Things To Do This Weekend In London: 2-3 December 2023

Looks like this article is a bit old. Be aware that information may have changed since it was published.

All weekend

CGI image of various neon signs, including planet Earth, a living room and some trees
The Luminaze is open in Wembley Park from this weekend. Image: Pablo Larrosa

CHRISTMAS IN LONDON: Now that we're in December, we reckon it's OK to mention the 'C' word. Our guide to spending Christmas 2023 in London has everything you need to know about the festive season, covering Christmas lights, ice rinks, markets, pantomimes, pop-up bars, Winter Wonderland and plenty more.

SPARKLE IN THE PARK: Residents of the Royal Borough of Greenwich are invited to Sparkle in the Park, a free, family-friendly light festival through Avery Hill Park. Wander through after dark, illuminated by fairy lights. There's a quiet hour on Sunday for visitors with with special educational needs and disabilities and sensory sensitivities. FREE, 30 November-3 December

QUEERIOSITIES: Queeriosities — a makers’ market led by LGBTQ+ creatives — returns to the Museum of the Home in Hoxton, with more than 40 vendors offering a selection of ceramics, paintings, sculpture, textiles, books, ephemera, homeware and gifts. 1-3 December

LONDON BALTIC FILM FESTIVAL: Films made in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are shown as part of the London Baltic Film Festival, taking place at the Ealing Project. Watch January — about Latvia's peaceful fight to regain its independence — or Kalev, about Estonia's elite basketball team, among other films this weekend. 1-3 December

FESTIVE FAYRE: Head to the Hampton Court Palace Festive Fayre for Christmas grub galore, this weekend and next. Wander among the courtyards and grounds perusing artisan food stalls selling everything from Christmas pudding and brownies to chocolate, cheese, biltong, coffee, cakes — plus gallons of booze. 1-3 and 8-10 December

TWENTIETH CENTURY POSTERS: Hunting for an extra-special Christmas gift? You might just find it at Twentieth Century Posters in Islington. This family-run independent shop boasts a unique selection of rare and original posters, plus ephemera and books. It’s open for extended hours every weekend in the run-up to 25 December, with poster expert (and former Head Curator at the London Transport Museum) David Bownes on hand to offer advice over a mulled wine. (sponsor)

EEL PIE ISLAND: The secretive Eel Pie Island in west London has one of its open weekends, inviting the public to cross the footbridge, step foot inside the artist studios and meet the creative people who work there. Browse and buy ceramics, oil paintings, jewellery, ceramic sculptures and more. Great for unique Xmas shopping. 2-3 December

Promo poster for Home Alone featuring Macaulay Culkin screaming with the burglars behind him
Home Alone in Concert comes to the Royal Albert Hall. Image: 1990 Twentieth Century Fox / Royal Albert Hall

HOME ALONE: There are many screenings of Christmas films in London at the moment, but we particularly like the sound of Home Alone in Concert. Watch Macauluy Culkin's 1990 antics on a large screen at the Royal Albert Hall, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the Crouch End Festival Chorus performing the score live. 2-3 December

LUMINAZE: A free to visit neon light maze, The Luminaze pitches up just off Olympic Way in Wembley Park for a month from Saturday. It's a walkthrough installation, with a specially curated soundscape, all centring around 4-foot tall centrepiece, The Hourglass. FREE, 2 December-2 January

GINGERBREAD CITY: London's tastiest exhibition returns, showcasing model buildings, transport hubs and other cityscapes, designed and created by teams of architects and engineers, and made from gingerbread and other sweet treats. This year's Gingerbread City has a watery theme, and takes place at Westfield White City. 2 December-7 January

THE SNOWMAN: We're walking in the aiiiiir! A free art trail of sculptures of Raymond Briggs' beloved character The Snowman is now open in and around Fleet Street. There are 12 of the frosty fellas to seek out, each one decorated by a different artist on the theme of the 12 Days of Christmas. FREE, until 5 January

TITANOSAUR: A reminder that you've only got until mid-January to see the Natural History Museum's current Titanosaur exhibition — and it's likely to get very busy around Christmas and towards the end of its run. See a cast of a skeleton of what is believed to be the biggest dinosaur species which ever lived, at a staggering 37m long. Until 14 January

Saturday 2 December

Black and white photograph of Hiroshi Sugimoto
Find out more about Sugimoto. Image: Hiroshi Sugimoto, Self Portrait, 2003 © Hiroshi Sugimoto. Courtesy of the artist.

ALBERT MEMORIAL: Go behind the railings to parts of the Albert Memorial which aren't usually open to the public, on a special tour. Get a closer look at details including the Frieze of Parnassus, and hear about how the monument came to be built as it was in Kensington Gardens. 11am-12.30pm

BEAR HUNT: Michael Rosen's children's book We're Going On A Bear Hunt is brought to life on stage at Woolwich Works, in two special performances today. See an intrepid family and their musical dog trekking through grass, river and mud in search of a bear. Age 3+. 11am/2pm

WINTER FESTIVAL: Poplar Union hosts a day-long Winter Festival to celebrate the festive season, kicking off with a treasure trail tea party for younger kids and their carers, followed by storytelling, family yoga, a juggling workshop, singalongs, crafts, and other activities, culminating in an open mic session. FREE, 11.30am-9pm

HIROSHI SUGIMOTO: Coinciding with its current exhibition, the Hayward Gallery hosts a panel of experts to discuss the inventive and inquisitive mind of photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. Hayward Gallery director Ralph Rugoff, artist Katie Paterson, curator Lena Fritsch and critic Ravi Ghosh examine the different and sometimes contrasting sides of Sugimoto’s work. 2pm

UNVERSED: Keats House in Hampstead hosts two performances of Unversed, a new theatre show about a young female actress who has got her hands on a discarded copy of Shakespeare's first folio, but is faced with the problem that all of the parts are all too out of reach for women to play on the public stage. 2pm/7.30pm

THE ENFIELD HAUNTING: Catherine Tate and David Threlfall star in the world premiere of new play The Enfield Haunting at Ambassadors Theatre. It's based on the true story of a family who claimed to experience supernatural activity in their home in Enfield in 1977. 2.30pm/7.30pm (until 2 March)

People viewing a huge dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum
Time's running out to see Titanosaur. Photo: Tabish Khan

ANIMATED MUSIC VIDEOS: As part of the final weekend of London International Animation Festival, watch a screening of animated music videos, at the Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, or online. See videos from all over the world produced in the past year, spanning a range of styles, techniques and genres. 7pm

BINGO LINGO: Boxpark Wembley hosts a festive edition of Bingo Lingo, a chaotic evening of live performances, dances and bingo, with prizes to be won. 7pm-11pm

WEST LONDON CHORUS: St Michael and All Angels in Chiswick is the venue for the West London Chorus concert, featuring performances of choral works Bach Magnificat and Vivaldi Gloria, accompanied by the British Sinfonietta. 7.30pm

A PISSEDMAS CAROL: One of the many variations of A Christmas Carol on stage in London this festive season, A Pissedmas Carol is now open at Leicester Square Theatre. It's by the Sh!t-faced Showtime team, with one cast member getting progressively more squiffy on stage throughout each show. 9.30pm (and selected dates until 6 January)

SCARED TO DANCE: Alternative club night Scared to Dance has bagged comedian Ivo Graham as guest DJ for tonight's event at The Victoria in Dalston. Expect to hear tunes from the likes of The Beatles, Beach Boys, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, New Order, Manic Street Preachers and many more. 10pm

CHRISTMAS FILMS: Get comfy at the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square, as it holds one of its legendary all-nighters, showing five Christmas films back to back. Watch The Muppet Christmas Carol, Elf, Home Alone, Gremlins and Die Hard throughout the night. 11.15pm

Sunday 3 December

A footbridge spanning the Thames between main land and Eel Pie Island
Visit the artist studios on Eel Pie Island this weekend.

UPCYCLING WORKSHOP: Got an item of clothing in need of repair? Take it along to Tipis on the Green in Parsons Green, and learn the basics of sewing and embroidering to visibly mend it, adding colour, texture and character as part of the repair process. 10am-11.30am

FAMILY RAVE: Take the whole family along to Big Penny Social in Walthamstow for the Hotsy Totsy Festive Family Rave. Dance along to songs played by a live DJ together, and get made up with special festive face painting designs. Aimed at children aged 8 and under. 10am-12.30pm

TUNNEL TRIP: The Canal Museum in King's Cross offers some of its seasonal mince pie tunnel trips. Board a canal boat at the museum and ride it through the Islington tunnel and back to St Pancras, with a guide offering commentary along the way. Everyone receives a mince pie and warm fruit punch (or tea/coffee) to enjoy along the route, which lasts approximately an hour. 10.30am-2.45pm

SPANISH FOR KIDS: Argentine musician and teacher Mariano Pose pops up at Rich Mix for games, music and storytelling for kids, in Spanish. It's suitable for children aged 3+ and their families. 10.45am/1.15pm

A DAY WITH MOG: Take the kids along to Waterstones on Piccadilly for activities with Mog the cat from Judith Kerr's children's book, Mog the Forgetful Cat. Have teatime with Mog, followed by storytime and other activities, as well as a chance to get some photos with Mog. 11am

VINTAGE FAIR: In need of a Christmas party outfit with a bit of flair? Get yourself to Chelsea Old Town Hall for the final Frock Me Vintage Fair of the year. 60 dealers from the UK and further afield are present, selling rare vintage and antique clothing, jewellery and textiles. It's not unusual for vintage British labels such as Ossie Clark, Bill Gibb and Biba to be found at the event. 11am-5.30pm

A woman in sparkly workout clothes pulling a yoga pose, surrounded by disco balls and Christmas lights
Festive disco yoga? Yes please!

FESTIVE DISCO YOGA: Don your sparkliest leotard and make for Woolwich Works, where there's a festive disco yoga session. Yoga queen Sarah and disco queen DJ Darlo team up for a lively workout session accompanied by festive tunes. Bring your own mat. 11.30am

COMEDY CLUB 4 KIDS: Aimed at children aged 6+ and their families, Comedy Club 4 Kids is exactly that — a comedy club where the jokes have been adapted for a younger audience. This one's a festive special, so there's a chance that Santa himself might make an appearance doing a bit of stand-up. 12pm/2.30pm

HAMPSTEAD TOUR: Join Footprints of London guide Marilyn Greene for a walking tour around Hampstead after dark, giving you a chance to see the streets illuminated by old-fashioned lamps, as well as the current Christmas lights. Wind through the back streets learning more about the area's history as you go. 4.30pm-6pm

GAMES NIGHT: On Shenanigans is an adults-only games night at pop-up beer garden Between The Bridges. Prepare for battle in the limbo, musical chairs, lip-sync battles and other games, with a DJ playing the soundtrack to the evening. 5pm-10pm

LONDON PIANO QUARTET: Comprised of four chamber musicians, the London Piano Quartet takes to the stage for this week's Sunday concert at Conway Hall. They specialise in works that have been historically and unjustly neglected, and perform Mozart's Piano Quartet in E flat K493, Walton's Piano Quartet in D minor, and Schumann's Piano Quartet in E flat Op.47. 6.30pm