Your guide to festivals in London, including music, food, comedy and the arts
Great festivals taking place in the capital
Dutch artist Rombout Frieling has created some rather unusual wind-powered illuminations for Middle Dock’s winter display this year. The little fluttering lights are called Flumens and are arranged in the shape of sails that are responsive to the breeze. Head down after dusk to catch the full effect. The lights are viewable 24 hours a day. For more Christmas lights, see our feature.
Festive flower displays fill Hampton Court Palace, along with parping brass bands, carol singing, wreath making and a variety of arts and crafts.
For two weeknds St John's Wood High St will be transformed into a winter wonderland, with a free Santa's Grotto, which also features a 'posting letters to Santa' workshop and goody bags, and a Christmas Lucky Dip. The latter is £2 per ticket (recommended donation) and prizes include being zoo keeper for a day at ZSL London Zoo, a brand new bike and more.
Do you find yourself ruining the lead up to Christmas by scoffing your whole chocolate calendar on December 1? Greenwich's living advent calendar will ensure a little bit of suspense stays with you all the way to Christmas Eve. One by one shops, homes, schools and pubs will reveal their displays until December 24. The 2013 theme is Heaven and Earth. Go online to find a map of the venues and timings.
If the buzz of Oxford Street leaves you cold, this alternative Christmas destination could be just the thing. Centred around the piazza but also taking in some of the streets radiating from it, Covent Garden Christmas offers a wide range of festive treats, all of them beginning on Wednesday November 6 when the lights are switched on at 6pm. A range of other activities throughout the festive period includes the opening of a Lego advent calendar window every day from November 14 to
Strictly a spectator event, unless you happen to be a regular, not to say hardy, member of the Serpentine Swimming Club, this race takes place each year on Christmas morning. The organisers point out that unless you're accustomed to swimming in extremely cold water (temperatures of below 40 degrees F are the norm), an impromptu dip could be the last swim you ever take – so you can't join the Club on the day and take part. Much better anyway to make watching the race the focus
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Heralding the start of 2014, London's official New Year firework display from The London Eye and barges in the Thames is certain to be a spectacular show against a stunning backdrop. The display will be broadcast live on BBC One. If you're planning to head into town to watch the fireworks live, don't leave it too late or you may find yourself being turned away. Good viewing spots are limited (designated viewing areas along the Thames fill up by around 9pm). Don't make for the
The annual London New Year's Day Parade features 10,000 performers representing 20 countries, including Pearly Kings and Queens, cheerleaders, marching bands, dancers and representatives from West End shows. The American-style extravaganza of musicians – a number of bands from the USA fly over to take part – dancers, acrobats, clowns and floats twirl, march and drum a 2.2-mile route beginning at the Ritz Hotel, taking in Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall,
The Boy with Tape on His Face
Afternoon tea for two in Dalston
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