The best things to do in London this weekend including comedy from Bill Bailey, an Elf & Waffle Christmas Brunch and a city made from gingerbread…
Lead image: Gingerbread City 2019 at Somerset House (photo: © Luke O’Donovan)
1 Art Wars 9 at Old Brompton Gallery, Kensington
The Art Wars 9 exhibition presents new and existing Star Wars-inspired art by artists including Mr Brainwash, Alison Jackson, Hayden Kays, UnSilled Worker, Nettie Wakefield, Ben Eine, Philip Colbert, Bran Symondson, Joe Rush, Stuart Semple and Schoony. Artists have been provided with a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet, with the brief of transforming it into a piece of art, ‘turning the Dark Side onto the Art Side’. The exhibition also includes Star Wars inspired paintings and drawings. Art Wars is curated by Ben Moore and will raise funds for the Missing Tom Fund which Moore set up to support the search for his brother Tom who has been missing since 2003. Private View 12 December, 6pm-9pm. A celebratory event will take place on 19 December to coincide with the cinema release of Star Wars.
238 Old Brompton Road SW5 0DE; artwars.net
2 Festive Films on Ice at QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl, Queensway
Watching your festive favourites just got even more fun with the launch of Festive Films on Ice at QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl. The pop-up cinema experience offers you the chance to watch your favourite Christmas movies on a super-sized LED screen, either while lounging on candy striped deck-chairs with cosy blankets, or on skates. There will be two screenings per day – a family screening at 5pm, where guests can enjoy hot-chocolates and other winter warmers at the SIN BIN café before the film starts, and an adult screening at 8pm, where guests can enjoy cocktails and snacks before, after and even during the film. This weekend, the films are The Muppet Christmas Carol (5pm) and Home Alone 1 (8pm). Tickets £11-£13 for kids, £12-£16 for adults (skate hire an additional £2.50).
17 Queensway W2 4PQ; queens.london
GrillJam is London’s newest winter BBQ festival. If top-notch chicken wings, fall-off-the-bone ribs and raclette-smothered grilled steaks are your thing, then so is GrillJam. Vendors include Chicken George, Steak Haus and Tongue ‘N Cheek, while fresh sea food and vegan options can also thrown on the grill, and every vendor will be offering £1 portions so that you can try a little bit of everything. The people’s favourite vendor will be awarded the GrillJam Cleaver. There will also be crafty brews from Goose Island Brewery, live DJs, a Bavarian-style beer hall and a winter rooftop bar. Tickets £15.50 including a free beer or cocktail and a Flying Goose Sriracha key ring (book here). Open Friday 6pm-10pm, Saturday 12pm-5pm & 6pm-10pm and Sunday 12pm-7pm.
133 Rye Lane Peckham SE15 4ST; grilljam.co.uk
4 Bill Bailey’s Cutty Sark Spectacular, Greenwich
As part of the Cutty Sark’s 150th birthday celebrations, one of Britain’s best-loved comedians, Bill Bailey, climbs aboard the world-famous tea clipper for a night of music and comedy. Bailey will welcome some special musical guests to the stage in the Sammy Ofer Gallery, the fabulous space beneath the ship’s hull, before topping it all off with an extended set of his own hilarious material. Guests include Fred Snow and his band are stalwarts, saviours of the London underground music and cabaret scene; Nina Harries, a double bassist and vocalist whose sound blends the mythic with the modern; and Joe Wilkes, who is highly regarded on the live London folk scene as a skillful songwriter and a moving storyteller. 7pm-10pm. Tickets £35 or £49 for VIP tickets. Limited availability. Ages 16+.
King William Walk, Greenwich SE10 9HT; rmg.co.uk/cuttysark
5 Elf & Waffle Christmas Brunch at Flat Iron Square, Southwark
Flat Iron Square and Waffle On have partnered up to offer waffles and free screenings of Elf the film throughout the day on Sunday 15 December. One of the funniest Christmas movies of All Time, Elf will be screened three times – at 11am, 1pm and 3.30pm – in Flat Iron Square’s cosy Après Ski Lodge bar. Waffle On will be serving up a full menu of sweet and savoury waffles, including the Elf Special (grilled peaches with maple syrup, icing sugar, whipped cream and optional bacon), Toffee Banana Waffle, Strawberries & Cream, the All Day Breakfast Waffle and Chicken & Waffle. The event is free and family friendly – just turn up. Waffles priced £6-£7.50).
53b Southwark Street, London Bridge SE1 1RU; flatironsquare.co.uk
6 Carol Concerts in Fulham, Kensington, Waterloo, Greenwich & Camberwell
14 & 15 December
Feeling festive? Well, if not, you soon will be, with a sprinkling of tip-top carol concerts taking place this weekend. Fulham Camerata is performing a Charity Christmas Carol Concert on 14 December, featuring carols both traditional and modern, at Holy Cross Church in Fulham (7.30pm, suggested donation £10, book here). Also on the 14th, you can join the chapel choir for a Christmas concert at The Chapel at The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich (6pm, tickets £12-£20, book here), London Welsh Chorale will perform Choral Music for Christmas at St John’s Waterloo (7pm, tickets £15, book here), and the London Community Gospel Choir perform at Royal Albert Hall (7.30pm, tickets from £22.50, book here book here). On 15 December, Organoke returns to St Giles’ Church in Camberwell, but sadly this one is sold out (more here: organoke.com).
7 The Luna Winter Cinema at The Kensington Palace Pavilion
There’s nothing like a good old Christmas film to get in the Christmas spirit (Love Actually is our favourite), and the good news is that the hugely popular Luna Winter Cinema is returning to the pavilion at Kensington Palace this month. Catch classics on the big screen such as Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life and Elf, with mulled wine, mince pies and hot chocolate to keep you cosy. There will also be a full bar if you fancy a tipple or two, as well as comfy seats to curl up on for a well-deserved break after all the Christmas shopping. Tickets start at £13.
Kensington Gardens W8 4PX; thelunacinema.com
8 Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City at Somerset House
Until 5 January
Is it really Christmas until you’ve had your first gingerbread latte? This sweet treat is synonymous with all things festive, but have you ever seen an entire city made of it? Probably not, but now’s your chance: The Museum of Architecture is bringing its hugely popular Gingerbread City exhibition to Somerset House this month, which challenges architects, engineers and designers to create a futuristic city made of gingerbread. This year’s city will be exploring the theme of ‘transport’, with participants being asked to create a city that explores imaginative new ways of moving around. There will also be daily family-friendly gingerbread house making workshops and a shop. Tickets are £9 or £7 for under 12s. Under 3s go free.
The Strand WC2R 1LA; somersethouse.org.uk
9 Prosecco Festival at St Mary’s Church, Marylebone
Prosecco and gin – what more do we need in our lives? This festival at St Mary’s celebrates these two much-loved tipples in all their glory, with Christmas cocktails galore, as well as live music, well-stocked bars, a huge number of gin varieties from across the world to sample and Italian street food. Sign us up… Early bird ticket prices are £15.50 or £17.50 for standard admission.
Wyndham Place, York Street W1H 1PQ; proseccofestival.co.uk
10 The London Pantomime Horse Race, Greenwich
The London Pantomime Horse Race, dubbed one of the world’s wackiest annual events, features around 30 costumed nags, who will race across Greenwich, stopping for refreshments at a number of pubs, to raise funds for charity. This year, the event celebrates its 10th Anniversary with a special Star Wars edition – may the horse be with you! The fun gets underway at 11.30am with the Pre-Race Ceremony at Devonport House on King William Walk, featuring an exclusive appearance from the galactic singing songstress, Princess Leia, a performance from The London Humanist Choir, and a special appearance from the 501st UK Garrison, complete with Stormtroopers, Jedi, Droids and a couple of Imperial Scout Troopers. The race commences at 1pm and finishes on Royal Hill, bumbling along Nevada Street and Burney Street with six pub ‘pit stops’ en route. The After Race Show starts at 3.30pm at The Hill, hosted by comedian Lewis Shaffer with music from U2 tribute act U2 Tribe, plus a special surprise guest singer (tickets £5).
11 Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Alexandra Palace
13 December-5 January
Following their multi-award-winning success with The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Mischief Theatre returns with their riotous spin on a timeless classic, Peter Pan Goes Wrong. It will be showing at Alexandra Palace this month, and it’s a pantomime that is every bit as appealing for adults as it is for children. Times and ticket prices vary.
Alexandra Palace Way N22 7AY; alexandrapalace.com
12 Nativity! The Musical at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith
Until 29 December
The critically acclaimed musical is back in London for its third year at the Eventim Apollo, with the winning combination of Sharon Osbourne and Danny Dyer forming part of the all-star cast. Sharon will take on the role of ‘Crystal Collins’, the mother in law to ‘Harry Parker’ who is played by Danny Dyer, whilst his daughter Dani – who won Love Island 2018 – will return as ‘Polly Parker’. Rylan Clarke-Neal will also be taking to the stage to play ‘The Critic’, and he will be joined by the likes of Simon Lipkin, Scott Graham and Ashleigh Gray for what promises to be a performance to remember. Let the mayhem in Bethlehem begin… Ticket prices and times vary.
45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith W6 9QH; eventimapollo.com
13 Dazzle Contemporary Jewellery Exhibition, South Bank
Until 5 January
For the 38th year, this annual exhibition returns with over 4000 handmade pieces for sale, which have been created by a line-up of 90 talented makers – each has been carefully selected and often discovered by leading contemporary jewellery pioneers, Tony Gordon and Christine Bola. As a result, this is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for something special for the loved one in your life. It will take place at the Oxo Tower’s gallery, and entry is free.
gallery@Oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank SE1 9PH; dazzle-exhibitions.co.uk
14 David Kowalski: Die Farben and the Last Pictures from Earth at bo.lee Gallery, Peckham
Until 23 January
bo.lee Gallery will unveil their new exhibition with David Kowalski this month, which offers a window into the surreal and otherwordly spaces created by the self-taught German painter at his studio in Gronau. Inspired by Zen culture, minimalism, science fiction and ambient electronic music, he works intuitively in thin layers of oil paint and wax to create delicate and intimate object-paintings.
222 Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4NL; bo-lee.co.uk
15 Bloomberg New Contemporaries at South London Gallery, Camberwell
Until 23 February
New Contemporaries is an organisation that works to support emerging art practice, and throughout its 70-year history, it has played a key role in bringing many big names to public attention – Damien Hirst, Paula Rego and David Hockney are among the star-studded alumni. Bloomberg New Contemporaries, hosted by South London Gallery, will feature 45 of the UK’s most exciting emerging artists from arts education, providing an intriguing opportunity to see the next generation of contemporary artists.
65 Peckham Road, Camberwell SE5 8UH; newcontemporaries.org.uk