POP UP EVENTS (December 2019)
Quality Streets at Poppie’s
Turns out your colleagues aren’t the only ones getting battered in Soho this month. Retro fish ‘n’ chips spot Poppie’s is taking a leaf out of a Scottish recipe book and deep-frying Quality Streets. £2.50 will net you a lucky dip of five crispy, melting chocolates – and don’t worry: what they lack in looks, they more than make up for with taste.
Details: 1st-25th December | Poppie’s Soho, 55-59 Old Compton Street, W1D 6HW
The Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle Stay In Tour
If the – completely insane – website is anything to go by, this dining event is going to be quite something. 148 chefs from across the globe, including Noma’s René Redzepi, Sean Gray at Momofuku, and Paulo Airaudo & Rafael Cagali at Da Terra, will swap signature recipes for the night. You book a seat at one of the restaurants (there are eight in London, including a preview of Santiago Lastra’s Kol), the chefs receive their recipes at the start of the night, and chaos ensues.
Details: 3rd December | Across London | Around £100pp
Pitch Black Playback
If you’re in the dark about PBP, well… that’s only to be expected. They’re an underground listening party collective who stage album listening nights in the dark, in beautiful, unusual venues around the city. And to cap off what was already a pretty excellent year, they’re staging four more events, featuring albums by Erykah Badu, Jamie Woon, Sigur Rós and a cinematic screening of Beyoncé’s Lemonade. READ MORE
Details: 3rd, 4th & 11th December | Various locations | £8-10
Champagne & Oysters at The Mulwray
‘Tis the season to be jolly. And if going to a Ruinart Champagne tasting with freshly shucked oysters, St. John sourdough and carol singing in the beautifully decked out pub from the Palomar team isn’t jolly, then frankly, we don’t know what is.
Details: 4th December | The Mulwray at The Blue Posts, 28 Rupert Street, London, W1D 6DJ | £54.49
Critically acclaimed theatre company Kneehigh are bringing their bizarre and jubilant take on the anarchic play King Ubu to Shoreditch Town Hall this month. They describe it as an “unhinged improvised promenade musical”, and it’ll see actors and musicians whizzing amongst the audience, leading you on rousing crowd karaoke renditions of everything from Britney to the Sex Pistols, while you throw ping pong balls at the people opposite and limber up for Ubu’s Olympic Games.
Details: 4th-21st December | Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT | £18-25
For their exhibition on 20th century cabaret culture, the Barbican have installed a life-size recreation of the iconic 1920s bar L’Aubette. And for one late-night opening this month, they’re taking that recreation a step further by staging a performance by jazz saxophonist Ruben Fox. After the gig, you’ll be free to walk around the rest of the exhibition after-hours, and sip a cocktail in another recreated bar, Vienna’s Cabaret Fledermaus.
Details: 5th December | Art Gallery, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS | Free with £15 exhibition ticket
Enchanted Eltham Palace
South London’s stunning medieval-meets-art-deco palace gets some additional deco this month, as they illuminate their sprawling grounds with a twinkling array of fairy-lights, mirrorballs, coloured fountains and interactive artworks. There’ll be mulled wine and hot chocolates to sip as you go round the trail, as well as traditional fairground stalls and rides.
Details: 5th – 22nd December | Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, London, SE9 5QE | £12-14
Maltby Street Night Markets
You never want to be left in the dark when it comes to night markets – so here’s a heads up that Maltby Street will be open late every Friday in the run up to Christmas. You’ll find all their usual street food traders, plus mulled wine, mince pies, and live carolling while you stuff your piehole.
Details: 6th, 13th & 20th December | Maltby Street, SE1 3PA | Free Entry
The Little Orchestra
Beethoven never heard his own 9th symphony.
But trust us, it’s still good.
It sounds even better, though, when it’s played in a spine-tinglingly intimate and special setting by an orchestra who specialise in taking the pomp and stuffiness out of classical concerts… READ MORE
Details: 6th & 7th December | Royal Horticultural Halls, Elverton St, London SW1P 2PB | £30/£45pp for a sofa
Ever After Garden
Grosvenor Square in Mayfair is slowly being transformed into a field of over 27,000 illuminated white silk roses, inspired by an installation that took place in Seoul back in 2015. It’s all in aid of The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, and visitors can plant a rose in memory of a loved one in exchange for a donation.
Details: Until 22nd December | Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, W1K 2HP | Free Entry/recommended donation of £10 to plant a rose
The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City
Building an entire city out of gingerbread may sound like a half-baked idea…
…but when it’s constructed by the architects & engineers at the Museum of Architecture, it’s actually pretty impressive, with over 100 artists and architects constructing their own sugar-dusted, fairylit gingerbread edifices… READ MORE
Details: 7th December – 5th January | Somerset House, Strand, Covent Garden, WC2R 1LA | £9
Making its debut this year, Stardust is an enormous winter music festival landing at Tobacco Docks this month. There’ll be three stages (occupied by the likes of the Artful Dodger, The Streets’ Mike Skinner, and Shift K3Y); a time-travelling roller disco; roaming jewel make-up artists; festive screenings from the Luna Cinema; and street food – including ice cream made by hurling ingredients at a super-cold plate… READ MORE
Details: 7th December | Tobacco Docks, 50 Porters Walk, E1W 2SF | £65-250
Laser art – it’s pretty cutting edge. And now a huge, free exhibition of the stuff is popping up in London. It showcases three works by the United Visual Artists collective, each of which are vast, walk-in installations… READ MORE
Details: Until 8th December | The Store x 180 The Strand, London WC2R 1EA | Free Entry
Dock The Halls
You must have been good this year, because the Docklands are giving you a free film festival for Christmas. They’re screening a dozen festive classics, alongside free activities and live music – from Die Hard with a brass band to Elf with a wreath-making workshop.
Details: Throughout December | The Royal Docks | Free, but register ahead
Hidden Jazz Club
The team behind HJC take jazz so seriously, they even improvise their venues. They pop up in undisclosed locations around the capital with a rotating roster of talented musicians, ready to soothe your eardrums with ever-changing set lists in intimate and atmospherically-lit settings. READ MORE
Details: 9th, 16th & 19th December | Secret Locations | £18
It’s the perfect ballet for the snowflake generation. A festive classic, The English National Ballet’s glittering production involves over 100 dancers, a hot air balloon and cascades of snowy blizzards, set in one of the most beautiful, grandiose theatres in London.
Details: 11th December – 5th January | London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4ES | £14-80
The Candlelight Club
The Candlelight Club – the roving 1920s party lit almost entirely by candles – is decking the halls of their secret ballroom space for a special festive edition this month. There’ll be live music from the Swing’It Dixieband, vintage DJ’ing by The Bees Knees, and MC’ing from the compère without compare, the inimitable Champagne Charlie. READ MORE
Details: 13th December | A Secret Location | From £25
Turning Earth Christmas Market
As the Earth completes another turn about the sun, Hoxton’s pottery studio Turning Earth hosts another of their insanely popular Christmas markets. As usual, you’ll be able to peruse handmade wares from 75+ different potters, watch demonstrations and have a go at throwing something yourself – or just chow down on the Vietnamese street food, mince pies and mulled wine as you soak up the live gypsy jazz.
Details: 14th & 15th December | Turning Earth Hoxton, Railway Arch 361, Whiston Road E2 8BW | Free Entry
The Luna Winter Cinema
Few places do pop up film like the Luna Cinema, who use the night sky (and a fair few stunning buildings) as their backdrop. Of course, that doesn’t work quite so well in the middle of December – so they’re retreating indoors for a series of festive film screenings inside a pavilion in the grounds of Kensington Palace, accompanied by crepes and mulled wine.
Details: 15th-23rd December | Kensington Palace, Orme Square Gate, Bayswater Road, London W8 4PX | £13
The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas
If you’re not familiar with the Krampus, he’s basically an anti-Santa that goes around punishing children who have been naughty (as opposed to St. Nick, who treats kids who have been nice). Described as half-goat, half-demon, the old European folk character represents a darker side to the festive season – and you can hear all about it from the world’s preeminent Krampus expert at the suitably spooky Last Tuesday Society, featuring a possible visit from Krampus himself.
Details: 17th December | 11 Mare Street, London E8 4RP | £15
Circus 1903 is all about old-school spectacle. Settling into the Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall, they’ll be showcasing the kinds of feats that health and safety did away with years ago: acts like knife-throwers; trapeze artists and acrobats without safety nets; and an all-new act called the ‘Brazilian wheel of death’. Thankfully, the one tradition they haven’t revived is the use of live animals – instead, they’ve collaborated with the War Horse designers to create jaw-dropping, life-sized puppets instead… READ MORE
Details: 19th December – 5th January | Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX | £29.50-125
Still hunting for a Christmas party venue? Mac & Wild have got you covered. They’ve set up a fully fledged hunting pop up by their City restaurant, where you can kick back in your own personal hunting lodge, sip mulled wines, dine on festive Scottish fare and toast whisky marshmallows on an open fire. They’ve also installed a ‘whisky wall’ – where you can sample dozens of drams – and their famous state-of-the-art virtual hunting ranges, so you can go deer stalking in Liverpool Street.
Details: Until 21st December | 1 Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YP | From £15pp
La La Land: The Soundtrack
If you were a particular fan of the ‘la la’ part of La La Land, you can hear a full orchestral rendition of the film’s music at The Jazz Café this month, courtesy of the 16-piece Rogue Orchestra. They’ll be playing through the whole soundtrack, as well as other classic show tunes from the golden era of Hollywood.
Details: 23rd December | Jazz Café, 5 Parkway,Camden, NW1 7PG | £20
The Peter Pan Cup
On Christmas Day, it’s always important to remember those less fortunate – like the people who have signed up to swim a 100-yard race along the freezing cold Serpentine. The shock of the water is so potentially heart attack-inducing that the race is only open to seasoned wild swimmers, but it makes for a great spectator sport (followed by a walk around the park) on Christmas morning.
Details: 25th December | Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park | Free
About once every two months, Hampton Pool opens its doors after dark for a midnight dip in their heated outdoor lido. And at £8.50 a ticket, it’s not exactly splashing out. Understandably, they sell out almost instantly – which makes it good news that they’ve just released an extra date for you to get in the water beneath their Christmas lights and snack on a minced pie or two. READ MORE
Details: 29th December | Hampton Pool, High Street, Hampton, TW12 2ST | £8.50