Things to do
DESIGN DAY: Design Centre Chelsea Harbour hosts a free Christmas Design Day, consisting of a programme of festive workshops. Have a go at hand block printing at Morris & Co, Christmas wreath making at Fox Linton/Jim Thompson, creating floral centrepieces with Phillip Corps at Simpsons and designing your own Christmas decorations at de Le Cuona. It’s free, but in aid of William Yeoward’s Screw Cancer Charity, so donations are encouraged. Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, free, book ahead, 9.30am-5.30pm
GARDENS OF EMPIRE: Victorian natural history specialist Jim Endersby talks about the history of Kew Gardens in colonial times. Specifically, he focuses on the plants that were shipped from Sydney’s botanic garden back to Kew, and how scientists tackled the question of why some plants could only grow in certain climates. Barnard’s Inn Hall (Holborn), free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm
ARCTIC EXPLORATION: Hear from a panel of arctic researchers, ecologists and explorers about current research and commercial exploration of the arctic region. Despite the region being thought inhospitable, people have lived there for thousands of years. Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10/£7, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm
GOSPEL CHOIR: Ever wanted to experience singing in a gospel choir? Here’s your chance — House Gospel Choir holds monthly open rehearsals. Everyone’s welcome to go along and learn some new tunes, regardless of experience or ability. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £12, book ahead, 6.30pm
CHRISTMAS CONCERT: Now December’s here, London’s Christmas concerts are in full swing. Today, the Choir of Christ’s College, Cambridge and the Thames Chamber Orchestra join forces for a show in aid of Oracle Cancer Trust. Expect to hear classics from Bach and Handel, as well as traditional Christmas carols. St John’s Smith Square (Westminster), £10-£45, book ahead, 7.30pm
BANG SAID THE GUN: Poetry and spoken word night Bang Said The Gun returns to Soho Theatre. A mixture of established and up-and-coming performers take to the stage to share their latest work. Soho Theatre, £11-£17, book ahead, 7.30pm
WORLD AIDS DAY: Pleasance Theatre hosts a gala for World AIDS Day, raising money for the National AIDS Trust. Comedians on the impressive line-up include Rose Matafeo, Phil Wang, Sara Barron, Lolly Adefope, Jack Barry and Olga Koch. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £18, book ahead, 7.30pm
LOST RIVERS: Author Tom Bolton discusses his new book, London’s Lost Rivers Volume 2. Hear him talk about tracing the network of waterways buried beneath the capital, including the little-known Cock and Pye Ditch that shaped Covent Garden, Tottenham’s Moselle River, and the East End’s Black Ditch. Conway Hall (Holborn), £8/£5, book ahead, 7.30pm-9.30pm
LIVE COMEDY: Egyptian-American comedian Maria Shehata headlines free stand-up show We Are Funny. Other performers on tonight’s programme include Shuang Teng, Gary Brandt and Robyn Dunlop. The Jago (Dalston), free, book ahead, 7.45pm
WEST END MISFITS: Musical theatre actors takes on roles that they would never normally be able to perform, in the festive edition of West End Misfits. Think Evan Hansen sung by a woman, or the young cast of Matilda replaced with their future selves, with a few festive twists thrown in. The Other Palace (Victoria), £12.50, book ahead, 8pm
Tube ponderings with Barry Heck
Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.
My Roundel of the Week is a festive number that can be found outside London Transport Museum. While you’re there, check out the revamped transport cafe, and take a look at the geeky Christmas jumpers in the gift shop.
Follow Barry on Twitter @HeckTube.
Good cause of the day
A Winter Toy Appeal that collects gifts for thousands of children experiencing extreme poverty in north London urgently needs more donations. Last year the appeal reached more than 4,000 children, and the toys are distributed to children in most need via a network of social workers, hostels, refuges, a migrant centre, children’s centres, schools and food banks. The appeal only accepts new toys (for children aged 0-18), and the last day to donate this year is 7 December. Several businesses in Islington and Hackney act as drop-off points for new toys — full list here.