Monday, December 08, 2014

What’s New in London -- Christmas 2014

What’s New in London -- Christmas 2014

The holidays are almost upon us and London is having a festive makeover!  Visitors can enjoy beautiful Christmas lights, festive holiday markets, outdoor ice skating, and more.  For more on what’s new in London, to go
Natural History Museum Ice Rink
30 Oct 2014 – 4 Jan 2015
Experience a magical winter haven in the heart of the city. Now in its 10th year, the spectacular rink is nestled in front of the iconic South Kensington Museum, beneath 80,000 twinkling fairy lights and around a 40-foot-high tree. Visit the interactive Christmas chalet, with chocolatey treats, prize giveaways and activities. Contact
Ice Rink Canary Wharf
1 Nov 2014 – 28 Feb 2015
Unlike other venues, this ice rink has an adjoining skating path that winds its way under trees lit with fairy lights. A bar is available for skaters and non-skaters who can watch all the action from the viewing terrace. Contact
Skate at Somerset House Ice Rink
11 Nov 2014 – 11 Jan 2015
In partnership with Fortnum & Mason, this icy experience is open all day and well into the evening, when the rink comes alive with special club nights featuring top DJs.  Enhance your experience with 'Skate Extras' like champagne and truffles and cream tea in Fortnum’s Lodge. Cocktails and fondue can also be savoured. On Tuesdays, enjoy late-night browsing in the pop-up Fortnum & Mason store, live entertainment and festive treats. Contact
Eyeskate at the London Eye
15 Nov 2014 – 4 Jan 2015
This spectacular ice rink on the South Bank returns for the fifth year with plenty of festive fun and wintry activities. As well as enjoying a 45-minute ice skating session in the shadow of the London Eye you can book a flight on the London Eye with a Winter Cocktail Experience or go on a Frosty Guided Experience. Contact
Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink
21 Nov 2014 – 4 Jan 2015
The Hampton Court Palace Ice Rink returns this festive period for another skating season. The outdoor ice rink at Hampton Court offers spectacular views of the magnificent palace once home to Henry VIII. Book an evening session to see the palace lit up after dark while skating under the evening stars. The Ice Bar & Café serves a selection of winter drinks and festive snacks. Contact
Christmas Past
Geffrye Museum, 25 Nov 2014 – 4 Jan 2015
Each year, the Geffrye Museum’s 11 period living rooms are transformed with authentic festive decorations, lighting, music and greenery to give visitors a magical glimpse into how Christmas has been celebrated in English homes over the past 400 years. Step back through the centuries to discover the origins and meanings of rich and vibrant traditions, from feasting, dancing and kissing under the mistletoe to playing parlour games, hanging up stockings, sending cards, decorating the tree and throwing cocktail parties. Festive food is served in the café and visitors can browse for unusual gifts, cards and Christmas decorations in the shop. Contact
The First World War in the Air
Royal Air Force Museum, to open in December 2014
A brand new permanent exhibition opens in December 2014 in the museum’s historic Grahame-White Factory: This Grade II listed building was an active aircraft factory during World War I. The Museum site in North London has a rich history and played an important role in early British aviation (English aviation pioneer Claude Grahame-White described the area as ‘the birthplace of aerial power’). The exhibition explores the earliest days of military aviation through the story of Britain’s air services, the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service. The two organisations merged on 1 April 1918 to become the Royal Air Force, the world’s first independent air force. Contact  
Small Stories: At Home in a Dolls’ House
V&A Museum of Childhood, 13 Dec 2014 - 6 Sept 2015
This exhibition reveals the fascinating stories behind some of the UK's best-loved dolls' houses, taking you on a journey through the history of the home, everyday lives and changing family relationships. The small stories of 12 dolls' houses from the past 300 years are brought to life by the characters that live or work there. The exhibition encompasses country mansions, the Georgian town house, suburban villas, newly-built council estates and high-rise apartments. Contact
Edward Scissorhands
Sadler’s Wells, 2 Dec 2014 - 11 Jan 2015
Devised, directed and choreographed by Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Matthew Bourne this delightful dance adaptation of the classic Tim Burton motion picture returns for a six- week season this Christmas. The iconic title role is played by popular Dominic North (Sleeping Beauty) and Liam Mower (Billy Elliot). Featuring the beautiful and unmistakable music of Danny Elfman and Terry Davies, this touching love story tells the bittersweet modern fairy-tale of a boy created with only scissors for hands, left alone to fend for himself in a strange new suburban world. Contact
The Wind in the Willows
Vaudeville Theatre, 2 Dec 2014 - 17 Jan 2015
This joyful production brings to life Kenneth Grahame's classic tale of four unlikely anthropomorphic friends - a mole, a rat, a badger, and of course, a toad - who join up to save the latter's ancestral home from being overrun. A parable that stresses the importance of friendships, despite differences, this will be a fantastic treat for theatre fans, young or old. Contact
Treasure Island
National Theatre, 3 Dec 2014 – 19 Feb 2015
It’s a dark, stormy night. The stars are out. Jim, the inn-keeper’s granddaughter, opens the door to a terrifying stranger. At the old sailor’s feet sits a huge sea-chest, full of secrets. Jim invites him in – and her dangerous voyage begins. This winter, Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of murder, money and mutiny is brought to life on the Olivier stage in a thrilling new adaptation by Bryony Lavery. Contact 
The Merchant of Venice
Almeida Theatre, 5 Dec 2014 - 14 Feb 2015
In a collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Rupert Goold's production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice relocates one of Shakespeare's most controversial plays to the bright lights of Las Vegas in a whirlwind of glitter, gambling and greenbacks. Former Almeida Artistic Director Ian McDiarmid plays Shylock alongside a cast that includes Jamie Beamish, Rebecca Brewer, Susannah Fielding, Scott Handy, Caroline Martin and Emily Plumtree. The production was originally presented by the RSC in 2011, and features designs by Tom Scutt, lighting by Rick Fisher, music by Adam Cork, sound by Gregory Clarke, choreography by Scott Ambler and orchestrations by Alex Baranowski. Contact
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Royal Opera House, 6 Dec 2014 – 16 Jan 2015
Joby Talbot’s score combines contemporary soundworlds with sweeping melodies that gesture to ballet scores of the 19th century. Bob Crowley’s wildly imaginative sets and costumes draw on puppetry, projections and masks. Alice encounters a cast of extraordinary characters, from the highly-strung Queen of Hearts, who performs a hilarious send-up of The Sleeping Beauty's famous Rose Adage, to dancing playing cards, a sinuous caterpillar and a tap-dancing Mad Hatter. Contact
Young Vic, 9 Dec 2014 – 21 Jan 2015
The danger lies not in machine becoming more like man but in man becoming more like machine. Following the smash hit The Animals and Children took to the Streets, this UK premiere from 1927 is one of the most anticipated new shows of 2014. Blending stunningly original animation with entrancing music and live performance, Golem explores one of the great questions of the modern world - what happens when mankind and machines become inextricably intertwined? Contact
The Nutcracker
London Coliseum, 11 Dec 2014 - 04 Jan 2015
Journey back in time with English National Ballet to a frost-covered, gas-lit London and join Clara, her Nutcracker doll and the magician Drosselmeyer in this traditional, festive tale for all the family. In a world of Edwardian elegance, Nutcracker brings to life the eternally popular Tchaikovsky score featuring the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Waltz of the Flowers. This classical production is a magical, memorable and unmissable Christmas treat. Contact
The Little Match Girl
Sadler’s Wells, 13 Dec 2014 - 4 Jan 2015
Celebrated choreographer Arthur Pita brings his magical dance theatre show The Little Match Girl to the Lilian Baylis Studio this Christmas. Based on Hans Christian Andersen's classic story, this touching tale of a young street girl's hopes and dreams is beautifully told through dance, song and original live music. A snowy stage sets the scene for an icy cold Christmas Eve, where the little match girl paces the emptying streets, trying to sell her matches. Cold, hungry and with just one final match flame to keep her warm, she sees a vision of her beloved grandmother. Leaving her troubled life behind, she is guided up into the night sky by her grandmother. Contact
Hogwarts in the Snow
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, 4 Nov 2014 – 01 Jan 2015
Celebrate the festive season Harry Potter style with Hogwarts at Christmas at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. Ensuring things are even more magical than usual, the most amazing snowfall of the season hits Hogwarts. Get up close to the stunning model castle used in the Harry Potter films as it's covered in a blanket of special effects snow for the Christmas period. The many intricately detailed sets in the studio are also given a Christmas makeover as props and decorations used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone are brought out of storage. There's also the chance to marvel at the eight Christmas trees that line the Great Hall, alongside festoons of holly, mistletoe and golden wreaths. Contact
Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival
Southbank Centre, 11 Nov 2014 – 11 Jan 2015
The Southbank Centre's Winter Festival returns for a second year, focused around the theme of the Gift of Giving. Invoking the spirit of Charles Dickens, the festival celebrates the importance of generosity and giving at this special time of year. The Southbank's 21-acre site has been transformed into a magical landscape with giant illuminated white rabbits, a Christmas Tree Maze, bustling markets and twinkling Christmas lights. The programme is packed with generosity, fun and entertainment for all ages – from world-class theatrical performances and festive concerts, to free social dances, community choirs and activities that explore the joy of giving. Contact
Southbank Centre Christmas Market
Southbank Centre, 11 Nov 2014 – 4 Jan 2015
Explore the annual Southbank Centre Christmas Market which features traditionally decorated wooden chalets selling a wide range of unique handcrafted gifts as well as food and drink. Feast on mince pies and mulled wine as you browse the twinkling cabins that line the riverside. The German-style market offers affordable and quirky gifts for family and friends. Contact
Winter Wonderland
Hyde Park, 21 Nov 2014 – 4 Jan 2015
Winter Wonderland provides fun, laughter and excitement for adults and children. Skate around the stunning ice rink which circles the Victorian bandstand, enter the Magical Ice Kingdom with its 'ice forest' of frozen sculptures and gleaming ice castle, and enjoy the acrobatic wonders of shows at Zippos Circus and Cirque Beserk. If you're a thrill-seeker, there are plenty of rides to try. Younger children can enjoy gentle activities such as carousels, helter skelters and funhouses. Older children and adults will love the adrenaline-fuelled rollercoasters. For something more sedate, take a seat on the observation wheel for a flight 60m above London, offering stunning views of the city's skyline. Contact
More London Christmas Market at the Scoop
More London Estate, 8 Dec 2014 – 21 Dec 2014
Find unique and unusual gifts, and enjoy foods from around the world at the free More London Christmas Market. The market features local businesses and stalls, where you can browse for holiday gifts such as fashion accessories and handmade crafts. There's also a range of hot food and treats. The setting is More London Riverside with stunning views of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Contact
Christmas Carols in Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square, 8 Dec 2014 – 23 Dec 2014
The season gets thoroughly jolly as the sound of Christmas carol favourites ring out across Trafalgar Square. Resembling a winter wonderland with the world-famous Christmas tree in place (an annual gift from Norway since 1947), the scene is set for an atmospheric recital of classics from the carol book. Various tuneful groups sing their Christmas socks off to raise much needed cash for charity. With warming refreshments to be found nearby, all the ingredients are in place for the perfect countdown to Christmas. Contact
K West Hotel & Spa
Shepherd’s Bush, 1 Oct 2014 – 31 Jan 2015
This winter, K West Hotel & Spa offers stressed shoppers the chance to pamper themselves with a luxurious Christmas package. Put the sparkle back into stressful holiday shopping with K West’s ‘Shop n’ Sparkle’ Christmas Package, running until January 31, 2015. This includes an overnight stay in an Executive guestroom, full English breakfast, VIP Westfield Shopping Pass, winter cocktail in the stylish K Lounge and 30-minute glittery manicure or pedicure. Contact
Bulgari Hotel
Knightsbridge, until 4 Jan 2015
Internationally renowned chef Alain Ducasse has created a hot chocolate pop-up bar within The Spirit Room at the Bulgari Hotel & Residences. Exclusive to Bulgari, the hot chocolate will be made using Alain Ducasse’s handcrafted chocolate from his Paris-based factory ‘La Manufacture de Chocolat’. The bar serves individual cups of freshly grated dark chocolate (75% cocoa solids) and milk chocolate which guests can mix with warm milk to their desired strength. A percentage of each hot chocolate sale will be donated to Save the Children. Guests can also pick up a traditional mini ‘Bûche de Noël’ from the pastry counter to take home. Contact
St James’s Hotel & Club
Mayfair, 17 Nov 2014 – 6 Jan 2015
St James’s Hotel & Club has Christmas all wrapped up with a tailor-made shopping package that includes an overnight stay with breakfast and a special gift for each guest!
Unwind in your room with a glass of Champagne on arrival, before venturing out to explore the wonders of St James’s and Mayfair with its iconic Christmas window displays and traditional festive decorations. Discover the fashion boutiques with your very own in-store personal shopper to find that special something. Retreat to the hotel and relax in the stunning surroundings of William’s Bar & Bistro, for an indulgent afternoon tea for two, compliments of award-winning Michelin-starred chef William Drabble. Contact
Babylon Restaurant at the Roof Garden
Kensington, 17 Nov 2014 – 30 Dec 2014
Celebrate Christmas with friends and family at Babylon Restaurant this festive season.
Diners will be treated to a festive menu featuring the best of the season’s ingredients. This year’s menu includes a selection of starters, mains, coffee and desserts for groups of 6 or more from Monday to Friday lunch and dinner, and Saturday to Sunday dinner only. In addition, Christmas crackers and seasonal atmosphere, every Tuesday night guests will also be able to enjoy live jazz. Contact
Grosvenor House JW Marriott 
Park Lane, 21 Nov 2014 – 31 Dec 2014
Leave the winter chills behind with Christmas Afternoon Tea at Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel. Offered until New Year’s Eve, a selection of traditional, festive finger sandwiches and Christmas pastries accompany the home baked scones and a special Christmas tea blend. An overnight package is available which includes an overnight stay with breakfast and Christmas Afternoon Tea. Contact
The Doyle Collection
22 Nov 2014 – 4 Jan 2015
This Christmas get into the festive spirit with the ‘Discover London Christmas Package’ available at the Marylebone Hotel, the Kensington Hotel and the Bloomsbury Hotel. The package includes full English breakfast, mulled wine or hot chocolate on arrival, festive treat at turndown, zone 1 & 2 travel card for 1 day, £10 food and drink credit, early check-in and late check-out and a dedicated Christmas Concierge. Contact
Covent Garden
Beautifully presented and brimming with indulgent festive must-haves, there’s nothing quite like receiving a Christmas Hamper on a frosty winter’s day, when it’s too cold out to venture forth. Highlights include mince pie petits fours, mint chocolate macaroons, stollen, a Chocolate Christmas bauble with chocolate and fruit & nut clusters as well as a classic Christmas pudding. Contact
Covent Garden
This Christmas, join the team at Tuttons to enjoy a delicious 3 course festive menu.
Featuring great seasonal dishes, this festive menu will be enjoyed by everyone! Situated in the heart of Covent Garden, the restaurant offers a stunning backdrop and you will be able to choose between the main restaurant and one of the private dining rooms. Contact
Bankside, 1 Dec 2014 – 23 Dec 2014
What better way to get into the holiday spirit then sampling a range of wines from across the world? Vinopolis will make you feel at home this festive season with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie to enjoy as part of your Essential, Classic or Quintessential Wine Tasting Package this December. Contact
London Bridge
Right in the heart of Borough Market, Roast restaurant will be the celebrating the festive season by capturing the essence of a traditional Christmas. Head Chef Marcus Verberne’s carefully crafted menu focuses on the quality of each ingredient, all of which are sourced within the UK and feature classic favourites, with a few twists along the way. Highlights from this year’s menu include pressed game terrine with Cumberland sauce and hot smoked salmon salad.  Choose from desserts such as the classic roast Christmas pudding, prepared from a third generation recipe, and mulled wine poached pears with whipped Stilton cream and honey-roasted walnuts. Contact
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
Covent Garden
To celebrate the festive season, Xavier Boyer, Executive Head Chef at the Michelin-starred L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, has created two truly memorable dinner menus. Chef Boyer has created an intricate and sophisticated seven-course Christmas menu using traditionally festive ingredients in a courageous way, including Sologne Imperial caviar on salmon tartar, and a stunning white chocolate sphere with poached pear, chestnut and black truffle mousse. The specially curated menu will be available for dinner on both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. To celebrate the New Year, Xavier Boyer has created an equally spectacular seven-course tasting menu including La Saint Jacques, a scallop tartar with chopped black truffle; and Le Wagyu, tender Japanese top grade Wagyu beef with warm wasabi and harlequin peppers. Contact

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