Watch hundreds of folk dressed as Santa make their way through town, pick up great gifts at Christmas markets and open studios, or check out the late Zaha Hadid’s drawings and paintings of future cities at the Serpentine Gallery. Perfect!
Things to do
Christmas Carols with a Twist, The Pickle Factory, Fri-Sat, £25-£47. Swap classic carols for Christmas hits with The New York Brass Band who'll accompany guests as they sing their hearts out. Alternative hymn sheets with everything from Mariah to The Pogues will be dished out.
Mushpit Christmas Card Workshop, magCulture Shop, Sat, £6. Make alternative Christmas cards using collage, stencils and plenty of glitter pens, while sharing confessions and enjoying a drink or two. All materials provided.
A Foodie Christmas Lights Walk, various locations, Sat, £12, £9 concs. Wander through the pretty back streets of Soho, Mayfair and Marylebone on this guided walk which introduces you to foodie gems as well as London's gorgeous public Christmas decorations.
Santacon, various locations, Sat, free. As if the festive period wasn't boozy enough already, here comes the annual unmissable Christmas pub crawl that's an en masse tribute to the man with the bag.
Christmas Pajaki Making Workshops, Bussey Building, Sat-Sun, £70. Bored of the bog-standard Christmas decorations you dig out year on year? Head to a pajaki (Polish chandelier) making workshop and whip up something you'll be proud to pin to your ceiling.
The Urban Makers East Christmas Market, Mile End Arts Pavilion, Sat-Sun, free. Find locally made jewellery, art, clothing, cards, ceramics, artwork and plenty more alongside workshops in the art of origami.
Crafty Fox Market, Bussey Building, Sat-Sun, free. This two-day edition is curated by Zoe Pearson, Pinterest's UK Marketing Manager. She's handpicked a great range of makers who'll be selling while DJs spin and mulled wine in poured.
Whirled Open Studios, Whirled Cinema, all weekend, free. Artists and makers in Loughborough Junction's Whirled Studios will be selling their wares across this open weekend, giving shoppers ample opportunity to find unique gifts for the festive season.
…or check out more events happening in London this weekend.
Eating and drinking
Skip Garden Fire Feast, Skip Garden, TONIGHT, £16.75. Skip Garden are holding a night of fire-lit winter revelry to keep you toasty inside and out with food, mulled wine and cider, spiced winter cocktails, open fires and cosy spaces.
Dalston Food Day, 40ft Brewery, Sat, free. Root & Bone magazine teams up with 40ft Brewery for Dalston's first ever 'Food Day'. Locals Borough Wines & Beers and The Food Assembly team up with London producers including St. John.
Vinery London, Lumberjack, Sat, £5.90. Similar to a Weinerei in Berlin, this new monthly drinks evening invites wine lovers to enjoy a glass in a candlelit setting.
Ginvent, The Vinyl Factory, all weekend, £15-£20. Gin lovers best make their way to this three-day pop-up in the heart of Soho. The Gin Foundry will be on hand with plenty of juniper berry drinks and a booze-filled countdown to Christmas.
…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.
Super Furry Animals, Roundhouse, TONIGHT, £32.50. The Cardiff indie troupe play their wacky but perfectly formed psychedelic indie rock.
Ash, Roundhouse, Sat, £27.50. Downpatrick's indie power-poppers keep riffing away, busting out a best-of set that's sure to include life-affirming thrashes of yesteryear like 'Kung Fu', 'Goldfinger' and 'Girl From Mars' alongside new stuff.
The Wedding Present, O2 Academy Islington, Sat, £19.50. David Gedge's punky indie pop survivors return to the stage with their scratchy guitars and brilliant, poignant, cynical-romantic lyrics.
…or take a look at all the live music events in London this weekend.
Nao (DJ set), Camden Assembly, TONIGHT, £5 adv. The singer spins her selection of electronic, funk, R&B and soul.
Babyfather (Dean Blunt) & Friends, Kamio, TONIGHT. Dean Blunt once staged an art exhibition that consisted of one stock image photo. Now he’s making haunted surreal beats as Babyfather and bringing said beats to Kamio with Kode 9 and Mica Levi. It’ll probably be trippy.
Jungle Splash, Fire, TONIGHT, £5 adv. Hard-hitting party crew Jungle Splash – who've been going strong for over two decades – throw some immense parties, always full of blitzing breaks and banging basslines.
Ultimate Power: London Christmas Special, Clapham Grand, TONIGHT, £14. DJs Steve Proud, Brian Mahoney, "Mr" Flash, Dave Fawbert and Alex Gilbert preside over the UK-wide brand devoted to power ballads and rock anthems, replete with inflatable guitars, microphones and group sing-alongs.
…or see all the parties planned this weekend.
Arrow Video Club: ‘Christmas Evil’, Prince Charles Cinema, TONIGHT, £11. Sod sentiment, sweetness and Santa Claus, this is our kind of Christmas movie.
Black Star: ‘Hollywood Shuffle’, BFI Southbank, Sat, £8.35–£11.75. Another absolute cracker from the BFI’s tribute to black actors, this one’s rarely screened (and is only showing now in the Saturday afternoon slot).
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’, House of Vans, Sat, free. Another of our very favourite festive film treats, acted to the parsimonious hilt by the human Scrooge (Michael Caine), and framed by author-narrator Charles Dickens (the Great Gonzo) addressing his rodent audience (Rizzo the Rat).
Or at the cinema...
Life, Animated ★★★★☆ An inspirational documentary about a young autistic man who views the world through the lens of his obsession with Disney cartoons.
Krisha ★★★★☆ First-time director Trey Edward Shults makes a strong impression with this powerful DIY indie drama.
…or see all of the latest releases.
Licensed to Ill, Southwark Playhouse, Fri-Sat, £12, £10 concs. This ultra-DIY, (ironically un-licensed) Beastie Boys musical is super-fun.
This House, Garrick Theatre, Fri-Sat, £12-£47. James Graham's peerless political drama returns for 2016.
Pinocchio, King's Head Theatre, all weekend, £21.50-£29. Charles Court Opera's latest panto is as charmingly eccentric as ever.
…or see our theatre critics’ choices.
This week's best new art
Thinking Tantra, Drawing Room, TODAY, free. Gorgeous nineteenth-century drawings from India, works by Indian artists from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, and pieces by ten international contemporary artists interested in tantric drawing.
Bruce McLean: A Hot Sunset And Shade Paintings, Bernard Jacobson, Fri-Sat, free. McLean was part of that group of St Martins students from the 1960s, who loved nothing more than pissing off their tutors with weird, outlandish, provocative works of art.
Zaha Hadid, Serpentine Gallery, all weekend, free. A collection of nearly abstract visions of impossible future cities. There are recognisable elements – buildings, streets, mountains – but they’re pulled apart, deconstructed, stretched and twisted: horizons bend, walls wobble.
…or see all London art reviews.
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