7 festive things to do in London this weekend (6-8 December 2019)

Natasha Afxentiou

2 December 2019

Enjoy Christmas shopping events galore this weekend, plus an intimate Alexander McQueen exhibition and Tate Britain's new façade

2 December 2019 | Natasha Afxentiou

Marylebone Lane Christmas Shopping Evening (Thursday) 

Brimming with independent retailers, galleries, bars and restaurants, Marylebone Lane is hosting its first Christmas Shopping Evening on Thursday. Boutiques including Dinny Hall, Tracey Neuls and Kabiri are offering festive discounts, while live music will be performed by the Marylebone Music Festival Brass Band. Gourmet deli Paul Rothe & Son will be serving festive nibbles and drinks while you shop and Italian eatery Caldesi has a special festive three and four-course menu, which stars with a complimentary glass of prosecco.

Date: Thursday 5 December 2019 Time: 5pm-8pm Location: Marylebone Lane, Marylebone Village, London Closest Station: Bond Street 

Website: marylebonevillage.com

Chelsea's Christmas Shopping Extravaganza (Saturday)

This Saturday, boutiques from Pavilion Road to Duke of York Square and Sloane Street will be offering exclusive offers and treats throughout the day in celebration of the festive season. Highlights include a champagne arrival at Olivia Von Halle; makeovers at NARS; 15% off purchases at Monica Vinader and Hackett; gift wrapping and calligraphy at Hugo Boss and mince pies, drinks and gifts at RIXO. Enjoy complimentary horse and carriage rides up and down the King's Road, stock up on gourmet gifts at the Duke of York Square festive food market or try your hand at a wreath-making workshop at  Chelsea Physic Garden. 

Date: Saturday 7 December 2019 Time: All day from 10am Location: Throughout Duke of York Square, Sloane Square, King’s Road, Pavilion Road, and Sloane Street Closest Station: Sloane Square 

Website: http://www.inchelsea.co.uk/ 

Roses exhibition at the Alexander McQueen flagship boutique, Mayfair (all week)

Alexander McQueen has transformed the top floor of its Old Bond Street boutique with an enthralling new exhibition, which is free to the public. The immersive display explores the intrinsic importance of flowers at the House of McQueen, curating original designs alongside sketches, illustrations, video and photography. Creative director Sarah Burton's Red Rose dress, which closed the Autumn/Winter 2019 show, is juxtaposed beside the Sarabande dress that Lee Alexander McQueen made for Spring/Summer 2007, exemplifying how Lee McQueen's work continues to inform the house. Anna Wintour has already visited, and the exhibit is also accompanied by a series of thought-provoking discussions and workshops for students. 

Price: free Time: 10am-6.30pm (12-6pm on Sundays) Location: 27 Old Bond Street, Mayfair, London W1S 4QE Closest Station: Bond Street 

St James’s Christmas Market (Saturday) 

Ignite your festive spirit at the St James’s Christmas Market this Saturday. Aglow with a sparkling festive light display, peruse an array of accessories and handcrafted goods while listening to live Christmas carols and enjoying artisanal dishes and drinks. A carefully curated selection of independent stores alongside various heritage and contemporary brands from St James's will be involved in the bazaar, including cheesemonger Paxton & Whitfield, jeweller Heming, Budd Shirts, and accessories label London Velvet. 

Date: Saturday 7 December 2019 Time: 12pm-6pm Location: St James's Market, London, SW1Y 4AH Closest Station: Piccadilly Circus 

Website: stjameslondon.co.uk/events 

The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light by Anne Hardy at Tate Britain 

London-based artist Anne Hardy is the brains behind Tate Britain’s third Christmas Commission, which is displayed on the Millbank frontage of the gallery. The beguiling, large-scale installation has a decidedly apocalyptic aesthetic, drawing inspiration from the continuously flowing Thames river, climate fluctuations and the winter solstice. Christmas lights are strung alongside wafting, tattered banners, while the sound of smashing ice, thunder and rain can be heard ominously overhead. "The light and sound elements of the work are site-specific and have been choreographed in situ to give the impression that the building has become possessed," said Hardy. The commission is a welcome anomaly to London's more predictable Christmas decor. 

The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light, Anne Hardy Tate Britain Winter Commission; Courtesy of Maureen Paley, London. Photo © Tate (Oliver Cowling) 2019

Date: Until 26 January 2020 Location: Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG Closest Station: Pimlico 

Website: https://www.tate.org.uk

Pet Portraits at Liberty, Soho 

In celebration of the newly launched and exclusive Liberty Print Pet Collection, which includes pet beds, toy bones and fleeces in iconic Liberty prints, New York-based pet portrait artist Ben Lenovitz is this season's artist in residence at Liberty. While Liberty has always welcomed dogs, this week is your last chance to take your furry friend to the famous department store to have their portrait painted by Lenovitz in his vibrant style. 

Date: Until Sunday 8 December 2019 Time: Portrait painting sessions are available for drop-in appointments at Liberty London Price: Portraits cost £140 Location: Liberty London, Regent St, Soho, London W1B 5AH Closest Station: Oxford Circus 

Website: https://www.libertylondon.com

Enchanted at Eltham Palace, Greenwich (from Thursday) 

Stroll through the enchanted grounds of South London's Eltham Palace this weekend, which is once again transforming its 19-acre estate with an abundance of light and colour. Wander along the trail of tunnels and pathways adorned with twinkling lights, where you can also discover dainty, dancing fairies and magical talking trees hidden within the grounds. Sip on mulled wine, mince pies and toasted marshmallows, amid scintillating water fountains and glittering trees. 

Enchanted at Eltham Palace (credit: English Heritage)

Date: From Thursday 5 December 2019 Time: Sessions available at 4.30pm, 5.30pm, 6.30pm, and 7.30pm Price: From £12, off-peak, standard, and family ticket prices apply, see website for details Location: Eltham Palace and Gardens, Court Yard, Eltham, Greenwich, London, SE9 5NP Closest Station: Mottingham 

Website: english-heritage.org.uk