What we’re reading
- Bear bile and snakeskin boots: illegal goods seized at Heathrow – in pictures.
- The comforting taste of Christmas is damaging our planet.
- Photos of the Drunkenness and Dreams On London's First Late-Night Overground Service.
- Theresa May insists 2500 homeless children in London borough are not 'sleeping on our streets'.
- 'High-status' portrait of bearded woman bought by Wellcome Collection.
Things to do
CHRISTMAS AT KEW: Kew Gardens is in full Christmas mode from today. This means the whole family can join storytime sessions, winter flower making, conifer hunting and creative writing classes, alongside exploring this majestic garden. Kew Gardens, £11.50/£10, book ahead, 22 December-2 January
SCAVENGER HUNT: Drop into the visitor centre to pick up your winter scavenger hunt sheet then head off into the wilderness to track down the items. RSPB Rainham Marshes nature reserve, £1.50, just turn up, 10am-4pm
FROZEN SING-A-LONG: Just when you thought you'd got 'Let it Go' out of your head, this festive screening of Frozen came along to put it straight back in. But your kids will love you for taking them and what's more important than that? Walthamstow Assembly Hall, £5-£17.50, book ahead, 10am-4pm
GINGERBREAD HOUSE MAKING: Roll your sleeves up and get stuck in to this gingerbread making class while learning more about how our cities are designed from the Museum of Architecture. Today is also your last chance to check out the miniature city made entirely out of gingerbread. 27 Thurloe Street, £30, book ahead, 10.30am, 1pm and 3.30pm
FESTIVE VEGAN MARKET: Are you dreaming of a vegan Christmas but aren't sure where to pick up the ingredients for that nut roast? Head to Hackney Downs, where you can browse animal-free treats from London's finest vegan traders, as chosen by the Fat Gay Vegan. Hackney Downs Studios, free, just turn up, 3pm-9pm
WINTER SCREENS: Wander through the wardrobe into this Narnia-themed pop-up cinema, where you can snuggle up in front of Muppets Christmas Carol. Hackney Showrooms, £3, book ahead, 4pm-6pm
BABALONIA FUNDRAISER FOR SYRIA: All the musicians and poets involved in this night have waivered their fee and proceeds are split between Help Refugees and The Syria Campaign. How's that for good cheer? Check out the lineup here. And arrive early for £3 pints and two-for-one rum punch. Club Makossa (Dalston), £8, book ahead, 7pm-2am
FUNK AND SOUL XMAS: Groove the night away to Christmas hits from the likes of Ronettes, James Brown, Clarence Carter, Louis Armstrong and Darlene Love. Plus plenty of guilty pleasures, including Mariah. Montague Arms (Peckham), free entry, just turn up, 8pm-late
GOOD LIFE LONDON XMAS SPECIAL: The industrial space of the metal works has been thoroughly decked out in Christmas cheer, with five themed rooms for you to revel in. Hit up Dasher's Dirty Disco (for disco lovers), the ghetto grotto (for grime and base) and the jingle bell jungle (for jungle and dancehall). Islington Metal Works, £25.50+bf, book ahead, 11pm-5am
Good cause of the day: Charity Christmas Soirée
Descend into the depths of this surrealist arts club and gallery for an unforgettable evening of funk, soul, disco and very swish cocktails. (If you're lucky the snappily dressed Sophie Parkin will be on hand to mix you up a mean espresso martini). All proceeds go to the mental health charity Mind. Vout-O-Reenee's, £9, book ahead, 8pm-2am
Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing...
Get sorted into one of the four magical houses of Hogwarts, and go in exploration of the city’s famous filming locations on this 2-hour walking tour. You’ll meet your guide outside the Palace Theatre, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is showing, and set off on your journey across town - following in the footsteps of Deatheaters, visiting the inspiration for Knocturn Alley, and marvelling at the Ministry of Magic. And you better brush up on your Potter knowledge, because you can earn points for your house along the way, by taking part in trivia quizzes. The winners? You’ll find out when the tour ends at Platform 9 3/4… Get tickets
Tripping as treatment? It exists, and scientists at some of the world's most prestigous universities are studying the benefits of single-use psychedelic sessions to treat severe mental health conditions. But do hallucinogenic drugs have a place in our hospitals? Initial results have been positive, but how do these sessions work? What do these scientists use? What do the participants themselves have to say? Clinic Psychologic Dr Rosalind Watts leads this fascinating talk into the potential successes and pitfalls of using psychedelics in medicine, using her own personal experience as a "trip-sitter" at Imperial College London. Get tickets
We’re fed up of bog standard London tours. Been there, done that. So how about learning some more about the history and surprisingly dynamic modern politics of London’s public toilets? This 1.5hr walking tour covers iconic London from a whole new perspective, as you learn about ‘spending a penny’ at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and explore the capital’s most patriotic toilet. The tour ends in the Cellar Door Cocktail bar, a former gentleman’s lavatory. Delightful. Get tickets