Things To Do This Weekend is sponsored by Frameless.
ICE SKATING: Feeling a little bit festive yet? Embrace it at one of London's Christmas ice rinks, which are open all over town. Skate in the shadow of Somerset House, Hampton Court Palace or Battersea Power Station, among others.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL: A multitude of performances of Dickens' seasonal tale A Christmas Carol are now happening across London — from the traditional, to one with a Sherlock Holmes twist. Check out our guide.
CHRISTMAS FOR FREE: This can be an expensive time of year. Which is why we've put together a guide of 9 free things to do in London at Christmas, to help you get that festive feeling without parting with your hard-earned cash.
SANTA'S GROTTOS: The man in red makes multiple appearances in London at this time of year, at grottos and meet-and-greets all over town. You'll need to book way in advance for most of them — here's the lowdown on Santa's grottos in London this year.
LIGHT FESTIVALS: London gets LIT for the festive season, and not just with Christmas lights. Illumination festivals take place in botanical gardens, wetlands and palace grounds — with light tunnels, illuminated animal sculptures, fire gardens and other installations to ogle. Get booking for London's best light festivals this year.
FESTIVE DRINKING: 'Tis the season for warming your cockles at cosy pop-up bars — and London is absolutely covered in them. These are our picks for winter drinking pop-ups to sink a drink or two. Miracle at Henrietta is a particular favourite, just because it's SO DAMN CHRISTMASSY.
FESTIVE FLEET STREET: There's a flurry of seasonal activity along Fleet Street right now, including craft markets, bauble making, choirs, gin crafting and more. Check out the Fleet Street Quarter website for details. Until 15 December
SORTING BRITAIN: Time's running out to see Sorting Britain: The Power of Postcodes, the current exhibition at Clerkenwell's Postal Museum. It covers the history of postcodes in London, from Victorian origins to the present day, including how machines got involved in sorting our mail, and looks at how our postcodes influence our identity. Until January 2023
LUNA WINTER CINEMA: Pop-up film venue Luna Winter Cinema launches its festive season on Saturday, taking over the Kensington Palace Pavilion. Home Alone is first up on the programme, with festive classics including Love Actually, The Holiday and Last Christmas to follow in the next fortnight. The Pavilion, right outside the palace itself, has been decked out in festive finery for the occasion. 10-23 December
The UK's biggest immersive art experience is now open — and it looks spectacular
Here's a unique way to get your culture fix this weekend. Instead of peering at paintings on gallery walls, why not shake things up and step inside them! At Frameless, you can do just that — thanks to a combination of state-of-the-art projection tech, clever room design, and advanced motion tracking, applied to dozens of the world's greatest masterpieces.
Frameless is London's new digital art experience, the biggest of its kind in the UK. We're talking 30,000 square feet, with art seeping into almost every inch. It's split into four themed galleries: Beyond Reality (think surrealism and symbolism), Colour In Motion (impressionism and post-impressionism), The World Around Us (landscapes and cityscapes from across the globe) and The Art Of Abstraction (the clue's in the name). Across these, you'll find no fewer than 40 digital interpretations of works by Canaletto, Cezanne, Dali, Kandinsky, Klimt, Monet, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and more, set to a specially-curated score.
It's all been brought to life by world-leading art curators, visual artists and tech geniuses, including the team responsible for the London 2012 Olympic Games iconic opening and closing ceremonies. So expect meticulous attention to detail and top-tier escapism. You'll find it seconds from Marble Arch and Oxford Circus (handy if you're in the area for Christmas shopping), and there's a cafe-bar and gift shop onsite.
Frameless (6 Marble Arch) is open 10am-9pm, Sunday to Thursday and 10am-11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Get tickets here.
Saturday 10 December
DESIGN YOUR OWN: The Postal Museum has a pretty busy programme of Christmas activities this year, including a festively decorated Mail Rail. Today, the museum holds an arts-and-crafts workshop in which you can design your own gift wrap and tags. Print, colour, cut and paste to give a creative touch to gift giving this year. 10.30am-4pm
STEPNEY CHRISTMAS FAIR: Christmas shopping while supporting animals? Don't mind if we do. The Stepney City Farm Christmas fair brings together 35 stalls selling food, drink and festive gifts and crafts, with a brass band performing throughout the day. 10am-4pm
CHRISTMAS PJ PARTY: Take the kids along to the Charles Dickens Museum for a Christmas PJ Party. Turn up in your pyjamas for a morning of games, crafts, hot chocolate, and a screening of The Muppet Christmas Carol. There's a prize for the most festive nightwear, and your ticket includes museum entry so you can explore it afterwards. 10.30am-12.30pm
CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY: Join City Highlights guide John Finch for a walking tour around the City of London, focusing on what Christmas looked like in the Victorian period. Wander the streets, alleys and churchyards of the Square Mile, while hearing about how wealth and poverty could be found side by side in the area, and how this was reflected in Christmas festivities. 11am-1pm
JAPANESE WREATH: Nordic-Japanese restaurant Pantechnicon hosts a shimekazari Japanese wreath making workshop, led by Japanese floral designer Mariko Kinoshita of Matsurika Flowers. It marks Japanese festive celebration Shogatsu, the New Year, preparations for which begin in December, and the wreaths symbolise prosperity and good luck in the coming year. 11am/2pm (repeated tomorrow)
REGENCY BAKING: The kitchens at Sir John Soane's Museum have been gloriously restored, and children aged 7-10 are invited to get stuck into some Regency baking today, crafting cake and biscuits. Workshop includes a tour of the museum. 11am-3pm
SWEETIE CHRISTMAS: Valence House in Dagenham hosts A Sweetie Christmas, featuring a Christmas Market with local stallholders, a tree trail and festive crafts. Santa's in town too, although you'll need to book tickets in person at the reception to see him. 11am-5pm
CHRISTMAS ART MARKET: Swing by Rich Mix in Shoreditch for the DIY Christmas Art Market, and stock up on gifts for the art fan in your life. 100+ artists are present, selling art prints, ceramics, zines, clothing, prints, sculptures, jewellery, and more. 11am-5pm
HOME ALONE IN CONCERT: 'Tis the season for Christmas films aplenty, and today it's the turn of Home Alone to get the live orchestra treatment. Head to the Royal Albert Hall to see a young Macaulay Culkin get into all sorts of capers, while the Cinematic Sinfonia performs the score, live. 2.30pm/7.30pm
GOTHIC CHRISTMAS: The folks from London Month of the Dead are back at Guy's Chapel, this time with an eerily enchanting Victorian magic lantern show. 19th century phantasmagoric images are projected onto the walls with live piano accompaniment. 7pm
LIVE MUSIC: Step on board The Golden Hinde — the dry-docked ship near Southwark Cathedral — for an evening of live music. Folk troubadour Chris Fox and double bassist John Parker team up for a performance of chilled out tunes. 7pm-9pm
CHRISTMAS PODCAST RECORDING: Trivia podcast No Such Thing As A Fish — created by the makers of QI — hosts a live recording at Bloomsbury Theatre. Catch the presenting team Dan, James, Anna and Andy in a festive and very nerdy show. 7.30pm
HAVEN'T STOPPED DANCING YET: Aimed predominantly at people in their 40s and 50s, but open to anyone age 18+, Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet is a club night for anyone not ready to give up the party lifestyle. Head to Blackheath Halls to dance the night away to disco music. 7.30pm
A DICKENSIAN CHRISTMAS: Head to Southbank Centre for A Dickensian Christmas — an evening of Victorian carols, classics and a selection of readings from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Performers include the London Concert Brass and City of London Choir, presented by actor Stephen Mangan. 8pm
Sunday 11 December
CATFORD FOOD MARKET: Pick up Xmas stocking fillers from the likes of Catford Fire and Pat & Pinkys, while tucking into amazing food from Raastawala, and Mandala Himalayan Dumplings. There are plenty of festive drinks at Catford Food Market too, courtesy of Catford Rhumarrange, Lamad Wine and more. 10am-4pm
CRAFTY FOX MARKET: We've never walked away from a Crafty Fox Market without being tempted into a cheeky purchase or two, so we reckon the Christmas market in King's Cross will be a good bet for ticking a few bits off your Christmas shopping list. Over 100 specially selected traders are taking part, selling everything from jewellery to art prints, scrunchies, t-shirts, badges, plant pots and other ceramics, stationery... you get the picture. 11am-5pm
CHRISTMAS CERAMICS MARKET: Following yesterday's art market, Rich Mix is taken over by ceramic artists today for the Christmas Independent Ceramics Market. Pick up everything from sculptures to mugs and tableware to vases — treat yourself, or get your Christmas shopping done. 11am-5pm
CBEEBIES PANTO: Take the kids along to Barbican Cinema to watch a pre-recorded screening of this year's CBeebies Panto, Dick Whittington and His Cat. It was filmed in front of a live audience in Eastbourne, with plenty of catchy songs to keep little ones' attention. 11.15am
ANTI-CHRISTMAS FAYRE: The team behind the Satanic Flea Market — which we visited in October — hold an Anti-Christmas Fayre. The dark arts and crafts event has 90 stalls selling oddities, including underground fashion, cultural relics, unusual toys, occult trinkets, obscure records, bric-a-brac, human skulls and taxidermy. Safe to say, you won't find a lavender candle and box of fudge for Aunt Doris here. 12pm-6pm
PRE-LOVED CLOTHES SALE: In need of a new outfit for the festive season? Get thee to Fox and Firkin in Lewisham, which is hosting a festive pre-loved clothes sale. New clothes at a bargain price, in a sustainable way? Don't mind if we do. 12pm-6pm
CHRISTMAS WIND ORCHESTRA: If Crafty Fox Market (above) isn't enough to tempt you to King's Cross today, how about the Big Christmas Wind Orchestra and Choir's afternoon festival? Head to Granary Square for free performances by a variety of musicians and singers, all performing familiar festive tunes. FREE, 12.30pm-4pm
THE NUTCRACKER: Barbican Cinema hosts an Encore screening of The Nutcracker at Royal Opera House — that's a recording of the production, filmed at the ROH earlier this week. Watch Clara's charming Christmas Eve adventure involving her enchanted Nutcracker, the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy, accompanied by Tchaikovsky's famous score. 2pm
CHRISTMAS CABARET: Walthamstow's Big Penny Social hosts A Christmas Cabaret, performed by The Secret Society of Cabaret. Tuck into a Sunday roast with friends and family, as you watch acrobatics, live singing and burlesque acts. 2pm-6pm
LONDON SCREENTALK: Finish up your week with a screening of London, the film shot by artist Patrick Keiller over an 11-month period in 1992, offering an insight to life in the capital at that time. 30 years on, Keiller is in conversation with writer Owen Hatherley about the changes — and similarities — between then and now. 3pm
GHOST STORIES: A one-man show by Nunkie Theatre tells the ghost stories of M. R. James by candlelight, in the atmospheric surroundings of Guy's Chapel near London Bridge. Tickets include a free gin punch... just hold onto it tight, so you don't throw it in the air at a really scary bit. 7pm