There’s no finer place to be than London in the run up to Christmas; the fabulous markets, the late night shopping – the capital comes alive as winter approaches. Let’s face it though, Oxford Street can get a bit much at times can’t it? Better to visit London this autumn with a decent plan B – with that in mind, here’s a run-down of the best events going on around the capital in the coming months…
Urban Food Festival
Until 11th October
It’s your last chance to catch this fab weekly event that’s been gaining popularity throughout the year and finishes in mid-October. Head to Shoreditch, London’s trendiest area, and sample a couple of dozen global cuisines from the assembled food trucks and stalls. With food as varied as souvlaki, jerk chicken and even deep-fried frog’s legs – as well as a special section for vegans and vegetarians – catch this Saturday evening festival while you still can!
The Art of the Brick
26th September – 4th January
Nathan Sawaya’s surprising and impressive collection of artworks created exclusively from Lego has proven incredibly popular all around the world – having been on display in New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Melbourne and Brussels, the exhibition has attracted millions of visitors already. Now, finding an appropriate home on London’s Brick Lane, Sawaya’s unique artistry is all set to take the capital by storm. Art, engineering and Lego fans rejoice – this is the event for you.
London Literature Festival
30th September – 13th October
Returning for another year, with a fantastic programme of world-class authors and poets to take to the stage, the London Literature Festival is to take residence in the Southbank centre for a fortnight this autumn. Featuring a fantastic wealth of gifted speakers including double Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, polymath Stephen Fry, legendary poet John Cooper Clarke and Mercury Prize nominated poetry-rapper Kate Tempest. This year’s special theme of ‘Liberty’ is dedicated to the late, great author Maya Angelou and will include a special talk by Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti.
Bond in Motion
Until March 2015
Not to be forgotten about, the incredibly popular Bond in Motion Exhibition at London’s Film Museum delves deep into 007’s history and fans of the franchise would be silly to miss this wonderful collection of cars and memorabilia. Highlights of the display include the Rolls-Royce Phantom III from Goldfinger, the underwater Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me and the Aston Martin DB5 from GoldenEye.
The Lord Mayor’s Show
Each year around half a million people gather to watch this incredible pageant; originally intended for the Lord Mayor of London – the City of London, not Boris – to swear allegiance to King John, the day evolved into a carnival-like procession by the 16th century. Samuel Pepys’ diary includes an entry on the show, and the gilded and beautiful State Coach traditionally takes a route past St Paul’s Cathedral on its way to the Embankment. The show concludes with a spectacular fireworks display over the Thames, so be sure to pick a prime position on one of the bankside roads.
8th November – 3rd January
Starring Aled Jones and Tom Chambers this stage production of the Bing Crosby classic is just about as good as it gets – fantastic music, Old Hollywood glamour and an uplifting Christmas story that’s perfect for the most wonderful time of the year! Bringing star quality to their roles as two ex-Army pals who help out at their old commander’s failing Ski Lodge, Strictly Come Dancing stars Jones and Chambers will be lending their dulcet tones to such classic songs as Let Yourself Go, Count Your Blessings, Blue Skies and – of course – White Christmas. Staged at London’s Dominion Theatre, it’s also handily placed right at the end of Oxford Street – perfect for a pre-theatre shopping spree!
21st November – 4th January
No event is more magical than the Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park. It’s free to wander round and soak up the festive atmosphere; stay and treat yourself at the wonderful food stalls or experience the joy of the fairground rides and the complete hilarity of friends and family members attempting to skate on the large (and very beautiful) ice rink. There’s simply no nicer way to get yourself into the Christmas spirit!
Christmas at Kew Gardens
26th November – 3rd January
A special Christmas treat that’s utterly charming, Kew gets a festive makeover and opens its gates after dark for a special illuminated trail through the ever-pretty botanical gardens. Besides the fabulously festive row of Christmas trees and holly bushes, there are vintage rides, musical performances and even a light show to enjoy with the whole family long into the winter night.
Planning a trip to London in the run up to Christmas this year? Let us know in the comments section below!