It’s December, and London is awash with festivities, from new restaurant openings and winter terraces to Christmas ballets and art installations, here’s what to see, do and experience in the city this month.
Watch a fairytale ballet: Peter Wright’s production of The Nutcracker for The Royal Ballet is a Christmas classic. The ballet tells the story of Clara and her magical adventure after a Christmas Eve party that involves a visit to the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Kingdom of Sweets. All set to a magnificent Tchaikovsky score.
Also, be sure to check out ‘Pride Of The ROH,’ which explores the significant contributions made by LGBTQ+ icons and the tremendous impact they’ve had on The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera. Running now until 25 February 2023.
Address: Royal Opera House, Bow St, London, WC2E 9DD
Sip on fizz while making a wreath: McQueens Flowers are partnering with Perrier-Jouët again to offer wreath-making workshops every Friday and Saturday until 10 December. Expect elegant white and tinted foliage and embellishments in homage to this Champagne house, and of course, you’ll have the chance to sip on fizz while making your wreath during one of the evening classes at the flower school in Mayfair.
Address: McQueens Flower School, 29 North Audley Street, London, W1K 6WK
Have a Christmas sing-along: Joshua’s Tavern at The Londoner Hotel will be hosting a Christmas Carol’oke on Wednesday, 7 December, ideal for all those who want an excuse to belt out ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’. The tavern will also be putting on a festive edition of its popular quiz night on Tuesday, 13 December, where radio and TV presenter Gavin Inskip will host the Christmas special with exclusive prizes.
Address: Joshua’s Tavern at The Londoner Hotel, 38 Leicester Square, London, WC2H 7DX
Watch a Christmas classic: The festive season hasn’t begun without watching the classic Christmas movie, The Holiday, and if it couldn’t get any better, it’s being presented with a live orchestra at the Barbican Centre to bring Hans Zimmer’s score to life. The Holiday (12A) with live orchestra will be showing on 8 December from 7.30pm – 10pm, including a 20-minute interval.
Address: Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
Take a Christmas afternoon tea: The Wolseley is serving a Christmas Afternoon Tea until 24 December, and as such, its traditional cakes have been reworked with festive flavors; cue the coffee, gingerbread and walnut slice, a chocolate and orange truffle torte, a mulled wine poached pear tart, a cinnamon and raisin teacake, baked vanilla cheesecake and to top it off, the popular Wolseley Battenburg. As well as cake, there’s an assortment of finger sandwiches, including turkey and cranberry, and of course, home-baked scones with clotted cream and jams washed down with a choice of teas.
The classic afternoon tea is priced at £36.75 per person, or the Champagne afternoon tea with a glass of Pommery Brut is £49.75.
Address: The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, St. James’s, London, W1J 9EB
Attend a Christmas carol service: St. Paul’s Cathedral is putting on Advent and Christmas services that are free of charge, including a Christmas carol service on 23 December. There will be a traditional service of Lessons and Carols, with music from the St Paul’s Cathedral Choir and readings given by representatives of London life and the St Paul’s Cathedral Community. The service will run from 4.00pm – 5.00pm.
Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD
Book a fancy Christmas dinner: Berners Tavern at The London EDITION will offer a one-off festive menu exclusively for Christmas Day. The Christmas feast menu has been designed to be shared. To start the party, there is a complimentary glass of champagne and nibbles followed by choice of ironbark pumpkin soup, poached prawn and lobster cocktail and beetroot cured salmon. Mains include Norfolk bronze turkey, beef fillet and roasted brassicas. To top it off, there’s a selection of desserts from the traditional Christmas pudding and Berners Tavern’s signature festive trifle.
Address: Berners Tavern at The London EDITION, 10 Berners St, London, W1T 3NP
Spend an evening Christmas shopping: This month, Ham Yard Urban Village will be hosting a special evening of Christmas shopping on Thursday, 8 December. Home to 13 individual boutiques from Kit Kemp Design Studio to Dinosaur Designs and My Cup Of Tea, it’ll offer an opportunity for visitors to enjoy live music in the courtyard, festive treats and special offers throughout the shops.
It’ll run from 6pm – 8pm on Thursday 8 December.
Address: Ham Yard Hotel, 1 Ham Yard, London, W1D 7DT
Meet Father Christmas: Santa will be taking time out of his busy schedule to drop into Daylesford’s Pimlico farm shop on the 9 December. Come along between 3.30pm and 6.30pm to meet Father Christmas and receive a festive treat. Tickets are priced at £10.00.
Address: Daylesford Organic, 44B Pimlico Road, London, SW1W 8LP
Take in some art: Regarded as one of the most influential figurative painters today, Tate Britain presents over 70 works of Yiadom-Boakye, from her graduate exhibition to new, previously unseen paintings. The survey exhibition entitled Fly In League With The Night consists of her rich oil paintings that are entirely imagined as she highlights the theme of identity.
Address: Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG
Watch a festive film: For those who want to watch a film in a cozy cinema, The Soho Hotel is for you, as it hosts its Film Club on weekends and the Children’s Film Club on the last Sunday of every month. Upcoming movie screenings include Miracle on 34th Street, Elf, and It’s a Wonderful Life, to name a few.
Address: The Soho Hotel, 4 Richmond Mews, London, W1D 3DH
See Matty Bovan’s exhibition: Showing at NOW Gallery and running until March 2023 is RIBBONS by York-based fashion designer Matty Bovan. Showcasing the designer’s textile-rich work, for which he has become known, expect knitted ribbon structures alongside painted canvases in a fragranced space for an exhibition that hits all the senses.
“Ribbons is my most personal project to date, a world built in my truest vision. The films, in particular, have been a labor of love. Shooting, art directing and working on the soundtracks have allowed me to fully realize and give flesh and bones to what I had set out to achieve. I want people to be able to escape into the RIBBONS world, to be able to dream, and to want to create their own world, however abstract or literal they wish.” Matty Bovan
Address: NOW Gallery, The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square Greenwich Peninsula, London, SE10 0SQ
Eat some sushi: For the latest sushi restaurant, head to Mayfair, where you’ll find Taku, headed up by Chef Takuya Watanabe (formerly of the Michelin star Jin in Paris). In an experience-led, 16-cover restaurant, diners can interact with the chefs in the theatre-style kitchen as it channels the omakase philosophy whereby the chef chooses the dishes and, as such, expect a daily-changing tasting menu.
Address: Taku Mayfair, 36 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JE
See Raissa Pardini’s festive takeover: Visual artist Raissa Pardini has kitted out the Christmas tree and ground floor spaces of The Standard, London, with her signature bold colors and graphic visuals, and of course, there is a dose of metallics because it’s Christmas.
Address: The Standard, London, 10 Argyle St, London, WC1H 8EG
Go to a comedy show: Mo Gilligan & Friends – The Black British Takeover Part 2 will provide some December laughs. Hosted at the o2, BAFTA-winning British comedian Mo will be accompanied by Eddie Kadi, Richard Blackwood, Angie Le Mar, Michael Odewale, Kyrah Gray and Axel Blake.
Address: The O2, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0DX
Tuck into some Christmas porchetta: Mobile food and drink marketplace, DELLI is popping up offline at Brixton Village’s Market Row for a four-week residency with retail sessions and a range of DELLI Maker-hosted supper clubs, including that of chef Adam Hardiman. On Tuesday, 6 December, Hardiman of former East London neighborhood restaurant Madame Pigg is back with his signature porchetta in a posh roast dinner — and nothing says Christmas like porchetta.
Address: Unit 25-27 Market Row, Brixton Village, Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8PS
Check out a live podcast: The Royal Festival Hall will host Ed Gamble and James Acaster’s award-winning Off Menu podcast on Tuesday, 20 December. In the first live Christmas version, Gamble and Acaster will be in conversation with special guests Isy Suttie and Edgar Wright as they discuss their favorite starter, main course, side dish, drink and dessert.
Off Menu: The Christmas Dinner Party will take place on Tuesday, 20 December at 7.30pm. Tickets are priced between £24 – £32 for ages 16+.
Address: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX
Ice some festive biscuits: Throughout December, Biscuiteers is running a series of icing classes: Christmas DIY Icing (£24pp, pre-book or walk-ins accepted), which offers a 5-minute tutorial then you can design your own Christmas biscuit creations. The School of Icing classes (£90pp) offer tips from expert icers, and you’ll be able to ice your own tin of biscuits. Perfect for kids, crafty types, and the young at heart.
Address: Notting Hill – 194 Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11 2ES / Belgravia – 14-15 Eccleston Yards, 21 Eccleston Place, London, SW1W 9AZ
Get cozy on a whisky terrace: Calling all whisky lovers, Rosewood London and Glenfiddich have joined forces for The Time:Capsule terrace, a cozy winter terrace complete with cocktails, drams, and dishes from Holborn Dining Room, including Loch Duart smoked salmon rillettes with caviar, game pie and crumbles (with Glenfiddich infused custard, of course).
Address: Rosewood London, 252 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7EN
Enjoy an intimate evening at The MAINE Mayfair: The close harmony vocal trio, The Puppini Sisters, will be singing at The MAINE Mayfair on the 6 December as part of its “An Intimate Evening with…” series. Tickets will include dinner at 7pm and their special guest performance at 9.30pm.
Address: The MAINE Mayfair, 6, Medici Courtyard, London, W1S 1JY