Festive things to do in London this December

Get ready to ignite your Christmas spirit this December 2020 with wreath-making workshops, dazzling winter light displays and toasty al fresco terraces, as well as a very special virtual performance of A Christmas Carol

17 November 2020

Tate Britain's winter commission by Chila Kumari Singh Burman

On display to enjoy from now until January, Tate Briain's neoclassical facade has been given a neon makeover by Liverpudlian artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman. Entitled Remembering A Brave New World and launched to coincide with the Indian festival of Diwali, the uplifting display is festooned with multi-coloured lights, inspired by Bollywood iconography, mythological Indian motifs and pop culture references. Look out for the third eye, a traditional symbol of enlightenment, and the elephant-headed god Ganesha.

On display until 31 January 2021; Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG

Cartier Christmas display on New Bond Street, Mayfair

Photography by Kalory Photo & Video, courtesy of Cartier

For those on the hunt for further festive light displays, a stroll down Bond Street reveals Cartier's spectacular Christmas decorations. The London flagship is wrapped in a supersized red bow and topped with a prowling wild cat – which has been the French maison's emblematic feline motif for more than 100 years. The panther was first adopted by Cartier in 1914, when it placed its first panther spot on a wristwatch. While the boutique remains closed until 1 December 2020, you can browse Cartier's dazzling creations online for now, including the new collection of exquisite Objects & Accessories, including charming music boxes, writing papers and a supremely luxurious solitaire set, accompanied by glass beads wrapped in gold leaf.

Where: Cartier, 175-177 New Bond Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4RN
Website: cartier.com

Wreath making workshops with Perrier-Jouët x McQueens Flowers, Mayfair

Book now for a delightfully festive afternoon with Perrier-Jouët and McQueens Flowers. Immerse yourself in foliage, pine cones and the most nostalgic scents of the season as you craft your own showstopping Christmas wreath, while sipping on Perrier-Jouët Champagne. The workshops are taking place at McQueen's new home in Mayfair, which is every bit as magical as you might expect.

When: 3, 10 and 17 December 2020
Price: £130 per person
Website: mcqueens.co.uk

A winter wonderland in Chelsea

During summer, Chelsea promptly adapted to the 'new normal' by dramatically expanding its al fresco offering across Sloane Square, Duke of York Square and Pavilion Road, which remains fully pedestrianised. This December, Chelsea is set to become a winter wonderland: there will be outdoor terrace coverings and twinkling lights across the neighbourhood, as well as plenty of toasty heaters. Look out for shopping events, discounts and entertainment on weekends, including live music and festive surprises.  

When: throughout December in Chelsea

Christmas at Kew, Richmond

The Palm House finale, photography by Jeff Eden, RGB Kew
Waterfalls by ITHACA at the Treetop Walkway, photography by Jeff Eden, RGB Kew

The light at the end of the 2020 tunnel comes from Kew Gardens, where the magical after-dark trail returns this Christmas. Taking a new route, the light installation will lead guests through the beautifully illuminated Rose Garden for the first time. Follow the path through a glittering tunnel of bells, past dazzling giant seed heads and majestic trees wrapped in light before arriving at the finale, a stunning light show at the Palm House Pond set to the beat of festive music.

Price: From £19.50
4 December — 17 January
Where: Kew, Richmond, TW9
Website: kew.org

JR: Chronicles, Saatchi Gallery

Migrants, Maya, Picnic Across the Border, Tecato, Mexico, by JR, 2017, ©jr-art.net
Still from The Gun Chronicles, JR, 2018, ©jr-art.net

Merging graffiti with photography, French street artist JR spotlights communities across the globe by photographing them and then showcasing their images — sometimes illegally — in public spaces on a monumental scale. A TED prize winner and Oscar-nominated filmmaker, JR’s global art projects have created dialogue around social issues such as women’s rights, immigration and gun control. This December, Saatchi Gallery presents the largest solo museum exhibition of his work to date. Organised by the Brooklyn Museum and with major support from Art Explora, the show charts his early years as a teenage graffiti artist in Paris to his large-scale architectural interventions across the globe.

Price: £9
When: 3 December — 21 March
Where: Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3
Website: saatchigallery.com

In Camera: A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic


We're used to seeing Andrew Lincoln on our TV screens at Christmas as Love Actually’s infatuated Mark, who is in love with his best friend’s wife, but this year he’ll be appearing as a slightly less pathetic — but perhaps no less creepier — character as he takes the starring role of Scrooge in In Camera: A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic. Directed by Jack Thorne for the fourth year, the festive show will be live streamed from The Old Vic stage, with live musicians, a cast of 18 performers and the complete theatrical works, from lighting to costumes. Audiences only need to by one ticket to watch as a group from a single screen and it is up to you how much you would like to pay, with prices starting from £10 and going up to £80 for a souvenir ticket, which includes a limited edition poster.

Price: From £10
Website: oldvictheatre.com