48 Great Things to Do in London: December 2020
With lockdown scheduled to end at 00.01 on Wednesday 2 December and a vaccine ready to roll, things are, dare we say, looking up. Christmas markets, carol concerts, festive films, West End theatre and more are set for major comebacks, but just in case, we’ve also thrown some great online events into the mix. Here’s our pick of the best things to do in London in December…
*COVID UPDATE*: London has moved into Tier 3 since these listings were published so many events will now be on hold or cancelled. If it’s outdoors, chances are it is still going ahead. Please contact the organiser directly to check before you travel.
Lead image: Backyard Cinema
1 Chelsea at Christmas
Chelsea has transformed into a winter wonderland of Christmas lights, alfresco dining, live entertainment and a festive food market. Grab a bite to eat safely with over 500 additional outdoor seats across the area, complete with cover and heaters to protect you from the elements. On Duke of York Square, you can dine alfresco at Vardo, Manicomio and Polpo, while the newly pedestrianised Pavilion Road offers outdoor dining at Hans’ Bar & Grill, Wulf & Lamb, Granger & Co and The Sea, The Sea. 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.
2 Connected by Light, Canary Wharf
2 Dec-27 Feb 2021
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.
3 Sherlock: The Official Outdoor Game, Shepherd’s Bush
From 3 December
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
4 Backyard Cinema, Wandsworth
From 3 December
Backyard Cinema returns from 3 December with two great winter-themed screens and experiences. As well as winter and Christmas-themed immersive cinema experiences, the converted TV studio in Wandsworth also boasts incredible drinking and dining spaces with street food from Honest Burgers and Backyard Cinema’s own artisan pizza, cocktails, craft beer and more. A Christmas experience like no other, with a build-your-own boozy hot chocolate bar, mulled wine and cider, festive live music will provide that extra sprinkle of magic to accompany your favourite seasonal classics that includes Elf, Home Alone, Love Actually, The Muppet Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. Hidden deep inside Dr Portelli’s Curiosity Shop is a secret entrance to The Snow Kingdom, a magical world, complete with an indoor waterfall. There’s also the Winter Night Garden, an enchanted forest entered via a magical wardrobe. Both offer brilliant cinematic experience for film lovers.
Capital Studios, 13 Wandsworth Plain SW18 1ET; backyardcinema.co.uk
5 Miracle on Kingdom Street at Pergola Paddington
3 Dec-Feb 2021
Miracle on Kingdom Street, a rooftop winter wonderland at Pergola Paddington, was originally due to launch on 12 November, but, you know… One of summer’s most popular alfresco rooftop destinations, Pergola Paddington’s seasonal transformation will offer up a winter wonderland forest with 200 real Christmas trees, as well as warming tipples like hot toddies, and an Alpine pop-up restaurant serving raclette, boozy cheese fondue and Christmas burgers. Set across two floors, the upper deck – which is outdoors, but covered – will take the shape of a winter forest against backdrop of snow-covered hills, while the lower level will become a Bavarian-style hall with eight cosy Moët & Chandon winter lodges with log fires, cosy blankets and a private bar. A line-up of special winter events – including Christmas gospel choir singalongs, winter brunches, Christmas movie screenings, wreath-making classes and a puppy party – is soon to be announced. Open daily 12pm-10pm.
5 Kingdom Street, Paddington Central W2 6PY; pergolapaddington.com
6 Miracle at Henrietta, Covent Garden
3 Dec-20 Jan
Miracle on 34th Street is crossing the pond this Christmas, thanks to innovative US-based hospitality entrepreneurs the Experimental Group. Their festively famous Miracle pop-up bar phenomenon will park up at Henrietta Hotel in Covent Garden, morphing into Miracle at Henrietta. The Christmas-themed pop-up bar, renowned across America for its creative cocktails garnished with a side of kitsch, will transport you back in time to Christmas past, with a space inspired by a 70s Christmas home featuring retro decorations and coloured lights. The nostalgic space will offer the Miracle pop-up’s renowned roster of Christmas concoctions, designed by original Experimental Cocktail Club alumni Nico de Soto and served in festive glassware. A selection of top-notch snacks, such as gnocco fritto and sardine and lemon skewers by the highly-acclaimed Italian Supper Club, are also available.
Henrietta Hotel, 14-15 Henrietta Street WC2E 8QH; henriettahotel.com
7 Skylight Christmas at Tobacco Dock
3 Dec-3 Jan
Popular east London rooftop destination, Skylight, is set for a winter overhaul that will create one of the city’s biggest Christmas destinations. To cater to social distancing guidelines, the venue will transform into Skylight Christmas at Tobacco Dock, offering a number of indoor and outdoor drinking and dining experiences including an igloo village and Après Ski Lodge bar. Located across the existing rooftop and on a new ground-level area across the Grade I-listed warehouses and cobbled lanes of Tobacco Dock, the expanded venue will also play host to a Feast in the Forest dining experience, Off-Piste Speakeasy bar, Christmas market and Christmas Cocktail Cinema Experience. You can also book cocktail experiences created by expert mixologist Sebastian Hollingworth. Special events will also take place throughout the season, including a soon-to-be-announced New Year’s Eve party. Open Thurs-Fri, 3pm-10pm & Sat-Sun, 12pm-10pm. Ticket prices vary.
Tobacco Dock, Wapping E1W 2SF; skylightlondon.com
8 Queen’s House Ice Rink, Greenwich
5 Dec-24 Jan
The ice rink at the Queen’s House in Greenwich, which made its debut last year, returns in 2020 to once more stake its claim as south London’s only outdoor ice rink. Set against the backdrop of a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site, the ‘instagrammable’ ice rink will be even bigger this year – all the better for social distancing! New measures have been introduced this year in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with hygiene standards ‘fit for royalty’ that include enhanced cleaning regimes, hand washing sanitations and staggered skate sessions to ensure there are fewer people on the ice at any one time. The Queen’s House ice rink offers the chance to skate in front of the ‘House of delight’, built especially for James I’s Queen, while also soaking up the beauty of Greenwich Park and the spectacular views across the river to Canary Wharf. Open 11am-8pm (last skate 7pm) on off-peak days and 10am-9pm (last skate 8pm) on peak days (peak dates are 12 Dec-3 Jan inclusive; super peak day is on 24 Dec). Skate hire is from £7.25 for kids and £14.50 for adults (u25s/student, £9).
Queen’s House, Greenwich SE10 9NF. For tickets see rmg.co.uk/skate
9 Join the Docks at The Royal Docks
The Royal Docks’ cultural programme, Join the Docks, is offering up a line-up of online and in-situ events ranging from theatre and light installations to film, performances, music and dance workshops. Highlights include Drum & Docks, a new installation full of music and visual media that will see percussionists play everything from railings to landmarks themselves, available to view now on youtube.com; MSCTY x Royal Docks, a newly created audio trail with five geo-tagged locations around the Docks featuring music by local musicians, launching on 4 December; Message in a Bottle, an online exhibition of zines created by the public with a large focus on inclusion and acceptance, launching on the 14 December; and ARGH! Mateys, which will use digital portholes to take you on an augmented reality-led journey of discovery around the Royal Docks (coming soon).
10 Tiffany x Harrods Luxury Gifts Pop-up
From 3 December
The Tiffany x Harrods Luxury Gifts Pop-up brings a little bit of New York Christmas to London. The exclusive edit of luxury gifting and experiences features features some beautiful jewellery, homewares and even to pet accessories from the iconic brand, as well as complimentary one-of-a-kind masterclasses and experiences. From cocktail masterclasses with the Tiffany Cocktail Set to wine tasting with the Glassware set and table styling with the Tableware set, as well as diamond workshops and gemology classes with Tiffany’s Chief Gemologist.
87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge SW3 1RT; harrods.com
11 The Great Gatsby, Mayfair
9 Dec-28 Feb 2021
The Great Gatsby – London’s longest running immersive theatrical production – returns this month, re-imagined and re-set to meet Covid-19 secure guidelines. Jay Gatsby invites you to his mansion for one of his infamous parties – the hottest invite in town with flowing champagne, bootleg liquor and pure Roaring Twenties hedonism. And you don’t just watch the action, you become the action, as Gatsby and his associates lead you off into secret chambers and pull you into his murky ‘business’ dealings… Don your masquerade, dress to the nines and immerse yourself in this heart-racing adaption of F Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal tale of jazz-age self-indulgence. Directed by Alexander Wright. Tickets from £39.95pp.
56 Davies Street, Mayfair W1K 5HR; immersivegatsby.com
12 Christmas at Kew, Kew Gardens
4 Dec-17 Jan
Kew Gardens are magical all year round, but at Christmas they are extra special, thanks to the hugely popular annual after-dark trail. Now in its eight year, the trail will embark on a new route, leading you for the first time through the beautifully illuminated Rose Garden. Old favourites and brand new light installations include a glittering tunnel of bells, giant illuminated seed heads and a dazzling treetop waterfall, where beams of light interplay in a breath-taking aerial dance. The iconic Temperate House will be a beautiful spectrum of Christmas colour with dynamic laser projections, and you can also stroll through the Tunnel of Light, twinkling with thousands of fairy lights. Plus, the much-anticipated Palm House Pond finale returns with a light show playing to an atmospheric soundtrack of festive classics. Street food vendors and festive drinks available. Adults from £17.50, ages 16-24 from £9, ages 4-15 from £5.50.
Kew Gardens, Kew, Richmond TW9 3AE; kew.org
13 Kensington Mums x The Glorious Edit Christmas Shopping Fair, Online
Kensington Mums is partnering with The Glorious Edit for a Christmas online shopping spectacular. The Glorious Edit is a carefully curated collection of 80 of the best independent brands, saving you precious time when it comes to hunting out new and interesting gift ideas. The event will also raise money for the MeeTwo mental health app, which provides free, safe and anonymous support to young people. Shoppers are invited to donate a voluntary £4 entrance fee, but will also get a Glorious Edit code that gets you exclusive offers across all brands, ranging from 10% to 25% off. The Glorious Edit is designed with the shopper in mind, with inspiring present lists for everyone from the teenager to the teacher. Brands include Wyse London (exclusive to The Glorious Edit fair), Annabelle Hill Jewels, Crosslow London, Spots and Stripes, The Mews Fabrics and Furnishings, St Berts Clothing and more.
14 Horse-drawn Carriage Rides of Richmond Park
5 Dec-3 Jan
The crisp air, the clip clop of hooves, jingle of bells, and the sight of the park’s famous deer and wildlife up close… Richmond Park’s famous horse-drawn carriage rides are back this Christmas, offering you the chance to experience the beauty of a wintery Richmond Park like never before. The 90-minute experience begins at Holly Lodge, where you’ll be met with sloe gin and a mince pie to get you into the spirit of things. You’ll then hop aboard the six-person carriage (ideal for social bubbles) to enjoy a 60-minute ride through the park pulled by majestic Shire horses. The rides are run by Operation Centaur, which works to promote working horses, like the now-rare Shire horse. Tickets are priced £450 for a carriage of six, including refreshments and a behind-the-scenes tour of the working stables. Unfortunately, due to social distancing guidelines, tickets are not available in pairs this year.
To book see eventbrite.co.uk
15 Online Crafty Fox Market
Crafty Fox Market, which can usually be found regularly at Mercato Metropolitano in Elephant & Castle as well as other sites across the capital, is hosting two online markets this festive season – on Saturday 7 November and Saturday 5 December from 11am-5pm. Shop original gift ideas from craft kits (the new lockdown essential), to jewellery and accessories, artisan beauty goods, homewares, curiosities and cute things for kids. The online market will be hosted online at craftyfoxmarket.co.uk and on social media channels like Instagram. Discover some of the very best in independent creative makers and treat yourself to a wealth of design talent and shop small this Christmas. You can also discover and shop from unique indie designers and makers daily via Crafty Fox Market’s online directory at shoppingwithsoul.co.uk.
16 Spitalfields Music Festival at Home
Spitalfields Music Festival will take place online this year. Supported by HM Government’s Culture Recovery Fund and recorded as live using state-of-the-art filming techniques, Spitalfields Music Festival at Home will put women composers front and centre with world premieres, singer-songwriters and early choral music sitting side by side. Featuring previously announced concerts, reworked for online broadcast, and brand new events, the 2020 Festival will continue to bring artists, audiences and communities together, during these unprecedented circumstances, to celebrate the extensive range and transformative power of classical music. Programme highlights include Baroque ensemble Dunedin Consort presenting Lagrime mie: Songs of Prayer and Solitude, recorded at Christ Church Spitalfields, where the festival originated over 44 years ago; and the premiere of eight short commissions by female composers as part of Fast Food, Fast Music. 3pm-10pm. Tickets £15.
17 All That Jazz! Ronnie’s Cabaret Brunches, Soho
From 5 December
West End star Cassidy Janson is to host brand new weekly slot at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s in Soho. Originally due to launch on 14 November, All That Jazz! is a new cabaret brunch hosted by 2020 Olivier award-winner, Cassidy Janson. Musical theatre has long had a powerful affinity with jazz, from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess to John Kander’s Chicago, it has welcomed the swinging syncopation, the thrilling saxophones and hot brass that lend productions a certain razzle dazzle. Each week, Cassidy invites a special West End star, most of whom have been unable to perform since March due to Covid, to join her for a musical theatre celebration. Tickets from £55pp including a two-course brunch and two cocktails. Saturdays from 11am-2pm.
47 Frith Street, Soho W1D 4HT; ronniescotts.co.uk
18 Luna Drive-In Cinema at Copthall Stadium, Hendon
From 5 December
Home to Saracens rugby club, Copthall Stadium (formerly Allianz Park) will be the London host for the Luna Drive In Cinema. With the screen sitting in the shadow of the imposing stadium, there’s no better setting than this in which to enjoy some classic drive in cinema. Iconic winter films will be shown 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 kick off with Home Alone and Love Actually on 5 December, running through till 22 December with the likes of Elf, Frozen, Last Christmas, The Greatest Showman, A Nightmare Before Christmas and more hitting the big screen. Tickets from £35 per car.
Greenlands Lane, Hendon NW4 1RL; lunadriveincinema.com
19 Fizz and Flow Prosecco & Yoga Sessions at Chelsea Funhouse
6 & 20 December
Pop the cork and prepare to get bendy with bubbles – Pop Up Yoga Club has partnered with the coolest new venue on the King’s Road, Chelsea Funhouse – for a series of prosecco and yoga sessions. The Fizz and Flow (socially distanced and covid-safe) class will offer 60-minutes of Vinyasa flow paired with a glass of bubbly and disco beats in Chelsea Black, the venue’s uber-cool bar. The tipsy class will be followed by brunch in the adult playground’s leading restaurant, Jolie, featuring classic French dishes with a twist. The stretchy Sunday morning classes will take place on 6 & 20 December and 17 & 31 January, kicking off at 10.45am. Classes are £35, including a glass of bubbly, brunch and a hot drink. Plus, you can upgrade to two hours of bottomless prosecco with your food for an additional £25pp. Suitable for all levels.
459 King’s Road, Chelsea SW10 0LR; popupyogaclub.com
20 SoLo Craft Fair’s 12 Virtual Night Markets of Christmas
SoLo Craft Fair has launched a series or night markets the lead up to Christmas. Taking place on Instagram every Monday from the 5 October (we’re a little late to the party), the market hopes to encourage people to shop from small businesses at an incredibly difficult time for independents. Browse 100s of incredible gift ideas from some of the best makers in the country. Running from 7.30pm-9pm, simply stay tuned to stories and click through to the profile of the maker that catches your eye, then take it from there! If you don’t buy, do give the maker a follow to help grow their audience. You can catch up on anything you missed later through the story highlights.
21 The Understudy with Stephen Fry and James Norton at Palace Theatre, West End
A cast of 14, including Stephen Fry, James Norton and Natalie Casey, will celebrate the re-opening of the West End in an exclusive semi-staged rehearsed reading of The Understudy, which was presented as an animated online play in May to raise funds for the theatre industry. For two nights only at London’s Palace Theatre, this is a perfect pre-Christmas treat for theatre lovers. Based on the novel by the best-selling author David Nicholls, The Understudy tells the story of an underdog – a failed husband, a failing father, a failing actor, and the impossible choice he’s going to have to make between stealing the show and stealing another man’s wife. Directed by Giles Croft, this is a stage adaptation written by Henry Filloux-Bennett and will be accompanied by Dusthouse’s wonderful animation from the play’s online adaptation. Tickets £20-£45,
Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue W1D 5AY; understudyplay.com
22 Camberwell Arts Online Winter Programme
Until 8 December
Camberwell Arts will be hosting an online Open Studios and Digital Marketplace this festive season. Running from Saturday 28 November to Sunday 8 December, the Open Studios programme will feature a mix of live-streams on social media, pre-recorded studio walk-throughs and a facility to book in-person studio visits with artists. The digital marketplace will offer sales directly through the Camberwell Arts website, making it a great spot to hunt out unique Christmas gifts.
23 Virtual Circle: HarrisonParrott’s New Classical Music Live-Streams
8 & 17 December
International classical music management company HarrisonParrott is launching Virtual Circle, a new live-streaming and digital content platform for classical music and the arts. The launch concert will feature the Oslo Philharmonic and their Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Klaus Mäkelä in a performance of Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 1. HarrisonParrott has partnered with eMusic Live to create the platform, which will not only provide audiences with a ‘concert look and feel’ with engaging interactive features, but also in-platform promotional opportunities for artists, such as high-resolution album downloads and ticket bundles. There will also be a performance on 17 December by pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard with works by Beethoven, Messiaen, and Stockhausen. Tickets £7-£10.
24 Overflow with Travis Alabanza at Bush Theatre, Shepherd’s Bush
Overflow, a hilarious and devastating tour of women’s bathrooms by acclaimed writer and performer Travis Alabanza, will be the first public performance at the Bush following national restrictions. Cornered into a flooding toilet cubicle and determined not to be rescued again, Rosie distracts herself with memories of bathroom encounters, drunken heart-to-hearts by dirty sinks, friendships forged in front of crowded mirrors, and hiding from trouble. But with her panic rising and no help on its way, can she keep her head above water? From internationally acclaimed writer and one of the UK’s most prominent trans voices, Travis Alabanza, comes a hilarious and devastating tour of women’s bathrooms. Directed by Debbie Hannan, Overflow is a monologue and will be presented in line with government guidelines and with social distancing measures in place. Tickets from £20 (concs available).
7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush W12 8LJ; bushtheatre.co.uk
25 Unearthed: Photography’s Roots at Dulwich Picture Gallery
8 Dec-29 May 2021
Dulwich Picture Gallery was due to re-open in November with a major new exhibition exploring the history of photography from the 1840s to today, but due to obvious reasons, the gallery’s reopening was delayed until December. DPG’s first major photography exhibition, Unearthed traces the rich history of the medium through depictions of nature, with over 100 works by 41 leading international artists. As well as revealing the fascinating technical processes and narratives behind these images, the exhibition will showcase innovations in photography by key figures like William Henry Fox Talbot, Imogen Cunningham and the English gardener, Charles Jones. Jones’ striking modernist photographs of plants remained unknown for 20 years after his death, until they were discovered in a trunk at Bermondsey Market in 1981. Adults £16.50, under 18s free. There’s also a special Friends Preview Weekend on 5-6 December.
Gallery Road, Dulwich Village SE21 7AD; dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
26 The Cheese Bar Virtual Cheese & Wine Tastings
9 & 16 December
The Cheese Bar is hosting virtual cheese and wine tastings in December that are perfect for those looking for indulgent winter entertainment from the safety of their own homes. Participants will need to buy a cheese box in advance, which will include five cheeses, crackers and paired wines. A box for one person is £18, or £32 with wine pairings. A box for two people costs £28 or £50 with wine pairings. You’ll then be sent a zoom link to join the virtual tasting with The Cheese Bar’s Head Cheesemonger, Sam. To buy a cheese box, visit The Cheese Bar’s online store here.
27 CROOKS 1926, Elephant & Castle
From 10 December
Due to popular demand after its initial return in August, CROOKS 1926 – the first immersive experience to re-open in London after lockdown – will now extend into 2021. The producers are planning to reopen on Thursday 10 December with twice weekly shows until 19 December, and then again from 15 January 2021 through February, returning to a full Wednesday to Sunday performance schedule from 3 March onwards. CROOKS 1926 is an immersive experience where the audience has complete autonomy to shape their own adventure. Plunge deep into the cockney criminal underworld of Elephant and Castle as you are immersed in one family’s brutal battle for supremacy. Nothing is certain, violence is rampant, and bargains are made to be broken. Fix a horse-race, hire thugs and plan the grand territorial takeover of London. But keep an open ear and a sharp mind for not all is as it seems… Dress to impress in your best 1920s gear.
King William IV, 6 Harper Road, Elephant & Castle SE1 6AD; colabtheatre.co.uk
28 The Play That Goes Wrongat Duchess Theatre, West End
10 Dec-2 May 2021
The Play That Goes Wrong, the box office hit created by Mischief Theatre with Las Vegas legends Penn & Teller, returns to the Duchess Theatre from 10 December. The production follows a bunch of accident-prone thespians, The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, attempting to make it through a classic whodunnit play. There’s been a murder at a country manor and an inspector is set on the case to find who the culprit is, but the play doesn’t go as rehearsed, and as the actors and crew battle against all odds to make it through to their final curtain call, you’ll be left wondering if you’ll ever find out who murdered Charles Haversham… Tickets from £22.
29 Atelier Picasso at BASTIAN, Mayfair
Until 12 December
Atelier Picasso at BASTIAN recreates Picasso’s Cannes studio as an immersive experience, offering a rarely seen glimpse into the ingenious mind of one of the greatest talents of the 20th century. Picasso moved to the South of France to escape war-torn Paris following WWII, and despite an already remarkable career, he was determined to keep experimenting. A hoarder, Picasso piled the surfaces and floors of his studio with a treasure trove of source material and original works, from furniture and sculptures to ceramics, drawings and prints, as seen in this exhibition. Atelier Picasso also features a number of photographs from André Villers, a close friend of Picasso’s who took many photos of the artist at work, as well as The Complete Set of 20 Visage plates from 1963. Admission free.
8 Davies Street, Mayfair W1K 3DW; bastian-gallery.com
30 We’re All Human at Pi Artworks, Fitzrovia
Dutch artist Jade Van De Mark opens We’re All Human at Pi Artworks this month. Van der Mark’s work explores contemporary society, both before and after the coronavirus pandemic, and examines the dichotomy of crowds and human intimacy. In her paintings, thick coats of oil paint give life to monumental textured canvases, rich in detail and complexity and majestic in size. Set in decontextualized city spaces, Jade’s paintings speak to an overwhelming sense of disconnect that resonates globally – jaded faces look past each other in crowded scenes, often directly confronting the viewer with glazed expressions. Works created during the 2020 lockdown turn to empty spaces, the absence of crowds and surreal depictions of supermarket queues. The works juxtapose with those created pre-lockdown, forcing viewers to reflect on how significantly city life has changed, and asking them not to recall the chaos with rose tinted glasses.
55 Eastcastle Street, Fitzrovia W1W 8EG; piartworks.com
31 Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair: The Online Edition
Until 13 December
The Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair – the UK’s largest contemporary print fair, showcasing the best in international contemporary printmaking with over 500 artists and specialist galleries – goes online this year. The unique open-call process creates opportunities for upcoming artists to sit alongside some of the most prominent international printmakers and dealers, while the rigorous selection process means collectors have access to only the highest calibre of original contemporary print. As well as buying directly from artists working in the unique craft of printmaking – from etching and lithography, to woodblock and screen-printing – you can also take part in an accompanying programme of online talks, panel discussions and demonstrations.
32 Republic of YOUmanity Lockdown Photography Project, Kensington & Chelsea
Until 13 December
Shops around Kensington and Chelsea launched the Republic of YOUmanity photography project during lockdown 2.0, transforming them into pop-up galleries. Each shop is displaying an image shot by American award-winning photographer David Taggart, with some 30 shops featuring window displays of giant-size photos symbolising humanity and community in situ until 13 December. Participating retailers include interior design firm Linley, jeweller Laurence Coste, designers Catherine Prevost and Melissa Odabash, restaurants Aubaine and Daphne’s, and upmarket pet shop Love My Human. The thought-provoking images of people across the world, captured during the photographer’s decades of globe-trotting, are on sale to the public at a fraction of Taggart’s usual price. All proceeds will be donated to CW+, the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (CWFT). This initiative is generously supported by the Youmanity Charitable Organisation.
33 Carols & Christmas Markets at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is hosting a riverside arts and crafts market and Christmas carol services this December. The market runs from 12-13 and 18-20 December (11am-8pm Saturdays, 12pm-5pm Sundays and 12-6pm on Friday 18th), will gift ideas from local makers, mulled wine and food stalls. This year’s Carol concert, recorded in the Chapel of St Peter and St Paul, will be streamed online from 6pm on 13 December, and then available to watch at your leisure thereafter, and can also be viewed in person, screened in the Chapel on 13 December for free (book here). Next weekend (18-20 December), you can also enjoy a brand-new pop-up musical – The Little Match Girl – performed in the ORNC grounds.
King William Walk, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 9NN; ornc.org
34 Christmas Ceramics Market Online Sale
This years Christmas Ceramics Market takes place online. The Independent Ceramics Market provides a unique opportunity to buy a diverse range of affordable ceramic artwork direct from the maker. The 48-hour online event brings together a community of over 100 ceramic artists from around the UK, including students, up-and-coming graduates and established ceramicists. Pick up unique and original ceramics, from cups to art sculptures and sale items via @diyartmarket on Instagram and buy direct from the maker.
35 Olympia 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. Visitors will be able to 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.
36 Love Actually Live In Concert at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith
Dates for the residency of Love Actually with full live orchestra at the Eventim Apollo have been rescheduled for late December to ensure everyone can come out of lockdown safely and with confidence in attending the shows. The series will consist of three evening performances on 17, 18 and 19 December, and a matinee performance on 20 December. Directed by Richard Curtis and originally released in cinemas in 2003, Love Actually tells 10 separate yet interweaving stories of love around Christmas time. The live concert version, featuring a full, live orchestra performing Craig Armstrong’s evocative score while the film is projected onto a huge screen, has sold out in previous years. Tickets £36.50-£70.50.
45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith W6 9QH; eventimapollo.com
37 The London Artisan at the Old Truman Brewery
Put the fun back into Christmas shopping and buy unique gifts directly from independent designer-makers who really need your support this year. Now in its fifth year, The London Artisan is one of the best fairs in London to meet and buy from designer-makers. As well as offering a diverse, quality, shopping experience that celebrates independent producers and makers, the event is also about people, putting the social back into shopping. You’ll find a unique selection of jewellery, ceramics, glassware, textiles, homewares, illustration and beauty products, all in a Covid-secure environment. A must for those passionate about design and craft that is handmade, organic and sustainable. 11am-6pm. Free entry
Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane (Elys Yard entrance, off Hanbury Street) E1 6QR; thelondonartisan.com
38 Dante’s In Furlough at The Vaults, Waterloo
10 Dec-31 Jan
The devil is getting hitched, and given the Covid chaos, there’s no better time to accept an invitation to the underworld… The bottom line of this socially distanced interactive show – inspired by Shel Silberstein’s epic poem, Billy Markham and the Devil, written for PlayBoy in 1977 – is betray or be betrayed. Travel down into the many circles of Hell and navigate your way to the wedding of the millennium. But to prove yourself worthy of a seat at Devil’s table, you’ll need to lie, sin and cheat your way there. Should your morals interfere, your punishment will be to return to the altogether more disappointing plains of Earth and miss out on all the hedonism down below. Covid-secure measures include a limit of six attendees at a time, with ample space to stand two-metres away from those not in your bubble. Face coverings are mandatory. Tickets from £20 (previews), drinks tokens £6. Open Thurs-Sat 5.30pm-8.30pm and Sun 4.30pm-7.30pm.
The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo SE1 7NN; thevaults.london
39 The Comeback at Noel Coward Theatre, West End
8 Dec-3 Jan
The Comeback, a brilliantly original and hilarious new comedy, is due to open at the Noel Coward Theatre this month. The debut play from The Pin’s award-winning Ben Ashenden and Alex Owen tells the story of two double acts in a desperate battle for the limelight. Up-and-coming comics Alex and Ben have been booked in the warm-up spot for a fading double act’s comeback tour. Neither duo are delighted to be playing to a sparse crowd in a sleepy, seaside town, but when it’s revealed that a Hollywood director is in the audience, both acts glimpse a final chance for their big break. Cue sabotage, mistaken identity and full on farcical mayhem in a warm-hearted, joyful, and dazzlingly funny new comedy. Each night Ashenden and Owen will be joined on stage by a surprise celebrity guest star playing a cameo role in the production. Tickets from £10.
40 DNA VR at Battersea Power Station
DNA VR – a new virtual reality venue at Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station – offers the perfect solution to the Covid-19 winter of discontent. Household groups can meet with people from different households virtually – without physical interaction – to engage in more than 50 fun experiences. DNA VR’s new flagship entertainment space features individual VR pods, which can be separated into different rooms to accommodate groups of up to 11 from different households. The venue can also organise gaming sessions for groups between their three London venues – Battersea Power Station, Camden and Hammersmith – so that gamers from the different venues can talk to and interact with each other virtually. The company’s signature Free-Roaming Experiences are also available for same household groups of up to four people.
41 Ann Veronica Janssens: Hot Pink Turquoise at South London Gallery, Camberwell
Until 3 January
South London Gallery, which has just been announced as an Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020 winner, is currently hosting the first major presentation of Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens’ work in London. Hot Pink Turquoise spans the SLG’s Main Gallery and three floors of the Fire Station, with works ranging from an expanse of glitter through to a coloured light installation exploring ideas around perception. Janssens’ Untitled (Blue Glitter), an expanse of blue glitter scattered across the floor, occupies the Main Space for the first half of the show after which, on 28 October, it will be replaced by Janssens’ reflective wheeled Bikes, 2001, where visitors are invited to cycle round the Main Gallery on one of five custom-made bicycles with mirrored wheels. Janssens’ sculptures, projections, light works and installations also occupy three floors of the Fire Station.
65-67 Peckham Road, Camberwell SE5 8UH & 82 Peckham Road SE15 5LQ; southlondongallery.org
42 Lockdown Town, London Bridge
4 Dec-30 Jan
Immerse yourself in five musical worlds from 1950s rock ‘n’ roll to 1918 Ragtime in a maze of tunnels under the tracks near London Bridge station. Created for the age of social distancing, Lockdown Town offers five immersive gigs over two hours with limited spaces available so that you can dress up as your favourite decade, cut loose and enjoy live music accompanied by themed food and cocktails. According to Gigwise, ‘You’ll find gems you’ve never heard before and also see and hear the hits and legends of the future”’, while Music News says the experience is ‘propelled by some of Britain’s most ground-breaking and exciting underground food pioneers’. Running Weds to Sat till 30 January. Tickets £30 during the week, £52 at weekends.
Wardens Grove, London Bridge SE1 0HT; onenightrecords.com
43 Philip Colbert: Lobsteropolis at Saatchi Gallery
9 Dec-17 Jan
Lobsteropolis at Saatchi Gallery, presented by Unit London, was designed to present the modern pop world of Philip Colbert in a ‘lockdown proof’ manner. Good news for us! View the exhibition via robots that allow you to interactively engage with the exhibition. Take a digital tour of the psychedelic lobster land by emailing email@example.com to book a slot with your own automated machine, which enables you to move around the gallery via your smartphone or computer. Lobsteropolis, the largest UK survey to date of Colbert’s universe, promises to transport visitors through an odyssey of unseen large-scale paintings and sculptures, which interrogate mass consumerism and reference recent contemporary culture and history.
44 The Murdér Express, Bethnal Green
10 Dec-24 Jan
The Murdér Express, an immersive theatre and dining experience based in east London, transports passengers back in time to the grandeur of the (pre-Covid) 19th century. Set onboard a glamorous train carriage, reminiscent of the Orient Express, The Murdér Express transports guests back in time to the grandeur of the 19th century. Travelling by train for pleasure is in its infancy, and you’ll join other excited passengers ‘travelling’ from London to the fictional town of Murdér in France. But first, we eat! Seated in the elegant dining car, passengers will dine on a menu designed by BBC One MasterChef 2017 finalist, Louisa Ellis, and as the train ‘departs’, the story unfolds around you. Of course, The Murdér Express has new Covid-secure measures in place, including temperature checks, Perspex screens and reduced capacity. Tickets from £65 plus a £3.90 booking fee per ticket.
Pedley Street ‘Station’, Arch 63, Pedley Street, Bethnal Green E1 5BW; funicularproductions.com
45 Icons at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
Until 31 January 2021
Riverside Studios has collaborated with Cambridge’s Art Hound Gallery to launch Icons, featuring portraits of Amy Winehouse, The Sex Pistols, David Bowie and Princess Diana, among others. The exhibition celebrates some of the many pop culture legends associated with Riverside Studios throughout the venue’s diverse history. But what makes an icon? From Hollywood legends to rock and roll superstars and theatrical celebs, icons have been an inspiration for a wave of artists exploring pop culture and beyond. This selection of artwork by some of the most exciting contemporary artists on the scene – including David Studwell, Lauren Baker, Mark Illuminati and Terry Pastor – explores the symbolism of iconography and the very notion of what makes a ‘star’.
101 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith W6 9BN; riversidestudios.co.uk
46 Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers at Design Museum, Kensington
Until 3 May 2021
The Design Museum marked its reopening on 31 July 2020 with the launch of the hugely anticipated Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers. Originally due to open on 1 April, the exhibition features the museum premiere of The Chemical Brothers’ sensory spectacle by creative studio Smith & Lyall, featuring mesmerising visuals for the Grammy Award-winning track Got to Keep On. New COVID-secure measures at the museum include reduced capacity, mandatory face masks, social distancing, enhanced cleaning and extended opening hours. Entry to the exhibition is by advance ticket only (from £16).
224-238 Kensington High Street W8 6AG; designmuseum.org
47 Black Greenwich Pensioners at Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Until 21 February 2021
The ORNC’s Black Greenwich Pensioners exhibition explores the hidden histories of the Black Royal Navy personnel, who formed one of Britain’s earliest Black communities when they became pensioners at the Royal Hospital for Seamen (where the Old Royal Naval College stands today). Co-curated by Black British heritage consultant S. I. Martin, this vital and fascinating exhibition looks at the presence and impact of the recorded Black communities resident in Greenwich for over 200 years. Telling the stories of Black seamen, some of whom were volunteers and others who were enslaved or impressed, the exhibition traces their lives in the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibition examines the role Black Mariners played in British naval conflicts as well as the personal histories of prominent Greenwich pensioners such as John Simmonds, a Jamaican veteran of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar whose descendants still reside in the UK.
Mezzanine Gallery, Visitor Centre, Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk SE10 9NN; ornc.org
48 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 at National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Until 8 August 2021
French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux has beaten thousands of photographers from around the globe to win the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s title of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020. As well as securing the £10,000 top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs, opening at the National Maritime Museum on 23 October. Winning images of the other categories include the breath-taking Aurora Borealis above Hamn i Senja, Skaland, in Norway by Nicholas Roemmelt; Łukasz Sujka’s image showcasing the alignment of our moon and Jupiter; a remarkable illustration of the satellite trails between earth and the Albireo double star by Rafael Schmall; and the captivating Dark River by Julie F. Hill – the inaugural winner of the Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation. Adults £10, kids £6.50.
Park Row, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 9NF; rmg.co.uk