Christmas in London: Start planning your festive season

Swedish bar and kitchen Fika
As usual, London will be buzzing over the Christmas period. Here’s our selection of the best seasonal activities

Swedish Christmas at Fika

Head to Brick Lane for a Christmas dinner with a Scandinavian difference. Swedish bar and kitchen Fika is offering a traditional Scandi Christmas dinner from 1-23 December. The small, independent restaurant will lay on a smorgasbord of gourmet treats such as elk and beef meatballs, reindeer sausages and pickeled herring, all washed down with Swedish glogg.
Diners pay £35 for three courses and two drinks. Christmas dinner must be booked in advance. Email fika@fikalondon.com.


It's BYOP at Pillow Cinema

Pillow Cinema

The team behind Hot Tub Cinema have come up with a cuddly alternative for winter. The former Shoreditch Underground Station has been kitted out in soft furnishings and bean bags for Pillow Cinema. The venue has strict BYOP (Bring Your Own Pillow) policy. Waiters will be on hand to bring you snacks and beverages so you don’t have to leave your cosy haven while enjoying a Ryan Gos-fest or Fight Club with a pillow fight afterwards.
Tickets are £20 from pillowcinema.com.


Winterville will be hosted in Victoria Park for the first time

Winterville

For the first time this year, Victoria Park will host its own winter festival from 2 December to 1 January. Billed as a family friendly affair, there’ll be an ice rink, fairground, roller disco, panto, a kid’s quarter and Santa’s Grotto. But adults can kick back in the craft beer area, the on-site pub, or one of the free club nights in the Spielgeltent. Local street food traders will also be on hand to keep everyone warm and fed, including Dalston favourite Voodoo Ray’s which will be selling pizza by the slice. Then hop on the giant ferris wheel and enjoy the views.
Entry is free and the Winterville gates are open from 10am till late.


There will be an ice rink at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

Ice Skate Vauxhall

Vauxhall’s festive Pleasure Gardens will get its own 600sqm ice rink this year, to join a host of other attractions on site. A Christmas craft market will also pop up alongside a sparkly Christmas tree maze. If you’re a bit wobbly on the ice, then you can always observe from the cabin-themed bar and watch the street performers that are turning out to put on a show. Street food stalls will also be feeding up festive revellers and the venue is even hosting a Vauxhall Skate Brunch every weekend served from a Routemaster bus.
Tickets from £10.50. Book and find out more from iceskatevauxhall.co.uk.


Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands at Sadler's Wells

Edward Scissorhands

Clerkenwell arts venue Sadler’s Wells will stage the first major revival of Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands this Christmas. The dance production from the acclaimed choreographer features Danny Elfman’s score to re-imagine Tim Burton’s gothic fantasy about a man who is left with scissors for hands after the eccentric scientist that created him unexpectedly dies.
Edward Scissorhands runs from 2 December to 11 January. Tickets from £12, visit sadlerswells.com.


The Taste of London Winter festival

Taste of London Winter

Winter doesn’t get more delicious than the Taste of London Winter festival at Tobacco Dock. This weekend is your last opportunity to sample and buy some of the capital’s most inventive food creations from its most distinguished restaurants. The theme this year is “Forgotten Foods”, which aims to teach amateur cooks how to use wild British ingredients. Expect live music and lots of foodie gift ideas, too.
Tickets available for £25 on the door or £19 from ticketmaster.co.uk.


Spitalfields City Farm is running a Christmas market

Spitalfields City Farm Winter Market

Most City workers probably don’t know that there’s a community farm only a stone’s throw away from their office. But Spitalfields City Farm is also running a Christmas Market this winter, and it’s free. Pick out your real fir tree from the farm to take home with you on Sunday 7 December. It’s also a great family day out and there are a number of winter craft activities for the kids to get stuck into, not to mention a host of animals for them to meet. Take them for a ride on Derek the Donkey and pick up some seaonsal farm gifts for the rest of the family, while enjoying live music from the Spitalfield Farm Musicians.
Free entry, open 12-4pm.


Discover local designers at Barbican's Christmas Market

Barbican Christmas Market

The Barbican’s Christmas market is back following its successful debut last year. For 10 days, the arts hub will host 35 independent local designers and craftsman offering unique and handmade Christmas gifts. There’ll also be plenty of mulled wine, hot chocolate and mince pies to warm you up while you’re shopping.
Entry is free. It’s open from 12-21 December, from 4pm on weekdays and from 12pm on weekends. Visit barbican.org.uk for more information.

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