From festive fairground rides to whimsical winter pop-ups, we’ve pulled together a list of the coolest events, restaurants, theatre shows, exhibitions and more to fill your social calendar throughout December and beyond…
TAKE A CHANCE HERE: ABBA Souper Troupers, London
ABBA fans are in for a treat this December. A fully immersive exhibition is set to launch later this month, exploring the music, lyrics and lives of one of the world’s most unforgettable bands. Featuring private archives, nine immersive rooms and a tour guided by the voice of Jarvis Cocker, ABBA fans will have the chance to get an exclusive behind the scenes look at one of the biggest groups in history.
Exhibition Space, Level 1, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, SE1 8XX; 14th December 2017 – 29th April 2018; tickets from £15
GET FESTIVE HERE: Abbey Hotel, Bath
This month, the Abbey Hotel will be swinging open the doors of its Après-Ski Bar, ready for a whole winter of festive frolics. Guests can curl up under cosy blankets with steaming mugs of mulled wine, marshmallow-topped hot chocolates, ski boot cocktails and Alpine goulash amongst other treats. Or for those who want to go the extra mile, Dinner and Disco Nights at the hotel’s Allium Restaurant are just the ticket.
North Parade, BA1 1LF; the Après-Ski Bar at the Abbey Hotel will be open daily until 21st December.
SPICE UP HERE: Cinnamon Kitchen, Oxford
Adding a sprinkling of their signature Indian spice to the streets of Oxford, the Cinnamon group will serve up an array of standout dishes including the likes of tandoori king prawns with Bengali turmeric curry; clove-smoked red deer saddle with pickled root vegetable and yoghurt sauce; and chukka spiced 35-day dry-aged local beef rump. Fresh fish can be picked out from ice block centrepiece and there’s a Cinnamon Kitchen trolley which serves hot Kerala-spiced lobster soup and flambé desserts, tableside. Cocktails are also a must-try – they’re curated by none other than drinks maestro Tony Conigliaro. Arrive hungry and thirsty.
309 Westgate Oxford, Queen Street, OX1 1NZ
PIG OUT HERE: The Bagel Shop, Manchester
A stalwart on the Manchester food scene, Eat New York’s bagel popping street food joint serves up some of the best New York-style sliders and sloppy salt beef bagels this side of the Atlantic. But if you don’t fancy braving the cold – these bagel buffs serve their moreish New York delicacies streetside from their ‘yellow cab’ van – you can work your way through their indulgent new menu at their shiny new indoor site, The Bagel Shop, which launches at the beginning of December. Look forward to shed loads of bagels, burgers, sliders and more, to wash down with a quirky collection of NY-themed cocktails. Tempted much?
64 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LE, open from 1st December
ESCAPE HERE: Hogmanay Street Party with G&V, Edinburgh
Fiesta festive-style at Edinburgh’s G&V Royal Mile, where guests will be treated to two tickets to Edinburgh’s fun-filled Hogmanay Street Party and a three-night stay in the gorgeously stylish G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh. Watch the capital’s streets come alive with live music, DJs and explosive fireworks, and enjoy a six-course dinner at Italian hotspot Cucina, a bottle of bubbly on arrival and a full Scottish breakfast on every morning of your stay.
G&V Royal Mile, 1 George IV Bridge, EH1 1AD; the Hogmanay package is offered from December 26th 2017 – January 2nd 2018; room packages start from £320pp per night
COSY UP HERE: Igloos at The Refinery Spinningfields, Manchester
2017 is officially the year of the igloo. Not that we’re complaining, we can’t think of a better place to snuggle up away from the cold. Manchester’s The Refinery is the latest to offer some snow globe action, with two giant pop-up party domes in the heart of Spinningfields. Each dome comes fully furnished with all manner of toasty touches – think electric wood burners, snuggly blankets, hot water bottles and Aran jumpers (in case you forget to bring your own) – as well as hot toddies, and a festive menu of small plates including the likes of seared sirloin with mustard and BBQ pork sliders.
The Refinery Spinningfields, XYZ Building, 2 Hardman Boulevard, Spinningfields, M3 3AQ
EAT HERE: Murmur, Brighton
With Great British Chef winner Michael Bremner at the helm, you know to expect big things from Brighton’s latest foodie gem. Sister restaurant to the enduringly popular 64 Degrees – you can read our review here – this family friendly offering serves up hearty modern British cuisine. Think cured salmon; miso glazed scallops; roast cod; and seared venison haunch – in a super cool beachside setting, overlooking the iconic ruins of the West Pier.
91-96 King’s Road Arches, BN1 2FN
BOOK THIS: The Pentonbridge Inn, Cumbria
Fancy a weekend away filled with foodie fun? Explore the glorious Cumbrian countryside with a cosy stay at The Pentonbridge Inn, a charming new gastropub headed up by husband and wife chef duo, and Marcus Wareing’s protégés, Jake and Cassie White. This northern country gem serves up modern British cuisine using locally sourced ingredients from their Victorian-walled kitchen garden. Menus change with the seasons and might include roast cauliflower with polonaise, wild mushrooms and cured Tamworth pork; roasted salmon with yellow curry, carrot and salsify; and fallow venison from Millbank parkland served with parsnips and sauternes poached quince.
Pentonbridge Inn, Penton, Carlisle CA6 5QB
GET CHEFFY HERE: Swinton Cookery School, North Yorkshire
Prepare for a weekend of rural culinary pursuits in the grandiose setting of Swinton Country Club. Budding chefs can hole up for the day in the country house kitchens, where resident chef Kevin Hughes will teach foodies all the tricks of the trade. Brush up on your knife skills, bake artisan bread, hand roll pasta, then sit down to a sumptuous seasonal lunch where you can devour the fruits of your labour.
Swinton Park Masham, Ripon, HG4 4JH; courses on 16th and 23rd December; £160 per person including ingredients, equipment and lunch
INDULGE YOUR INNER CHILD HERE: Frosted Fairground at Dreamland, Margate
This winter, Margate’s iconic amusement park will be given a magical festive makeover with thousands of twinkling lights and a whole load of fake, frosted snow. With everything from vintage fairground rides, ice skating and live music to festive food and drink, this dreamy wonderland promises all kinds of wondrous winter pursuits.
49-51 Marine Terrace, CT9 1XJ; open 1st December 2017 – 3rd January 2018; wristbands from £13.50
CELEBRATE SOLSTICE HERE: Burning the Clocks, Brighton
To mark the shortest day of the year, Brighton will be throwing its annual carnival parade filled with glowing paper lanterns. Over 2,000 people are set to wander through the streets of Brighton and Hove with illuminating lanterns in tow, followed by a fireworks display on the beach and a bonfire where each lantern will be burned to light up the longest night.
Madeira Drive, BN2 1PS; 21st December; FREE
GET CHRISTMASSY HERE: Winter Wonderland, London
Wander round the winter markets, brave the festive fairground rides and soak up the seasonal atmosphere. Entry to the Wonderland is free, but there are additional attractions such as the Magical Ice Kingdom, Cinderella on Ice, Zippos Christmas Circus and Cirque Berserk which are all open for booking now.
Hyde Park, W2; open until 1st January 2018; entry FREE
GET YOUR RAVE ON HERE: Pete Tong Presents Ibiza Classics
Scene-shaping DJ Pete Tong will be bringing this summer’s sizzling Ibiza vibes to chilly UK shores this December, to give grown-up ravers a slice of the party action. Teaming up with the 60-piece Heritage Orchestra, the dance legend is set to blast out some big-room anthems in various venues across the UK. Perhaps slightly more refined than Pacha, but you can still expect to see a few fist pumps – and maybe a few glowsticks – in the air.
Locations in Leeds, Glasgow, Manchester & London; Various dates from 12th – 16th December; tickets from £60.50