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28 lovely things to do in London this week

By Stephanie Hartman
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The countdown to Christmas is on but you’ve still got a few chances to pick up last-minute gifts on Columbia Road, feast your peepers on a magnificent gingerbread city, and get stuck into festive-themed dishes at Kerb. Have a jolly good time before the man in red rolls in with the list below.

Things to do 

Carols for Shoppers, St James's Piccadilly, Tue, free. Break up your Christmas shopping with a detour to St James's Piccadilly where the likes of the Vigala Singers and musicians from the Royal College of Music Junior Department will be performing carols and readings.

Christmas at Thomas's Cafe, Thomas's at Burberry Regent Street, Tue-Thu, prices vary. The Christmas period sees the newly revamped Thomas's Cafe at Burberry host a series of events, demos and dinners in collaboration with The New Craftsmen who also helped redesign the space.

Recycled Christmas Wreath Workshop, Farmopolis, Wed, £3 suggested donation. Knocked off work early? Lucky you. For one of their last events of the year, Farmopolis is running a wreath workshop with a difference: you'll be making yours out of 100% recycled materials.

Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays, Columbia Rd, Wed, free. Now in its eleventh year, this evening time shopping event sees independent stores brimming with enticing gifts, carols singers along the way and mulled wine to sip while you shop.

A Georgian Christmas, Wesley's Chapel, Thu, free. Historic re-enactors recreate a Georgian Christmas at John Wesley's house for your delectation.

The A-Z of Sex Positive, 45 Charlotte Road, all week, free. Head to this pop-up sex education venue and shop to get schooled in the art of 'mind-blowing orgasms', sex toys and 'setting your partner on fire with oral sex'.

Museum of Architecture Gingerbread City, all week, free. Opposite the V&A there's a gingerbread village growing. Visit to see the village, and buy your own plot to support the Museum of Architecture.

…or check out more events happening in London this week.


Eating and drinking

KERB and StreetSmart Christmas Lunch, Kerb Gherkin, Thu. Give something back this Christmas by buying a festive-themed dish at KERB's lunch market at The Gherkin. At least £1 from each dish bought will go to StreetSmart – an initiative that donates money to charities supporting the homeless. 

MAST Chocolate Tasting Room Sessions, Mast Brothers, Thu, £25 (drinks extra). Wander round MAST Brothers' workshop, tasting everything in chocolate's journey from cacao nibs to truffle, bars and drinks.

Ancient Reserves ‘Whisky Boutique’ Pop-Up, secret London location, all week, prices vary. Warm yourself up this winter with a dram of whisky at a special pop-up shop hosted by one of Scotland’s last remaining independent, family-owned whisky makers: William Grant & Sons. 

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

James Yorkston

Live music and nightlife

Messiah, Royal Albert Hall, TONIGHT, £19.50-£64.50. In their 140th anniversary year, The Royal Choral Society presents their 134th annual performance of Handel's oratorio.

James Yorkston, Union Chapel, Tue, adv £14.50. The ruddy-faced Scots troubadour – a key member of Fife's brilliant Fence collective – plays his distinctive, coolly assured, almost flinty, yet subtly affecting, Delta-styled country blues.

The Nest Collective, Southbank Centre, Wed- Thu, free. Mercury-nominated folk kingpin Sam Lee heads up this group of roots music enthusiasts, who put on gigs across London with rising folk singers and acoustic songwriters.

Sleigh Bells Bling, Notting Hill Arts Club, Thu, £5. Pop, disco, electro, dance, R&B and Christmas tunes courtesy of SWYR and DJ Santa.

…or take a look at all the live music events in London this week.

Film

Cigarette Burns: ‘The Legend of Hell House’, Regent Street Cinema, Tue, £12, £11 concs. London’s leading horror film club Cigarette Burns presents a rare 35mm print of this iconic chiller adapted by fantasy icon Richard Matheson from his own novel.

Winter Film Club: ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, Electric Theatre, Wed, £13. We’ve all seen Frank Capra’s beloved story of seasonal suicide and redemption, but we can always watch it again.

Rochester Kino: ‘Black Christmas’, Genesis Cinema, Thu, £8, £7 concs. A rare 35mm print of Bob Clark’s underrated Canadian horror classic, the film that invented the seasonal slasher genre four years before ‘Halloween’. 

Or at the cinema...

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ★★★★☆ Gutsy rebels, a snarling villain, nostalgic pleasures and politics in a murky shade of grey – Gareth Edwards delivers a satisfying, gritty Star Wars prequel.

The Eagle Huntress ★★★★☆ A Mongolian girl breaks with tradition and trains to become an eagle hunter in this inspiring doc.

…or see all of the latest releases.

Theatre

The Red Shoes, Sadler's Wells, Tue-Thu, £12-£68. Superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne adapts the classic dance movie for the stage.

Mary Stuart, Almeida Theatre, all week, £10-£38. Juliet Stevenson and Lia Williams toss for the roles of Mary and Elizabeth in Robert Icke's genius Schiller update.

Dreamgirls, Savoy Theatre, all week, £20-£79.50. Amber Riley blows everybody else away in this '60s girl group musical.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

This week's best new art

Ken Price: A Survey of Sculptures and Drawings, 1959-2006, Hauser & Wirth, Tue-Thu, free. The ceramics on display here span half a century, and fall into two broad categories. There are the formal pieces: speckled, blobby, amorphous and weirdly sentient-looking. In many of them, sections appear to be lopped off, revealing a brightly coloured ‘flesh’ beneath. 

Rehana Zaman, Tenderpixel, Wed-Thu, free. A digital woman emerges form a virtual desert. Her skin is the same colour and texture as the sand and rock that she’s surrounded by. She melts into the landscape and re-emerges, disappearing into it yet standing apart.

…or see all London art reviews.


And finally


Win... a Samsung fridge freezer with 'Ice Age 5' 

Grab... to 47% off your last chance to see 'The Railway Children' we awarded four stars at the Kings Cross Theatre

Book… these gigs while you still can


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