Our annual weep-fest is already out breaking the nation courtesy of John Lewis and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has thrown on the Oxford Street lights. This can only mean one thing- it’s time for the long road to Christmas. And Christmas in London is always spectacular!
People say the festive period starts too early now a-days… bah humbug! In a city like London, you can craft December into an entire advent calendar’s worth of awesome nights out. Make this year’s lead up the best yet with a tasty ten-course feast of assorted events to really kick off the season.
1. Candlelight Christmas Club
My good Gatsby- this December, the Candlelight Club is hosting a very special event that’s tipped to be the cat’s pajamas and make no mistake. Grab your satin and sequins as you head back to the 1920s for an evening of toe-tapping ragtime and delectable cocktails at a top secret location. Any interested guys and dolls need to make their ticket-buying hasty though- Saturday is already off the cards with Friday’s selling like hot cakes.
Tickets only available for Christmas at Candlelight on Friday 12th December (and New Years Eve)
2. Pop-Up Screens- Christmas Sessions
It’s time to leave behind the great outdoors and batten down the hatches for the winter as Pop Up Screens take to the beautiful grade-2 listed ‘20th Century Theatre’ in Notting Hill for a series of films with some serious feel-good factor. Kicking off with the almighty ‘Elf’ and closing with ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’, this tour de force of iconic childhood classics including ‘Home Alone’, ‘Muppets Christmas Carol’ and so much more makes a truly nostalgic countdown to the big day.
Running across 12th – 23rd December
3. Whippersnappers Winter Wonderland Experience
Who says Hyde Park gets all the fun? For a South-East Wonderland alternative, grab the kids and head to Dulwich this December. Learn to make traditional gingerbread men with Mrs Clause, meet Rudolf the vibrantly nosed reindeer, help the elves ready the toys for children the world over, indulge in mince pies & hot chocolates before each and every child will be called into the grotto to let Santa know which gifts they’d like adorning the underside of the tree this year. Enjoy guilt-free family fun as the Lodge continues its work to raise money to go towards providing activities for children with disabilities in 2015.
Running all through December
Food, music, drinks and retail- the four main cornerstones of any festive day out and coming to you from one handy location in Haggerston. Breathing new life into a disused office block, Fairground and Billetto bring you ‘Makers’, a one day celebration of artisans from all over the city with a day-time programme including workshops, traders, chefs, mixologists, artists and musicians. As night falls, grab yourself a hot cocktail and settle in for an evening of immersive art, all topped with a set from rad house legend Theo Parrish- he’s flying in from Detroit to help the evening go off with a stonking festive bang. Perfection? We think so.
Day tickets for 6th December
5. Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
If it was good enough for Henry VIII to woo his second wife Anne Boleyn, I think it’ll do for a romantic evening of skating and dating with your sweetheart. Take to the ice in the shadow of this incredible palace as you salchow through 500 years of history- for that extra je ne sais quoi, book an evening session to soak up the atmosphere under a blanket of winter stars.
Open from 21st November- 4th January
6. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Come on, you didn’t really think we were going to do a festive countdown without the inclusion of the best-known yuletide attraction in the city…. did you? As Christmassy as Santa riding a reindeer over the arctic-circle as a choir of elves sing ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ whilst gorging themselves on mince pies, this annual Winter Wonderland has games, rides, circuses, ice rinks galore and enough market traders to cover your gifts for all the family. Wooden tie anyone?
Open from 21st November- 4th January
7.Taste of London Winter
Epicureans and gourmands alike, unite! This month sees four days of food-focused frivolities take over the beautiful Tobacco Docks with appearances and workshops from a stellar line-up of culinary icons including Atul Kochhar, Jason Atherton and the King of traditional British cuisine, Mark Hix. Take part in cheese and chocolate tastings, learn how to make the tricky dish you’ve been botching or tuck into a winter-themed BBQ of char-grilled deer.
The theme for 2014 is ‘Forgotten Foods’, a foray into the great culinary traditions of our past using archaic ingredients and outmoded techniques to bring it to life.
If the way to your heart is through your stomach… then let the way lead to Taste of London Winter.
Running from 20th-23rd November
8.Nick Helm- Merry Christmas Motherf**kers
Not everyone is into marauding pantomime dames and plaintive cries from half-empty theatres of ‘he’s behind you’- so for those folk, there’s Nick Helm. If you like your yuletide entertainment rude, crude and totally spontaneous then ready yourself to take a peek inside the weird and wonderful mind of this all-singing, all-dancing comedic wunderkind at the Soho Theatre this December. Judging from past shows, this is not one for the easily offended- controversial, confrontational and absolutely crackers, best leave the complaint letters at home.
Running from 8th-20th December
9. Festival of Carols
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen? Silent Night? Good King Wenceslas? Fill your boots to the very brim with the best traditional tunes this nation has to offer at the Festival of Carols. Hosted by the beautiful medieval church St Botolph’s-without-Aldersgate, sing your little heart out in aid of the Eve Appeal for a night of candlelight processions, traditional readings and of course, a choir book full of iconic carols.
Tickets available for 11th December
10.The Glamour of Paris
Forget the standard office Christmas party of rubbish tunes, balding tinsel and warm lager as you are welcomed into the fragrant bosom of 1890s Paris- over a glass of something fizzy, warm your cockles for an evening of sumptuous, vaudevillian entertainment.
Enjoy a canapé reception followed by a luxury four course dinner- marvel at the aerial acrobats, wonder at the can-can girls and eschew the Christmas angel in favour of a meeting with absinthe’s little green fairy. Bringing bohemian Montmatre to Wapping, this lot’ll even give you a survivor’s breakfast before sending you on your merry way. Special business rates for corporate bookings.
Tickets available for various dates throughout December