Things to do
IMAGINATION STATION: Take the kids along to the V&A, where they can get involved with the creation of a new cardboard city. Get them to make their own modular building out of a cardboard box, and add it to the growing metropolis. V&A Museum (South Kensington), free, just turn up, 28-30 December
THE NUTCRACKER: One of our picks of the best shows in London this Christmas, The Nutcracker returns to the Royal Albert Hall, performed by the Birmingham Royal Ballet. The Royal Ballet Sinfonia plays Tchaikovsky’s festive score as the Christmas classic unfolds. Royal Albert Hall, £30-£101/50, book ahead, 28-31 December
CRACKER JOKES: Have the last laugh at Museum of London’s Christmas cracker joke workshop. The family-friendly event is hosted by comedian Dan de la Motte, and is a chance for little ones to practise their puns. Museum of London, free, book tickets on arrival, 12.45pm/2pm/3.5pm
LIVE MUSIC: Southbank Centre’s Winter Warmers series continues, with a free lunchtime performance by the Ha’Pennies. Expect to hear elements of acoustic, rock and pop with a bluesy undertone. Southbank Centre, free, just turn up, 1pm
FOUR SEASONS: Enjoy Vivaldi’s Four Seasons masterpiece in an atmospheric concert, staged by candlelight. Work by other 18th century composers including Bach and Handel also features. Barbican, £16.50-£42.50, book ahead, 2.30pm
BRITAIN’S ROSWELL: Strange lights were seen over the Suffolk forest of Rendlesham in December 1980. The incident remains a notorious UFO incident, and has been dubbed Britain’s Roswell. A new immersive experience from our friends at Minimum Labyrinth will take you out to the forest to explore this intriguing story on location, with a pub lunch thrown in. Coach departs from Stratford 10am, £50-£65 (including lunch), book ahead, 10am-8.30pm
GATSBY CHRISTMAS PARTY: Party like it’s the ’20s — the 1920s, that is — at Cecil Sharp House’s Gatsby Christmas party. The Art Deco Orchestra play tracks from the 1920s and 1930s, with dancing, party games and a licensed bar to keep you entertained. Period dress encouraged. Cecil Sharp House (Camden), £16/£13, book ahead, 7.45pm-11pm
CHRISTMAS IN LONDON: For more festive things to do in the capital, take a look at our guide to Christmas in London. It’s packed full of festive events and things to see you through until New Year, including ice skating, theatre shows, pantomimes and Christmas lights. Still not inspired? Take a look at our full guide to everything that’s happening in London between Christmas and New Year.
EXHIBITIONS: Why not use this downtime to catch up on a bit of culture? Several of London’s large exhibitions are still running between Christmas and the New Year, although do check gallery and museum websites for changes in opening times this week. Here are our picks, in no particular order:
Tutankhamun at Saatchi Gallery | Top Secret at Science Museum | Cars at V&A | Culture Under Attack at Imperial War Museum | Wildlife Photographer of the Year at Natural History Museum | Moving To Mars at Design Museum | The Moon at National Maritime Museum | Hidden London at London Transport Museum | Driverless at Science Museum | 24/7 at Somerset House | Gingerbread City at Somerset House | William Blake at Tate Britain | Olafur Eliasson at Tate Modern | Troy at British Museum | Tim Walker at V&A | Designed in Cuba at House of Illustration | Kara Walker at V&A | Rembrandt at Dulwich Picture Gallery | Gauguin at The National Gallery | Steve McQueen at Tate Britain | Inspired by the East at British Museum | Nam June Paik at Tate Modern | Pre-Raphaelite Sisters at National Portrait Gallery | Buddhism at The British Library | Lucian Freud at The Royal Academy | Leonardo da Vinci at The National Gallery.
Tube ponderings with Barry Heck
Our resident tube fancier dishes out daily thoughts on the London Underground.
Ever popped into the Fleet Kitchen on Upper Woburn Place, Bloomsbury? It’s a lovely cafe in its own right, but it also has a unique tube-related fixture. This vintage illuminated tube map includes a grid-reference system to help you find your destination. Much better than yet another black and white photograph of a cappuccino.
Follow Barry on Twitter @HeckTube.
Have a read
Catch up with some of our favourite articles from the year: