Things to do this winter the Indy-way curated by our girl in the know, Sonya Barber. Wrap up and roll on for a wintery, feel-good Christmas.
Dancing on ice – they make it look so damn easy on TV! Well now it’s time to test out your cool moves as Somerset House have booked in an awesome lineup of DJs from across London for their Skate Lates evenings this year where even the timidest skater will want to get up and shake their thing. Taking to the decks will be DJs picked by Peckham radio station Balamii, Tottenham-based club Five Miles, Dalston Superstore, Stoke Newington’s Total Refreshment Centre, Rinse FM and loads more. Just be sure to wear a big padded coat incase of unchoreographed falls.
Bethnal Green’s Town Hall Hotel has teamed up with AGE UK this Christmas and is running a series of heartwarming fundraising initiatives to celebrate and support the old people of Tower Hamlets. Not only will the hotel will be donating its decoration budget to the charity along with £1 per table at the Corner Room, it’ll also be running events organised by elderly local groups and hosting a befriending scheme where you can go have a cuppa with an older person. We totally agree that no one should feel lonely at Christmas (or any other time of the year), so get involved in any way you can.
We love an old school pie and mash shop but having lost so many over the years, we sometimes worry about the surviving ones. Which is why is so nice to see that some of them are opening their spaces to become more than just purveyors of pie. Every Friday and Saturday evening until Christmas, there’s a pop-up cocktail and croquetas bar taking place in the wonderful grade-II listed L Manze on Walthamstow Market. There’ll be tasty gourmet croquetas washed down with warming winter drinks. And you can pop back in the following morning for a classic pie and mash to help soothe your hangover.
Alyson's sell out succulent wreath workshop is back by popular demand. Expect mincepies, festive cheer and only the best Christmas jingles. These wreaths are designed to last past Christmas and is a fabulous new hobby.
It can’t just be us who spends hours cooing over cute hedgehogs on Instagram, can it?! If you’re also a fan of our spikey little friends and want to know how you can help them, this is the party for you. Celebrating the majesty of the humble hedgehog, raising awareness of the serious decline of the urban population and educating people on how to help, this all-day party at the Sebright Arms just off Hackney Road will feature live music, poetry readings and face painting. We’re not sure if there’ll be any actual hedgehogs in attendance but it’s a great excuse for a nice day out anyway.
Calling all fans of Christmas movies – this is the ultimate festive flick binge-fest. The brilliant Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square is known for its intense but awesome themed all-nighters and this year they’re getting people into the Christmas spirit by throwing a special Christmas Pyjama Party. They’ll be showing Elf, Die Hard, Gremlins, Muppet’s Christmas Carol and Home Alone (1 and 2); that’s six films in 12 hours. Pyjamas are encouraged but not mandatory.
Still on the hunt for some original Christmas gifts? You need to get along to Sample Market at the start of December when London creatives will be selling their wares including jewellery, ceramics, leather goods, clothes and loads more. Or if you’re looking for edible goodies, there’ll also be loads of tasty food and drink stalls. And it’s not just shopping, there’s also workshops, talks and DJ sets so you can make a day of it.
If you’re looking for a theatrical family outing this Christmas but don’t fancy sitting still in a theatre, this could be for you. Exquisite Folly Theatre and Bikeminded are staging a very unique adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic ‘A Christmas Carol’, where audience members bring a bike and follow old ‘humbug’ Ebenezer Scrooge on a magical cycling tour of Kensington and Chelsea complete with interactive carols and puppetry. Fun for all the family.
On December 19th expect a Moroccan themed Christmas extravaganza featuring a screening of the all-time classic Casablanca and a festive dinner from chef Nargisse Benkabbou, The Observers Rising Star 2018. You can guarantee a magical night, that looks and tastes beautiful. If you can't make this date then take a friend in the New Year - Kino Vino creates delicious, cinematic experiences every month.
Written by Sonya Barber, author of 'East London: an Opinionated Guide' by Hoxton Mini Press, former News & Events editor at Time Out London and general woman about town.