Halloween is over, and while the weather might be getting colder, the cultural events are heating up. Of course, our attention has now switched to Christmas, but there are still a lot of non-festive experiences for you to enjoy.
We’ve rounded up the best things to do in London if you’re after the best new gallery exhibits, early festive experiences or foodie hotspots. So whether you’re a purist who believes even the briefest mention of a mince pie before December should be banned, or you go from Vampires to Reindeer quicker than the Celebrations tub is left with nothing but Bountys, read on for inspiration.
Things to do this weekend, from the British Museum’s new exhibition to the biggest Bonfire Night celebrations
Explore ‘Burma to Myanmar’ at the British Museum
This new exhibition at the British Museum charts the journey of Myanmar – also know as Burma – from influential superpower to repressive regime over the past 1,500 years. 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of Myanmar’s independence from British colonial control, a time period that has been marked by difficulty and turbulence.
Starting from AD 450, the exhibition explores how Myanmar’s various peoples interacted with each other and the world around them, leading to new ideas and art forms.
where: British Museum, Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG
Rake’s Oyster Bar
Head to Rake’s for a special dining experience featuring fresh, shucked oysters paired with uplifting spirits. Explore the unique flavours of each oyster and beverage, and you’ll pair them like a pro when you learn Rake‘s way.
The oysters are served with a rich mignette dressing and are available from 12pm-10pm.
where: 40 Liverpool St, London EC2M 7QN
Get Christmas ready by booking this 5 year sell-out immersive experience
The clocks are back, the nights are dark, and embracing Christmas as early as possible is the only way to keep morale high, right? And what better way than one of the absolute must-not-miss events, The Great Christmas Feast – The Lost Estate’s iconic immersive festive experience based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Running from November 7 until January 14, expect a three course meal, winter cocktails and the very best in immersive storytelling all set in a spellbinding Dickensian world, right here in London. Book now before they sell out.
WHEN: 7 NOVEMBER – 14 JANUARY
BOOK TICKETS HERE: THELOSTESTATE.COM
Ride the London Bus – for free!
Transport enthusiasts and lovers of a deal, on Sunday November 5, vintage red double decker buses will be travelling around north London in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Chalk Farm Garage – and the fare is free. Passengers can hop on from Hampstead Heath, Golders Green, Warren Street, Euston and lots of other north and central London bus stops.
The bus routes taking part are the 24, 29, 31, 68, 74 and 139 (full map here).
where: all round London
Discover the work of Frank Walter at the Garden Museum
Art and history lovers will be especially keen for this major new exhibition, Artist, Gardner, Radical, at the Garden Museum. It features paintings and sculptures, over 100 of which have never been exhibited before, from Antiguan artist Frank Walter.
The exhibition frames Walter’s body of work at the intersection of environmentalism, Caribbean and Black identity, social justice and the complexity of nature, shown through his vibrant colour palette and fascination with the natural world.
where: 5 Lambeth Palace Rd, London SE1 7LB
Get the write idea at this literary festival
The 2023 Writeidea festival is taking place this weekend on both Saturday and Sunday, located in Bethnal Green Library. Topics that will be discussed include the rental housing system, London history, the British Empire and much more.
Guest highlights include Faiza Shaheen, Vicky Spratt, Diana Evans, and Amy Key. Better yet, all the events are free – however tickets go fast, so booking in advance is strongly advised.
where: Bethnal Green Library, Cambridge Heath Rd, E2 0HL
Nature and Art combine at the Barbican
The Barbican Conservatory it a hidden London gem on any day, but this weekend is will host a spectacular new site-specific commission by Indian sculptor Ranjani Shettar.
Cloud songs on the horizon is the artist’s first major institutional show in Europe and features five new, large-scale suspended sculptures across the entirety of the Conservatory space.
Shettar’s sculptures are each handcrafted by the artist and draw inspiration from the complexity of nature – using a range of materials including wood, stainless steel, muslin, lacquer and techniques that have been adapted from traditional Indian crafts.
where: Barbican Conservatory, Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS
Chart British history through ceramics at the V&A
On-loan from the Brighton Museum to the V&A is the collection of pottery from 19th-century philanthropist Henry Willett. Ceramics might not sound like the most thrilling exhibit, but you can count on a determined collector to be eccentric, and his collection reflects this.
From animal menageries to souvenirs of early balloon flight, the display showcases more than 300 years of popular British history.
where: V&A, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
Beat the crowds to the Oxford Street Christmas lights
We all, inevitably, find ourselves on Oxford Street at some point during the festive period. Whether it’s desperate last minute shopping, tipsy walks home from central-London Christmas parties, or venturing in just to see the lights, it’s a certainty.
They fire up on November 2nd, so this weekend might be a great idea to get there before the beauty of the lights is eclipsed by your frustration at the sheer weight of the crowd.
where: Oxford street
2 events worth travelling for
Check out Dishoom’s new Brighton opening
The team behind Dishoom has been busy at work and has just launched a brand-new, all-day café in the heart of Brighton. Named Permit Room, this new space is inspired by the permit rooms found in Bombay during the 1960s and 70s.
On the interiors front, expect Dishoom’s cool style with cosy corners to bury yourself in the cooler months and a stylish covered outdoor terrace, perfect for late-night drinks and catch-ups.
You’ll find signature Dishoom favourites on the menu, as well as a few new highlights. Dine on the crispy spinach chaat; Aunty’s Anda (egg) curry; half/whole chicken tandoori; and light orange blossom jelly with strawberry ice cream for dessert.
where: 32 East St, Brighton and Hove, Brighton BN1 1HL
Feel the heat at Bonfire Night
Sunday is Guy Fawkes night, also known as Bonfire Night, and so begins the annual use of celebration to try and distract us from the weather outside. There will be celebrations going on all over the UK, but if you fancy heading to the largest and most famous festivities, head to the town of Lewes in Sussex – the bonfire capital of the country.
During the celebration, the market town of just over 16,000 can swell to over 80,000, which gives some idea of its scale.
where: all around the UK
Plan ahead for
View this post on Instagram
Start your Christmas celebrations at Marylebone Village
As diaries start to fill up with festive plans, one date not to be missed is Thursday 9 November, when Marylebone Village celebrates the start of the season with its Merry Marylebone Christmas Lights Switch-on. This year there will be brand new sustainable lights made from recycled plastic bottles which will be switched on at 6pm by a special celebrity guest.
There will be over thirty stalls selling food, drinks, gifts, and many of your favourite retailers and restaurants offering exclusive promotions, experiences and specially curated menus. A range of festive activities will also be in full swing, including a Santa’s Grotto, a Ferris Wheel, wreath making workshops, candle panting workshops and the local favourite charity tombola. All proceeds will be donated to charity partner Mind in Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster.
where: marylebone village