All weekend

Christmas gets a botanical twist at Chelsea Physic Garden

MICHAEL PALIN: It’s your last chance to see into the archives of writer and actor Michael Palin. The British Library’s free display about Palin includes his own scripts, diaries and photos relating to his work, from Monty Python’s Life Of Brian to lesser-known comedies and plays. British Library (Euston), free, just turn up, until 25 November

JAZZ FEST: The EFG London Jazz Festival — apparently London’s largest music festival — winds up this weekend, with a wealth of events across multiple venues, from jazz shows for toddlers to performances by the London Jazz Orchestra, as well as the BBC Young Jazz Musician 2018 Final. See the full Saturday and Sunday programmes. Various locations and prices, booking required, 16-25 November

EAT & DRINK FESTIVAL: See Rosemary Shrager stuff a four-bird roast, Theo Randall whip up a chestnut risotto, and learn how to make a vegan Christmas feast at this festive outing of Eat & Drink Festival. The food festival covers all things Christmas, from artisan ingredients to fancy kitchen equipment, alongside those celebrity chef demos. Olympia London, £19-£21, book ahead, 21-25 November

WINTER WONDERLAND: It’s the first weekend of this year’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. The usual funfair rides, food stalls, bars, Christmas market and ice rink are all back, along with special screenings of The Snowman, circus shows, and a magical ice kingdom. We’d advise avoiding weekends altogether if possible, as it gets very busy, but if it must be a weekend, earlier in the season is better. Hyde Park, free entry (charge and booking required for some attractions), 23 November 2018-6 January 2019

ICE SKATING: Winter Wonderland isn’t the only place to get your skates on this weekend; seasonal ice rinks are now open at locations around the capital, including Somerset House, Natural History Museum and Canary Wharf. Here’s our complete guide to London’s winter ice rinks.

LIGHTS FESTIVALS: Kew Gardens, Chiswick House and London Zoo are all illuminated for their light festivals this weekend. Light tunnels, animal lanterns and a giant supermoon all feature, so have your camera ready.

CHELSEA CHRISTMAS MARKET: A botanic garden isn’t the obvious November destination, but Chelsea Physic Garden keeps the visitor numbers up with its Christmas Fair. More than 100 stands sell gifts and produce, many with a botanical theme, and there’s a present-wrapping masterclass too. Chelsea Physic Garden, £6, book ahead, 24-25 November

Find out about the other Christmas markets and fairs around the capital.

Saturday 24 November

TUBE POSTER TOUR: This’ll get your tube geek juices flowing — London Transport Museum’s Acton depot hosts tours of its art and poster stores, aimed at those with an interest in design and transport. See posters that have appeared on tubes, in stations and at other places around the transport network in years gone by. Acton Depot, £12/£10, book ahead, 11am-1pm/2pm-4pm

CHRISTMAS FAIR: Antique handbags, vintage jewellery and clothes are just some of the items being sold at Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice’s fundraising Christmas fair. The Hospice (Abbey Wood), free entry, just turn up, 1pm-4pm

CAMDEN ROCKS: Missing your summer festival fix? Camden Rocks brings the music into a more weather-appropriate venue for a rock’n’roll all-dayer. Enjoy live music from Black Sixteen, Chasing Ghosts, Fire Red Empress, The Silver Bayonets, Imaginary Dreamers and more. The Monarch (Camden), £8, book ahead, 1.30pm

MUSIC OF LONDON: This afternoon concert consists of music directly associated with London — think Elgar’s The King’s Way and  Walton’s A Song For The Lord Mayor’s Table, performed by the London Mozart Players. King’s Place (King’s Cross), £38.50, book ahead, 2pm

RIBA TOUR: You’d expect a building full of architects to be impressive, no? Find out, on this tour of RIBA headquarters, focusing on the decor of the Grade II* listed Art Deco building. RIBA (Oxford Circus), £10, book ahead, 2.30pm

SOUTHBANK CENTRE TOUR: What’s the similarity between Royal Festival Hall and an egg box? Find out on this behind the scenes tour of Southbank Centre, a building which dates back to 1951. See the areas usually reserved for staff and performers, and find out about the day to day running of the venue, as well as stocking up on trivia. Southbank Centre, £10/£9, book ahead, 6pm

KINGSTON CAMARADE: Students, staff and alumni from Kingston University take to the stage to perform new poetry and prose works, written in pairs for the event. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), free, just turn up, 7pm

PARTY LIKE IT’S 1999: With the Spice Girls back on tour, extend that 1990s feeling at this 1999 themed party night. Dig out your dodgy denim outfit and dance the night away to Christina Aguilera, Nirvana and Britpop. Drink, Shop & Do (King’s Cross), free entry, just turn up, 10pm-2am

Sunday 25 November

Barbican Conservatory is free to visit

MUSEUM SHOP SUNDAY: British Museum, Cutty Sark, Hampton Court Palace and the Postal Museum are just a tiny selection of the London museums, galleries and cultural institutions participating in Museum Shop Sunday. The national initiative sees special offers, events, tastings, book signings, craft activities and more taking place in museum gift shops, encouraging the public to venture into them and perhaps make a start on the Christmas shopping.

CALLIGRAPHY: Ditch your usual scrawl for beautiful flowing calligraphy at this beginners’ workshop. All equipment and materials are provided, to take you from your first stroke to writing beautiful quotes worthy of  wall space (or Instagram likes). Drink, Shop & Do (King’s Cross), £55, book ahead, 10.30am-1pm

OLIVER TWIST: This walking tour by the Charles Dickens Museum visits the locations which inspired him to write Oliver Twist, including streets which use to house the worst slums in London, and former sites of courts, prisons and executions. Charles Dickens Museum (Bloomsbury), £10, book ahead, 11am-12.30pm

HAMPSTEAD AT WAR: See the spots where soldiers and cadets trained and where injured soldiers were cared for around Hampstead during the first world war. The walking tour also visits the war memorial and graves of fallen soldiers. Hampstead station, £9-£12, book ahead, 11am-1pm

KINDER TALK: Bernd Koschland was one of the children who arrived in London on the Kindertransport, a Jewish refugee fleeing the Nazi regime at just eight years old. Hear him talk about his experiences and how they impacted on his faith. Jewish Museum (Camden), free, book ahead, 11am

WINTER FAIR: Help a good cause and get your Christmas shopping done at this Winter Fair, selling books, decorations, gifts, plants and more. Have a dabble on the raffle too — you could win yourself a fancy meal out, or X-Factor tickets. Marie Curie Hospice Hampstead, £2 entry adults (kids free), just turn up, 11am-4pm

CHRISTMAS BOOK FESTIVAL: Soak up all the book-y goodness you can at Waterstones Finchley Road’s Christmas Book Festival. 13 authors and illustrators are in store to sign copies of their books — and let’s face it, a book with a personalised dedicated makes for a great Christmas present. Waterstones Finchley Road, free entry, just turn up, 11am-5pm

TROPICAL CONSERVATORY: A tropical conservatory in the City of London, you say? Yep, meet Barbican’s conservatory. Only open on Sundays, the glass structure is home to 2,000 species of plants and trees, plus fish and terrapins. You can even book afternoon tea in there. Barbican, free, just turn up, 12pm-5pm

A CRITICAL EYE: Our Visual Arts Editor Tabish Khan talks about what makes good art — does such a thing even exist? — whether there’s a right way to appreciate art, and whether anyone can appreciate it. He’s a man with strong opinions and an even stronger knowledge of the art world, so well worth hearing from. Fitzrovia Chapel, free, book ahead, 1pm-1.30pm

NEW ZEALAND STRING QUARTET: The New Zealand String Quartet — which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary —  has chosen Conway Hall as the first location on its UK tour. The concert consists of three of Beethoven’s works. £10-£12, book ahead, 6.30pm-8.30pm

from Londonist