This weekend in London

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Christmas at Kew

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Christmas at Kew
Father Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Christmas at QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl
The Snowman
French Winter Village by Grey Goose at The Langham
Miracle at Henrietta Hotel
Eat & Drink Festival


Make the most of your precious time off with the LondonTown weekend guide, which gives you the lowdown on the best events and things to do this weekend in London. Want it straight to your inbox? Be sure to subscribe to the weekly Something for the Weekend mailer.


Christmas at Kew

Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens), Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AB

Tube: Kew Gardens Station


Dates: 22nd November 2018 to 5th January 2019


A chorus of singing trees, giant light-up piano keys connected to a real-life piano and laser beams over water await visitors to the mile-long illuminated trail that forms the centrepiece of Christmas at Kew. After dusk, Kew Gardens is lit up by giant light sculptures, a fire garden, hundreds of shining petals, gigantic flower pots and light projections on the Palm House. Each year they add different light installations so even if you've been before - and it has become an annual tradition for many Londoners - there's something new to see. You can also stop off to see Santa and his elves performing panto along the route, enjoy carousel and helter skelter rides as well as mulled wine, mince pies and traditional festive fare. If you want to sit down to a traditional Christmas dinner you can do so at Kew's Botanical restaurant.


Father Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP

Tube: South Kensington Station


Dates: 21st November to 24th December 2018


Children and their families are taken on an hour long Christmas experience through enchanted spaces within the Royal Albert Hall, guided by magical characters, before meeting the big man himself. There will be games, storytelling and songs and every child will have the chance to meet Father Christmas, sit in his sleigh and receive a present. The great hall is a magical place at any time of year and lends itself particularly well to a behind-the-scenes tour at Christmas. The experience can be enjoyed by all ages but is most suitable for children aged between three and eight.


Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

Hyde Park, Rangers Lodge, Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH

Tube: Knightsbridge Station


Dates: 22nd November 2018 to 6th January 2019


Throughout late November and December a large area of Hyde Park near Hyde Park Corner is transformed into a Winter Wonderland, complete with fairground rides, giant wheel, circus, Christmas market, food and drink stalls, Santa's grotto and, of course, an ice rink. Now in its eleventh year, Winter Wonderland has become a favourite in many Londoners' calendars. There's a huge choice of things to do from the ice rink to the Magical Ice Kingdom where you can go on a Deep Sea Adventure. Other popular features are the 53-metre-high Observational Wheel, Zippos Circus - always a hit, especially when temperatures plummet - and traditional Christmas Market with wooden chalets and Bavarian-style bars and cafes. (Remember: advanced booking on the main attractions is advised while you'll need to buy tokens from kiosks dotted around the fair for the many rides.) Additionally, new to this year is The Snowman Experience with Backyard Cinema. Celebrating 40 years of the classic festive book, the experience will bring the story to life through a multi-roomed, multi-sensory adventure. Free entry to the site means you can just walk around and absorb the festive ambiance - but it will take a strong will not to succumb to the smells and fun on offer.


Christmas at QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl

QUEENS Skate, Dine, Bowl, 17 Queensway, London, W2 4QP

Tube: Bayswater Underground Station , Queensway Station


Dates: 19th November to 22nd December 2018


If you're looking for guaranteed snow this Christmas head to QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl, where custom made snow cannons will create a winter wonderland on the ice rink. There will also be sing-a-long session on the ice every Saturday, with the chance to put your touch on the nation's favourite Christmas classics. Additionally, The Sin Bin, presented by MEATLiquor, will be London's only dedicated curling rink side bar and diner offering guests the chance to refuel, recharge and relax after taking to the ice. A special XXXmas menu will feature pigs in blankets, a roast turkey burger and a turkey cheese stack.


The Snowman

Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, London, WC2A 2HT

Tube: Holborn Station , Covent Garden Station, Temple Station


Dates: 22nd November 2018 to 6th January 2019


Bill Alexander directs Birmingham Repertory Theatre's musical adaptation of Raymond Briggs' children's story about the airborne adventures of a boy and his frosty friend. This staging of The Snowman by Sadler's Wells, suitable for children aged 4 and over, staged in the Peacock Theatre, has become a much-loved festive tradition in London. Translating the beautifully-illustrated book to dance, the respected ballet company creates a winter wonderland of a stage show at their West End theatre. This is the theatrical equivalent of going to see Father Christmas except infinitely more spectacular as a young boy's snowman comes to life and the two of them fly across the sky. When Father Christmas does appear it's in a shimmering woodland, surrounded by magical reindeer, dancing penguins and a host of snowy friends. As the first notes of Walking in the Air fill the theatre, the heart-melting factor will not disappoint as awe-struck children (and adults) are mesmerised by the dazzling light show of snow.


French Winter Village by Grey Goose at The Langham

Roux at The Landau, 1 Portland Place, London, W1B 1JA

Tube: Oxford Circus Station


Dates: 21st November 2018 to 1st February 2019


Tucked away within the interior of the Langham hotel, the courtyard garden has been transformed into a rustic winter hideaway where you can enjoy special seasonal cocktails and French food. Settle in underneath the Christmas tree adorned with lights or get cosy under blankets and sip on warming mulled wine and Grey Goose cocktails. Festive food straight from the fire delivers a feast of pomme de terre and warmed Vacherin Mont d'Or - perfect for sharing. Visit the French Winter Village and you'll leave feeling like you've escaped to an exclusive French winter wonderland, without leaving London.


Miracle at Henrietta Hotel

Henrietta Hotel, 14-15 Henrietta Street, London, WC2E 8QH

Tube: Covent Garden Station , Charing Cross Station, Leicester Square Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 23rd November to 23rd December 2018


This Christmas, New York's Miracle on 9th Street pop-up is crossing the pond to London with Miracle at Henrietta Hotel. Taking over the hotel's mezzanine, it will see the area transformed into a festive world, taking guests to a nostalgic Christmas past. Reminiscent of a chalet living room on Christmas Eve, it will have stockings, fairy lights and a beautiful Christmas tree at its centre. Cocktails will be created by Nico de Soto of Experimental Cocktail Club fame with favourites such as the Snowball Old Fashioned, Christmapolitan and new newcomer A Partridge In A Pear Tree, all to be enjoyed alongside a selection of Alpine-inspired snacks.


Scripts For Supper: Jekyll And Hyde

The Tab Centre, 3 Godfrey Place, London, E2 7NT

Tube: Old Street Station


Dates: 15th November to 8th December 2018


Fusing together acting, music, food and drink, Scripts for Supper is an immersive theatre supper club and this winter they're presenting an event themed around Jekyll and Hyde. Bringing everyone's nightmares to the streets of London, the evening will represent the Victorian era with banquets, potion drinking and design by Darling and Edge. Actors double up as waiters and the food brings guests into the world of the play. Expect singing, music, merriment and some spooky vaudeville.


Gainsborough's Family Album

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London, WC2H 0HE

Tube: Leicester Square Station , Charing Cross Station, Piccadilly Circus Station, Embankment Underground Station, Covent Garden Station


Dates: 22nd November 2018 to 3rd February 2019


The National Portrait Gallery brings together all surviving portraits of Thomas Gainsborough's daughters for the first time for its major new exhibition, Gainsborough's Family Album. The exhibition will showcase the twelve portraits, which feature the Gainsborough girls as young children right through to fashionable adults. Items such as The Artists Daughters chasing a Butterfly and The Artists Daughters with a Catwill go on display alongside other rarely seen paintings, including the double full-length of Mary and Margaret Gainsborough as sumptuously dressed young women, and some never before seen in the UK such as an early portrait of the artist's father John Gainsborough. Despite starting out with landscapes - his preferred art form - Gainsborough went on to become one of Britain's most successful eighteenth-century portraitists and this will provide the perfect chance to admire his work.


Eat & Drink Festival

Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, London, W14 8UX

Tube: Kensington (Olympia) Station


Dates: 21st to 25th Nov 2018


Returning to Olympia London for the second time this year, the Eat & Drink Festival brings together an exciting line-up of street food vendors, top chefs and a life sized gingerbread house. Chefs showing us how to cool an impressive seasonal spread include Dan Doherty, Rosemary Shrager, cooking a four bird roast, Theo Randall, Ed Baines and Aldo Zilli who'll be demonstrating how to create the perfect Italian Christmas dinner. Other event highlights include The Great Eat area, which showcases the finest flavours from across the world; the Drinks Station, where industry experts teach you how to pair food with the right drinks; and Late Night Thursdays, when you can enjoy street food, half price Christmas cocktails and festive fun to a soundtrack of live music by buskers and musicians. Visitors can also take the experience home with them by purchasing chutneys and cheeses, jams and brownies from the Artisan Producers' Market. Even better, your ticket gives you free entry to the Ideal Home Show which takes place at Olympia London on the same dates.

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