Things To Do In London This Week: 2-8 December 2019

Things to do this week is sponsored by Old Spitalfields Market.

All week

The start of Advent heralds the start of carol services at Westminster Abbey and other venues

WINTER CINEMA: Southbank Centre's riverside Winter Pop-Up Cinema continues, with Finding Dory, Home Alone and Up among the family-friendly options on offer this week. Full programme here.  Southbank Centre, various prices, book ahead, until 29 December

CHRISTMAS MARKETS: If the arrival of December has got you in a Christmas shopping panic, fear not — our guide to London's Christmas markets and fairs is on hand to guide you to your nearest scented candle, box of fudge or twinkly Christmas ornament.

ICE SKATING: At Royal Palaces, on rooftops and in the middle of Covent Garden, London's festive ice rinks are very much open for business. Here's our guide to festive skating in London to help you pick which one to visit — or why not try to get round them all by New Year?

CAROL CONCERTS: Start warming up your vocal chords for London's myriad Christmas carol concerts. From grand events in abbeys and cathedrals, to smaller events raising money for worthwhile causes, take a look at our guide to the top Christmas carol concerts in London. Throughout December

WIND IN THE WILLOWS: Rain Or Shine Theatre presents a fast-paced comic retelling of the classic tale Wind in the Willows. Follow the adventures of Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad on the banks of the river. OSO Arts Centre (Barnes), £9-£14, book ahead, 3-5 December

Monday 2 December

Design Centre Chelsea Harbour hosts a Christmas Design Day

DESIGN DAY: Design Centre Chelsea Harbour hosts a free Christmas Design Day, consisting of a programme of festive workshops. Have a go at hand block printing at Morris & Co, Christmas wreath making at Fox  Linton/Jim Thompson, creating floral centrepieces with Phillip Corps at Simpsons and designing your own Christmas decorations at de Le Cuona. It's free, but in aid of William Yeoward’s Screw Cancer Charity, so donations are encouraged. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, free, book ahead, 9.30am-5.30pm

WORLD AIDS DAY: Pleasance Theatre hosts a gala for World AIDS Day, raising money for the National AIDS Trust. Comedians on the impressive line-up include Rose Matafeo, Phil Wang, Sara Barron, Lolly Adefope, Jack Barry and Olga Koch. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £18, book ahead, 7.30pm

Tuesday 3 December

Enjoy Jazz at the Farm in Vauxhall

JAZZ AT THE FARM: Vauxhall City Farm hosts a jazz ensemble from the Royal Academy of Music. The trio perform a selection of jazz standards, and a complimentary drink is included in your ticket — and a cash bar is open all evening for further refreshments. Vauxhall City Farm, £25, book ahead, 6pm-8pm

COMEDY: Malaysian stand-up comedian Nigel Ng and Swedish comedian Evelyn Mok both try out new material at this work-in-progress show. Be among the first to hear the shows they'll take to Edinburgh next summer. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £5, book ahead, 7.45pm

WINTER CONCERT: Southbank Centre hosts an evening of music and song in support of the NSPCC. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, classical artist Russell Watson and all-male a cappella ensemble The Other Guys are among the acts performing festive classics. Southbank Centre, £19-£49, book ahead, 8pm


Sponsor message

Get into the festive spirit with Christmas Shopping Lates at Old Spitalfields Market

Make a serious dent in your Christmas shopping list — all while listening to live music and feasting on seasonal street food — at the East End's original market. Every Wednesday from now until Christmas, Old Spitalfields Market stays up late to bring you yuletide tunes, tipples and sled-loads of gorgeous gifts.

The festive fun commences this Wednesday, with a special appearance from the Zero Waste Market, London’s original sustainable and totally plastic-free market. As well as the central market offering, you can bag exclusive offers on the high street and luxury stores that border the market, including Belstaff, Dipyque and Daniel Wellington to name but a few.

Between all that shopping, make sure you grab a bite to eat, glass of mulled wine, or an Irish coffee from the pop-up bar. With live performances from Steel Pans and House of Le Touch Gospel Choir, it's the perfect festive pitstop. Each week features a different line-up of guest markets and musical acts, so if you can't make it this week, click here to see what's going on 11 December and here for 18 December.


Wednesday 4 December

Stealing Sheep perform at Somerset House skate lates

WOMEN & THEIR BODIES: Gabrielle Jackson, author of Pain & Prejudice, heads up a panel discussion of women's health experts. The audience are invited to ask their own questions about women's bodies and female specific health issues for the panel to delve into and discuss. Waterstones Gower Street, £10-£13, book ahead, 6.30pm

SKATE LATES: Experimental pop band Stealing Sheep provide the entertainment at tonight's Skate Late at Somerset House. We're promised a 'surreal disco experience' from the all-female trio — enjoy it as you do laps on the ice, or from the comfort of the rinkside Skate Lounge. Somerset House, £17, book ahead, 8pm

CLUB A CAPPELLA: Enjoy a night of familiar tunes performed entirely by the human voice at Club A Cappella. Focus is particularly on boyband and girlband hits, with a range of a cappella groups lined up to perform. The Other Palace (Victoria), £30, book ahead, 8pm

Thursday 5 December

The Gift of Presents at Battersea Arts Centre

THE GIFT OF PRESENTS: Dust off your baubles for The Gift of Presents, a festive show featuring drag king Messiah Shesus, and a pair of nuns. Expect something between cabaret, comedy, a carol concert and therapy. Battersea Arts Centre, £12.50/£10, book ahead, 5-6 December

TRAFALGAR SQUARE TREE: From a forest just outside Oslo, to the urban centre of London, the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has made quite a journey. Tonight, its lights are finally switched on for the season, at a free lighting ceremony, complete with festive choirs. Get there early for a decent view. Trafalgar Square, free, just turn up, 6pm

MIDNIGHT APOTHECARY: Rotherhithe's pop-up Midnight Apothecary bar hosts cockney sing along expert Tom Carradine for a raucous night. Begin your evening around the campfire in the secret garden before descending underground into Brunel's Grand Entrance Hall for a rendition of wartime, music hall and East End tunes. Brunel Museum (Rotherhithe), £15, book ahead, 6pm-10pm

Friday 6 December

The Festive Fayre comes to Hampton Court Palace

FESTIVE FAYRE: Stock up your kitchen for Christmas at Hampton Court Palace's Festive Fayre. The food festival features live cookery demos from Michel Roux Jr, Alex Hollywood, Chris Bavin, Barney Desmazery and Marcus Bean, plus producers selling everything from booze to cheese to coffee to sweets. Tuck into street food to power you through the day, and enjoy live festive music on the bandstand. Hampton Court Palace, included in palace admission, book ahead, 6-8 December

THE CAVE: Watch new documentary The Cave, about paediatrician Dr Amani Ballour, who manages a hospital, treating a constant flow of bomb victims on the outskirts of Damascus in Syria. It's the latest work by Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad, who was also responsible for the Oscar-nominated Last Men in Aleppo. Bertha DocHouse (Bloomsbury), £9/£7/£5, book ahead, 6.30pm

CANDLELIT TOURS: Costumed tour guides lead seasonal candlelit tours around the Grade-I listed Eastbury Manor House. Learn about the people who've lived in the building over the past 500 years, and hear tales of disinheritance, destruction and decay. Eastbury Manor House (Barking), £10/£8, book ahead, 7pm-9pm

Saturday 7 December

The RAF Museum hosts a Christmas Gin and Swing evening

GINGERBREAD CITY: No drooling at the back! A model city made entirely from gingerbread goes on display today. Several teams of architects, designers and engineers have worked on Gingerbread City, creating buildings, bridges and other structures as part of a competition. Somerset House, £9, book ahead, 7 November-5 January

GIN AND SWING: Don your best 1940s togs and head to the RAF Museum for a festive evening of dancing and drinking. Master swing dancing at workshops and classes, show off your new steps with the soundtrack of a live band, and keep refreshed at the gin-heavy bar. RAF Museum (Hendon), £7-£17, book ahead, 6.30pm-10pm

ALL NIGHTER: Somerset House celebrates the 20th anniversary of its ice rink, and the current 24/7 show, with a skate and exhibition all-nighter. Experience one — or both — through the night as the site stays open. Well, that's one way to beat the crowds... Somerset House, £8 for skating and exhibition, book ahead, 11pm-8am

Sunday 8 December

It's the opening weekend of Gingerbread City

DICK WHITTINGTON: Fulham Palace hosts a pantomime rendition of Dick Whittington (oh no it doesn't...), telling the story of a man who heads to London to find those famous streets paved with gold. It's a very relaxed performance, so is suitable for smaller children and those who may find the traditional theatre setting challenging. Fulham Palace, £12, book ahead, 11am-12.30pm

E.T. IN CONCERT: Watch Stephen Spielberg's heartwarming 1982 film E.T. on the large screen, accompanied by a live soundtrack performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra. See a lost alien make friends with 10-year-old Elliott, as John Williams' famous score plays. Royal Albert Hall, £18-£78, book ahead, 1.30pm/7pm

JINGLE BELL LIVE: If you missed Saturday's Gin and Swing at the RAF Museum, head to the National Army Museum tonight for a similar event. Jingle Bell Live features music from the South London Jazz Orchestra, dance lessons from SwingDanceUK, and a bar open all night. National Army Museum (Chelsea), £18, book ahead, 6pm-10.30pm