We're not sure where December went, but it's already the last weekend before Christmas and that means many schools and offices will be closed for the holiday season. Entertaining the whole family in this busy period can be difficult, but everyone needs a moment to step back and appreciate how magical and beautiful this time of year is. So we've pulled together some fun things to do in London this weekend, whether it's singing along to traditional carols at the Royal Albert Hall, challenging your friends to a game of curling on the rooftop, or seeing an edible gingerbread mini-city.
Sing carols at the Royal Albert Hall
It's not really Christmas until you've sung some carols, and there's no better place to do that than in the spectacular surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall. From traditional carols to more modern songs, listen to world-class musicians such as Royal Choral Society and National Youth Choir of Great Britain as well as soloists like Tommy Blaize bring Christmas to life.
WHEN: Multiple performances 21-24 December 2019
WHERE: Royal Albert Hall
For more information visit royalalberthall.com
Have an early Christmas dinner... on a pizza!
Yes, you read that correctly Pizza Express has released a festive Christmas menu that includes a Porchetta pizza that mimics a Christmas dinner. Topped with pulled pork on a béchamel base with sage, garlic, pancetta, mozzarella, shaved Gran Milano cheese and of course, rosemary roast potatoes, this is one fully loaded and delicious pizza option for the festive period. The menu also includes Pizza Express' take on pigs in blankets with its pancetta-wrapped pork meatballs, oh and course there's a mince pie on the menu too!
WHEN: Any time, book ahead.
WHERE: Any Pizza Express branch
For more information visit https://www.pizzaexpress.com/
Try out a shuffleboard activity bar
In a competitive mood? Electric Shuffle has opened in Canary Wharf, where two teams compete in three games, each inspired by a different aspect of shuffleboard. Weighted pucks are slid into the score zone to win points, and technology identifies where the pucks are on the table and automatically scores games. So the days of cheating or fixing the results are over! The bar is from the minds behind social darts venues Flight Club, so it's bound to be a hilarious way to fill your weekend. After you've used up all your concentration, refuel your energy levels with a pizza paddle, beer and cocktails.
WHEN: Any time, book ahead.
WHERE: Electric Shuffle, 10 Cabot Square, N Colonnade, Canary Wharf, London E14 4EY
For more information visit electricshuffle.com
Book your place at Cirque Du Soleil’s LUZIA
Thirty years after Cirque Du Soleil first came to the UK, it is bringing awe-inspiring acrobatics back for LUZIA in January. The show takes you to an imaginary Mexico, with water, animals and hoop diving - a traditional circus discipline from China - making it an unforgettable experience. It is bound to sell out fast, so book your tickets soon to secure a place. After all, everyone needs something to look forward to after the festive holidays have ended.
WHEN: 12 January - 1 March 2020
WHERE: Royal Albert Hall
For more information visit cirquedusoleil.com
Try Bao Kitchen's latest menu after a shopping spree
Tucked away on the fashion lab on the fourth floor of Harrods, Bao Kitchen serves an authentic and traditional range of fresh and tasty bao buns and dim sum, as well as noodle and rice bowls and exquisite bubble teas. The roasted Beijing style duck with hoisin sauce, scallions and cucumber and the baked marinated black cod with miso, served with sweet soya glaze are dishes not to be missed. Be sure to head down there following your Christmas shopping spree!
WHEN: OPEN NOW
WHERE: Fourth Floor, 87 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL
For more information, click here baokitchen.co.uk
See a Christmas-themed cabaret show
Get in the swing of Christmas with the London Cabaret Club's ‘A Gatsby Christmas’. Prepare yourself for a glamour-filled evening as you transport yourself back to the 1920s for some luxury dining, cabaret performances and dancing at the afterparty. The magical winter wonderland in the heart of Bloomsbury will be decked out in pretty decorations, and did we mention the impressive cocktail list? As well as the classics like The Old Fashioned and The Dark and Stormy, there is also an aptly-named The Great Gatsby with Fire Jack Daniels, Honey Jack Daniels and chocolate bitters smoked with cinnamon. Delicious!
WHEN: 19-21 December 2019
WHERE: The London Cabaret Club, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, Holborn, London WC1B 4DA
For more information visit thelondoncabaretclub.com
Dance to Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey and Christmas go hand in hand. There's no better place to sing along to her Christmas classics than at a dance workshop, where you can practice your moves for the party season and burn off those festive treats. Plus, her songs always get us up and dancing anyway, so it won't feel like a workout.
WHEN: 20 December 2019 - 1pm
WHERE: Samsung KX, Coal Drops Yard, King's Cross, London N1C 4DQ
For more information visit samsung.com
Have a Christmas dinner with a pan-Asian twist
Head to P.F. Chang's Asian Table for their unique Christmas menu with a pan-Asian twist! The Christmas set menu fuses flavours of Korean, Chinese and Japanese cuisine for some fab dishes. Our favourites included the sesame shrimp, Mongolian beef, simply grilled and served with spring onions with a side of tasty pumpkin mash and stir fried Sichuan asparagus, and don't get us started on the 'Christmas Meltdown' – a white chocolate snowman filled honeycomb and other treats!
WHERE: 10 Great Newport St, Covent Garden
WHEN: Over Christmas
Curling with mulled wine
Mulled wine isn't just meant to warm your hands as you wander around the Christmas markets. If you're in the mood for a fun activity, sip on some wine, mulled cider or hot berry punch as you challenge your friends to a game of curling at SFG Club. Sliders curling takes over six sheltered neon-lit lanes at Roof East, so even if your curling ability isn't up to scratch you can still enjoy views of the city skyline.
WHEN: 19-21 December 2019
WHERE: SFG Club, Level 8 Car Park, Roof East Stratford Center, Great Eastern Way, London E15 1XE
For more information visit sfgclub.com
Make your own herbal products
Now is the time to throw yourself into the festive cheer with Christmas by the River at London Bridge City. The 70+ stalls at the picturesque festive market provide gift inspiration and food stops as well as the compulsory glass of mulled wine in a cosy alpine lodge. If shopping isn't your thing then try the Winter Wellness Workshop where you can learn how to prepare your own all-natural herbal products, from tea-bags to bath products.
WHEN: 18 December 2019
WHERE: London Bridge City, SE1 2DB
For more information visit londonbridgecity.co.uk
Take a break from Christmas shopping in Covent Garden
Christmas madness is upon us but if you need a little R'n'R, schedule a long lunch or dinner at Mariage Frères in Covent Garden. Conveniently located just off the piazza, the French restaurant is the perfect quiet haven where you'll be able to take a breath, drop your bags and settle down for a decadent meal. Try and grab a table in the beautiful Salon de Thé, a sophisticated and calm setting where you can dine on tea-infused dishes. For starters, we'd recommend the tomato tatin – fluffy pastry topped with basil rocket, pumpkin seeds and infused with Jasmin mandarin tea. Out of the hot and cold mains, the pork belly infused with Veranda tea is one for the meat-lovers, and comes with shitakes and roasted beetroots, peanuts and bok choy. The chicken supreme, served with Persian rice and colourful autumn fruits, and flavoured with Latin Lover Green Mate, is another classic reinvented with a twist. End your meal on a high at the dessert trolly, where diners are invited to choose from freshly made cakes and petits fours. The gold cake is heaven personified. Make sure you browse the expansive tea shop on the ground floor before you leave; with literally hundreds of teas to choose from, there's bound to be more than one thing for you and your loved ones.
WHEN: Open now
WHERE: 38 King St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8JS
To book a table visit mariagefreres.com
Sip cocktails at The Lost Alhambra
There's a new bar on the block – and it's already proving to be one of the must-go-to venues in London. Centrally located in Leicester Square, The Lost Alhambra is an underground cocktail bar serving up Instagrammable tipples that range from the Pisco Inferno – a mixture of pisco, passion fruit, vanilla, peach liqueur and ginger ale served in disco ball, to all your favourite classics including Flaming Zombie (complete with flames), Porn Star Martini and Lemongrass Collins. Did we mention that happy hour happens every night at The Lost Alhambra too, meaning you can get two cocktails for the price of one any day of the week? And it's not just drinks that they serve either - you can soak up the alcohol with hot wings and sliders straight from Dip & Flip's menu.
WHEN: Any time
WHERE: 28a Leicester Square, London WC2H 7LE
For more information visit thelostalhambra.co.uk
Feast your eyes on a gingerbread mini-city
Credit: Luke O’Donovan
This time of year is filled with sweet treats like chocolate and gingerbread, but if you're looking for a way to appreciate the sights and smells of these treats without damaging your waistline then The Museum of Architecture has just the thing. It is bringing its Gingerbread City exhibition to Somerset House where you can see a mini-city made entirely of gingerbread! With the theme ‘transport’, over 100 architects, engineers and designers were tasked with coming up with new ways of moving around our densely populated cities - and it's edible!
WHEN: Until 5 January 2020
WHERE: Somerset House, Aldwych
For more information visit somersethouse.org.uk
Indulge in a dirty burger
Christmas is all about indulgence, right? You may know Other Side Fried from its pop-ups in Peckham Levels, Leicester Square, Camden Lock Market and Pop Brixton, but the cult fried chicken chain has just opened its first permanent bricks and mortar restaurant a stone’s throw away from Brixton tube. The 16-seater eatery offers the same mouthwatering menu that Other Side Fried is known for. Lovers of spice will want to try the Buffalo burger, which is served with a healthy dose of hot sauce, ranch sauce and pickles. If you’re after a sweeter fried chicken burger, the Honey Butter is for you, consisting of a patty smothered in smoked sticky butter alongside rashers of bacon. Messy burgers are what these street food favourites specialise in (there’s no counting calories here) so why not go the whole hog and order a side of Dirty Fries, a gargantuan ration of fries that’s heavy on the parmesan, bacon bits and ranch and hot sauce. Come with an appetite - you’ve been warned.
WHEN: Open now
WHERE: UNIT 14, ATLANTIC ROAD, SW9 8HX
For more information visit othersidefried.com
Tuck into Turkey Tacos at TLYD
This Christmas, The Little Yellow Door are serving their traditional home-style dishes with a seasonal twist. Their ‘Christmas tacos’ include pulled turkey, pigs in blankets, Brussels slaw, bread sauce, cranberries and LASHINGS of gravy - surely you’re sold? Plus, their festive cocktails, such as the Mince Pie Rum Sour, are served alongside a mini mince pie. So grab your friends and head there for your annual Christmas get-together (because who *really* wants to do the washing up?!).
WHEN: This month
WHERE: The Little Yellow Door, 6-8 All Saints Road W11 1HH
Watch Cinderella as you’ve never seen her before
Have you ever watched a panto and thought ‘this would be SO much better in drag’? No? Well, think again, because RuPauls Drag Race UK star Baga Chipz is starring in the rags-to-riches story on the West End, so dust off your slippers and grab your fairy godmother for an entirely drag cast of the iconic fairytale. And make sure you practise your best 'She's behind you'!
WHEN: Until 12th January
WHERE: Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall SW1A 2DY
Book online at atgtickets.com
Enjoy some après-ski fun in the heart of Soho
Missed out on booking your skiing holiday this year? Soho’s iconic haunt, 100 Wardour St, has been transformed into an Alpine Lodge - ready to offer all of the cosy, après-ski vibes to you this winter - without the need for a flight. Nestled in the heart of Soho, the Alpine Lodge has been set up in collaboration with Moët & Chandon to inject some comfort into the capital this winter. Champagne and the slopes - what could be better?
WHERE: 100 Wardour Street W1F 0TN
Enjoy an extra-festive afternoon tea at the Dorchester
Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is ALWAYS wonderful, but their Christmas offering is even more special. Inspired by ‘A Letter to Santa’, you can nibble sandwiches (including a very delicious turkey one, of course!) and delicate desserts fitting for any of Santa’s helpers. Plus, you can also be joined by a very talented school choir, who performs traditional carols while you enjoy your tea.
WHEN: Available now
WHERE: The Dorchester, 53 Park Ln W1K 1QA
Book now dorchestercollection.com