Things To Do Today In London: Friday 15 December 2017

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Things to do today is sponsored by The Postal Museum.

This Christmas time join with friends and family to explore the grounds of Eltham Palace after dark as it opens up a winter fairy-tale of light, colour and sound.

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Things to do

ENCHANTED PALACE: Whether you're looking for a bit of a history lesson or just some pretty lights to fill your Insta feed on this cold winter night you'll find it at Eltham Palace and its grounds, which will be lit up with twinkling, medieval-themed illuminations. Eltham Palace, £12, book ahead, 4.30pm-9pm, until 23 December

CHILDREN'S BOOK FAIR: Wondering what to feed the mind of your little bookworm? There'll be plenty of literary inspiration, arty workshops, author readings and a live drawing session with illustrator Emily Rand at the London Children's Book Fair. Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, free, book ahead, 15-16 December

VIOLINS & BUTTERFLIES: If you missed out (or can't afford Nutcracker tickets) but still want to get your ballet fix, head to Devonshire Square to see the Sophie Adams Ballet Company, who will be twirling their LED tutus and enchanting butterfly costumes with illuminated wings. Devonshire Square (Liverpool Street), free, just turn up, 5pm-5.45pm

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Mail Rail: A Christmas gift like no other

Struggling to find a truly original Christmas present? Try a slice of hidden underground history.

Tickets to Mail Rail at The Postal Museum are the perfect gift that can be enjoyed by the whole family. You'll be giving a unique gift:

  • A 20 minute ride through a stalactite-filled network of tunnels. These were previously used by Royal Mail to shuttle millions of letters and parcels from one end of London to the other. The ride is narrated by a former Mail Rail engineer, who worked in the tunnels for 40 years, and incorporates an impressive audio visual display that is projected onto the walls of the former Mail Rail platforms.
  • Access to a Mail Rail exhibition in a former engineering depot, deep below Mount Pleasant Sorting Office in Clerkenwell.
  • Access to The Postal Museum across the street, which reveals five centuries of Britain’s social history, and tells the story of the earliest social network: the post.

That's got to be better than another pair of socks or bottle of bubble bath.

Tickets cost £16 each, including a £1.50 gift aid donation. The Postal Museum and Mail Rail, Phoenix Place, WC1X 0DA. Open every day, 10am-5pm, except 24-26 December 2017.

LIGHT NIGHT: This pretty oasis in the opposite Dalston Junction station is one of east London's best-kept secrets. Pull up a tree stump seat among the fairy lights and make the most of the winter greenery away from the high street traffic. Double bass Dan & Friends play this evening. Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, free, just turn up, 5pm-10pm

VEGAN MARKET: Browse animal-free cosmetics, pleather goods and meat-free treats for your vegan mates (or yourself) at this new night market. We've heard there might even be something that tastes suspiciously like Baileys (without the dairy). London Irish Centre,  just turn up, 5pm-10.30pm

The London Children's Book Fair is certain to fire up young people's imaginations.

ROOF PARTY: Just 'cause the sun's done a runner doesn't mean you have to stay in. Especially when there's a rain-proof, heated rooftop to party on. At the launch tonight expect a photobooth/grotto, free shots and Christmas-themed sets from the DJs. Dalston Roof Park, £10, book ahead, 5pm-midnight

CHRISTMAS QUACKS: Seen the BBC's hit series Quacks and wondering if the 19th century world of medicine was really THAT gruesome? Meet the team behind the series over a mince pie (if you aren't put off your food). Royal College of Physicians (Marylebone), £9.57, book ahead, 6pm-8pm

MOOMIN LATE: There's no shame in being a grown-up Moomin fan, as many will attest at this gallery late put on just for you weirdos (joking!). Create a Moomin-inspired self-portrait, enjoy candlelit readings of Moomin stories and drink cocktails at this adults-only late. If you've got kids check out the child-friendly programme happening this weekend. Dulwich Picture Gallery, £12.50-£15.50, book ahead, 6pm-10pm

WREATH MAKING: Come and get hands-on with pine cones, chestnuts, baubles and berries at this wreath-making workshop, which is also BYOB, if you need to get the creative juices flowing. M.Y.O @ re-creation (Borough), £30, book ahead, 6.45pm

BRIXTON BURLESQUE: For sassiness, sex appeal and tongue-in cheek humour, pull up a seat at the South Pole Saloon, where striptease artist Dinah Might is putting on a show alongside a pop-up lingerie boutique from Rosie Von Boschan. Brixton Rooftop, from £19, book ahead, 7.30pm-9pm

Good cause of the day: Do your Christmas shop and support Calais

Bridge the Channel is a pop-up shop, where you can buy the work of local south London makers, take part in free screen printing and drawing workshops and donate your stuff or your money to L'Auberge des Migrants, a charity providing vital support to vulnerable people in Calais. Pempeople (Peckham), free, 10am-7pm, 15-17 December

Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing...

The Harry Potter Christmas Tour

Get sorted into one of the four magical houses of Hogwarts, and go in exploration of the city’s famous filming locations on this 2-hour walking tour. You’ll meet your guide outside the Palace Theatre, where Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is showing, and set off on your journey across town - following in the footsteps of Deatheaters, visiting the inspiration for Knocturn Alley, and marvelling at the Ministry of Magic. And you better brush up on your Potter knowledge, because you can earn points for your house along the way, by taking part in trivia quizzes. The winners? You’ll find out when the tour ends at Platform 9 3/4… Get tickets

Therapeutic Potential of Magic Mushrooms

Tripping as treatment? It exists, and scientists at some of the world's most prestigous universities are studying the benefits of single-use psychedelic sessions to treat severe mental health conditions. But do hallucinogenic drugs have a place in our hospitals? Initial results have been positive, but how do these sessions work? What do these scientists use? What do the participants themselves have to say? Clinic Psychologic Dr Rosalind Watts leads this fascinating talk into the potential successes and pitfalls of using psychedelics in medicine, using her own personal experience as a "trip-sitter" at Imperial College London.  Get tickets

The Original London Loo Tour

We’re fed up of bog standard London tours. Been there, done that. So how about learning some more about the history and surprisingly dynamic modern politics of London’s public toilets? This 1.5hr walking tour covers iconic London from a whole new perspective, as you learn about ‘spending a penny’ at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and explore the capital’s most patriotic toilet. The tour ends in the Cellar Door Cocktail bar, a former gentleman’s lavatory. Delightful. Get tickets