Alas the Covid curse has reared it’s ugly head once more and wiped out our weekend plans. So what can you do? Well, if it’s indoors, it’s more than likely cancelled, but there are still plenty of outdoor events taking place in London. Please do proceed with caution, however, as Covid-19 is still spreading. Familiarise yourself with the new Tier 3 rules here and remember to keep your distance from other people when out and about.
Lead image: Marcus Lyall, On Your Wavelength © Marcus Lyall
1 Ice Skating at Hampton Court Palace & The Queen’s House Greenwich
Head to south London for your fix of alfresco skating this winter. With many of London’s pop-up skating rinks one ice this year, Hampton Court Palace and The Queen’s House Greenwich are both going ahead, even in Tier 3, with strict hygiene measures in place. Both set in front of the homes of former royals – Hampton Court Palace is Henry VIII’s historic home, while The Queen’s House was built for James I’s Queen – they really are lovely places to skate. Over at Hampton Court, tickets start from £12.70 for kids and £17.20 for adults. In Greenwich, tickets are from £7.25 for kids and £14.50 for adults.
hamptoncourtpalaceicerink.co.uk / rmg.co.uk/skate
2 Chelsea at Christmas
Until 31 December
Chelsea has transformed into a winter wonderland of Christmas lights, alfresco dining, live entertainment and a festive food market. Weekends in December will see roaming entertainment add to the atmosphere, with live music and festive performers. Complimentary horse and carriage rides will depart from outside Tiffany & Co on Sloane Street and Duke of York Square will host an outdoor festive food market every Saturday, full of seasonal delicacies and gifts from artisan traders, as well as a mulled punch tricycle from legendary Partridges. Chelsea’s Christmas lights have also returned, with even more magical displays across the entire neighbourhood.
Until 27 February
Canary Wharf’s hugely popular Winter Lights festival is off this year, to be replaced with a smaller-scale, Covid-secure version of the luminous event called Connected by Light. Specially chosen so that they can be appreciated from a distance, the curated collection of nine new light installations will bring some festive cheer to Canary Wharf while being mindful of people’s need for space. To find the lights, download the Connected by Light map from canarywharf.com and create your own journey, but make sure you don’t miss Curious Fluorious, which sees Baker & Borowski apply their own personal spin to Lewis Carroll’s iconic Alice in Wonderland with impressive sculpture-like pieces that dominate the space with an enchanting glow that makes for the perfect selfie. Free. Runs from dusk till 10pm daily.
4 Sherlock: The Official Outdoor Game, Shepherd’s Bush
The makers of Sherlock: The Official Live Game have brought to life a brand-new outdoor experience in a parallel narrative with the Sherlock Escape experience. Prepare to follow in the footsteps of the great detective as teams of two to six people take part in an outdoor digital mission with a twist. Mixing gameplay with story, Sherlock: The Official Outdoor Game – The Kensington Affair, uses interactive narrative for the new game in which teams have to work to unravel the plot, guided by Mycroft himself as he sends requests for information, asks for assistance with tasks and guides groups as they travel by foot across west London. The live Holmes investigation will test players skills and mental ability as they gather key evidence, find clues, crack codes and solve the mystery. Teams will be digitally assisted along their physical journey by real-world characters, animated video, voicemail and text messaging, all via the app Actionbound.
Ground Floor, West 12 Shopping Centre, Shepherd’s Bush W12 8PP; thegameisnow.com
5 Festive Films at Luna Drive-In Hendon & The Drive In Enfield
Luna Drive In Cinema at Copthall Stadium (formerly Allianz Park) is screening iconic winter films on giant HD screens with in-car digital sound, a contactless food and drink service, themed food hampers available to pre-order, loos on site and a fully Covid-secure environment. Festive screenings include Home Alone, Elf, Frozen, Last Christmas, The Greatest Showman and A Nightmare Before Christmas. Tickets from £35 per car. Over at The Drive In at Troubadour Meridian Water, you can enjoy a contact-free outdoor cinema experience, as well as live performances from West End stars and drive-in comedy. Festive film highlights include Elf, The Santa Claus, Home Alone, The Polar Express, Love Actually and The Nightmare Before Christmas. What’s more, tickets are now half price till the end of 2020, reduced from £35 to £17.50 per car.
lunadriveincinema.com / thedrivein.london
6 Doorstep panto at your house!
Get your Christmas theatre dose with Doorstep Productions, which offers Tier 3 friendly socially-distanced musical theatre performances. How? Well, they send the cast to you, putting on a mini show on your doorstep. Created by actor Maria Friedman and her actor partner Adrian der Gregorian, Doorstep Productions is a bespoke service, so you can request whatever you like, from a mini play to a production with a cast of six and even a Dickensian carol singers-style service. Prices start from around £250, so why not get the neighbours involved and go large?
7 Camberwell Free Film Festival
Camberwell Free Film Festival is taking place online this weekend, showcasing a powerful collection of visual experiences from independent filmmakers and storytellers. Running from 5pm-11pm, you can see award-winning shorts like The Devil’s Harmony, winner of the Jury Prize for International Fiction at Sundance Film Festival 2020, Fast Feed, a clip created in response to the George Floyd murder that, after going viral around the world, was developed into a powerful short film, powerful dramas like Her & Her, exploring life in 21st century London for a mixed-race, queer couple, and Now Time with David Crawford, an all-new current affairs program focusing on what really is happening in COVID Britain. Watch online at camberwellarts.org.uk/cfff. The majority of films will also be streamed on the Camberwell Arts Facebook page and YouTube channel.
8 Join the Docks at The Royal Docks
Marcus Lyall unveils a new outdoor interactive light and sound installation as part of Join the Docks this week. The installation, called Presence, will appear underneath Silvertown Way in London’s Royal Docks between 5pm-9pm from 16-20 December, transforming a cavernous space under the road into an immense, illuminated ‘echo chamber’ filled by laser light. Visitors are invited to engage with the work, activating it by singing, shouting or speaking into the void. The sounds will be amplified, reverberated, distorted and echoed as they travel through the space. Find the installation at the pedestrian underpass by Expressway, 1 Dock Road, Royal Docks, E16 1AG. You can also enjoy the spectacle online via live stream on the Royal Docks website.
9 The Love Wimbledon Reindeer Trail & Christmas Market
Follow the #WimbledonReindeerTrail and enjoy a number of different augmented reality experiences. Nine vibrant and colourful reindeer – including Rudolf – have graced the streets of Wimbledon for a free hide-and-seek-style experience for the local community, running until 3 January. Find Father Christmas’ reindeer and be transported to a virtual Winter Wonderland through your mobile with the latest augmented reality technology. To play, download the Locale AR app, make sure your location services, camera and data are turned on, scan the QR code at each reindeer in Wimbledon Town Centre, enjoy a VR experience and see if you can spot Santa. Plus, don’t miss the Love Wimbledon Christmas Markets running every weekend up to Christmas with up to 25 stalls at each market as well as hot bratwurst and mulled wine. Open 18-20 December 11am-6pm (until 7pm on Friday 18th).
Wimbledon Piazza SW19 1QB; lovewimbledon.org
Selfridges first-ever Christmas Market combines Covid-secure open air shopping with some of London’s best street food and family friendly fairground rides. A host of stalls, showcasing a number of small independent brands, offer rich pickings on the Christmas shopping front, with real Christmas trees, wreaths, decorations and hand-picked gifts and toys to choose from. Street food traders line Edward Mews offering seasonal food and drink, from mulled wine and buttered rum to Venezuelan cuisine by Pabellon, North Indian street food by Gully, fresh pasta made in a giant wheel of grana Padano by Cheese Wheel, and Christmas market staple bratwurst hot dogs by Pop Dogs. Open daily throughout December from 4-9pm on weekdays and 12pm-9pm at weekends.
400 Oxford Street W1A 1AB; selfridges.com
11 Greenwich Market at Christmas
Greenwich Market is great all year round, but with the addition of sparkling Christmas lights, mulled wine and the Late Night Wednesdays Arts & Crafts Gift Market – all set within a World Heritage site – it’s truly magical. Shop for gifts galore at up to 120 stalls with music, mulled wine and street food every day from 10am to 5.30pm, and until 8pm on Wednesdays 9, 16 and 23 December 2020. Greenwich Market is also operating a virtual Santa’s grotto. Plus, over at the Old Royal Naval College, there’s a riverside arts and crafts market on the weekend of 18-20 December (11am-8pm Saturdays, 12pm-5pm Sundays and 12-6pm on Friday 18th), with gift ideas from local makers, mulled wine and food stalls.
Greenwich High Road SE10 9HZ; greenwichmarketlondon.com
The O2 arena on Greenwich Peninsula, the world’s most popular music, entertainment and leisure venue, may not be reverberating with the sounds of huge live gigs at the moment, but it’s still home to one of London’s most unique experiences – Up at The O2. Climb over The O2’s world-famous roof in this unforgettable, socially distanced and Tier 3-proof activity. The 90-minute outdoor climb offers 360-degree, panoramic views of the capital and is a great way to spend time with your family or bubble. Plus, all climbers will receive a free KitKat Mini Santa to enjoy after the climb this December. Tickets from £32.
Peninsula Square SE10 0DX; aegeurope.com/upattheo2
13 Olympia Horse Show Online
Organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show have today announced ‘Olympia Online’, offering all the fun of the equestrian show right into your home. Tune into a daily livestream beginning at 6pm, featuring highlights of Olympia from years gone by, as well as new content, including footage from classic Olympia moments such as camel racing, the fancy dress competition, Valegro’s Retirement, Milton’s winning rounds and Nick Skelton’s world record high jump. There will also be a virtual version of the Show’s Shopping Village, with offers and discounts from the shops and brands usually found at Olympia. Olympia Online will be backed by a social media campaign including a Puissance Wall, where each brick offers throwbacks, clips and chances to win prizes from Olympia’s many exhibitors. The event will finish with a flourish at The Ultimate Olympia Online Christmas Party on Sunday 20 December.
14 Lower Stable Street Christmas Market, King’s Cross
Weekends until 20 December
This year King’s Cross launches its first ever Lower Stable Street Christmas Market in Coal Drops Yard. Following its debut on Lower Stable Street earlier this year, the market will make a comeback this December to showcase an eclectic mix of independent brands, creatives and makers. Curated by Kiosk N1C, Lower Stable Street Christmas Market brings together food and flowers, craft and Christmas trees from some of London’s forward-thinking brands. The festive offering includes Christmas specials from cult sandwich sellers Dom’s Subs, natural and mulled wines from Top Cuvée, and sauces, pickles, vegan cheeses and more from Kold Sauce, Good Morning Neighbour and The Odds. There will be zines, prints, vintage tees and Christmas Trees too!
Lower Stable Street, Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross N1C 4LW; coaldropsyard.com
15 Pexmas Festive Market, Peckham
Pexmas is on for 2020 with more than 50 unique small stalls at Copeland Gallery. The market takes place in its usual format with independent boutique stalls peddling prints, plants, bath products, ceramics, clothes, accessories, jewellery, homewares, foodie gifts, craft beers and wines, as well as street food and Pexmas’ infamous mulled wine, but spread over more days to support distancing. You can also book a timed slot for the midweek Pexmas Emporium (16, 17 & 18 December), with more space, less queuing and around 25 unique traders each day. There’s also an online shop.
Copeland Gallery, Copeland Park, 133 Copeland Road, Peckham SE15 3SN; pexmas.com
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