Things to do in December That Have Nothing to do with Christmas

As much as the festive season is fun, it can, at times, feel too much. If you need to tap out of Christmas this December for a moment, here is The Resident’s guide to fun exhibitions, shows, gigs and things to do in London this December that have nothing to do with Christmas. At all…

Photo: Tate Modern

1 Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club, West End
While last minute tickets to this show aren’t cheap (expect to pay £90-£200 for remaining December shows), Cabaret, staring Academy Award-winning Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley is the show to see if you can. Dark and loaded with symbolism and queer politics, the show is less razzle-dazzle and jazz hands than other West End musicals, and in fact is ‘probably the best piece of theatre I’ve seen and made me love London again’, according to one friend. Redmayne and Buckley are set to perform on stage until April, when new casting is due to be announced.
When: Currently booking through to May, 2022      
Address: Playhouse theatre, Northumberland Avenue, WC2N 5DE
Tickets: From £30 
Website: theplayhousetheatre.co.uk

2 FIELD by Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly
This provenance led pop-up celebrates small sustainable producers and regenerative farming principles and serves up lunch, dinner and a woodland afternoon tea. Each dish is designed around produce that has been sourced daily, which dictates the menu, rather than the other way round. Hero ingredients are key, and the simple dishes done well include Suffolk pork belly with crab apple and devilled brown Portland crab on toast. FIELD buy the full variety of a boat’s catch so fish of the day and pescatarian dishes frequently use delicious but under appreciated fish species.
When: Running until December 31
Address: Ground Floor Mezzanine, Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1A 1ER
Website: fortnumandmason.com

3 Saturday Disco Brunch at Devonshire Terrace, City
Boogie on down to Devonshire Terrace for its Disco Brunch running every Saturday. With tables available to book from 12pm – 5pm, outdoors on the covered terrace and inside, expect smoke machines, disco balls, throwback tunes and plenty of glitter! Enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless cocktails, lager or fizz as well as your choice of a brunch dish, including a buttermilk chicken and waffle or a vegan Symplicity burger.
When: Saturdays from 12pm-5pm
Address: Devonshire Square, EC2M 4WY 
Tickets: £39.95 pp
Website: drakeandmorgan.co.uk

4 Life of Pi at Wyndham’s Theatre, West End
First a Man Booker Prize-winning novel by Yann Martel, then a film, now a West End play; the Life of Pi tells the existential and philosophical tale of a Pi, a teenage shipwreck survivor marooned in the Pacific Ocean’s great expanse. On his lifeboat there are four other survivors too: a hyena, a zebra an orangutan and a royal Bengal tiger. Who survives and how?
When: Available to book now until February 27, 2022         
Address: Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0DA
Tickets: From £27.50
Website: lifeofpionstage.com; wyndhamstheatre.co.uk

5 West End Drag Sunday Brunch at The Folly, City
Sashay down to The Folly for the West End Drag Brunch hosted by fabulous Drag Queens. Enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless cocktails including pornstar and espresso martinis or beer alongside a brunch dish, from festive roast pork belly to classic eggs benedict.
When: Sundays from 1pm-4pm
Address: 41 Gracechurch Street, EC3V 0BT
Tickets: £54.95 pp
Website: drakeandmorgan.co.uk

6 The Wife of Willesden at Kiln Theatre, Kilburn 
The Wife of Willesden is the first play by the acclaimed Zadie Smith and if you’ve listened to any of her interviews about her experience of adapting Chaucer’s The Wife of Bath, you know it could possibly well be her last. So don’t miss out. Setting the 600 year-old story in modern-day Willesden, the play is about telling a good yarn, a gobby brassy woman, power and sex. Even if you’re not a Smith fan, you have to admit, these are pretty good ingredients. Tickets selling fast.
When: On now until January 15
Address: Kiln Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JR
Tickets: From £15
Website: kilntheatre.com

7 Lubaina Himid at Tate Modern, South Bank  
Creating powerful and poetic work, Lubaina Himid’s has become an increasingly influential figure in contemporary art (she played a pivotal role in the British Black arts movement during the 1980s and won the Turner Prize in 2017). This exhibition presents the largest solo exhibition by the British artist to date. It incorporates new paintings and highlights from her career spanning four decades. While you’re there, don’t miss out on Anicka Yi’s giant jellyfish-like installation that comes with a changing scentscape in the Turbine Hall (free with ticket until January 16) or head down on a Late at Tate night.
When: November 25-July 3, 2022 (booking currently open to Feb 28, 2022)
Address: Bankside, SE1 9TG
Tickets: £16
Website: tate.org.uk

8 Late Late Show at Ronnie Scott’s, Soho
The iconic jazz venue has relaunched its late late shows, inviting a great swathe of British jazz talents to perform into the wee hours. Encompassing  jazz, neo soul, funk and DJs, a rolling schedule of artists and bands keep things fresh for the audience – whether you’re a new fan or a die-hard. If Late Late is too late for you, the venue’s programming has a host of gigs, everyday of the week and sometimes during lunch.
When: Late Late Shows Wednesday to Saturday; 11.15pm
Address: 47 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4HT
Tickets: Gigs individually ticketed, Late Late Show tickets £12
Website: ronniescotts.co.uk

9 Lux at 180 Strand, Strand temple
Full of neon light and digital wizardry, LUX is a showcase of contemporary media art from 12 international artists and an engaging, interactive arty experience in itself – even if you don’t know much about light and digital art. Many of the works push the boundaries of interactive and immersive art, play with perception and the natural vs digital realms; and blur reality. Stand out pieces include Julianknxx’s Black Corporeal (Breathe) and a’strict’s Starry Beach which invites you to sit down (or stand) as waves wash over you.
When: On until December 18; Monday to Sunday 10am-6pm
Address: 180 Strand Temple, WC2R 1EA
Tickets: £18/£13 adults/children
Website: 180thestrand.com

10 Coravin Wine & Bubbles Pop-Up Bar, Mayfair
Wine preservation company Coravin have launched a pop-up wine bar in Mayfair for the winter, and given Coravin specialises in keeping open bottles of vino fresh, every drop is available by the glass. The pop-up offers more than 300 wines all up including more than 50 champagnes and English sparkling wines. While at the top end, a glass could set you back £850, prices by the glass start at £8, which is far more doable. To eat, there’s posh toasties, rillettes/pate, English-cured charcuterie and La Fromagerie cheese.
When: Open until the end of January; Tuesday to Saturday 12pm-11pm
Address: 4-7 Lancashire Court, W1S 1EY
Website: coravin.co.uk

It’s still early days yet, there’s more to come…