Things To Do This Week In London: 26-31 December 2018

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All week

Get your skates on at Somerset House or one of London's other ice rinks

WALKS AND CYCLE RIDES: This week is practically one long weekend anyway, so grab your walking boots and head out on one of our weekend walk routes. See a part of London you haven't visited before, and best of all, it's free — unless you stop in a pub for a pint or two. If you got a new pair of wheels for Christmas — or want to get a head start on that New Year's resolution — test out some of these cycle routes through London.

ICE SKATING: Get out and about on one of London's many ice skating rinks, twirling and pirouetting to your heart's content at venues ranging from central London rooftops to outer London palaces. Booking is recommended this week, as they're all likely to be busy.

CHRISTMAS LIGHTS: Head into central London and hop on a bus to see London's Christmas lights without having to walk too far. Peer down on the sale-shopping crowds as you glide through Oxford Street, Regent Street and Piccadilly with the lights overhead.

Natural History Museum is another ice skating option

DUVET DAY: Don't fancy moving at all? That's fine — just top up your cheese board and plug into our YouTube channel. We've got videos about everything from tube secrets to airports, to some of the oldest and oddest businesses in London. If you like what you see, hit subscribe so you don't miss our 2019 videos.

PUB: Escape  from Monopoly and turkey for an hour or two by heading to the pub. Our guide to the best pubs in London has them categorised by area, so you can find one close to you in most parts of town — you might even discover your new favourite local.

Moana takes centre stage in Disney On Ice this year

CHRISTMAS AT LONDON ZOO: This is the first year of London Zoo's winter lights festival, winding through the zoo after the animals have gone to bed and featuring light sculptures depicting some of the creatures. £19.50 adult/£13.50 child, book ahead, until 1 January

ADVENT WINDOWS: All 24 of Greenwich's Advent Windows have been revealed, so you can now see them all in one go. 24 shops, schools, homes and pubs around Greenwich have an advent window on display, with a 'Field of Dreams' theme running throughout — here's a map of where to find them. Greenwich town centre, free, just turn up, until 2 January

CHRISTMAS FESTIVALS: Several of London's Christmas festivals — and yes, there are many — continue into the new year, with fairgrounds, ice rinks, food markets and other entertainment to banish the post-Christmas blues. If you're feeling the pinch, these festive things to do won't cost a penny — though of course there are plenty of ways to part with your money if you're so inclined.

Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Richmond Park

HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGES: Experience Richmond Park from the luxury of a horse-drawn carriage. Take a 60 minute ride through the park and then get a behind the scenes tour of the working stables. £125 for two, book ahead, 26-30 December

DISNEY ON ICE: Some of our happiest childhood memories involve a bucket of popcorn, a huge Slush Puppy, and a Disney On Ice show. The theme this year is 'Dream Big' (so far, so Disney), with Moana taking centre stage, joined by Rapunzel, Frozen's Anna, Elsa and Olaf, plus Jasmine, Ariel, Belle and other Disney classics. The O2 Arena (North Greenwich), from £32.25, book ahead, 26 December-6 January

Boxing Day: Wednesday 26 December

Ballroom dancing at Southbank Centre

FINDING FITZROVIA: Charles Dickens, Bob Dylan, Virginia Woolf and Marie Stopes are some of the famous faces to have frequented Fitzrovia. Follow in their footsteps on this walking tour, and hear stories of bad behaviour, and inspiring developments in medicine and science. Warren Street station, £10-£12, book ahead, 11am

SEVEN NOSES TOUR: Discovering London tour guide Peter Berthoud offers a special, extended version of his excellent Seven Noses of Soho tour — with added pub stops. He guides you through the streets of Soho in search of the seven noses rumoured to bring infinite wealth to anyone who finds them all, plus he shows some other hidden gems of the area, including a bonus ear. Not to be sniffed at. Starts at Covent Garden station. £29.50, book ahead, 12pm-3.30pm

LEARN TO BALLROOM: Put your dancing shoes on and take part in a free ballroom dancing session, where you'll learn the basic steps. Free, just turn up, 3pm. The lesson is followed by a social dancing session, which dancers of all levels are welcome to attend. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 4pm

GRACELAND: The London African Gospel Choir performs Paul Simon's Graceland album in its entirety, backed by a live band. The original album was recorded in Johannesburg with South African musicians, over a period of two weeks in 1986. The choir performs some of its own songs too. Jazz Cafe (Camden), £20, book ahead, 7pm

Things to do Thursday 27 December

Follow the path of the Great Fire of London

A MOST LAMENTABLE FIRE: Follow the path the Great Fire of London took through the City on this guided walk, starting at the spot where Samuel Pepys lived, and wandering from Pudding Lane to St Paul's Cathedral. City of London, £10-£12, book ahead, 11am-1pm

COPS AND ROBBERS: Kids can re-enact scenes from children's book Cops and Robbers at this family-friendly workshop. Help a brave police officer catch the robbers of London when they try to steal the toys on Christmas Eve, and keep an eye out for Granny Swagg. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 1pm/2pm/3pm (repeated tomorrow)

TANGO TIME: Argentinian Tango is the theme at Southbank Centre today, with an afternoon of dance lessons for beginners and improvers, social dancing and performances — everyone's welcome. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 2pm

GLENN MILLER ORCHESTRA: Renowned big band The Glenn Miller Orchestra blows away the cobwebs with a concert of 1940s songs and wartime chart toppers, accompanied by jazz singers. Barbican, £16.50-£32.50, book ahead, 2.30pm

FILM MUSIC: Composer John Williams's best-known works include the film scores of Jurassic Park, E.T. and Star Wars. Hear his music performed by the London Concert Orchestra. Barbican, £16.50-£44, book ahead, 7.30pm

THE GENTS: Four-part late-night party band The Gents perform an evening of smooth hits live on stage, from classic Marvin Gaye and Prince to modern day Usher, John Newman and Pharrell Williams. 100 Wardour Street, £15, booking recommended, from 8.30pm

Things to do Friday 28 December

Boot Led Zeppelin perform the band's early hits

MOZART AND BEETHOVEN: Choose between a concert of Mozart's work, played in candlelight by the Mozart Festival Orchestra in authentic 18th century costumes (2.30pm), or a rendition of Beethoven's Ninth, performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (7.30pm). Both take place at Barbican, various prices, booking required.

GREAT GATSBY: Dance like it's the 1920s at a Great Gatsby Christmas party at Cecil Sharp House in Camden. The Art Deco Orchestra performs live, and party games and competitions take place throughout the evening. Cecil Sharp House, £13-£16, book ahead, 7.45pm

BOOT-LED ZEPPELIN: The Half Moon's popular cover-band gigs continue with an evening of music from Boot-Led Zeppelin. Tonight, the focus is on Led Zeppelin's early days (1968-1973) — return tomorrow for songs from the 1974-1980 era. The Half Moon (Putney), £14/£16, book ahead, 8pm

Things to do Saturday 29 December

An evening dedicated to Aretha Franklin

PARTY HATS: Museum of London hosts a family-friendly party hat workshop. Choose between an office clerk’s bowler, an aristocratic top hat or the Queen’s crown  and decorate it, then look out for similar hats in the museum's galleries. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 29-31 December

MUSIC OF BOND: The London Concert Orchestra plays a concert of music from James Bond films, including Skyfall, Live And Let Die and Casino Royale. Barbican, £16.50-£42.40, book ahead, 2.30pm

WINTER'S A DRAG: London's drag kings and queens lead a free day of activities including songs, stories, dance workshops and performances. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 12pm

ARETHA'S ANTHEMS: Black Voices Quintet pay tribute to the late, great Aretha Franklin, with this performance of greatest hits from her 50 year career, spanning gospel, blues, jazz and soul. Jazz Cafe (Camden), £15-£20. book ahead, 7pm-11pm

Things to do Sunday 30 December

Wrap up the year at Southbank Centre

SOHO ROCK 'N' ROLL: Take a guided tour of the venues and locations linked to Soho's legendary music history, and find out how the area's clubs changed the world of rock and pop music. Piccadilly Circus, £12/£9, book ahead, 11am

2018 WRAP UP: This family-friendly day of comedy and creative writing takes a lighthearted look back at 2018, and helps you set resolutions for the new year. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 12pm

Things to do New Year's Eve Monday 31 December

Join a Sculpture In The City guided walk

If you're looking for parties and places to countdown at midnight, here's our guide to New Year's Eve happenings. For daytime events, read on:

PLANT HUNT: Get out in the fresh air and join South London Botanical Institute for a walk around Brockwell Park, spotting as many different species of plant and wildflower as possible. Brockwell Park, free (donations welcome), just turn up, 11am-1pm

SCULPTURE IN THE CITY: Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas are among the artists whose work is on display at this year's Sculpture in the City, a trail of artworks dotted through the Square Mile. Join this guided walk to visit each of the artworks and hear a bit more about them. Liverpool Street station, £12/£9, book ahead, 11am

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY: Head to the Prince Charles Cinema for a screening of 1989 rom-com When Harry Met Sally starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. I'll have what she's having. Prince Charles Cinema (Leicester Square), £11, book ahead, 6pm

COMEDY CARNIVAL: Pick from venues in Leicester Square and Clapham for Comedy Carnival's New Year's Eve shows. Tom Deacon and Bobby Mair are among the acts taking the stage. Choose between just a show ticket, or a show + club ticket, to continue partying long after the show's over. Various prices, book ahead, from 7pm

If you're looking ahead to New Year's Day, here's our guide to things to do on 1 January, including London's New Year's Day Parade.