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SPACE: The European Space Expo is on Horse Guards Parade ready to show you “what space brings to your life”. Free entry, just turn up, open 10am to 6pm.
ARTY SHOPPING: Try the first Royal College of Art Christmas Fete for “affordable, beautiful and unique art and design pieces” in a marquee opposite Kensington Gardens. Free entry, just turn up from noon to 5pm.
ETHICAL SHOPPING: Shop for ethical gifts at the Fair Christmas Fair at Horniman Museum. Free entry, just turn up between 10.30am and 5.30pm.
CHOCS AWAY: The Chocolate Festival is on in Southbank Centre Square. Free entry, just turn up, browse, taste and buy between 11am and 6pm.
FOXY SHOPPING: Crafty Fox Market purveys handmade and vintage treasures at the Dogstar Brixton plus crafty workshops and a pop-up tea room. Free entry, just turn up between 11am and 5pm.
ISLAND HOPPING: Visit Eel Pie Island in the Thames at Twickenham where 26 artists open their studios to the public for browsing and buying. Free entry, just turn up between 10.30am and 6pm.
BUILD STUFF: creative kids and parents can join in the junk modelling marathon at London Transport Museum – just take some recyclable household material along and get stuck in. Museum admission applies, kids go free, drop in sessions from 11am to 3pm.
OPEN STUDIOS: Creekside Artists present their Christmas Open Studios in Deptford at Faircharm Creative Estate on Creekside. Free entry but you’ll want to buy some mulled wine, no doubt. Open 11am to 6pm.
ICE: go ice skating! Hampton Court Palace rink is especially pretty. Times and prices vary, check the websites.
Saturday 8 December
SANTAS: Watch and support the Santa Fun Run in Greenwich Park in aid of London’s Air Ambulance. Registration £20, includes Santa suit. Race starts 10am.
BRRRRR: brave swimmers face chilly water for the Outdoor Swimming Society’s annual December Dip at Parliament Hill Fields Lido. Tickets are £15 to dip, £1 to spectate, from 11am to 1pm.
DONKEYS: Surrey Docks Farm in Rotherhithe has its Christmas Fayre with donkey rides, market, Santa’s grotto and carols. It’s free entry from 11am to 4pm.
ZINES: Be at the inaugural Queer Zine Fest for talks, workshops, music, art, films, exhibitions, food and loads of zines at Space Station Sixty-Five in Kennington. Free, just turn up from noon to 7pm.
SWAP CLOTHES: SwapaholicsUK are holding a joint clothing swap with Swapshop in Bar Music Hall, Curtain Road, Shoreditch. Take a bag of clean clothes along to swap, entry £5 on the door, open from 1pm to 5pm.
GHOSTS: St John on Bethnal Green hosts art and installations exploring Haunted Landscapes and Manifesting Ghosts for GHost IV (wrap up warm or take a blanket). Free entry, just turn up between 2.30 and 7.30pm.
RUGBY: Watch Richmond play Blackheath at Richmond Rugby Club in an historic fixture — they played each other in the first ever inter-club game, contested on Richmond Green 148 years ago. Tickets £12. Kick off at 3pm.
DRINK: Drain the barrels on the last day of the Pig’s Ear Beer and Cider Festival in Hackney. £4 admission, £2 CAMRA members, just turn up from noon till 11pm.
FREE FILM: The Inaugural TriForce Short Film Festival takes place at the May Fair Hotel, Stratton Street W1 showing a range of films under 20 minutes long followed by a party. Free entry, just turn up from 7pm.
DICKENS: A celebratory Supper Dance and Dickens quiz takes place at Chuzzlewits, Tower Hill in the wake of last weekend’s Dickens Day. Again, it’s raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Tickets are £11.95 + £5 donation to the charity. Starts 7.30pm.
DANCE: Christmas Cabaret at Greenwich Dance is hosted by Tom Roden and Pete Shenton of New Art Club, with a festive line up of tap, circus, music, hip and hop followed by the Greenwich Dance Christmas Party (there’s a family friendly edition earlier in the day). Tickets are £15/£10 concessions, call to book and haggle. Show starts 7.30pm.
COMEDY: Omid Djalili headlines Live at the Chapel (that’s the Union Chapel, Highbury) with offbeat support from deadpan Norwegian Daniel Simonsen, one-third of Sheeps Liam Williams, Cardinal Burns and Andrew Maxwell MCing. Tickets £18/£16, prebook. Show starts 7.45pm.
CHEESE: Club de Fromage celebrates its 6th birthday with a free drink to the first 600 through the doors of the O2 Academy Islington. Tickets £6.50+bf in advance, £8 on the door b4 midnight. Open 10.30pm to 3.30am.
Sunday 9 December
CRAFTY: Little Hands Design host their annual design and craft market at their Belsize Lane studio, NW3. Free entry, just turn up between 11am and 5pm.
MORRIS: Fowlers Molly Dancers will be out “annoying the general public again” dancing in Deptford at lunchtime.
CANDLES: Join the Promenade of Light at Enfield’s beautiful Myddleton House Gardens with candles, carols, mince pies and mulled wine. Tickets £6, children £4 in aid of The Nightingale Cancer Support Centre. Event runs from 5pm to 7pm.
RIVER PHOENIX: Actor-director James Franco uses out-takes and edits from My Own Private Idaho to create My Own Private River, screening at the ICA. Tickets £10/£8, prebook, film starts 6pm.
Other good stuff:
- What’s on stage and art reviews
- Book and spoken word happenings
- Events for curious-minded Londoners
- Things to do for a fiver or less
- Live comedy in London
- Free things to do in London
- What’s on in the big Museums and Galleries
Photo of Hollow Pond, E17 by Stuart-Lee via the Londonist Flickrpool.