Things To Do In London Today: Friday 13 December 2013

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The Chocolate Festival at Southbank Centre starts today. A festival. Of chocolate.


BLOOD: Today’s opportunities to donate blood are at City Temple by Holborn Viaduct and outside Wells House in Bromley. Free, see site for terms and conditions

CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL: The Southbank Centre offers a Christmas treat with its chocolate festival — an excuse to sample the work of artisan chocolatiers without feeling guilty. Free, just turn up, until 15 December

CHRISTMAS MOVIES: Notting Hill's 20th Century Theatre has been transformed into a Christmas grotto complete with snow, Christmas movies and, most importantly, boozy hot chocolate and mulled wine. £5-16, book via the website, from 12pm every day until the 20th

CLASSICAL CHERUBS: St Mary's Neighbourhood Centre hosts two classical music concerts for toddlers and pre-schoolers (or more accurately for parents worried their tots would disturb adult concerts). Includes ample floorspace for roaming youngsters. Tickets £2.50 (kids) - £5 (adults), prebook via the website, 3pm and 4pm.

POETRY JAM: Head to SOAS for a Re-Imagining Africa: Poetry Jam with Sifundo, Abadir Hashi, Mizan the Poet, Faisal Saleh, Ibrahim Sincere and Asha Mohammoud. £3, prebook, 5pm

DICKENS: Birkbeck lecturer Dr Nicola Brown leads a discussion about Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, arguing that the author invented the idea of the traditional family Christmas, at Idea Store Whitechapel. Sounds crackers. Free, just turn up, 6.45pm - 8.45pm

CAROL CONCERT: The University of London Chamber Choir aims to get you in the Christmas mood, at St George's Church in Bloomsbury. Tickets £9 (or £5 for students and under-25s), just turn up, 7pm

ED BYRNE: Ed Byrne brings his impish grin and flowing locks to Hammersmith Apollo on 13 December, to tell us all why middle age is great. £25.75, prebook, 7pm

UNDERGROUND FILMS: Experimental films abound at Portico Gallery, West Norwood. Or rather, since the rules of the Hamilton Underground Film Festival require the venue's name to begin with 'H', at Portico Gallery, Hest Horwood. Free, just turn up, 7.30pm

MAIASTRA CONCERT: A performance of chamber music by post-graduate music students at St Mary's Church, Twickenham, is sure to reignite your desire to learn an instrument. One day, anyway. You've still not finished painting the bathroom yet — best finish that first. More information is available at the website. Free, just turn up, 7.30pm

CHRISTMAS AT KEW: Kew Gardens throws open its gates after dark to reveal an enchanting, illuminated walk through the winter landscape. Includes a visit to a Christmas village. £8-12.50, prebook, 7.45pm onwards

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Good Causes of the Day

Today, a diverse line-up of established and emerging artists perform in the unique environment of St John at Hackney, helping to raise money for Children in Need. The line-up includes Alice Russell, NYPC (formerly New Young Pony Club), Matthew Halsall, Tawiah, Stac and The Sound:check Choir & Strings. £15, prebook, 7.30pm

Or tomorrow, you can join an art fundraiser in aid of Noah's Ark Children's Hospice. The inaugural Art for Ark’s Sake fundraiser will showcase works both from a variety of artists as well as original signed artwork from a host of well-known celebrities, at The Original Gallery in Haringey Library. Donations welcome, just turn up, Saturday 14 December 6-10pm

If you're feeling brave, then head to Brockwell Lido for the Crisis Midwinter Swim. You can choose to dip in and out of the icy waters, or swim the full 100m. Register online, Saturday 14 December from 11am

London Connection Puzzle

Your full set of clues are INDIA, HOLLAND, CYPRUS and CANADA. What's the London connection? Several people have emailed in with the solution already, so there's no need to do so.

From the Archive

There's London, and then there's the London that almost was. We celebrate the capital that could have been in our Unbuilt London series and on this day two years ago, the focus was on baffling bridges and manic master plans.

London Weather by Inclement Attlee

Collectors of puddles will find a few choice specimens decorating the pavements of London today. We'll see rain on-and-off all day, with occasional outbreaks of not-rain. The heaviest downpours are set for early evening, just as everyone's trying to squeeze into the pub. In summary: moist scruttocks.