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30 wonderful things to do in London this weekend

Written by
Alexandra Sims

It’s the last weekend of November. Bid the month a fond farewell by sweating it up in a rooftop sauna, going on a treasure hunt around the V&A or looking at Kew Gardens’ new Christmas illuminations. Enjoy! 


‘Sister Act’ Live Choir. St Marylebone Parish Church. Sat. £20-£25. It’s the feelgood film you can’t help but sing along to and now you can watch ‘Sister Act’ while a 25-piece gospel choir and band belt their hearts out alongside the on-screen nuns. We can almost guarantee you’ll be on your feet by the end.

Waeska. The Mandrake Hotel. Have a well-earned weekend tipple at our bar of the week – an outlandishly decorated drinking den at boutique hotel The Mandrake. Don’t miss the bar’s tropical terrace.

Jugemu. 3 Winnett St, W1D 6JY. Fill your belly this weekend at our restaurant of the week – a relaxed Japanese joint from Yuya Kikuchi, formerly of Kirazu. The hand rolls are the best in town. End of.

Modigliani. Tate Modern. Until Apr 2. £17.70. The bohemian bad boy’s unmistakable works, which is full of people with stretched features, almond-shaped eyes and mask-like faces, are shown in all their glory at the artist’s largest UK retrospective to date.

Network. National Theatre. Until Mar 24 2018. £20-£60. Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 satirical Oscar-winning masterpiece ‘Network’ is spectacularly staged. It’s a garish, overwhelming storm of light and sound and video, powered by a stupendous performance from Bryan Cranston.

Tate x Pure Filth. Tate Modern. Until Dec 10. £15-£35. See Modigliani on a full stomach with nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson and chef Gizzi Erskine’s pop-up Tate dinners.

Yule Jog: Christmas Lights Running Tour. Various London locations. Until Dec 20. £18. Take in the Christmas lights, trees and markets, plus a few festive tales thrown in for good measure, while you pound the pavements along Carnaby Street, Regent Street, Harrods, Sloane Square, Regent Street, Bond Street and more.

Finnish Rooftop Sauna. Queen Elizabeth Roof Garden Bar & Cafe. Until Dec 30. From £15. Work up a sweat at this sky-high Nordic sauna right on the South Bank. Bare your glorious midriff (and nothing else, this isn’t Finland!) at the unsuspecting National Theatre punters below.


Primrose Hill Christmas Festival. Regent’s Park Rd. Sun. Free. Fill your face with street food, let the kids loose on fairground rides and pick up a mulled wine or three while you wait for the pretty Primrose Hill Christmas lights switch on.  

The Mark Makers Drawing Workshop. Camden’s Daughter. Sat. £30. Illustrator Alice Nyong will show you the ropes when it comes to producing exciting drawings from still life. Disco balls, tropical fruit and colourful objects will be set up to sketch from.

UK Beatbox Championships 2017. The Garage. Sun. £16. Beatbox lovers from around the world hit up Islington for an intense head-to-head tournament, where talented wordsmiths push the boundaries of vocals, technology and teamwork to reach the World Finals.


David Blandy: The End of the World. Seventeen Gallery. Until Dec 16. Free. This immersive video and virtual reality art about the end of the world sends you spinning through the solar system as a narrator talks about the sun collapsing in 5 billion years. Sure, it’s not cheery, but it does feel very real.

London International Documentary Festival. Sat-Sun. £15-£70. Arrive primed for debate at this thought-provoking film fest, which will keep the conversation flowing long after the credits have rolled.  

Independent Label Market. Old Spitalfields Market. Sat. Free. Flick through sleeves housing records from labels including Rough Trade, Secretsundaze, Erased Tapes and Sonic Cathedral. Sip independently brewed beer from the London Brewers’ Market when your bags are bursting with indie records.

Mindful Drinking Festival. Spitalfields Market. Sat. Free. Sober-curious or on the wagon? Swap your weekend hangover for the festive edition of this booze-free fair with non-alcoholic beer, wine and low-sugar craft soft drinks.

Shop by Riposte. KK Outlet. Until Dec 22. Free, some events ticketed. Riposte bills itself as a smart magazine for women, and the founders have a gathered a whole bunch of them together for this celebration of female artists, designers and makers.  

Santa Paws. Netil Market. Sun. Free. Dog lovers can get their mutts – sorry, mitts – on designer petwear, pooch-friendly peanut butter and doggie cushions at this cool canine market.  

Winter La La Land. Last Days of Shoreditch. Until Dec 16. Free. Tuck into dinner, drinks and dancing at this winter pop-up near Old Street. Cheeky Burger, vegan joint Biff’s Jack Shack and BBQ maestros Smokey Tails cater while DJs play house and techno.

Santa Adventures. Sutton House. Until Dec 17. £6, £5 child. Santa’s booked the weekends off work in the run-up to Christmas so he can tell tales about his hundreds of years running everyone’s favourite festival in the beautiful setting of 500-year-old Sutton House.

Hyper Japan Christmas Market. Tobacco Dock. Sun. £15-£17. Browse stalls selling Japanese fashion, toys, wrapping paper and crockery, then pick up edible presents in a food hall packed full of exotic teas, chocolate and Japanese snacks. Or sip sake while you bask in traditional Japanese illuminations. 

Craft Central Winter Market. Craft Central at the Forge. Sun. Free. Craft Central has a brand new home, and to celebrate, the doors are being thrown open for this market featuring work from over 50 craftspeople. Pick up homeware, fashion, accessories and stationery, then take part in family-friendly workshops.


Winterville. Clapham Common. Until Jan 1. Free entry. This festive playground is back, swapping Victoria Park for Clapham Common and featuring more dancing, eating, laughing, drinking and skating than you can shake a snowglobe at.

Crafty Fox Market. Battersea Power Station. Sat-Sun. Free entry. Stock up on prints, cards, ceramics, textiles and homeware at these markets showcasing the work of independent makers and artists from across the UK.

The Scandinavian Christmas Market. Albion St. Sat-Sun. Free entry. Rotherhithe’s Finnish and Norwegian churches provide the backdrop for this traditional market selling Scandinavian treats, decorations and gifts. Tuck into hearty dishes and sip a warming mug of Swedish glögg.

Father Christmas at Morden Hall Park. Morden Park Hall. Until Dec 10. £10 per child. Make festive crafts and visit Father Christmas in his magical grotto; he’ll be giving little ones personalised gifts to take home.


Magical Lantern Festival. Chiswick House and Gardens. Until Jan 1. £12.50-£14. Need a break from all the angels and snowflakes hanging from lamp posts? Take a stroll through the illuminations at Chiswick House inspired by Chinese New Year celebrations. They’re nothing short of dazzling.

Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink. Hampton Court Palace. Until Jan 7. £14. Head to the former home of chop-happy Henry VIII and strap on some blades of your own for a whizz around a 1,040-square-metre ice rink.

Christmas at Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens. Until Jan 1. £18.50. This mile-long twinkling trail, complete with singing trees, a flickering Fire Garden, kaleidoscopic projections and giant flora-inspired lights should keep your Insta feed busy for a while.

A Gift Like No Other: Christmas Pop-up Shop. 262 Kensington High St. Until Dec 7. Free entry. This market is the handiwork of the London Designer Collective, who’ve brought together a bunch of emerging and innovative fashion and lifestyle brands for this premium shopping extravaganza.

THATMuse Festive Feasting Treasure Hunt. V&A. Sat. £10. Search for ancient Korean spoons, gilded French salt cellars and all the accoutrements of a good old-fashioned feast, then photograph yourself with as many of the bacchanalian delights as possible. Top it all off by singing, posing and performing your way to a charades victory in this Christmas-themed treasure hunt around the V&A.



Get stuck into these exclusive offers: 
Monochrome at the National Gallery
: Get two-for-one entry to the National Gallery’s acclaimed exhibition ‘Monochrome: Painting in Black and White’. 
Salut!: Get an exclusive tasting menu and a glass of fizz at the five-star Islington restaurant.
The Fitzrovia Hour’s Christmas Carol: Save 25 percent when you book this lol-filled take on Dickens’s classic fable through us.
‘La Bohème’ at Trafalgar Studios: Get discounted tickets for the Royal Opera House production.

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