Alternative Christmas events in London
An gingerbread village usually appears in London in the run up to Christmas. Visit to see the village, and buy your own plot to support the Museum of Architecture.
'Spend your money and take your chance' is the rather mysterious advice given to the 1,500-odd Londoners expected to turn up to Smithfield meat market for what must be London's most boisterous Christmas traditions. Harts of Smithfield run an auction just before Christmas each year, flogging great hunks of every kind of meat at bargain prices.
Strictly a spectator event, unless you happen to be a regular, not to say hardy, member of the Serpentine Swimming Club, the Peter Pan Cup race takes place each year on Christmas morning.
Watch runners try to navitage through foam slaloms and other inflatable hazards whilst balancing a plate of Christmas pud. All the wackiness is for a good cause for Cancer Research UK. Take part, or just turn up on the day to laugh and point.
Wait, come back, it’s not what you think (you dirty puppy).
This market is all about canine chic. Billed as the largest indoor market for hounds and their owners you’ll find Leake Street packed with stalls full of treats for our four-legged friends, including luxe dog accessories from Teddy Maximus and Barc London and bio-organic dog food from The Rockster. Happy howlidays.
Open studios are a great chance to support indie designer-makers and pick up unique Christmas gifts you won't find on the high street. Check out the work of 170 people selling furniture, lighting, jewellery, fashion accessories, clothing, ceramics, silverware and tree decorations, and have a look around the studios where it was all made.
Art Car Boot Fair is your chance to meet and barter with all your favourite artists as they flog their work from... you guessed it, a car boot. Say hello to the likes of Bob & Roberta Smith, Mr Bingo, Juno Calpyso and Gavin Turk. But it is the Christmas special, so look out for new additions like pass the art parcel, art bingo and the Secret Santa Casino.
Ok, so its essentially a Christmas wonderland, but Winterville’s festive events are anything but generic. Instead of your usual carol singers, Mariah & Friendz will be bringing two drag extravaganzas to the ‘main event’ tent – a child-friendly performance of their variety show Splat, and an adult spectacle in the evening (December 9) – while The Cocoa Butter Club (November 25) will be serving up burlesque performance art set to Motown and soul. Did we mention Lucha Britannia’s Mexican wrestling match (December 6)?
Not fussed about London’s traditional festive high street lights? Designer Nick Gray is messing with the Christmas rule book over at Chiswick House. This new celebration of illumination is scrapping baubles and Santa in favour of a super slick light display responding to the eighteenth-century grounds.
Forget the Grand National, there’s real horsey fun to be had at the ninth London Pantomime Horse Race. This year you can expect to see the likes of Austin Powers, Indiana Jones, Father Ted and more.