a naughty and anarchistic world featuring St Nicky and his pals. An old Victorian warehouse is being transformed for a new instalment from supper club supremos Slap Ya Papa and artistic collective Marbles & Ware. Guests can check out Mama Claus’ hidden parlour-come-blues room, and a Santa’s Whiskey Grotto. Expect plenty of entertainment with live music, Santa’s little helpers and plenty of Christmas sparkle. Be sure not to miss the Green Fairy granting wishes in the hidden absinthe bar.
Finally, revellers will head to the dining room for a 12 dish lunch or dinner, featuring the likes of Cajun roasted turkey and candied yams. Table etiquette will go out the window with diners encouraged to drink a lot and dance on the tables.
Meanwhile, during the day downstairs will be workshops so you can make your own Christmas presents or decoration, such as floral wreath weaving, beeswax candle making, writing workshops, yoga and life drawing.
- Christmess @ The Imaginarium, Hunter Penrose, 32 Southwark Street, London Bridge, SE1 1TU. Nearest station: London Bridge. Tickets from £55 (dinner). For more information and booking, visit the Christmess website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.
When it comes to looking for Christmas presents, many of us are tired of the same old stuff flogged at the high street chains and want to find something a bit more original or unique. Well, fortunately Christmas markets are more popular than ever with long-term and one-off and weekend ones popping up all over the capital. As well as giving you the opportunity to browse dozens of stalls, many also have plenty of festive fun and entertainment to really get you in the mood.
- 10 November – 4 January 2018 : South Bank Winter Market
Wooden chalets selling festive food, drink, gifts and treats alongside the riverbank 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.
- 10 November – 7 January 2018 : 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 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 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.
- 10 November – 8 January 2018 : Winter Market @ The Winter Forest
Festive market at the new winter installation at Broadgate. Also including food and drink stalls, Tipi cinema, and art exhibitions. Free entry. Exchange Square, Broadgate, EC2. Nearest station: Liverpool Street. For more information, visit The Winter Forest website.
- 17 November – 1 January 2018 : 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.
- 27 November – 22 December : Christmas Market @ The Cheesegrater
A festive market is opening in the 28m high open atrium of ‘The Cheesegrater’. Featuring German-style wooden chalets selling gifts and street food and a pop-up Champagne and Prosecco bar. Open Mon-Fri 10am-7pm. Free entry. The Leadenhall Buildng, 122 Leadenhall Street, City of London, EC3V 4AB. Nearest station: Bank, Aldgate or Fenchurch Street. For more information, check out the Cheesegrater’s Twitter page.
- 30 November – 3 January 2018 : London Bridge Presents Christmas By The River
A market featuring food, drink, craft and gift stalls across The Scoop More London, Hay’s Galleria and London Bridge City Pier. 11am-7pm. Free entry. Queen’s Walk and Hay’s Galleria, SE1 2DB. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the Tudor Markets website.
One-off or short-term Christmas fairs
- 8 – 12 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, tea room and Cava bar. Opening times vary. Tickets: Adults £14.50, Children £8.50, Under 5s free. Business Design Centre, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information and tickets, visit the Country Living Fair website.
- 9 November : Carnaby Christmas Party
Shopping party including the countdown to the famous Carnaby Christmas lights switch on at 6pm. An exciting and immersive light switch on will take place at 6pm to launch the brand-new Christmas lights, with legendary DJ Norman Jay MBE on the decks. Enjoy a 20% discount at over 100 brands in Carnaby. 5pm-9pm. Carnaby London, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.
- 16 November : Festive 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 live music from Some Voices choir and switching on the Christmas lights. The boutiques and eateries will be offering 20% discount. 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.
- 18 November : Christmas Market @ St John at Hampstead
Christmas market in church crypt, featuring gifts, treats and presents, cake, coffee and more. 11am-2pm. Free entry. St John-at-Hampstead Church, Church Row, Hampstead, NW3 6UU. Nearest station: Hampstead. For more information, visit the church website.
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 2018 : 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.
- 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 2018 : Skate 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
Yes, autumn is here. The clocks have gone back, the temperatures are dropping and it feels like we’re on the countdown to the festive season. However, there’s plenty of non-Christmas events on around town to keep you living in the moment. With cosying up with a good book particularly inviting prospect at the moment, there are several literary festivals taking place around the capital. Here’s Metro Girl’s guide to the best festivals and special events in the capital this November.
For a guide to London’s open-air ice rinks, click here.
For a guide to the capital’s Christmas markets and fairs, click here.
- Now until 1 November : London Literature Festival
The London Literature Festival returns to the Southbank, with renowned writers, futurologists and transhumanists discussing the future in these uncertain times. Among the highlights include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tom Hanks, Philip Pullman, Annie Leibovitz and a live reading of Nelson Mandela’s memoirs. Many events are free, but tickets go up to £70. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo or Embankment. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- 1 November – 23 December : The Ethicurean at The Gardening Society
Festive pop-up on the roof of John Lewis in Oxford Street, featuring food from the award-winning Ethicurean restaurant, an immersive theatrical dining experience ‘The Poisoned Garden’, bookable lodges and Christmas cocktails. Open Sun-Wed 12pm-9pm, Thu-Sat 12pm-11pm. Free entry, booking advised for the restaurant or lodges. John Lewis, 300 Oxford Street, Marylebone, W1C 1DX. Nearest station: Bond Street or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the John Lewis website.
- 2 November : Cantina Laredo’s Dia De Los Muertos
London’s new tequila and guacamole bar Cantina Laredo host a Day Of The Dead celebration with a one-off ofrenda four-course menu, cocktails, face-painting, DJs and more. 5pm-late. Tickets: £55pp. Cantina Laredo, 10 Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FB. Nearest station: Leicester Square. For booking, visit BookATable.
- 2 – 4 November : Wahaca’s Day Of The Dead @ The Vaults
Three day festival to celebrate Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos featuring Mexican food, drink, live music, DJs and culture in the tunnels underneath Waterloo station. Fancy dress encouraged. 7pm-2am (family day from 1pm on 4 Nov). Tickets: £15-£25. The Vaults (entrance via Leake Street tunnel), Launcelot Street, Waterloo, SE1 7AD. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Wahaca website.
- 3 – 20 November : World Press Photo Exhibition
The shortlisted entries for the annual World Press Photo completion go on display in the Royal Festival Hall. Open 10am-11pm. Free. Royal Festival Hall, Upper Ground, South Bank, SE1 9PX. Nearest station: Embankment or Waterloo. For more information, visit the World Press Photo website.
- 3 – 29 November : Richmond Upon Thames Literature Festival
A festivals of books and words at various locations across the borough. Featuring workshops, talks and Q&As from authors, including David Starkey, John Grindrod, Andy Friend, Henry Hemming, Peter Snow, Ann MacMillan, Hilary Spurling 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.
- Now until 4 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.
- Now until 4 November : Kilburn Literary Festival
The North West London suburb of Kilburn hosts their third literary festival, featuring talks, workshops, readings and competitions. Events range from free to £10. At various venues across NW6 including the North London Tavern, Tricycle Theatre, Kilburn Library and the Sheriff Centre. For more information, visit the Kilburn Literary Festival website.
- 4 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.
- 4 November : Winter Wine Festival
One day wine festival featuring a choice of 600 wines to taste. As well as tastings, there is also a free wine walk, masterclasses and discounts on wine shopping. 12pm-6pm. Tickets: £20-£25. The Grand Connaught Rooms, 61-65 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5DA. Nearest station: Holborn. For more information, visit the Wine Gang website.
- 4 November : Spice World Screening with Live Orchestra
Spice Girls fans will love this immersive screening of their 1997 movie, accompanied by a live orchestra, with Spice Girls masks and photobooth on site. 7pm-10pm (guests can stay for the club night afterwards until 3am). Tickets from £10. Clapham Grand, 21-25 St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction, SW11 1TT. Nearest station: Clapham Junction. For booking, visit the Clapham Grand website.
- Now until 5 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: £20 (advance), £24 (on the door). Olympia Grand, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Spirit Of Christmas Fair website.
- Now until 5 November : Winter Art & Antique Fair
Arts and antiques event, featuring over 120 dealers showcasing their unusual objects and art and talks. Opening times vary. Tickets: £15-£20 (cheaper in advance). Olympia National, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the Olympian Antiques website.
- 5 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.