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34 ace things to do in London this week

By Stephanie Hartman

Stock up on cheese wheels for Christmas at Borough Market's dedicated dairy night, perfect your lettering at a festive calligraphy evening, or head to Hackney Wick to party with Black Acre. Have a smashing week with the 34 suggestions below.

Things to do 

Missing People Charity Carol Service, St Martin-in-the-Fields, TONIGHT, £15 + booking fee.  A service to remember all those who are missing and their families at Christmas. Sir Trevor McDonald OBE will host the event with tributes from the families of missing people, readings from actors Monica Dolan and Amanda Redman and uplifting music from The Choral Scholars of St Martin-in-the-Fields and the Royal Mail's Mail Voice Choir.

Crafty Fox Night Market, Museum of London Docklands, Tue, free. Browse unique and beautiful crafts, homewares, clothing, stationery, prints and plenty more at this special night market.

Christmas Calligraphy Volunteering Event, Tobacco Dock, Tue, donations welcome. Loneliness affects a vast amount of people living in the UK, and Christmas is often an especially difficult time of year for those suffering from it. VOLO, a social enterprising group have teamed up with MassChallenge and Age UK East London to highlight the issue, holding events that utilise skill based volunteering for projects that reach out to those in need.

Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays, Columbia Road, Wed, free. Now in its tenth year, this Wednesday evening shopping event boasts over 50 participating shops including a place to stop off and pick up the newest (green, piny) addition to your household. 

Chanukah in the Square, Trafalgar Square, Thu, free. If you're looking to celebrate Chanukah this month there's no more superlative-packed gathering to join than this evening event in Trafalgar Square. It's the UK's biggest annual celebration of the eight-day festival of light, attracting thousands of people for a day of live music and family-friendly fun. 

VSO Christmas Carol Concert, Central Hall Westminster, Thu, £15-£75. Hugh Grant is the latest star to have been added to the line-up of these carols. The Methodist Central Hall in Westminster, opposite the Houses of Parliament, is the impressive venue that will host performances from the City of London Choir, youth chamber choir Inner Voices and more.

Carnival of Colour, Brixton Bloc, Thu, free. This art and music festival in the heart of Brixton draws inspiration from experimental sound, light art and the avant-garde dance and theatre of the psychedelic '60s.

The Graphic Art of the Harry Potter Films, The Coningsby Gallery, all week, free. Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima – two artists who met on the set of ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ and formed print studio MinaLima – present limited edition art prints of original graphic design created for the Harry Potter films.

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


Dram and Smoke





Eating and drinking

Dram & Smoke, 2-3 Black Swan Yard, Tue-Thu, £40. If you like your meals to scream 'North of the border' this five-course supperclub will have you donning tartan and borrowing bagpipes. Dram & Smoke's menu is Scottish from head to toe.

Evening of Cheese, Borough Market, Wed, free. The world of solid dairy has some truly devoted fans and such great variety to tempt them with. Borough Market's Evening of Cheese will present a wide range of products from all over the world to tempt turophiles, including wines, ciders, chutneys and – obviously – lots of cheese.

The 80s Office Christmas Party Pop-up, The Pickle Factory, Wed-Thu, £55. Shoulder pads, power ballads and photocopiers combine to create one hell of an immersive supperclub from pop-up pros The Art of Dining. Their 80s office party will be hosted by 'the Margaret Thatcher of condiments' Amanda Bellingham, a fearsome boss who'll provide end of year appraisals.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.







Nina Conti – In Your Face, Lyric Theatre, TONIGHT, £22-£28.50. Nina Conti’s BBC Four documentary ‘Her Master’s Voice’ earned her a Bafta-nom and made a whole new audience think, ‘wait, ventriloquism isn’t totally lame?’ In the British Comedy Award winner’s largely improvised new show she slaps a dummy’s mouth on to unsuspecting audience members and turns them into her puppets.

Weirdos for Christmas Number 1: An Alternative Panto, Heroes Grotto of Comedy, Tue-Thu, £10. As far as we're concerned, the Weirdos Comedy collective's annual alternative panto is one of the highlights of the comedy calendar. Now in its fourth year, it's become a bit of a comedy Christmas tradition.

'Toast on Toast', Matt Berry and Arthur Mathews in Conversation, Foyles, Wed, £8. To celebrate the release of 'Toast on Toast' – the stupidly funny autobiography/acting manual by 'Toast of London' star Steven Toast – Time Out has teamed up with Foyles to present this exclusive event.

Brian and Robin's Christmas Compendium of Reason, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Thu, £30-£45. Everyone's favourite dreamy-eyed scientist, Professor Brian Cox, and superb, erudite comedian Robin Ince join forces for their annual Christmas blow-out at the Hammersmith Apollo.

Daphne Do Edinburgh, The Invisible Dot Ltd, all week, £10, £9 concs. Well, 'Daphne Do London', really. Sketch trio Daphne – made up of stand-up Phil Wang, actor Jason Forbes and 'friend-of-a-friend' George Fouracres – were the buzziest sketch troupe at this year's Edinburgh Fringe.

…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.






Live music

Django Django, Roundhouse, Wed, £21.50. The groovy Edinburghers are back for more melancholy electropop, playing a London show to follow the release of their ‘Born Under Saturn – a new LP-shaped addition to their Beck-meets-The Beta Band-and-Bon Iver sound.

Winterville Spiegeltent: James Yorkston Christmas Show, Victoria Park, Wed, £14.50. Ruddy-faced Scots troubadour James Yorkston is no Scrooge. Every December he plays a special Christmas show, which takes place this year in Winterville’s magical Spiegeltent.

Fat White Family, CLF Art Cafe (The Bussey Building), Thu, £15. London’s most notorious young band stage another raucous and raunchy live show.

Hudson Mohawke, Roundhouse, Thu, £15.50. Mind-warping electronica and futuristic R&B from the Glaswegian genius and producer for Kanye. 

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







Shapes Presents: Black Acre Christmas Jam, Shapes, Tue, free by emailing guestlist in advance. Known for their excellent, underground one-off parties, Black Acre rock up to Hackney Wick venue Shapes for a festive rave.

Grotto Outré, 148-50 Curtain Road, Tue-Thu, £10. This over-18s-only festive pop-up will see Shoreditch gain an ice kingdom featuring some weird and wonderful characters. On weeknights it'll host ski resort-inspired parties.

Hip Hop Karaoke, The Social, Thu, £5-£7 adv, MOTD. Think you can rap? Prove it at this popular karaoke night, where you can flex your rhyming muscles to your favourite hip hop cuts from over the decades.

…or see all the parties planned this week.







Grandma Comedy starring the mighty Lily Tomlin as a cantankerous poet whose granddaughter knocks on the door one morning to borrow $600 for a 'reasonably priced' abortion. Trouble is, Elle's broke.

Sunset Song ★★★★☆ British filmmaker Terence Davies is back with a stirring and gorgeous 1900s romance.

…or see all of the latest releases.


© Marc Brenner






Funny Girl, Menier Chocolate Factory, Tue-Thu, £25-£69.50. Sheridan Smith is exactly as great as you'd expect as she steps into Barbra Streisand's iconic shoes.

Tinderella! Cinders Slips It In, Above the Stag Theatre, Tue-Thu, £19.50. Above the Stag’s innuendo-filled adult panto gives Cinderella a good seeing to.

Here We Go, Lyttelton Theatre, Wed-Thu, £15. The peerless Caryl Churchill's latest is a gaze into the face of death that'll polarise the hell out of audiences.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.






This week's best new art

Gilbert & George Book Launch, White Cube Bermondsey, Tue, free. To coincide with their show ‘The Banners’, featuring graffitied signs proclaiming ‘Fuck the Planet’ and ‘Decriminalise Sex’, our favourite East End art provocateurs are launching a new book (£5) and poster series (£10 each) based on the works on display.

Essex Road, Tintype, Thu, free. Throughout the festive season, the gallery’s window space becomes a screening platform for eight commissioned silent films about the local area.

Tom Johnson: Merthyr Rising, Box Studio, Thu, free. This free photography exhibition captures the residents of the ex-mining town of Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win... an all-inclusive holiday to Antigua including return flights or a magical Winterville experience and a night at a Shoreditch Hotel

Grab... £35 tickets for afternoon tea with a glass of bubbly at the OXO Tower Restaurant

Book… these gigs while you still can

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