Things To Do Today In London: Thursday 19 December 2019

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Circus 1903 returns to Southbank Centre

Things to do

MAE MARTIN: Comedian Mae Martin is back for another rendition of her show, The Mae Martin Experiment. It's an hour of stand-up comedy, based on suggestions given by the audience. Soho Theatre, £15-£21, book ahead, 19-20 December

CIRCUS 1903: After a successful run last Christmas, Circus 1903 returns to London. Portrayed as a turn-of-the-(20th)-century production, it conjures up the golden age of circus, with jugglers, contortionists, trapeze artists and even elephants — using puppets instead of real animals. Southbank Centre, from £29.50, book ahead, 19 December-5 January

SANTA'S GROTTO: Goodman's Fields transforms into a winter grotto as Santa and his elves make a flying visit to east London. Children can visit him in the grotto and make any last-minute gift requests (cross your fingers they don't throw in any curveballs at this late stage...) and they can also meet and pet three of his reindeer. Goodmans Fields (Whitechapel), £5, book ahead, 4pm-9pm

Mae Martin performs at Soho Theatre

BOOKSHOP LATE: How does a lock-in at a bookshop sound? London Review Bookshop holds a free late-night shopping evening. Your ticket gets you 10% off anything purchased on the night, and the cafe also stays open late for festive refreshments. London Review Bookshop (Bloomsbury), free, book ahead, 6pm

FESTIVE OPEN EVENING: The former home of John Wesley, founder of Methodism, hosts a free festive open evening. See the house decorated for Christmas, and enjoy festive live music. John Wesley's House (Old Street), free, just turn up, 6pm-8.30pm

Meet Santa at The Winter Forest

MEET SANTA: Santa makes his final free appearance at the Winter Forest (yeah, we're not sure how he's in two places at once today either...). Children and their carers are welcome to go along and see him, and share their Christmas wishes among the snowy pine trees. Broadgate (Liverpool Street), free, just turn up, 6pm-9pm

FESTIVE CANDLELIT TOURS: Take a candlelit tour of Benjamin Franklin's House, the former home of the American Founding Father, and experience it as it would have been in the 18th century. Enjoy mulled wine and mince pies in the parlour before hearing about the building's history. Benjamin Franklin House (Charing Cross), £10, book ahead, 6.30pm/7.30pm

ACOUSTIC LATE: The bar alongside Natural History Museum's ice rink hosts a free evening of live acoustic music. Enjoy a festive drink or two as musicians VC Pines, Lazy Day and Chloe Foy serenade you, while skaters take to the ice nearby. Natural History Museum (South Kensington), free, book ahead, 7.30pm-10.30pm

Guy Barker's Big Band Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall

BIG BAND CHRISTMAS: Jazz musician and composer Guy Barker leads a big band in a rendition of festive hits at the Royal Albert Hall. Expect a swinging evening of jazz classics, unearthed treasures and Christmas oddities, with special guests including jazz singer and BBC Radio 2 presenter Clare Teal. Royal Albert Hall, £18-£80.50, book ahead, 7.30pm

FILMS TO BE BURIED WITH: Comedian Nish Kumar is the special guest at a special festive edition of podcast Films To Be Buried With. He chats to host Brett Goldstein about the best films of the past decade, across a variety of genres. BFI Southbank, £12-£15, book ahead, 9pm

Tube ponderings with Barry Heck

Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.

Anyone who's passed through Bank station in recent months will have noticed that it's a bit of a building site, as the complex is reconfigured and expanded. Even the signage is looking a bit limp-wristed. What would the underground's design godfather Frank Pick have made of this bit of ad hoc wayfinding? The District line is definitely not written in a Johnston typeface.

Follow Barry on Twitter @HeckTube.

Good cause of the day

The UCLH (University College London Hospitals) Charity holds its fundraising carol concert tonight. Enjoy an evening of music, mince pies and mulled wine at St Giles in the Fields. Find out more and book tickets.

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