Are you short of things to do this weekend? If family Christmas parties and shopping for gifts isn't filling your time, there are plenty of London events to entertain the whole family. From Pinocchio on Ice, the Crisis Icebreaker and festive films at Kensington Palace, here is our list...
See a Christmas movie at Kensington Palace
Over the festive period, Luna Cinema is showing a number of classic Christmas movies, starting with Love Actually on Sunday. The Pavilion at Kensington Palace will be lit up with white lights in a magical winter cinema experience, complete with Prosecco, mulled wine and crepes. If the rom-com starring Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson isn't your favourite festive movie, you can also look forward to screenings of Elf, Home Alone and The Holiday.
WHEN: Love Actually is on 15 December, but other screenings are available until 22 December.
WHERE: Kensington Palace
For more information and to book tickets visit lunawintercinema.com/whats-on
Festive afternoon tea at the Intercontinental Hotel
Get into the Christmas spirit with this sumptuous afternoon tea created by London's swanky Intercontinental Hotel in collaboration with Perrier-Jouët. The festive backdrop of the Wellington Lounge, complete with a pianist playing yuletide songs, makes this teatime experience the ultimate pre- or post-Christmas treat. Inspired by the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' carol, sweet treats such as a 'maids a milking' chocolate tarts and 'geese a laying' orange macarons will delight adults and children alike. A savoury starter of a partridge and pear pithivier goes down perfectly with a glass of Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque and everything from the delicious sandwiches to the cranberry scones with clotted cream are a feast for the eyes and the mouth.
Upgrade your champagne afternoon tea to an all-you-can sip hour and a half experience for £94 per person. Tea is available at the Intercontinental Hotel every afternoon until 5 January 2020.
WHEN: Until 5 January 2020
WHERE: InterContinental London Park Lane
For more information visit parklane.intercontinental.com
Instagram an interactive art exhibition
For a more unusual weekend activity, experience the 15 uniquely decorated rooms of The Wonder Factory in Dalston. From a 250 square foot marshmallow swimming pool, to a confetti cyclone room, to blossom trees made with coloured macaroons, and a 3-meter wall of touch LED lamps, it's a great place to have fun and get some cool pictures. Who wouldn't want to document seeing a corridor of levitating balloons?
WHEN: 14 December 2019 - February 2020
WHERE: Unit B, Dalston Works, E8 2FQ
For more information visit thewonderfactory.co.uk
Feel Christmassy at the Rooftop St James
Wrap up warmly in a jumper and a big coat, then spend the evening snuggled up with blankets and outdoor heaters as you look out at the pretty sights of Trafalgar Square and beyond on the Rooftop St James. During this festive season, the restaurant has partnered with Veuve Clicquot to launch a Sky High Winter Chalet, complete with an amazing Alpine menu with everything from tasty pies to charcuterie boards, and is the perfect place to enjoy the stunning sights of London at night-time, particularly at Christmas!
WHERE: 2 Spring Gardens, St. James's, London
Find out more about the rooftop experience on trafalgarstjames.com
Tuck into lobster and more at Fishworks
The fabulous new Covent Garden restaurant Fishworks is all about serving the freshest of fish and seafood, sourced from Devon and Cornwall's finest fish markets. Sounds good to you? Us too! The gorgeous restaurant does everything from classic dishes to contemporary seafood meals to try, so you can order anything you like from fresh oysters to a bowl of Bouillabaisse, mmm!
WHERE: Fishworks Covent Garden, 2-4 Catherine St, Covent Garden, London
Book your tickets for the lobster experience at fishworks.co.uk
Try Nando’s festive gravy
Peri-peri fans rejoice! If you were bitterly disappointed to hear that Nando's had removed gravy from its menu last January, then you'll be thrilled to hear it's back. But hurry because it's only for a limited time! From wings to creamy mash, the PERi-PERi Chicken Gravy can be drizzled over almost anything. And if you're lucky, the Nando's truck may serve up free gravy and chips for 8 hours in your town on 13 December. Just another reason to love the festive time of year!
WHEN: 28 November - 31 December
WHERE: Nando's across the UK
For more information visit nandos.co.uk
Watch Pinocchio on Ice
Skating skills not up to scratch? Leave it to the professionals and enjoy a family trip to Alexandra Palace to see Pinocchio on Ice. The two-hour performance features traditional and modern music, as well as a vocal performance from a West End star. It's the perfect day out to entertain both children and adults alike.
WHEN: 13 - 16 December 2019
WHERE: Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY
For more information visit alexandrapalace.com
Enjoy your first Christmas dinner of the year
London's playful restaurant, Hello Darling, is teaming up with their theatrical neighbours, The Old Vic, to lay on a fun Christmas menu in celebration of their performance A Christmas Carol. Experience Hello Darling's darling Dickensian inspired Christmas dinner (expect the likes of figgy pudding with brandy cream!), followed by a house party upstairs in Darling House, where there will be a gin punch and Christmas carolling with a party twist.
WHEN: Open now
WHERE: 131 Waterloo Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8UR
Book a table here, hellodarling.london
Take a dip in chilly water for charity
While many look forward to winter and the exciting Christmas period, it can be a difficult time of year for some. Help raise money for homelessness charity Crisis by taking an icy plunge into Brockwell Lido on Saturday. Brave the cold alone, gather your friends and even rock your best fancy dress while you swim the width of the pool. The £28.87 entry fee will provide someone with warmth, hot food and advice at one of the Crisis at Christmas centres.
WHEN: 14 December 2019, 11am-2pm
WHERE: Brockwell Lido
For more information visit crisis.org.uk
Tour London's Christmas lights by bus
Why brave the rain and sore feet that come with wandering around the capital's prettiest Christmas lights when you could see it all from the warmth and comfort of a vintage bus? Watch a festive film screening while the kids enjoy some crafts in Covent Garden before boarding the bus to sing along to some carols as you take in London's festive decorations. From Embankment to Trafalgar Square, Regent Street and Strand, there will be plenty of photo opportunities on the hour-long tour.
WHEN: 14 - 15 December 2019. Family tours from 2:30pm and adults-only from 8:30pm.
WHERE: Covent Garden
For more information visit ltmuseum.co.uk
Indulge at a festive food market
Grab a free pud from the Christmas Pudding Tree at Cow Cross Yard’s ‘Puds and Trees’ themed festive food market, and enjoy the mystery of what flavour you'll pick! But hurry because the free puds are first come first served. The three-day event also offers foodies a selection of seasonal treats as well as some great Instagram opportunities with the urban forest's twinkling lights.
WHEN: 13 December 2019, 11am-2.30pm
WHERE: Cowcross Yards, 9-13 Cowcross St, London EC1M 6DR
For more information visit cowcrossyards.co.uk
Dive into the Christmas spirit at Winter Wonderland
We admit, Winter Wonderland can be a bit overwhelming. The queues, the crowds, the hundreds of stalls to choose from. But good news – you can now book a table at pop-up restaurant, Cedar & Spruce Bar + Kitchen, which is set across three cosy teepees. Chef Ani Arora has created a truly festive menu that will get you into the Yuletide spirit in no time. Choose from turkey roulade with all the trimmings, cranberry and brie wonton with chilli cranberry jam, four cheese tortellini and steak pie, mash and gravy among other winter warmers. Finish off your indulgent meal with a Christmas pudding or the less traditional raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake. Although the pop-up does take walk-ins, it's best to book a table in advance, if only to escape from the chill!
WHEN: Open until 5th January
WHERE: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
To make a booking visit hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/cedarspruce
Go and see a Christmas film (or not, really…)
Do *you* count Die Hard as a Christmas film? Either way, there’s no reason not to watch it; on Friday 13th December, you can enjoy a free Cointreau fizz at Picturehouse. So that will get you in the festive mood if nothing else!
WHEN: Friday 13th December
WHERE: Picturehouse, various locations
Try ASK Italian's new Christmas menu
We LOVE a festive menu, but we can't be the only ones who get a little bored of turkey every single time? If you're feeling the sam,e then check out the festive offerings at ASK Italian. Our top picks are the Christmas carbonara, featuring Brussel sprouts and pancetta alongside creamy tagliatelle. Or, enjoy the N'duja Garlic Bread Wreath, a wreath-shaped garlic bread stuffed with spicy N’duja sausage meat and mozzarella, served with a side of N'duja ketchup for those who really want to spice things up. And finish with Glittery Gingerbread Latte Cake dessert – a warm gingerbread latte cake decked with a sparkly sauce. That's definitely one for Instagram!
WHEN: Opened 19th November
WHERE: ASK Italian, various locations