Fed up of relentless festivities? Want to escape Christmas for a few hours (or longer)? Head to these London events without a bauble, Christmas light or carol singer in sight. We can't guarantee you won't encounter these seasonal afflictions on the way to these events, but if you want to go full Grinch, here are a few tips.
Top Secret at Science Museum
Spy stuff and code stuff, hidden away in a secret bunker. Sounds like the perfect place to ride out the festive season. Science Museum's Top Secret exhibition lifts the lid of Britain's codebreaking past and present. Bletchley Park, zeppelins and a Russian spy ring centred around a Ruislip couple all feature. Until 23 February 2020. While you're there, check out the impressive new Medicine Galleries (permanent) and the inaugural Science Photographer of the Year exhibition (until 5 January 2020).
Wildlife Photographer at Natural History Museum
A marmot being ambushed by a fox in front of your eyes is one way to shake out any Christmas spirit inside you. That's just one of the photos on display at this year's excellent Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at Natural History Museum. Don't worry, they're not all that gruesome. A photo of a bison in a snowstorm looks closer to an abstract painting than a photograph, and a gang of long tailed macaques lounging around on the remnants of a sofa like teenagers offer some amusement. Until 31 May 2020.
Other resolutely non-festive exhibitions to see if you're in a cultural mood:
- Cars: Accelerating the Modern World at V&A (until April 2020)
- The Moon at National Maritime Museum (until January 2020)
- ABBA: Super Troupers the Exhibition at The O2 (from 6 December)
Tutankhamun: Treasure of the Golden Pharoah at Saatchi Gallery (until May 2020)
Lord of the Rings at Prince Charles Cinema
Shut yourself in a dark room away from Christmas lights and immerse yourself in approximately 12 hours of Hobbit action. The excellent Prince Charles Cinema screens the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended versions, naturally) back to back, running from 9 at night round to the next morning, on three different dates. Acquaint yourself with the rules and etiquette before signing up. 7 (sold out)/14 (sold out)/21/28 December
World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace
The world's largest darts championship takes over Ally Pally every December. If it's the drinking aspect of Christmas that you're keen to avoid, this is NOT the place for you, as some serious boozing goes down. Things tend to get pretty raucous in the crowd as the world's top darts players battle it out to be awarded the trophy on New Year's Day. 13 December 2019-1 January 2020
Circus at Southbank Centre
It may be part of the 'Winter' festival, but beyond that, there's not much festive about the contortionists, jugglers and high-wire performers of Southbank Centre's Circus 1903. It's now in its second year in London, following a stint in Las Vegas. Fans of War Horse are in for a treat, as elephant puppets created by the puppeteers behind that show are used on stage. 19 December 2019-5 January 2020.