Things to do this week is sponsored by Yamaha Music London.
GHOST STORIES: All this week, actor James Swanson performs a trio of Dickensian ghost stories in the house where author Charles Dickens himself once lived. Book ahead to hear A Christmas Carol, The Haunted Man, and The Chimes told. Charles Dickens Museum (Bloomsbury), £22, book ahead, 9-15 December
BARRICADE BOYS: Male vocal group The Barricade Boys perform a festive melee of show tunes, and pop rock and sing hits in their London residency. Check out the website for details of special guests on certain performances. The Other Palace, £20-£25, book ahead, 10-28 December
FASCINATING AIDA: All-female cabaret trio Dillie Keane, Adele Anderson and Liza Pulman return to Southbank Centre for a four-week festive run of Fascinating Aida. Expect topical, cheeky and hilarious songs. Southbank Centre, £22-£35, book ahead, 10 December-5 January
CHRISTMAS THEATRE: London's theatre scene is at its best at Christmas. If you fancy catching a show, check out our guides to the best pantomimes, best festive comedy shows, best Christmas dance shows, family-friendly performances and the best all-round festive options.
CHRISTMAS MARKETS: If you're in the midst of 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? There's a new addition to the line-up this week as City Island's ice rink opens on Thursday.
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
Monday 9 December
CARIBBEAN CHRISTMAS: Find out what Christmas in the Caribbean is like, at this evening of food, music and culture. Legendary reggae artist Dennis Al Capone and founder of Winstons One Love Fahrad Noir kick the evening off with a discussion about the golden era of reggae music. This is followed by a Caribbean-inspired, plant-based meal. Jones & Sons (Dalston), £30, book ahead, 6pm-11pm
CHICAGO: Come on babe, why don't we paint the town... at this screening of 2002 musical film Chicago. Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones will have you doing the Cell Block Tango in no time as they play two murderesses in jail together as they await trial. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £10/£8, book ahead, 7.30pm
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: Musical duo GreenMatthews and special guest Jude Rees take Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol back to its Victorian fireside roots, using an array of traditional and modern instruments and authentic musical arrangements to tell the festive tale. Water Rats (King's Cross), book ahead, £12, book ahead, 8pm
Tuesday 10 December
COMEDY BENEFIT: Dara Ó Briain, David O’Doherty, Joe Wilkinson, Abandoman, Dave Johns, and Jarlath Regan are among the performers at tonight's Aisling Comedy Benefit. The annual event tales place in the beautiful Union Chapel, and raises money to support vulnerable Irish people in London. Union Chapel (Islington), £25, book ahead, 6.30pm
CANDLELIT CAROLS: Warm up your vocal chords for an atmospheric candlelit carol concert in aid of Feed The Minds. The programme includes performances from the Quorum Chamber Choir, and sing alongs to well-known festive tunes. Southwark Cathedral, from £12, book ahead, 7.30pm-9pm
Make yourself heard at Yamaha Music London this Christmas
What’s Christmas without a bit of music? We always reckon the season hasn't truly begun until you've heard those first few notes from Fairytale of New York. If you're looking to create some seasonal musical magic in your own home (or give someone else the chance to), Yamaha Music London has you covered.
Handily located between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road stations, Yamaha Music London has a whole range of instruments to choose from, including acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards and pianos. What’s more, they’re giving away free online music lessons with qualified teachers when you buy certain instruments before 24 December. The lessons are carried out on a one-to-one basis over video-call, so you don’t even need to leave the comfort of home.
Not quite sure what you’re looking for? Book a free personal shopping experience to get up to an hour with a dedicated advisor to help you find your perfect instrument. Time your visit right and you’ll be treated to a free show by talented performers — award-winning singer/songwriter John Galea makes an appearance on 12 December.
To find out more, visit the Yamaha Music London website.
Wednesday 11 December
SOUND OF MUSICALS: Banish all thoughts of Julie Andrews as The Sound Of Musicals begins a short run. The show is a blend of musical theatre karaoke, vaudeville, variety, sing-along, and dressing up, starring Olivier award-winning drag star Le Gateau Chocolat and alternative drag artist Jonny Woo. Roundhouse (Camden), £15, book ahead, 11-14 December
WAR ON THE NHS: Watch filmmaker and journalist John Pilger's latest film The Dirty War On The NHS. It's a tribute to the health service, but also a warning against dismantling it, and tonight's screening is followed by a Q&A with Pilger himself. Bertha DocHouse (Bloomsbury), £12.50/£10, book ahead, 6.30pm
D-DAY HISTORY: Leading military historian Dr Peter Caddick-Adams offers a new perspective on the Allied invasion of France in June 1944. For his talk, he draws on a decade of archival research and thousands of interviews to discuss the experiences of every major military force involved in the operation including paratroopers, sailors and aircrew, resistance fighters in France, and even the German Wehrmacht. National Army Museum (Chelsea), £8, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm
Thursday 12 December
VOTE: It's polling day for the general election, so if you're eligible to vote, remember to leave some time in your schedule for that. Polling stations open 7am-10pm
ENCHANTED ELTHAM: It's the second weekend of this year's Enchanted Eltham. The light festival offers glittering tunnels, disco balls and talking trees around the moat of Eltham Palace. Follow the family-friendly trail through the grounds before toasting marshmallows on a fire pit, or trying out the Victorian fairground rides. Eltham Palace, £12, book ahead, 12-15 December (and next weekend)
THEATRE QUIZ: Emma Freud is the host for National Theatre's Christmas quiz. Watch as two teams of actors go head to head answering questions about the theatre world and taking part in challenges and tasks. National Theatre, £9/£6, book ahead, 5.30pm
A MODERN MISER: Scenes from A Christmas Carol are performed live in the house where Dickens himself once lived. Roam the house after dark, admiring its Christmas decorations, as members of Equapoise Theatre pop-up for theatrical renditions. The candlelit bar is open all night if you fancy a festive tipple. Dickens Museum (Bloomsbury), £18/£10, book ahead, 6pm
Friday 13 December
GRILLJAM: In summer, we had WingJam. Now the food festival is replaced by its winter cousin, GrillJam. Tuck into wings, BBQ food and festive dishes, all served in small sizes so that you can sample a few and vote for your favourite. Bussey Building (Peckham), £15, book ahead, 13-15 December
PINOCCHIO ON ICE: Fairy tale Pinocchio is retold on ice by a cast of talented skaters ranging from adults to young children. Watch the story told in front of your eyes in a family-friendly performance, featuring traditional and modern music. Alexandra Palace, £15.50/£13, book ahead, 13-16 December
PRIVATE EYE: Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, hosts a special evening looking back over 2019. Guests include Harry Enfield, Lewis MacLeod, Jan Ravens and John Sessions, and the discussion is followed by a signing of the new Private Eye Annual. National Theatre, £9/£6, book ahead, 5.30pm
Saturday 14 December
CIRCUS FEST: A two-day festival of circus arts comes to Greenwich. Take part in circus workshops and master trapeze, acrobalance or juggling, or watch the masters at work in special performances. There's a special circus room for under 5s, to ease them into things gently. Aircraft Circus Academy (Greenwich), £14/£12, book ahead, 14-15 December
CHRISTMAS LIGHTS BY BUS: See London's Christmas lights the fancy way — from the comfort of a vintage bus. Board the bus in Covent Garden and tour Embankment, Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street and Trafalgar Square, which are all dressed in their festive finery. London Transport Museum (Covent Garden), £17, book ahead, 14-22 December
Sunday 15 December
WINTER CINEMA: Luna Cinema's festive season at Kensington Palace begins today, with a screening of rom-com Love Actually. Over the coming week, Elf, Home Alone and other festive classics are screened in the Pavilion in the palace grounds. Kensington Palace, £18.50, book ahead, 15-22 December
SPARKLEFEST: Celebrate the winter holidays with a family-friendly light-themed festival. Sparklefest ties in with the current Rembrandt's Light exhibition, and includes candlelit storytelling, light drawing workshops, and other activities. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £8/£7, book ahead, 10am-5pm
HEATHER SMALL: Electric Ballrooms hosts a Christmas soul night, headlined by Heather Small, formerly the singer of M People. R&B singer Imaani, soul singer Zalon Thompson and the London Soul Choir are among the other performers, and the event raises money for Cancer Research UK and Macmillan. Electric Ballroom (Camden), £20, book ahead, 6pm-1am