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36 ace things to do in London this weekend

Written by
Stephanie Hartman

Take a break from Christmas shopping to catch the new Moomins exhibition, work your way through a variety of gins at a pop-up in Soho, or hop on your bike for a festive jaunt through the city with a crew of other cyclists. Make the most of your weekend with the list below!

Things to do

Pom Pom Christmas Party and Indie Yarn Market, The Hub, TONIGHT, £9.50. Pom Pom Quarterly magazine are the brains behind this annual party which features a pop-up market brimming with yarns from the likes of Coop Knits, The Fibre Company and Fig Tree Yarns.

The London Children’s Book Fair, Parasol Unit, Fri-Sat, free. This celebration of brilliant children's books and illustration is a great opportunity to meet award-winning authors, get books signed and get the little ones involved in creative workshops and activities.

Souq for Syria, Rich Mix, Sat, free. This family-friendly fundraiser gives visitors the chance to explore a traditional Syrian market filled with arts, crafts, jewellery, toys and Arabic cuisine.

I Bike London Ride, various locations, Sat, free. Ride through the capital in your craziest cycling gear on a free festive bike ride across central London. The theme is Nightmare Before Christmas so expect some bloodcurdling horror along with the yuletide cheer.

Big Top Christmas Bazaar, The Vaults, Sat, free. Browse a Christmas market indoors this year with these weekend events from Marbles & Ware.

Hackney Flea Market, Abney Hall, Sat-Sun, free. A Christmas edition with added sparkle. Pick up stocking fillers and snack on mince pies and mulled wine while you shop.

Festive Cultural Traffic, Old Truman Brewery, Sat-Sun, free. This new publishing art fair makes a nice alternative to the tinsel topped Christmas fairs in abundance in the capital. Pick up books, zines, prints, vinyl and more.

Adventures in Moominland, Spirit Level, South Bank, all weekend, £16.50. A major new immersive, interactive exhibition presents new insights into author Tove Jansson’s life and influences with rare archive objects and illustrations built into the experience.

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

Eating and drinking

Artusi and Zest, JW3, Sat, £54 without wine, £68 with wine. Italian restaurant Artusi (awarded five stars by Time Out) and Israeli restaurant, Zest join forces for one night only, rustling up a six-course tasting menu with optional wine pairing.

Jamaican Christmas Party, 40ft Brewery, Sat, free. Dalston's Jamaican party have curated a Caribbean Christmas event with 40ft Brewery with jerk, beer and a sound system. Tropical vibes. 

Tootsmas, various locations, Sat-Sun, free. 2016's offering brings vendors such as Saffa Hut, The Gravy Train and Gyoza Guys who'll be serving up warming festive treats, plus there's a Tootmas Wonderland and winter markets with over 20 designer-makers selling goodies.

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.

Live music

Dean Blunt, Jazz Cafe, TONIGHT, £14. Soulful, eclectic audio collages laced with sampled guitar and beats: complex stuff, but it hits home thanks to Blunt’s world-weary tones and emotional hooks.

Slow Club, Union Chapel, TONIGHT, £15. The boy-girl indie-pop-folk duo play a London date.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, The O2, Sun, £60-£80. Truly legendary funk-rockers. Expect to hear all the platinum-plated hits – 'Give it Away', Higher Ground', 'Scar Tissue' and, of course, 'Californication'.

Tomb Raider - Live In Concert, Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, Sun, £33.50-£106.75. Robert Ziegler conducts the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra to perform the Tomb Raider soundtracks in its entirety.

The Darkness, Indigo at The O2, Sun, £15-£27.50. Do you believe in a thing called love? Justin Hawkins still does, even though it’s over a decade now since his glam-rock troupe struck big with their mega-selling debut album ‘Permission to Land’.

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


Heidi's Birthday Extravaganza (Part 1) With Richie Hawtin, XOYO, TONIGHT, £20-£25. The DJ marks the end of her residency with two back-to-back parties. For the day session she is joined by her friend Hawtin, who plays an extended day-time set.

Rough Trade’s 40th Anniversary Party, Mick's Garage, TONIGHT, free. Rough Trade celebrate their birthday with a Christmas Party. DJ's Ben Monaghan and Sid Newman will be on the decks followed by a headline DJ set from Richard Norris.

Rizzle Kicks, Roundhouse, TONIGHT, £22.50. The hip hop duo comprising of Jordan 'Rizzle' Stephens and Harley 'Sylvester' Alexander-Sule return.

The Brixton Christmas Carnival, Prince of Wales, Sat, £5-£15. A one-day carnival on the Prince of Wales heated terrace rooftop. There'll be three stages of carnival sounds from those soca rhythm worshippers Jus Now, Kings HiFi with more acts to be confirmed.

Fatboy Slim, The O2, Sat, £31 & £41. Having conquered the world and its radio airwaves with his big beat antics (and by making Christopher Walken dance maniacally in one of his videos), ol' Norman Cook has quite a track record.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.


Classic Cinema Club: ‘Jour de Féte’, Ealing Town Hall, TONIGHT, £7, £6 concs. Like Buster Keaton before him, Jacques Tati devised gags of such sheer intricacy as to prove on occasion just too beautiful to be laughed at. 

‘Valley of the Bees’ + ‘Andrei Rublev’ double bill, Close-Up Film Centre, Sat, £18, £14 concs. It’s hard to imagine a more imposing, but impressive double bill. In Czech New Wave classic ‘Valley of the Bees’, a boy is paralysed by his own father, who beseeches the Virgin Mary to heal him.

‘Superman 2’, The Cinema Museum, Sat, £5. This screening of the finest comic book movie ever made (at least according to Time Out’s painstakingly researched list) happens ahead of an audience with the film’s co-star Sarah Douglas, aka leather-clad Kryptonian dominatrix Ursa.

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.

© Jan Versweyveld


Hedda Gabler, National Theatre, Lyttelton, TONIGHT, £15-£65. Ruth Wilson is magnificent and upsetting as a nihilistic Hedda in Ivo van Hove's NT debut.

Love, National Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15-£40. Strangers share cramped temporary housing in this searing festive show.

Dick Whittington, New Wimbledon Theatre, all weekend, £12-£40.50. Wimbledon's big, brash, old fashioned Dick hits the mark.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

This week's best new art

Ken Price: A Survey of Sculptures and Drawings, 1959-2006, Hauser & Wirth, Fri-Sat, free. Ceramics might be enjoying a kind of hipsterish resurgence in art right now, but it's never been taken particularly seriously as a means of expression. Certainly not in the avant-garde scene of early-’60s Los Angeles. Regardless, it was here that Ken Price made his name.

Rehana Zaman, Tenderpixel, Fri-Sat, free. A digital woman emerges from 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.

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.

And finally

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

Grab... tickets for the VAULT Festival Opening Party on January 27

Book… these gigs while you still can

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