From here until the end of the year, London is going to get festive. There’s afternoon teas and celebratory meals, light switch-ons, displays and trails, as well as ice-skating and Christmas markets too. If that’s not enough, here’s more things to do in the capital to put you in that festive mood…
Photo: The Gingerbread City
1 TFL’s festive red bus city Christmas lights adventure, City
Want to see London’s festive lights but don’t know where to start? In another edition of Sadiq Khan’s Lets Do London campaign, a bunch of the capital’s red double-deckers have been given a festive makeover and five routes will give you a tour of some of the best Christmas light displays in London, from Oxford Street and the Selfridges Christmas display to Coven Garden and Regent Street – all for the price of a bus fare. Want more light displays? Here’s our pick of the best.
Details: Festive bus routes include: 139; 22; 453;390;94
2 Igloo dinners at Bingham Riverhouse’s Winter Garden, Richmond
With the mighty Thames as a backdrop, guests can toast marshmallows around a fire pit and enjoy a three AA Rosette feast prepared by MasterChef: The Professionals 2013 winner Steven Edwards in a cosy and luxurious igloo for up to 10 people. Available to book for lunch or dinner, choose off the a la carte menu for from Steven Edwards’ festive set menu which comes with a welcome cocktail and is £55pp. The Riverhouse igloos are also an ideal spot to enjoy a sunset over views of the stunning Richmond Riverside, so champagne, canapés and winter sundowners are available daily from 4.30pm – 6.30pm.
Address: 61-63 Petersham Road, Richmond TW10 6UT
3 LEGO x Covent Garden
Covent Garden buzzes with festive cheer every year, and as part of the festivities, LEGO returns with another immersive installation. Step inside to discover a rocket race car, a firefighting dragon and a cactus Christmas tree. Also in Covent Garden – a Häagen-Dazs wafflerie pop-up for an indulgent winter treat, the Let It Go-playing Frozen Forest and snow. Every hour on the hour (between 12pm-7pm) the piazza is treated to a dusting of snow.
When: LEGO installation runs December 1 – January 3, 2022
Cost: Free and no booking required
4 A Christmas Less Ordinary at Greenwich Peninsula
The family-friendly festive programme at Greenwich Peninsula has a host of events and things to do, whatever you’re in the mood for. Events range from a festive edition of FLOW Farmers Market, winter crafting workshops, cult Christmas cinematic classics, jazz and an AR exhibition from set-designer Lydia Chan. There’s also an audio-visual light installation that sees sound, movement and light working together and features around 500 suspended orbs.
When: Programme runs November 29- January 10, 2022
Cost: Events individually priced, starting from free and unticketed
5 The Curling Club at The Langham, West End
The five-star hotel’s courtyard receives a makeover this November transforming it into a winter wonderland with three ice rinks for lots of curling action, alpine-inspired street food, winter cocktails and live DJs to keep the party going. Games can be booked for groups of six up to 150 people. Tickets on the door are available, but it is recommended booking ahead. This one is for adults and children aged 7+.
When: Various dates from November 24 – February 2022
Cost: From £9
Address: 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, W1B 1JA
6 Christmas at Brixton Village, Brixton
Running throughout December Brixton Village has a programme of theatre, music, shopping, and food and drink to see you through the lead up to Christmas. Music line-up includes acoustic trios and jazz bands, while queer disable-led theatre troupe Quiplash will put on an evening of accessible, campy cabaret and drag. There’s also a gift market on Sundays, a light switch on (8pm Nov 25) and host of food and drink offers to enjoy.
When: From November 25
7 The Gingerbread City, Belgravia
The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City returns this December showcasing great design and baking minds. An utterly charming – and edible – exhibition for adults and children, this year’s fantastical city explores the theme of nature in the city which asked the architects, engineers and designers who created the city explore ways of bringing in green space and nature into our urban jungles. There’s also gingerbread house-making workshops you can do with the family or your friends
When: December 4 – January 9, 2022
Cost: Exhibition £14/£8.50 adult/child; workshop From £40
Address: 6-7 Motcomb Street, SW1X 8JU
8 Electric Winter at Between the Bridges, South Bank
This riverside haunt gets a festive make-over in the lead up to Christmas with the arrival of the Spiegeltent and St Nicks. Both pop-up venues will play host to nights and events from The Karaoke Hole, Massoake, Lost in Disco and Guilty Pleasures and more. Drag brunches continue, featuring bottomless prosecco and RuPaul Drag Race queens, the Jingle Bell bar will by plying merry-makers with cocktails and beers and Rudolphs will serve up meals from the BBQ Dept, Burger & Beyond, The Duck Shed and The Mac Factory. There’s also family-friendly raves to attend and Christmas film screenings on Sunday evening.
When: November 18 – December 23
Cost: Free Tuesday to Friday and Sunday, £3 Saturday after £5; events individually priced.
Address: Queen’s Walk, South Bank, SE1
9 Cocktails by Candlelight Masterclasses at Seven Dials
There’s a lot going on at Seven Dials to get into the sprit of things including this series of cocktail and candle-making masterclasses. Make festive Bombay Sapphire gin-based cocktails and a scented, eco-friendly coconut wax candle during the 90-minute session that also includes a mulled cocktail on arrival, bad tinsel and festive tunes. Running 7 days a week, Monday will be an alcohol-free cocktail session, and you can request an alcohol-free experience for any of the sessions in advance.
When: November 7-December 31
Address: 15 Shorts Gardens, Seven Dials, WC2H 9AT
10 Seven Dials Winter Festival
The streets of Seven Dials, close to Covent Garden, will hold a feast of live music, street-entertainment, creative workshops, festive treats and late night shopping across one weekend. From a pop-up pantomime and wreath-making workshops to spoken word and a live podcast recording, the festival’s programme offers a range of things to indulge in. Pick up some roasted chestnuts or a s’more or two, along with a mulled wine, and get involved.
When: November 19-21
Cost: Free, but register for a ticket on the website
Address: 45 Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9HD
11 Christmas Storytelling with Michael Rosen, The Old Vic, Waterloo
Micheal Rosen, the much loved poet and author of We’re Going On a Bear Hunt, Sad Book and Little Rabbit Foo Foo, will read from some of his own favourite tales in the Old Vic Auditorium. The venue has been transformed for this year’s A Christmas Carol, so bring your children and gather round the magical looking stage for particularly special and festive story-time session. Suitable for children aged 8 and older.
When: November 27, 9.30am-10.30am
Cost: £12/£6 adult/child
Address: The Old Vic, The Cut, SE1 8NB
12 Backyard Cinema at Troxy, Stepney
The glorious Heritage Listed Troxy gets festive this December with Backyard Cinema. The purveyors of good film transform the art deco venue into a Christmassy celebration with Christmas trees, winter magic and a double bill of live music and performance, followed by a much-loved Christmas movies. Peabody award-winning George the Poet has written a new story of Christmas, which features Christmas showstopping tunes performed by Some Voices Choir and the Backyard Cinema Band. Following this, settle into Love Actually, Home Alone or the stupidly good Elf. Backyard Cinema is also putting on The Winter Night Garden and the Snow Kingdom at Capital Studios in Wandsworth.
When: December 2-31 (no shows Dec 25/26)
Address: Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, E1 0HX
13 Christmas Pub Pod at London Eye, South Bank
Celebrate Christmas 135 metres above the London skyline in the sole London Eye pod that has been given a glittering makeover, transforming it into a fully functioning pub complete with cocktail bar, Christmas cracker decorations and a festive frosting of snow. In partnership with Absolut Vodka, guests can try out the gingerbread espresso martini and the cinnamon passion fruit martini, both exclusive tipples to the pub pod. There’s also a selection of craft beers and wines, should you prefer. Sessions run for 30 minutes.
When: Friday to Sunday, from November 11; midday to 5pm
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB