Things To Do This Week In London: 20-26 November 2023

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All week

A red hut against a completely white backdrop
Last chance to see The Polar Silk Road at Natural History Museum © Gregor Sailer

POLAR SILK ROAD: The Natural History Museum's free exhibition The Polar Silk Road features photographs by Gregor Sailer, depicting how the melting of the Arctic sea ice is creating a new global trade route, and the human impact this is having on the otherwise pristine local environment. Eye-opening stuff, and you've only got until Friday to see it. FREE, until 24 November

SPACE CADET: Stand-up comedian Varun Thakur brings his new show, Space Cadet, to Soho Theatre. Expect an hour of stories, impersonations and observations, about topics including being married, wanting kids, his love for Mumbai and why he thinks marijuana should be legalised. 20-25 November

CROWN AND CORONATION: A reminder that light show Crown and Coronation takes place at the Tower of London every evening until Saturday. See images and video clips of monarchs, coronation ceremonies and the Crown Jewels projected onto the White Tower in the ticketed event. Until 25 November

FINE FUSION DINING: Fancy broadening your culinary horizons this week? 6 Hamilton Place is a luxurious dual concept restaurant in Mayfair where you can choose between Chinese and Middle Eastern set menus, or enjoy a fusion of the two cuisines when dining a la carte. That’s not the only win, though – you’ll be feasting in a truly spectacular setting, with fin de siècle elegance outside, and art deco glamour inside. Ideal for special occasions (private dining is available!) Open Monday-Saturday (sponsor)

A hot toddy with honey being drizzled into it
Grab yourself a limoncello hot toddy from Gelupo

SNOWMAN ART TRAIL: 12 decorated recreations of The Snowman appear in the area around Fleet Street, for the capital's latest free sculpture trail. The 1.6m-tall, individually painted sculptures are inspired by the 12 Days Of Christmas, and designed by various artists. The models are a tribute to both the animated festive film, and the original picture book by Raymond Briggs. FREE, 21 November-5 January

ICE SKATING: The majority of London's winter ice skating rinks are now open for business, with rinks in Greenwich and Finchley due to join them this week. They'll only get busier as we get closer to Christmas, so book your slot now.

LIGHT TRAILS: Wander through light tunnels, fire gardens, laser shows and more at one of London's light festivals and trails this year — some of which are already open for the season.

DRINK OF THE WEEK: As we plough into more wintry weather, calling in at gelato parlour might not be the first thing you think of, but Gelupo in Soho has transformed itself into a snuggly ski lodge, and alongside chocolate, orange & clove; and panettone gelato, is also dishing up mulled wine, boozy hot chocolate and limoncello hot toddy. Until 7 January 2024

POEM OF THE WEEK: "I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world..." so begins Tife Kusoro's ode to the Thames, as inspired by Illuminated River. Check out the poem with accompanying video here.

Monday 20 November

Boxpark with a rugby screen
Boxpark Wembley is screening England V North Macedonia tonight.

WINE TASTING: Brighten up your Monday at a wine tasting evening. Go along to the Great Northern Hotel in King's Cross and sample four different wines from the Puglia region of Italy, paired with nibbles. 5.30pm-7pm

DISCWORLD: Fans of Terry Pratchett will want to head to Waterstones on Piccadilly to celebrate the publication of Tiffany Aching’s Guide to Being a Witch. Authors Rhianna Pratchett (Terry's daughter) and Gabrielle Kent are on hand to discuss the book, which is written from the point of view of Discworld trainee witch Tiffany Aching. 6pm

NETWORKS: Want to hear the City's top bod give a free talk? Lord Mayor Professor Michael Mainelli is at Guildhall's Old Library to give tonight's Gresham lecture where he'll share his considerable research into multi-disciplinary networks. FREE, 6pm

EARTH WONDER: Land, sea, sky and nature are celebrated in Earth Wonder, a Royal Albert Hall concert performed by over 900 Barnardo’s Young Supporters, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. It's hosted by presenter Natasha Kaplinsky, and raises money for the Barnardo's Christmas poverty campaign. 6.30pm

FUTUREQUEER: Queer theatre-maker Alexis Gregory performs new theatre/stand-up comedy solo show FutureQueer in the Council Chamber at Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green. It's set in 2069, when Voguing and lip syncing are categories in the Olympics and there is a statue of George Michael on Hampstead Heath. 7.30pm (repeated tomorrow)

EURO QUALIFIERS: Looking for somewhere to watch England take on North Macedonia in the Euro qualifiers tonight? Boxpark Wembley is showing the match on multiple HD screens — otherwise, bag yourself a table at one of London's best pubs for watching football. K/O 7.45pm

DEFINITELY LOUISE: Head to Islington's Hope Theatre to catch Definitely Louise, a dark comedy about a young woman with undiagnosed neurodiversity, who's consequently angry with life. It's had some great reviews so far. 7.45pm

MONDAYS IN LONDON: Looking for something else to do, today or any other week? Take a look at our guide to things to do in London on a Monday — we've gathered together live music venues, comedy and cabaret clubs which keep going on what is usually the quietest day of the week, along with guided walks and tours scheduled on a Monday, and a few special offers too.

Tuesday 21 November

The back of a The Snowman sculpture, with the Tower of London painted on
The Snowman art trail opens on Tuesday — and it's free!

CHARTERHOUSE CHRISTMAS FAIR: The beautiful Charterhouse in Clerkenwell hosts its Christmas fair once again. Seasonal refreshments, accessories, crafts, clothes and homewares are available. It takes place on a Tuesday, so is likely to be less busy than other Christmas markets. Find other Christmas markets and fairs happening in London over the next few weeks. 21 November

ROMAN LONDON: Footprints of London guide Rob Smith offers a walking tour visiting the Roman remains which can still be found in London today — some tucked away in unexpected places. Join him in search of pavements and an amphitheatre dating back to Roman times, as well as parts of London's Roman wall that are surprisingly still intact. 10.30am-1pm

OXFORD HOUSE TOUR: Visit a 'secret chapel' as part of this guided tour of the Victorian building of Oxford House in Bethnal Green. Learn about the building's history, from being established as a 'settlement house' for students in the 1880s, through East End social movements and both world wars. 12pm-1pm

SUDOKU: What are you up to in your lunch hour? You could solve a sudoku... or you could go to this Gresham lecture on the mathematics behind the number grids, given by Prof Sarah Hart. FREE, 1pm

CONSERVED CORPSES: Robert Stephenson, City of London Guide Lecturer, offers a free talk about conserved corpses. Find out how bogs, deserts and frozen wastelands can immortalise human bodies, in a free talk at Guildhall Library. FREE, 2pm-3pm

SAVE LIVERPOOL STREET: The much-publicised plans to revamp and build over Liverpool Street Station have met with strong criticism from heritage groups and other concerned parties. Tonight at Bishopsgate Institute, Griff Rhys Jones hosts a public meeting to discuss the plans and rally opposition. FREE, 6pm

CLIMATE: A second Gresham lecture today, this time focussing on the ambition to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and whether it is remotely possible. FREE, 6pm

CHRISTMAS CHEESE DINNER: The final cheese dinner of the year at The Potting Shed in Marylebone has something of a festive twist. Begin with a welcome drink and canapés, followed by a three-course menu (with a cheesy undertone) paired with a selection of wines. Bacon scones and fried Wensleydale are among the evening's dishes... say no more. 7pm-10pm

SWEENEY TODD: The Earl's Courtiers launch their production of Sweeney Todd tonight — and it's more than just a theatre show; tickets also include a three-course meal and half a bottle of wine. We can't confirm whether or not they'll be serving pies. 7pm-10pm (also on 22, 23, 24 November)

Wednesday 22 November

Deelee Dubé dressed in black and looking at the camera
Deelee Dubé headlines Late Night Jazz at the Royal Albert Hall on Thursday

EAT & DRINK FESTIVAL: Head to Olympia London for the Eat & Drink Festival Christmas special, starting today. Pick up tips on preparing your festive feasts, with special demos from celebrity chefs; discover beers, wines and spirits to pair with your meal; and go home armed with goodies from the artisan food market. 22-26 November

LUNCHTIME CONCERT: The Rufians Vocal Ensemble take the stage at this week's free lunchtime concert by Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance — in the rather impressive surrounds of the Great Hall at Queen's House in Greenwich. FREE, 1pm-2pm

ANTISEMITISM: The notion that jews are conspiring secretly to undermine civilisation, order, or social and cultural stability dates back to medieval times and is sadly still very much alive today. In a Gresham lecture, Prof Sir Richard Evans looks at the history of such antisemitic conspiracy theories. FREE, 6pm

WESTMINSTER LGBT+ FORUM: The Westminster LGBT+ Forum hosts an evening of support and inclusion focusing on the brave act of 'coming out' and staying out. First hear from a panel who share their own coming out stories, and then from a series of support organisations talking about how they support LGBTQIA+ people. The evening ends in a celebration, with a chance to hear more about the group's work. FREE, 6pm-9pm

FOLK UNPLUGGED: Master of the English Concertina, Alistair Anderson and fiddle player Grace Smith perform together in a Folk Unplugged gig at Conway Hall. Anderson specialises in traditional music from Northumberland, while French dancing traditions are Smith's speciality. 7pm

KENNINGTON NOIR: 1954 film Suddenly, starring Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden and Nancy Gates, is shown at the Cinema Museum in Kennington. Set in the town of Suddenly, where the US President is due to visit, it features a gang of assassins taking over a house. Apparently, Sinatra asked for the film to be withdrawn from circulation following rumours that Lee Harvey Oswald had watched it before shooting JFK. 7.30pm

NATURAL BORN STORYTELLERS: 'Animal magic' is the theme of tonight's Natural Born Storytellers, an evening of often hilarious yarn-spinning, in which audience members are also invited to get up and tell their own tale. At Aces & Eights in Tufnell Park. 7.45pm-9.45pm

Thursday 23 November

A Thanksgiving meal, including a roasted turkey, surrounded by glasses of wine
Oblix at The Shard is one of the venues celebrating Thanksgiving in London.

THANKSGIVING: Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday in November each year, which happens to be today. Plenty of London restaurants are serving up traditional feasts for American expats, and anyone else who fancies getting in on the action. Here's our pick of where to celebrate Thanksgiving in London this year. 23 November

WIMBLEDON LIGHT TRAIL: Cannizaro Park in Wimbledon hosts a festive light trail, which takes 45 minutes to an hour to wander through. There are food and drink stalls along the way, along with fire pits for toasting marshmallows, and a Santa's grotto on selected dates. 23 November-17 December

PETER PAN GOES WRONG: The fantastic Mischief Comedy team are back with their annual festive show, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, opening tonight at the Lyric Theatre. It's a comedic retelling of J.M. Barrie's famous tale, where everything that can go wrong, does. 23 November-14 January

LUNCHTIME LECTURE: Tickets to the V&A's current Chanel exhibition have sold out, but no ticket is required to attend this free lunchtime talk by the curatorial team of that exhibition. It's a chance to learn about Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel's life and work in fashion, and get the lowdown on some of the pieces which feature in the exhibition. FREE, 1pm-1.55pm

BLACK GHOSTS: Author and journalist Noo Saro-Wiwa is at Stanfords in Covent Garden to discuss her new book, Black Ghosts: A Journey Into the Lives of Africans in China. It's a travel memoir of a Nigerian woman in China, exploring the lives of African economic migrants who've settled and made a home there, including a Ghanaian cardiac surgeon, a drug dealer, and a Nigerian popstar who sings in Chinese. 7pm-8.30pm

PUB(E) QUIZ: The recently reopened Vagina Museum brings back its regular Pub(e) Quiz night. Expect general knowledge trivia questions, team games, and a few special questions based on the museum's specialist subject. 7pm-9pm

CHARITY COMEDY: Nish Kumar and Dylan Moran are among the comedians appearing at Stand Up 4 Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust, a fundraising comedy gig at Islington's Union Chapel. Other acts, yet to be announced, will also take part. Doors 7pm

LATE NIGHT JAZZ: Award-winning singer Deelee Dubé and alto-sax master Tony Kofi team up for a Late Night Jazz session at the Royal Albert Hall. Head to the Elgar Room for a tribute to American saxophonist Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley and his collaborator, jazz singer Nancy Wilson. 9.30pm

Friday 24 November

A person among a sea of pink 'bubbles'
Bubble Planet opens in Wembley

BUBBLE PLANET: If a 'whimsical world of bubbles' is on your bucket list, then Bubble Planet, opening in Wembley today, is ideal. The immersive experience consists of 10 colourful rooms, each with a different theme, but bubbles remain the central focus throughout. From 24 November

FORTY HALL CHRISTMAS FAYRE: Forty Hall in Enfield hosts a three-day Christmas fayre — both inside the period rooms and out in the courtyard — showcasing local businesses, starting today. Mulled wine and mince pies are available to guzzle while you browse. 24-26 November

ANIMATION FESTIVAL: Tune in to a programme of animated films from all over the world at the London International Animation Festival, which begins today at Barbican Cinema. The opening night screening is a celebration of the work of British director and animator Paul Bush, who passed away in August this year. 24 November-3 December

A CHRISTMAS CAROL: There are many productions of A Christmas Carol in London in the coming weeks, including this one opening today at Alexandra Palace, adapted by Mark Gatiss, with Keith Allen as Scrooge and Peter Forbes as Marley. 24 November-7 January

LANTERN PROCESSION: Local schools and community groups take part in Illuminate Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, a lantern parade which takes a route from Market Place in Bermondsey to Southwark Park. Gather at the park bandstand afterwards for live music, and food. FREE, from 5pm

STORYTELLING FOR GROWN-UPS: Vanessa Woolf of London Dreamtime hosts a night of storytelling for adults at Richmond Lending Library. Get goosebumps listening to little-known tales about the local area, from ghosts haunting the corridors at Hampton Court to a highwayman terrorising the roads. 7.30pm

CRICK CRACK CLUB: Alternatively, head to Rich Mix where the Crick Crack Club storytelling crew are on hand to regale the audience with the tale of the 'spanking goddess', and other wild women who have been forgotten in Celtic mythology. 8pm

Saturday 25 November

A crown projected onto the side of the White Tower, which is illuminated purple
Tonight's the final night of Crown and Coronation. © His Majesty King Charles III 2023 -Royal Collection Trust - Historic Royal Palaces

AUDIO DESCRIBED TOUR: The Design Museum offers an audio described tour of current exhibition, REBEL: 30 Years of British Fashion, specifically for blind and visually impaired visitors. Artist and museum educator Andrew Mashigo leads the tour, highlighting some of the best new designers to emerge in London in the past three decades. 11am-1pm

BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH: Carnivorous restaurant The Jugged Hare in Barbican is now offering a brunch each Saturday, featuring dishes like black pudding croquettes, Suffolk muntjac, Yorkshire grouse classically served, rotisserie iron-age piglet — with bottomless Chapel Down wine for £25pp. 12pm-5pm

BAUBLE PAINTING: Swing by Dulwich Picture Gallery to take part in a workshop where you'll handpaint your own Christmas bauble. The event, for adults, teaches you the basics of brush lettering so that you can personalise your decoration for a loved one (or yourself!). Your ticket includes entry to the gallery and the current Rubens & Women exhibition. 1pm-3pm

CHELSEA V LEICESTER: Chelsea Women take on Leicester at Kingsmeadow in Kingston upon Thames today, with adult tickets starting at a very reasonable £15. Whether you're Chelsea/Leicester till you die, or just fancy watching some live footy, this'll make for a fun afternoon. KO 2pm

ICE HOCKEY: Watch north London ice hockey team Haringey Huskies take on Streatham Blackhawks in today's game at the Alexandra Palace ice rink. New to the sport, or need a refresher? Read our guide to ice hockey in London. 5pm

THE BRACKNALL: London-based Rock n' rollers The Bracknall are described as 'ones to watch', and you can watch them tonight, as they play the stunning EartH theatre in Hackney. 6pm-10pm

EXPLODING CINEMA: Taking place regularly at Kennington's Cinema Museum, Exploding Cinema is a showcase of new independent short films — they can be made by anyone and cover any topic, as long as they're under 20 minutes in length. 7pm

Sunday 26 November

A set of orange patterned teacups and saucers stacked up
Browse homewares and other items at the Winter Yard Sale.

WINTER YARD SALE: Hoxton's Museum of the Home hosts a Winter Yard Sale, offering you a chance to buy homewares, and products created by local artists and makers. The event supports the museum's Campaign for Change: Food Equality, and also includes an online fundraising auction with hotels stays, supper club tickets and other experiences up for grabs. 10am-5pm

COFFEE CONCERT: Ease into Sunday at Richmond's Orange Tree Theatre, where you can soak up Bach's Goldberg Variations and a cup of coffee. How very refined. 11am-1pm

VINTAGE POP UP: Vintage store Glass Onion pitches up at Big Penny Social in Walhamstow for a one-day pop-up shopping event. There are 40+ rails to browse, with prices starting at £10 per item, and free entry after the first hour. 11am-5pm

WEST END DRAG BRUNCH: The Otherist near Liverpool Street hosts a West End drag brunch, with drag queens from the West End stage singing, lip-syncing and death-dropping live as you tuck into a two-course brunch — with the option to add on 90 minutes of bottomless cocktails. 1pm-4pm

CRAFTING FOR ADULTS: Colour therapist and Londonist contributor Momtaz Begum-Hossain hosts a session of mindful crafts for adults. Take a break from the stresses of life and enjoy the pleasure of creating something with your own hands. Projects vary each session and could include anything from painting and collage to mindful sewing and embroidery. Takes place at Well Bean Co Café in Royal Docks. Age 16+. 4pm-6pm

ADHD LOVE LIVE: Husband and wife team Rich and Rox — authors of Dirty Laundry — are at Bloomsbury Theatre for an ADHD-friendly evening of comedy and conversation to raise awareness of ADHD and challenge the stigma surrounding it. 5.30pm

COMEDY: Spring Day, Amy Webber and Kazeem Jamal are on the line-up at tonight's West End Comedy Club, at Covent Garden Social Club, while Cecily Hitchcock MCs. Fancy a drink before kick off? Your comedy ticket gets you into Cocktail Club beneath the Arts Theatre, where there are 2-for-1 house cocktails from 4pm. 7.45pm

Good cause of the week

A social club which brings together older men (50+) at an outdoor venue in Hackney has been able to expand its activities, thanks to new funding. Hackney Dudes was founded four years ago by MRS Independent Living to fill a gap in the market for social activities for older men, and now runs from Dalston Curve Garden.

The group is now able to offer more activities, including an art group, a weekly Zoom call (often with a quiz!), a Dudes band, an electronics club, and fortnightly trips and outings around Hackney, London and further afield. It's all thanks to £60,100 funding from City Bridge Foundation. So if you're male, over 50 and could do with a boost to your social life (or know someone else who fits that picture), then check out the Hackney Dudes.