Things To Do In London This Weekend is sponsored by Pact Coffee — scroll down for a great Londonist reader offer.
December's finally here, which means that Christmas activities are heartily encouraged — and that includes ice skating. Find your nearest seasonal ice skating rink and give it a whirl.
CHEESE AND WINE FESTIVAL:
Two of our favourite things combine to create the Cheese and Wine Festival at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Just in time for Christmas, stock up with produce from artisan suppliers, and take part in guided tastings. Tickets also include access to The Chocolate Festival, taking place at the same venue. £12, 4-6 December
FESTIVAL OF CULTURE:
It's all going on down at Islington Square this weekend. The Festival of Culture brings film screenings (Toy Story, Annie Hall...), live music, theatre, gardening workshops, fairground rides and more to the area... and best of all, everything's free. Free, just turn up, 4-6 December
RAMBLE AROUND THE RYE:
Join London Blue Badge Guide Diane Burstein on a guided walk around Peckham Rye, covering African market stalls, independent shops, the common where William Blake saw his first visions, and a secret world underneath the railway arches. £8, prebook, 5-6 December, 11am
Eel Pie Island Artists Studios in Twickenham has an open weekend, giving the public the chance to buy or commission one off art pieces just in time for Christmas. 5-6 December
London's best ceramicists and potters come together to exhibit and sell their work at Abney Hall in Stoke Newington. Over 50 artists will be showcased, so it might be time to make a start on the dreaded Christmas shopping. Free, just turn up, 5-6 December
STREET FOOD FESTIVAL:
Street food comes inside to the O2 in North Greenwich for the inaugural British Street Food Festival. Vans, trucks and trailers from all over the country cook up their finest offerings, alongside crazy golf, live music, tastings and more. £7.50, 5-6 December
HUSKY SLEIGH RIDES:
Santa's at London Wetland Centre in Barnes, but he's broken with tradition and brought huskies with him. Children aged 8 and under can enjoy husky rides or donkey rides, visit Santa or get involved in craft activities to help the elves prepare for Christmas. Included in entrance fee (extra £6 to see Santa), 5-6 December
Saturday 5 December
MR POPPER'S PENGUINS:
Cadogan Hall hosts a musical adaptation of the book (and more recently, film) Mr Popper's Penguins. The family show is brought to life with songs and puppets, and at 55 minutes long, it's aimed at those age 3+. £12-£14.50, prebook, 10.30am/1pm
Sixty poets will read for eight minutes each in relay for over 10 hours at Vout-O-Renees near Tower Hill, to raise money for Medecins Sans Frontieres. See the full running order here and go along to support them. Entry free (donations welcome) just turn up, 12pm-10.30pm
Seek out the Seven Noses of Soho, spot lots of oddities and hear some unusual stories in the company of Pete Berthoud. Rumour has it that people who see all seven will have infinite wealth, so it's certainly worth a try. £10-£12, prebook, 3pm
RICHMOND IN A CANOE:
Personally, we think it's a bit nippy for canoeing at this time of year, but if you're differently minded, paddle through Petersham Meadows, Marble Hill House, Ham House, Eel Pie Island and York House Gardens on this stretch of the River Thames in Richmond, stopping for lunch along the way. £50, 11am
GABRIEL'S WHARF CHRISTMAS:
Gabriel's Wharf (behind the OXO Tower on South Bank) holds a free, family-friendly celebration of Christmas, with craft activities, live jazz music, a carol performance and more. Free, just turn up, 12pm-4pm
Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick throws open its doors to let the public experience what goes on behind the scenes, and how they make their beer. Go on a tutored tasting and learn the basics of beer brewing. From £15, 1pm/3pm
This beginner's knitting workshop at Somerset House lets you learn a new skill and help those less fortunate. Choose from creating a beanie hat or a snood and create one for you and one for someone in need. All materials and tuition included. £35, 2pm
CHRISTMAS TEA FEAST:
Mulled tea wine, anyone? This tea tasting session has a festive twist — the teas have been given a Christmas makeover. Tuck into tea chutney with sausage rolls with Christmas chai hot chocolate. £30, 4pm
Pillow Cinema screens cult classic film Pulp Fiction at Sutton House in Hackney. Kick back and watch the Quentin Tarantino film from the comfort of a beanbag. From £7.50, 5.30pm
It's the final couple of weeks of Ai Wei Wei's political art exhibition at the Royal Academy. To mark the occasion, The Royal Academy is open late for a chance to explore the exhibition after hours. Ticket includes a glass of sparkling wine after the exhibition. £21, 6pm
Mark Watson headlines another awesome bill at the Union Chapel. He's supported by BBC 4 duo The Pin, Edinburgh-winner Sam Simmons, Mae Martin and the frankly ingenious James Acaster. £20+booking fee Doors 6.30pm (grab a pew early)
Radio DJ Tim Westwood plays a three hour set at The Book Club in Shoreditch tonight, as part of The Doctor's Orders' 10th anniversary celebrations. Expect hip-hop, R'n'B and afrobeats music. £5/£8, prebook, 8pm-4am
MUSIC AND CABARET:
White Mink at the Clapham Grand is an electro swing night which incorporates jazz in the form of an illicit speakeasy. Bands, DJs, burlesque performers and dancers all do their thing in a secret speakeasy bar. £17.50, 9pm
Sign up for Pact Coffee and get a free KeepCup
Let Bermondsey-based coffee-roasting extraordinaires Pact Coffee help you out this party season with freshly roasted joe delivered straight through your letterbox.
That means no more settling for instant because the weather's too grim to leave your home or office, and no more of the head-down run-shuffle through the winter sleet for your latte fix when you're really desperate.
Plus you'll get a free KeepCup travel mug gift with your first delivery when you use the code LONXMAS — perfect for when you do need to brave the elements.
Reader Offer Terms & Conditions: For new Pact customers only. Offer ends 22 December 2015. Full price 250g bags are £6.95, free P&P. KeepCup worth £10. Full terms and conditions at pactcoffee.com/terms.
Things To Do In London This Weekend is sponsored by Pact Coffee.
Sunday 6 December
CELEBRITY CHRISTMAS GALA:
Pianist Lucy Parham is at Kings Place for a Sunday morning concert celebrating the relationship between words and music, whilst exploring a variety of composers, genres and styles. Guest include Niamh Cusack, Alistair McGowan and Alan Rusbridger. £14.50, prebook, 11.30am
Mayfair is pretty much London's chocolate heartland. Take a guided tour around the area, visiting a selection of chocolate emporiums and sampling their wares while learning about the history of chocolate. £15, 12.30pm
REINDEER TREASURE HUNT:
Frugl's Reindeer Treasure Hunt is aimed at all ages. Taking place at Camden People's Theatre and surrounding venues, the aim is to help Santa find his lost reindeer, with an after party at Drink Shop Do in King's Cross. £4.99 (£18 for a team of four), prebook, 2pm-4pm
A whole range of Christmas carols and songs including Fairytale of New York, Home Alone, The Nutcracker and more are played by Basement Orchestra at Arcola Theatre tonight. £13/£10, prebook, 3.30pm/7pm
Classic 1993 film Jurassic Park is screened in Backyard Cinema's Winter Night Garden at Winterville in Victoria Park. Kick back on either a giant beanbag or a comfy sofa (first come first served) and watch the dinosaurs come back from extinction. £16.50, 5pm
Other good stuff
- What’s on stage
- What’s on in Museums and Galleries
- Free things to do in London
- Art & photography shows
- Eating and drinking
- Listen to our latest podcast
- Free & cheap events in London
What have we missed? Let us know what’s going on this weekend, leave a comment or email tips@
For daily ideas of things to do in London subscribe to our emails.