Things to do in London in December 2018

The ianVisits guide to December's unusual events, tours, lectures and exhibitions happening around London.


Coronavirus: Events may be cancelled and venues closed at short notice, you are advised to check on their websites before making a trip.

Saturday 1st December

Roll up your sleeves and get involved in an event on London’s biggest ever tree planting weekend.
All Day
 
Volunteer at a tree planting event
Experience some nostalgia riding on vintage buses from the 1930’s – 1980’s on this annual Heritage Bus Running Day.
All Day
 
Vintage buses running day
A church hall filled with Meccano models of all types and sizes.
10:30am to 5pm
 
Barkingside
Hainault Meccano Hangout
Beginning from Poplar, the East End area in which he lives, Bob Gilbert explores, in particular, our relationship with the trees that have helped shape London
2pm to 3pm
 
Poplar
Ghost Trees: Nature and People in a London Parish
Monthly open day at one of London's more curious and delightful museums, devoted to the history of the sewing machine.
2pm to 5pm
 
Tooting

More London events on Saturday 1st December

Sunday 2nd December

Roll up your sleeves and get involved in an event on London’s biggest ever tree planting weekend.
All Day
 
Volunteer at a tree planting event
A monthly opening of the Victorian museum of industrial testing equipment.
11am to 5pm
 
Southwark
Step back in history and visit the terminus building of London's original international airport - in Croydon.
11am to 4pm
 
Croydon
Russell Hargrave asks, What were the roots of this crisis, and how did the government get things so badly wrong?
3pm to 4:30pm
 
Holborn

More London events on Sunday 2nd December

Monday 3rd December

Our panel will examine how a colonial state can demolish and construct parts of a city to assert control, organising cities into spaces in which citizens are permitted or excluded.
6:30pm to 7:30pm
 
Picadilly
Cities and colonialism
With special access, interior designer and artist Ashley Hicks has photographed the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace.
7pm to 8:45pm
 
South Kensington
£3.00 Antisocial
A talk about why some people are violent, and what can be done to treat them.
7:30pm to :
 
Camden
A discussion with the two artists.
8pm to 5pm
 
Wood Green
Gilbert & George in conversation with Michael Bracewell

More London events on Monday 3rd December

Tuesday 4th December

Visionary designer Deanna Van Buren shows how innovative design approaches and systems thinking are helping to transform criminal justice.
6pm to 7pm
 
Trafalgar Square
Using Design to End Mass Incarceration
A lecture on the use of "big data" in policing and social services and the implications for privacy
6pm to 8pm
 
St James
Predictive Policing & Big Data Analysis
Is it possible to restore the cognitive loss resulting from malnutrition, using new artificial intelligence and cognitive models?
6pm to 7pm
 
Barbican
Darcey Bussell, retired darling of the British Ballet and beloved judge of Strictly Come Dancing, shares remarkable stories and memorable images from her new book.
7pm to 8:45pm
 
South Kensington

More London events on Tuesday 4th December

Wednesday 5th December

9:45am to 10:30am
 
Bethnal Green
#ThanksToYou Hard Hat Tour: Oxford House in Bethnal Green
In this illustrated talk, Deborah Hyde will discuss the many alpine characters which have evolved into Santa and Krampus.
6:30pm to 8:30pm
 
Barbican
Krampusnacht: The Many Faces of Santa
This talk by Sheila Cavanagh, Professor of English, Emory University, will describe Boswell’s introduction of his home to Dr. Johnson, including this city’s transition into the home of the Scottish enlightenment.
7pm to :
 
Holborn
‘I smell you in the dark’: Johnson and Boswell in Edinburgh
The building and operation of the nearby tunnel, the longest in London.
7pm to :
 
Islington
Viv Regan of Spiked will explore the threats to open debate and blogging online and discuss what has happened to the lost promise of internet freedom.
7pm to 8:30pm
 
Holborn
Jeremy Banx, an award winning cartoonist, will talk about his work – and some of his original cartoons will be available for purchase.
7:30pm to :
 
Greenwich

More London events on Wednesday 5th December

Thursday 6th December

Discover truly remarkable – but surprisingly little known – collections, featuring everything from artworks to scarce anatomical preparations and ext
5pm to 8pm
 
Camden
Don’t miss the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree.
6pm to 3pm
 
Trafalgar Square
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony 2018
Learn about Victorian sweets and drinks, as served by Dickens at home and cooked up by his characters.
6pm to :
 
Clerkenwell
Punch and Puddings with Pen Vogler
Join Alexandra Epps to discover the secrets of its sacred geometry and perfect beauty within creations from the classical to the contemporary.
6pm to 8pm
 
City of London
Countdown to Christmas with a festive evening celebration by numbers where you can tackle mind bending puzzles and make your own maths inspired tree decorations.
6pm to 9pm
 
South Kensington
Imperial Lates: Xmaths
Is eating chocolate linked to child slavery? Watch this documentary film about the journalists investigating global chocolate production.
6:30pm to 9pm
 
Holborn
A deeply fascinating evening of pointless mundanities
7pm to 8:30pm
 
Camden
Boring Talks: Cats
In this talk, Caroline Rance will explore the world of Victorian dissection rooms
7pm to :
 
Southwark
Tales from the Victorian Dissecting Room

More London events on Thursday 6th December

Friday 7th December

If you are yet to hear Michael Slater bring the great works of Dickens to life, this is your chance.
3pm to 5pm
 
Clerkenwell
A Christmas Carol with Professor Michael Slater
Aldgate’s Lantern Parade will move through the streets to the beat of the Barbican’s Drum Works leading to a festive fete in the new Aldgate Square.
4pm to :
 
Tower Hill
Aldgate Lantern Parade 2018

More London events on Friday 7th December

Saturday 8th December

Free Santa Con
Look out for large numbers of people dressed up as Santa and generally behaving as though they are on a pub crawl
All Day
 
Santa Con
A seasonal cafe pop-up from celebrity chef Ben Tish, carol singers, a live band, 25 stalls of crafts and produce
10am to 4pm
 
Whitechapel
Browse and buy unique hand-made gifts from London makers, and enjoy the twinkle of the Christmas tree with some hot street food.
11am to 4pm
 
Bethnal Green
This Christmas market will showcase 50 different designer makers each day.
11am to 5pm
 
Bow
Urban Makers Christmas Fair
A one-day pop-up event in Shoreditch, to celebrate the beginning of the festive season in true Elizabethan-era playhouse style.
11am to 6pm
 
Whitechapel
Shakespeare pop-up in Spitalfields
The farmyard is set to be transformed with local craft stalls selling all sorts of Christmas gift ideas.
11am to 4pm
 
Rotherhithe
Surrey Docks City Farm annual Christmas fair
Occasional open weekend of the normally private Eel Pie Island.
3pm to 4pm
 
Twickenham

More London events on Saturday 8th December

Sunday 9th December

This event brings together a community of over 70 ceramicists so you can pick up unique and original ceramics, from cups to art sculptures.
11am to 6pm
 
Whitechapel
Independent Ceramics Market
This Christmas market will showcase 50 different designer makers each day.
11am to 5pm
 
Bow
Urban Makers Christmas Fair
Occasional open weekend of the normally private Eel Pie Island.
3pm to 4pm
 
Twickenham

More London events on Sunday 9th December

Monday 10th December

Book launch and talk about the ongoing restoration of seminal Constructivist building - Narkomfin (Moscow) - of which Alexei is chief restoration architect.
7pm to 8:30pm
 
Bloomsbury
Style and Epoch: An evening devoted to Moisei Ginzburg and Narkomfin

More London events on Monday 10th December

Tuesday 11th December

In this year’s lecture Johnny will talk about how maths and mathematicians have influenced the world around us for centuries.
2pm to 4pm
 
Hendon
Mathematics Christmas Lecture with Johnny Ball
Jonathan Bate will follow in the footsteps of the 18th-century inventors of the ‘picturesque’ and show how Wordsworth shaped the vision of his native region, leading to the foundation of the National Trust and the idea of a National Park.
6pm to 7pm
 
Barbican
The ‘Journey from Home’ project is a community heritage project that explores the experiences, feelings and stories of South Asian soldiers during the First World War.
6:30pm to 8:30pm
 
Richmond
Journey from home

More London events on Tuesday 11th December

Wednesday 12th December

Lucinda Hawksley, a great great great granddaughter of Charles and Catherine Dickens, and the author of Dickens and Christmas, will give an entertaining talk on what it was really like to experience a proper Victorian Christmas.
2pm to 3pm
 
City of London
Evidence will be presented on which aspects of pay are working well and which are indeed dysfunctional, and on how pay should be reformed.
6pm to 7pm
 
Barbican

More London events on Wednesday 12th December

Thursday 13th December

Enjoy the opportunity to explore Dickens’s home, dressed lavishly for Christmas, as darkness falls.
Starts at 6pm
 
Clerkenwell
Christmas Lates at the Charles Dickens Museum
Screening of one of the most beautiful and imaginative films ever made, A Matter of Life and Death.
7pm to :
 
Southwark
Film Night: A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
Come to the London of the fin de siecle and meet the writers, poets and strange eccentrics who made the capital seem so weird, perverse and disturbing.
7pm to :
 
Highgate
Gothic London

More London events on Thursday 13th December

Friday 14th December

Experience a Georgian Christmas at the Soane at this exclusive evening candlelit event.
6pm to :
 
Holborn
Georgian Christmas Late
A debate exploring how technological developments have transformed architecture and the ways in which practice can foster its relationship with technology today.
6:30pm to 8pm
 
Picadilly
Towards the well-tempered environment

More London events on Friday 14th December

Saturday 15th December

Occasional open weekend at the recently restored Toynbee Hall to see the exhibition about its history and activity.
11am to 3pm
 
Whitechapel
Open weekend at Toynbee Hall
A monthly classic car show/meet just behind Waterloo Station.
12pm to 4pm
 
Southwark
Waterloo Classics
Come and view a church full of Christmas trees.
12pm to 4pm
 
Hounslow
Christmas Tree Festival
Craft your very own decorative Christmas wreath to take home, using natural foraged materials from the park.
1:30pm to 4:30pm
 
Bow
Natural Festive Wreath Making
This Christmas, join Sheldon and Sacha as they personally introduce you to some of the characters that have more or less walked out of one of his novels in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.
4:30pm to 6:30pm
 
Bow
Grave Expectations; Dickens, his characters and a Victorian Cemetery
Late night opening of the postal museum and its underground railway.
6pm to 9pm
 
Farringdon
Robin Ince once again hosts his iconic annual celebration with a top line up of special guests.
7pm to :
 
Islington
 Nine Lessons and Carols for Curious People

More London events on Saturday 15th December

Sunday 16th December

Occasional open weekend at the recently restored Toynbee Hall to see the exhibition about its history and activity.
11am to 3pm
 
Whitechapel
Open weekend at Toynbee Hall
Watch loads of pantomime horses racing around the streets of Greenwich.
11am to :
 
Greenwich
The London Pantomime Horse Race
Wade in a wild river and experience a different perspective of London history and urban wildlife.
11am to 1pm
 
Deptford
Low Tide Walk along Deptford Creek
Come and view a church full of Christmas trees.
11:30am to 4pm
 
Hounslow
Christmas Tree Festival
A talk about why in the age of the internet, where information should be more accessible than ever, we remain so poorly informed.
3pm to 4:30pm
 
Holborn
Thinking on Sunday: The Perils of Perception - Why We're Wrong About Nearly Everything

More London events on Sunday 16th December

Monday 17th December

Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing special happening today. Sorry about that!

More London events on Monday 17th December

Tuesday 18th December

Unfortunately, there seems to be nothing special happening today. Sorry about that!

More London events on Tuesday 18th December

Wednesday 19th December

This lecture will attempt to critique both T.E. Lawrence the historical actor and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ the cultural construct as products of Western imperialism.
6:30pm to 8pm
 
St James
Lawrence of Arabia: Romantic, Orientalist, and Western Cultural Artefact
A talk by the author of a book on Donald Trump and Russia.
6:30pm to 8:30pm
 
Bloomsbury

More London events on Wednesday 19th December

Thursday 20th December

Enjoy the opportunity to explore Dickens’s home, dressed lavishly for Christmas, as darkness falls.
Starts at 6pm
 
Clerkenwell
Christmas Lates at the Charles Dickens Museum

More London events on Thursday 20th December

Friday 21st December

If you are yet to hear Michael Slater bring the great works of Dickens to life, this is your chance.
3pm to 5pm
 
Clerkenwell
A Christmas Carol with Professor Michael Slater

More London events on Friday 21st December

Saturday 22nd December

Rummage through a selection of salvaged treasures from over 30 handpicked vintage traders.
11am to 6pm
 
Stoke Newington
Hackney Flea-mas Market
A festive celebration for the whole family in the Globe Theatre.
1pm to 2pm
 
Southwark

More London events on Saturday 22nd December

Sunday 23rd December

Rummage through a selection of salvaged treasures from over 30 handpicked vintage traders.
11am to 6pm
 
Stoke Newington
Hackney Flea-mas Market
A festive celebration for the whole family in the Globe Theatre.
1pm to 2pm
 
Southwark

More London events on Sunday 23rd December

Monday 24th December

Take a step back in time this Christmas Eve with a visit to the Charles Dickens Museum.
All Day
 
Clerkenwell
A Very Dickensian Christmas Eve
The annual and wonderful Christmas Eve auction by Harts the Butchers at Smithfield.
10am to 12pm
 
Barbican
 Smithfields Xmas Eve Auction

More London events on Monday 24th December

Tuesday 25th December

If you have never seen London almost empty, this is really the only opportunity to do so all year.
5:45am to 9am
 
Trafalgar Square
Walking tour of London on Christmas Day
Annual swimming event (to watch) takes place in Hyde Park's Serpentine Lake on Christmas Day
9am to 11am
 
Kensington
The one ice rink that will be open on Christmas Day.
12:20pm to 6pm
 
Hampstead

More London events on Tuesday 25th December

Wednesday 26th December

Morris men are inviting everyone to an ancient midwinter play during their Boxing Day tour of Ewell Village.
12pm to 3pm
 
Epsom
Come and explore this beautiful nature reserve which is usually closed to the public.
12pm to 3pm
 
Brockley

More London events on Wednesday 26th December

Thursday 27th December

Take a tour of Parliament over the Christmas holidays.
10am to 4pm
 
Whitehall
Christmas Tours of the Houses of Parliament

More London events on Thursday 27th December

Friday 28th December

Take a tour of Parliament over the Christmas holidays.
10am to 4pm
 
Whitehall
Christmas Tours of the Houses of Parliament

More London events on Friday 28th December

Saturday 29th December

All available engines will be in steam, including unlimited rides on the Waterworks Railway and the chance to see the Victorian Shand Mason steam fire engine in action.
10am to 4pm
 
Brentford
New Year Steam-Up
Take a tour of Parliament over the Christmas holidays.
10am to 4pm
 
Whitehall
Christmas Tours of the Houses of Parliament
Top up your seasonal cheer at this day-long event with London’s best drag kings and queens.
12pm to 4pm
 
Southwark
Winter's a DRAG

More London events on Saturday 29th December

Sunday 30th December

All available engines will be in steam, including unlimited rides on the Waterworks Railway and the chance to see the Victorian Shand Mason steam fire engine in action.
10am to 4pm
 
Brentford
New Year Steam-Up
Love it or hate it, the concrete landscape of Europe’s largest art centre has been dividing opinion for generations.
5pm to :
 
Southwark
Southbank Architecture Tour

More London events on Sunday 30th December

Monday 31st December

All available engines will be in steam, including unlimited rides on the Waterworks Railway and the chance to see the Victorian Shand Mason steam fire engine in action.
10am to 4pm
 
Brentford
New Year Steam-Up
A plant hunting walk to see how many wildflowers can be found at this time of year.
11am to 1pm
 
New Year’s Eve Plant Hunt

More London events on Monday 31st December

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