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December is a month of celebration. There are feasts and festivities wherever you turn, and our December issue is all about giving in to the temptation of food. In December’s Litro Listings we bring you the best and brightest of all the weird and wonderful events that a London Christmas has to offer – without leaving your wallet in too much pain.
Ongoing, Christmas Market @ South Bank Centre, Queensway. Daily 11am – 8pm (10am – 10pm weekends). FREE
Enjoy a traditional German Christmas market on the banks of the Thames – shop for presents and Christmas ornaments, ride the carousel, enjoy some Gluhwein or just see the sights! For more information visit christmasmarkets.com/UK/london-southbank-christmas-market.
Ongoing, Howl’s Moving Castle @ Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard SE1 2TF. 7:30pm Monday – Saturday, Tickets £16/ £14 concessions
Southwark Playhouse’s Christmas show looks like a real treat – a magical stage adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’s fantastic children’s novel. Fusing live action and pioneering projection and featuring the ever-brilliant Stephen Fry as the voice of the Narrator, it’s a cut above most Christmas family fare. For information and tickets visit southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/the-vault/howls-moving-castle.
Ongoing, Underground Film Club @ The Dorman Hub, Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road NW1 8EH. Five nights a week, adult tickets £9.90
The team behind Rooftop Film Club strike again to bring you a film experience that’s distinctly above the average. Watch cult classics on the big screen from comfy seats with the added bonus of wireless headphones. A classy and below-the-radar night out. For this week’s listings see undergroundfilmclub.com.
Ongoing, Skating @ Somerset House, The Strand. Daily, tickets from £7.50
Christmas in London wouldn’t be complete without ice skating, and there’s nowhere better to do it than in the glorious Somerset House courtyard under a rather fancy Tiffany’s tree. Skating’s open from 10am each day – or, if you’re brave enough to hit the ice after a drink or two, there are club nights that run from 8 to 11:30pm. For more information visit somersethouse.org.uk/ice-rink or somersethouse.org.uk/ice-rink/club-nights.
Ongoing, Cinderella @ The Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ. Six days a week, tickets from £9.50
Enjoy the glitter and kitsch of panto with the cream of this year’s crop. Expect Ugly Sisters, pumpkins, Dames and very vocal mice. For more information and tickets visit hackneyempire.co.uk/cinderella.
2nd December onwards, A Rake’s Progress Revisited @ Sir John Soane’s Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP. Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm (closed 24th-27th). FREE
Sir John Soane’s Museum is one of London’s maddest and most marvellous sights, and this exhibition, a selection of Henry Hudson’s grand scale reinventions in plasticine of William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress sketches promises to be just as strange and delightful as its venue. For exhibition details and information about the museum visit soane.org/exhibitions.
3rd December, The Great Christmas Pudding Race @ Covent Garden. 11am-1pm. FREE
Fancy something a bit different to start off your December? It doesn’t get weirder and more wonderful than the Great Christmas Pudding Race, in aid of Cancer Research UK. Watch people in fancy dress fighting their way through a foam-spattered obstacle course while carrying Christmas puddings. You might spot a celebrity or two and you’ll certainly have a good time. Don’t forget to donate. See: xmaspuddingrace.org.uk.
3rd and 4th December, The East London Design Show @ Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street EC1V 9LT. 10am – 6pm. Admissions £5/ Concessions £3
Get your Christmas shopping done early at the fantastic East London Design Show. Over 100 homeware, jewellery and product designers will be showcasing their affordable and creative pieces all weekend for you to browse at your leisure. More information at eastlondondesignshow.co.uk.
3rd December onwards, Noises Off @ The Old Vic SE1 8NB. 7:30pm nightly except Sundays. Prices vary, but 100 £12 under-25s tickets are available for each performance
Want to have some fun at the theatre but think you’re too old for pantomime? This might be the show for you. Michael Frayn’s brilliant play-within-a-play is side-splittingly farcical, and this production (as you’d expect from the Old Vic) features some of the best British talent around, including Celia Imrie and Jamie Glenister. Should be one of the theatrical highlights of December. For information and to book tickets visit www.oldvictheatre.com/whatson.
4th December, Glogg & Art @ Debut Contemporary Gallery, 82 Westbourne Grove W2 5RT. 12pm-4pm. FREE
View artwork by Swedish artists Agnetha Sjögren and Manuela Vintilescu while you celebrate a traditional 2nd Advent with Swedish Glögg and ginger cookies. Bring friends and family and have a look at their fun limited Christmas edition of prints and a Christmas Hamper which includes a free bottle of Champagne. The Debut Contemporary website is at saloncontemporary.com.
5th to 22nd December, Carols for a Good Cause @ Trafalgar Square. FREE.
Trafalgar Square at night is a spectacle in itself, and with the addition of Christmas lights, a 25 foot tree courtesy of the Norwegian people and beautiful carols from some of London’s best choral groups the result is almost disgustingly festive. Sure to get you in the Christmas spirit, and it’s for a good cause. For details see london.gov.uk/carol-singing.
Saturdays until Christmas, Venn Street Market @ Venn Street, SW4. 10am-4pm. FREE
Get into the festive spirit with this open-air market near Clapham Common. An ideal place to shop for gloriously luxurious Christmas foodstuffs, from biodynamic turkeys from Jacob’s Ladder Farm to giant mince pies from Saint of Sugar. facebook.com/pages/VENN-STREET-MARKET/194850213498
7th December, Camden Crawl Christmas Party from 6pm, Beginning @The Star of Kings, York Way N1 0AX. FREE
The Camden Crawl presents an all-night extravaganza of festive fun. Beginning with the Moshi Moshi Pub Quiz (6.45pm) and featuring Engine Earz Experiment, top notch comedians Dan Antopolski and Tiernan Douieb, with Urban Nerds DJs taking it through until midnight. And, of course, it’s all for free! Event page at facebook.com/events/234109993321620.
7th December, The Complete Beethoven @ The Forge & Caponata, 3-7 Delancey Street NW1 7NL. Doors 6:15pm. Tickets £10/ Concessions £8
A feast for the ears as well as the stomach! Enjoy delicious Italian food at Caponata restaurant before you go on to hear beautiful Beethoven sonatas at The Forge, one of London’s most exciting small music venues. This is the third concert in a major series of eight that will feature all 35 piano sonatas composed by the great master of sonata form and three early works never before performed in a Beethoven cycle. For more information visit forgevenue.org.
Friday 9th December, The Future Now @ Egg, 200 York Way N7 9AX. 10pm-6am. £10 B4 £12.30, £15 after; NUS free before 11pm, £7 B4 12.30, £10 after
The Future Now returns for another forward-thinking night at Egg on Friday December 9th with headliner Hannah Holland joining cutting edge talents Dexter Kane and Palace (who will be launching new single ‘Mandy/Armageddon’). Expect the best with rooms offering indie, dance, electro, UkFunky, Garage, House, Dubstep and music so fresh it hasn’t even had time to get labelled yet. Info at egglondon.net and thefuturenow.info.
From 9th December onwards, Dickens and London Exhibition @ Museum of London, Barbican. Monday to Sunday, 10am-6pm (closed 24th-26th), Adults £8/Concs £6 (£7/£5 advance booking)
Celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens in the first major UK exhibition for over 40 years. Follow in the great man’s footsteps as you explore the relationship between Dickens and London, the city that he described as his ‘magic lantern’. Highlights include original manuscripts, paintings, photographs and even the desk and chair in which Dickens wrote many of his novels. museumoflondon.org.uk
10th December, Amnesty International’s Write for Rights @ Your desk. FREE
Don’t just give Christmas presents to your family. This month, Amnesty is asking you to go back to a simpler time, pick up a pen and paper and take five minutes to make a real difference to the life of a political prisoner. Find out more and pledge to take part at amnesty.org.uk.
10th and 11th December, Ponti’s Italian Food Christmas Market @ Ponti’s Restaurant, Oxford Circus W1G 0JN. 9-6 Saturday and 10-6 Sunday. FREE
In celebration of the festive season, Ponti’s Italian Kitchen are very proud to be able to bring you Oxford Circus’s first Italian Christmas Food Market. With Amaretto, biscotti, Panettone, chocolates, ice-cream, pasta, Lavazza coffee, fine wines and much more on offer, and freshly made pastries to enjoy while you browse, you’ll be in foodie heaven. Event details can be found at facebook.com/events/288789951160202/.
19th to 21st December, Late Night Shopping @ Foyle’s Bookshop, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0EB. 6pm – 10pm. FREE
Finish off your Christmas shopping in style at Foyles’ flagship Charing Cross store. Enjoy mulled wine and mince pies as you browse the fabulous selection of books on offer. For more information visit foyles.co.uk.
Events compiled by Alex James and Robin Stevens