PLAY CRAZY GOLF HERE: Birdies
London has a new crazy golf course. Launching at the end of the month, this Battersea site is the latest from the team behind SFG Club in Stratford and Rooftop Film Club. Players will take on a nine-hole course, with each hole designed to derail the senses and challenge speed, accuracy and determination via obstacles including pressure pads, rapid lighting, a black tunnel and overhead ramps. The Birdies cocktail bar will have a party vibe and sleek décor – we suspect it will become a popular spot for after-work socials, weekend parties and long Sunday brunches. Drinks on offer will include a boozy chocolate fountain, ‘nuclear’ daiquiris and an intriguing ‘choose-your-own-ingredients’ waterslide. In addition to the main bar, guests will also find the 80s-inspired ‘Sweet Spot’ bar in the centre of the course, acting as a pit stop for players. Birdies will also have its own food offering, Taco-Yaki.
8 Arches Lane, Battersea, SW11 8AB; opens 29th November
GO CHRISTMAS SHOPPING HERE: Canopy Market
Christmas under the Canopy’ returns to Canopy Market, the weekly independent marketplace in King’s Cross. Celebrating the festive season, the market will be packed with seasonal events, workshops and activities, including carol singers and live jazz interpretations of Christmas tunes. From 29th November to 1st December, there’ll be a dedicated ceramics and crafts weekend hosted by Made in Arts London, the not-for-profit UAL student union promoting students and recent graduates, and north London art gallery Thrown. The following weekend will see the Winter London Craft Beer Festival return for a three-day celebration. Crafty Fox will bring a selection of hand-picked, independent designers and makers to the market from the 13th to 15th December. The final weekend before Christmas will be all about kids: think live reindeer, a Christmas sleigh, hands-on activities and a festive scavenger hunt.
West Handyside Canopy, King’s Cross, N1C 4BZ; 29th-30th November & 1st, 6th-8th, 13th-15th and 20th-22nd December
SEE A CHILDREN’S CLASSIC HERE: Turbine Theatre
Based on the much-loved tale by Dr Seuss, Katie Mitchell’s acclaimed stage adaptation of The Cat In The Hat is set to open at the Turbine Theatre for a limited Christmas season. The Cat In The Hat was first published in 1957 as Dr Seuss’s second book for children. The curious and intricate rhyming is still adored decades later, with over 250m copies sold worldwide in more than 20 different languages. Mitchell’s adaptation first played in the National Theatre’s Cottesloe Theatre in December 2009, before transferring to the Young Vic in 2010, and returning in a new staging at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Islington’s Pleasance Theatre, before a UK tour in 2015. This month-long stint will give little ones the chance to enjoy the magic once more.
Arches Lane, Battersea, SW11 8AB; 11th December-11th January
FEEL FESTIVE HERE: Ealing Christmas Market
Much loved by locals, Ealing Christmas Market is back for a fourth year at Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre. Open daily from 10am to 6pm, visitors can tick off their festive list in one place thanks to a rotating line-up of weekly stalls. We like the sound of The Wonderland Collective, a pop-up that champions British-made ceramics by Cecily Vessey, ethical skincare by Lovely, botanical candles by Join and typographic art prints by Lucy Loves. Food is in the form of churros with chocolate sauce, mince pies or German bratwurst. Santa and his helpers can be found behind The Magical Wardrobe every weekend, while carol singers will lift spirits on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Ealing Broadway Centre, Ealing, W5 5JY; 27th November-24th December
GO THROUGH THE WARDROBE HERE: The Ivy Chelsea Garden
The Ivy Chelsea Garden has been transformed into a Narnia-themed wonderland, complete with a wardrobe and lamppost at the doorway, and a canopy dripping in snow and ice. The right-hand side of the doorway will be themed around the ‘Gateway to the Snow Queen’s Garden’; the left-hand side of the building will be centred around the ‘Snow Queen’s Throne’. On 7th and 21st December, between 12pm and 3pm, the story will be brought to life via a meet-and-greet with Mr Tumnus, the faun from the books. The restaurant has added two warming winter cocktails to its menu: ‘Eastern Promise’ (made with Crème de Violette, Bramble gin liqueur, Beefeater gin and a Turkish Delight and chocolate flake garnish) and the ‘Narnia Negroni’ (sloe gin, Martini Rubino, Campari and cinnamon syrup, decorated with a dry orange wedge and a cinnamon stick).
197 Kings Road, Chelsea, SW3 5ED; until 1st January
SEE THE RED SHOES HERE: Sadler’s Wells
A sell-out for its world premiere in 2016, Matthew Bourne’s adaptation of the classic film returns to London, having won two Olivier Awards and impressed audiences across the UK and the US. The Red Shoes is a tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. Victoria Page lives to dance, but her ambitions become a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion. Set to the music of golden-age Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann, The Red Shoes is orchestrated by Terry Davies with the New Adventures Orchestra playing live. A must-book.
Rosebery Avenue, Islington, EC1R 4TN; 3rd December-19th January
TRY A NEW MENU HERE: Silver Lining
Hackney’s Silver Lining is run by husband-and-wife duo Alistair and Sarah Maddox. Open in the evenings from Wednesday to Saturday, the restaurant serves inventive seasonal small plates alongside a killer list of natural wines. In December, the team is launching ‘Orange Wednesdays’, where the daily wine list will offer guests a diverse range of natural and skin-contact wines at £5 a glass. Look out for winemakers, sommeliers and importers popping into the restaurant each Wednesday to talk through some of their favourite pours.
13 Morning Lane, Hackney, E9 6ND
SEE AN ALTERNATIVE DRAG SHOW HERE: Pleasance Islington
Reuniting the team behind last year’s hugely successful How To Catch a Krampus, Sink The Pink and Ginger Johnson will return to Pleasance Islington for five weeks of camp Christmas fun – all set to a live score. Set in 2050, Planet Trash is the most dangerous place in the solar system, a dumping ground for the universe. As the countdown to Christmas begins, the planet faces a new danger: an impending solar flare that threatens it with obliteration. Camp as Christmas and a wild ride from start to finish, the queer production features a host of big-name acts, including Lavinia Co-Op, David Cumming and Mairi Houston, aiming to escape Planet Trash before it explodes.
Carpenters Mews, Islington, N7 9EF; 19th-22nd December
HEAD TO THE RIVER HERE: Southbank Centre
Winter at Southbank Centre’ will celebrate the holiday season with a selection of shows, street food and free family events. The winter market will host a range of winter pop-up bars and restaurants under a canopy of twinkling lights. Each trader will bring their own spin to the feast, with stalls offering Asian, Indian and Greek cuisines, traditional winter classics like raclette, baked camembert and bratwurst, and sweet treats including waffles and pancakes. The Circus Bar and Bar Under the Bridge are perfect for a mulled wine and a warming cocktail, while the glowing igloos run by Jimmy’s Lodge are as popular as ever. Elsewhere, Anna Sewell’s timeless novel Black Beauty has been reinvented for a new generation. Blending vivid storytelling, joyful music and inventive puppetry, this is an ideal show for families. Meanwhile, Circus 1903 returns with acrobats, contortionists, life-sized elephants created by puppeteers from War Horse, jugglers, high-wire performers and more.
Various locations; until 1st January
SEE A SHOW OR TWO HERE: Alexandra Palace
Ally Pally’s ice rink gives revellers an opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit against the iconic backdrop of the London skyline. Unlike most ice rinks, Ally Pally’s is open year-round and this December will host a range of events including Pinocchio on Ice, a festive retelling of the family favourite featuring a cast of all ages and a mix of traditional and modern music. Hit West End show Peter Pan Goes Wrong will also make an appearance, as will Club de Fromage on Ice: All I Want For Christmas, a special edition of the legendary club night. Santa’s Grotto returns to the East Court, where children of all ages will be able to have their photos taken with Father Christmas between 6th and 22nd December. These Christmas events will take place alongside Ally Pally’s usual activities of music, culture, creative learning and, of course, the World Championship Darts.
Alexandra Palace Way, Alexandra Palace, N22 7AY; until 22nd December
EAT HERE: Paradise
Dishes at this Soho Sri Lankan draw their eclectic flavours from the country’s many diverse regions, taking cues from Portuguese, Malay, South Indian and Dutch cuisines. With an emphasis on seasonality and sustainability, the menu merges British and Sri Lankan ingredients to create signature dishes including updated street-food staples such as curry leaf hoppers; mutton rolls with fermented chilli sauce; and richly spiced curries such as slow-roasted pork cheek with tamarind and Sri Lankan stout; and fried aubergine and jaggery moju. The ingredient-focused ethos extends to the drinks menu, which will feature interpretations of classic cocktails such as tamarind and chilli sours and jackfruit bellinis. The space is inspired by the modern bistros of Colombo and Galle, but blends industrial elements such as unpolished cement and black metal detailing in a raw, informal setting.
61 Rupert Street, Soho, W1D 7PW
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