you’re reading

What’s On in London? The Town Culture Diary

Culture /

What’s On in London? The Town Culture Diary

Don't miss the best cultural events in the UK during the month...


What’s on this week in London? Wonder no more! Find out all the hottest show openings, new art exhibitions in London, restaurants to book into and more. Here’s your culture guide to the month ahead…  

What’s On in London?

1 December

Christian Louboutin Exhibition, Covent Garden

Christian Louboutin

For one week only, you can view never-before-seen photographs of Christian Louboutin’s legendary garden in his 13th-century French chateau in the Vendee. ‘Digging His Heels In’ will exhibit images of Louboutin’s private garden taken by Jane Hilton, offering a rare glimpse into the designer’s passion for gardening. To accompany the pop-up, there will be beautiful floral installations by some of London’s leading florists, influenced by Louboutin’s house and garden – including an entire wall of pressed flower panels (also highly Instagrammable, incidentally). 1–7 December. Rakesprogress, 13 Floral Street, Covent Garden WC2

Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane at Somerset House

Hassan Hajjaj Rider

The potent aromas of the Moroccan desert virtually waft through this exhibition as Hajjaj draws the nomadic world of his native Morocco into La Caravane. Singers, rappers and artists stand for portraits against bold stripes and fluorescent colours. In others, veiled women ride mopeds – simultaneously they are modest, adventurous, rebellious and lacking identity buy are also forthright and provocative. A fascinating challenge to our perception of the hijab. Until 7 January,

Dalí/Duchamp at The Royal Academy

Dali Duchamp Royal Academy

They were friends, of course. Now it seems these two rebels inspired and encouraged each other too. Duchamp, Parisian flâneur and thinker, acquired a urinal and scrawled R.Mutt on it and named it ‘Fountain’, and with it posed the great question of the age: ‘What is art?’. Dalí lived for the shock factor, and talked about unveiling one outrageous work after the next. This exhibition is at times moving – their portraits of their fathers hang side by side – at others, hilarious and surprised; Duchamp’s alter ego Rrose Sélavy seems to have been accepted in early-20th century Paris. Luxuriously vulgar. Until 3 January.

2 December

Chelsea Christmas Shopping Weekend

Chelsea Christmas Shopping Weekend

The Cadogan Estate has Christmas covered. Over the Chelsea Shopping Weekend all your favourite shops will be throwing in a few added extras and the odd glass of champagne, plus free style consultations with C&TH’s Martha Ward and facialist Sarah Chapman to get your party season prepped. Read our full preview of the event here, including where to head to bag the best deals. 2-3 December,

The Snowman

the nutcracker

Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman is still a thrilling suspension of disbelief for youngsters, a contemporary classic and irresistible at Christmas. Sadler’s Wells will be packed with the soaring melodies of Howard Blake’s inimitable score. 23 Nov to 31 Dec.

3 December

Spitalfields Music Festival

Spitalfields Music Festival

Guest curated by conductor André de Ridder (pictured), this year’s festival embraces classical music in its broadest sense, from an interpretation of Schumann’s Dichterliebe performed in a row of Huguenot houses by local schoolchildren to Daniel Brandt’s Eternal Something colliding with a techno collective. Epic and mind-expanding. 2-10 December.

Venus in Fur, Royal Haymarket

venus in fur

Game of Thrones actor Natalie Dormer stars in the West End premiere of David Ives’ electrically charged dark comedy at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Following a knockout run on Broadway, Venus in Fur is the tale of a young actress determined to land her dream role – all the more poignant in light of Hollywood’s latest scandal. Until 9 Dec.

Fever-Tree Seasonal Gin School

Fever Tree Gin School

Following on from a sold-out summer run, the Fever-Tree Gin School is back for the festive season, running from 13 November for six weeks. With an hour-long immersive tasting, crafting and distilling experience, students will learn more about the spirit and produce their own hand-crafted bottle of gin to take home with them. Read our full preview here. Book your tickets here.

4 December

McQueen’s Flower School Christmas Classes


Prevent your home from becoming a sparkly dog’s dinner by attending a McQueens’ Christmas class at its Flower School on Cambridge Heath Road. Choose from one-day to a week-long course and you will learn to make wreaths, table settings and create focal displays. 4–8 Dec.

Night at the Bombay Roxy

night at the bombay roxy

Swamp Studios brings a taste of India to Kensington’s Art Deco Barkers building, presenting Night at the Bombay Roxy, an immersive evening in the as-yet-unopened Dishoom restaurant, taking the audience back to the opening night of the Bombay Roxy in 1949. Tickets include dinner. 27 Nov to 11 Dec.

Rachel Whiteread Retrospective, Tate Britain

Rachel Whiteread Retrospective, Tate Britain

In 1993, Rachel Whiteread procured a house in Mile End that was ready for demolition. After sealing its weak walls, she instructed for it to be filled with concrete and the original house demolished around it. House was demolished three months later but it won the Turner Prize. In her retrospective at Tate Britain, she has created cement casts of the space under tables, in toilet roll tubes, in cupboards and stairs. Before long, you are under her spell. Gold stars to Tate for celebrating today’s pioneers. Until 21 January. 

5 December

Candle Making Workshop

Earl of East London

Mondrian London is hosting a Christmas Craft Week to help guests get festive, and the candle-making workshop is our pick of the bunch. Candle-makers Earl of East London will guide you through the steps, helping you choose fragrances and essential oils, as well as giving insider hints and tips. You’ll leave with your own home-made candle, beautifully unique to you and a memento of a special evening. Prices from £50 (including two glasses of Prosecco), book here. 7-9pm on 5th December

The Nutcracker


Magically musical, a score by Tchaikovsky and romantically danced: English National Ballet performers and punters all love The Nutcracker. It’s Christmas Eve and Clara and her Nutcracker doll fly from icy Edwardian London to an alternate universe where she fights the Mouse King and soars above the city in a hot air balloon. Signing up for ballet lessons for 2018, for sure. 29 Nov to 6 Jan.

Choose Love, This is Soho

choose love this is soho

What better way to do good this Christmas than to help those who are really in need? Choose Love is the world’s first pop-up shop where you can buy real and necessary items for refugees, including emergency blankets, children’s shoes, warm socks and mobile phone credit. Prices will range from £4.99 to £499 with an option to even ‘buy the store’. Each item on sale is accompanied by a short story about how and why it was chosen. Through December passers-by can also expect surprise celebrity staff, events and special promotions. 24 November until Christmas. 

6 December

Winter Dinners and Guest Chef Series, Battersea Park

winter dinner battersea park

This event will be returning to Battersea Park’s Pear Tree Café throughout November and December, hosting guest chefs including Olia Hercules and Dor Harel. The seasonal nights will include Christmas feast food from grouse to truffles. 29 November: Dor Harel, 6.30pm-9.30pm, £29. 6 December: Christmas Dinner in The Park, 6.30pm-9.30pm, £TBC. 14 December: Olia Hercules, 6.30-9.30pm, £40. To book tickets please either call 0207 978 1655 or email [email protected] 

Speakeasy Bar Launch: Jack Solomons Club

jack solomons club

A new speakeasy bar called Jack Solomons Club will be hitting the buzzing streets of Soho come 1 December. Specialising in whiskey cocktails, the bar is inspired by the legacy of Jack Solomons, an iconic Soho character whose boxing gym was located here throughout the 1940s and 50s. 41 Great Windmill Street, London W1D 7NB. 

L’Orla SS18 at Selfridges

L’Orla SS18

The third collaboration between stylist Leith Clark and Orla Kiely will be available for the first time ever in Selfridges this December. The Resort SS18 capsule collection celebrates the strength of femininity and the power of the peaceful. Think 70s tie neck tea dresses, organza check dresses and casual Californian corduroy. Sign us up. From 6 December

7 December

London Art Week

London Art Week

The inaugural winter London Art Week will provide unique access to numerous masterpieces housed in the heart of London. More than thirty of London’s most renowned galleries will be opening their doors to visitors, including Daniel Katz, Sam Fogg, Robilant & Voena, Rupert Wace and auction houses such as Bonhams, Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Running until Friday 8 December, be sure to check out our insider’s guide firstUntil 8 December

Winter’s Tales, the Print Room

emile sande

In Winter’s Tales, names including Tom Hollander, Emeli Sandé and Mel Giedroyc will read their favourite festive stories in the Print Room at the Coronet in Elephant and Castle. It’s all in aid of a good cause, namely the Give a Book charity and the K&C Foundation, which supports victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. 6–10 Dec.

8 December

Cell Mates, Hampstead Theatre

Cell Mates, Hampstead Theatre

Two prisoners make friends: a notorious double agent and a petty criminal. Together they plot their escape – but once outside feel pressure from MI5 and the KGB – and each other. 30 November 2017 – 20 January 2018.  

Gerald Scarfe at The House of Illustration

Gerald Scarfe at The House of Illustration

Better known for his scathing political cartoons, Gerald Scarfe has another string to his bow. The House of Illustration presents his stage and screen designs, which range from The Nutcracker to Pink Floyd’s 1982 film adaption of The Wall. Until 21 Jan.

9 December

Rrose Sélavy’s Dada Extravaganza

Dada Extravaganza

French bistro Blanchette pairs up with the Royal Academy for a Duchamp and Dali-inspired extravaganza this Saturday, hosted by Rrose Sélavy, Duchamp’s female alter-ego. Head to the RA for an evening of surrealism and Dada, with an extravagant ball, surrealist games, performances and installations which will accompany a specially-created menu including Dali’s eye breads with truffle honey and goat’s cheese. An evening to remember… 7 – 11.45pm at the Royal Academy of Arts, tickets £35 (VIP £75) and can be purchased here

Cinderella at Sadler’s Wells

Cinderella at Sadler's Wells

Matthew Bourne has taken on the classic and beloved tale of Cinderella and given it a new twist of a war-time romance. With costumes from award winning Lez Brotherston, you can be assured this will be an evening for all the senses. 9 December 2017 – 27 January 2018.

Vestiaire Collective The Supermodel Shop

Toni Garrn

Toni Garrn

Missed the pop-up in London earlier this month? Fear not! You can still catch Vestiaire Collective’s partnership with supermodel and philanthropist Toni Garrn; the third annual Supermodel Charity Sale online. There are items donated by Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, Karlie Kloss, Sarah Sampio, Jourdan Dunn, Gisele Bunchen, Poppy Delevingne, Naomi Campbell, Laura Bailey and Lara Stone, with 100% of proceeds going to the Toni Garrn foundation, which facilitates access to education for girls in Zimbabwe. Check it out at

10 December

Smith & Sinclair’s Sensory Flavour Gallery

sensory flavour gallery

This November art will be consumed as never before, thanks to Smith & Sinclair’s multi-sensorial experience The Flavour Gallery. The exhibition will feature work from awe-inspiring artists such as Terry Pastor, London Loom and Anja Predojevic who have all been commissioned to create interactive artwork which plays on what a gallery is traditionally understood to be. 9 November – 17 December, The Hoxton Basement, 12 – 18 Hoxton Street, London N1 6NG. Tickets £15 per night.

11 December

Wright Brothers Battersea Opening

Wright Brothers Battersea

Wright Brothers, the ever-popular seafood specialists who are particularly famous for their oysters, are opening their fifth site at London’s newest development, Battersea Power Station. Located just by the River Thames, the restaurant will have an open theatre-style kitchen, as well as an al fresco terrace which will be flooded with visitors come spring. Be among the first to try the newly-created dishes, some of which are cooked in the Josper oven for the first time – and head down between 3-6pm for £1 oysters! 26 Circus West Village, London SW8

Catherine Walker & Co Sample Sale

Catherine Walker & Co Diana Dress in Poppy

Catherine Walker & Co Diana Dress in Poppy

Catherine Walker & Co is hosting a sample sale at its Chelsea showroom from Monday 11 December, where you will be able to purchase pieces of fine tailoring and eveningwear from the couture house. Currently in its 40th anniversary year, the House will open its doors for a special release of one-off samples, available to buy from as little as £100. Read our Q&A with Head of Design Said Cyrus, here.

Oslo, Harold Pinter Theatre

Oslo, Harold Pinter Theatre

Rogers’ vexing intrigue of peace politics comes to the West End after its run at The National. Until 30 December. 

12 December

Miracle on 34th Street at The View from The Shard

miracle on 34th street

The iconic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street will be screened at The Shard on Tuesday 12th December. With 36o° views of London from the city’s tallest building, it promises a spectacular festive evening.  If that isn’t exciting enough already, you will also receive a complimentary Grey Goose cocktail and lots of freshly-made popcorn. Tickets £45, book here.

13 December

‘Nocturnes’, a solo show by Pam Glew

nocturnes pam glew

Contemporary British artist Pam Glew uses the Kimono as a symbol of strength to introduce the Samurai as the ‘Woman Warrior’, where ghostly images of female faces appear through the layers of the fabric. Most recognised for playing with our notion of the identity of women, Glew’s latest exhibition reignites her dialogue around themes of sustainability vs waste, light vs dark and beauty vs deconstruction. Find out more hereUntil 15 February

14 December

Wreath Making Classes at Battersea Power Station

Wreath Making

Talented florist Moyses Stevens will be hosting wreath-making workshops at Battersea Power Station in the run-up to Christmas, teaching guests how to best express their creativity using foliage and seasonal decorations. Book in for the class on 14 December for straight-forward wreath-making, or on Sunday 10th for a longer workshop which includes candle-making courtesy of Wax + Wick. Tickets from £42, book here and here.

The Dalston Fonduta Dinners

Black Hand Food Charcuterie

Love Italian food? And cheese fondue? We’ve got just the event for you – head to Dalston for a stylish dinner at Acqua7 wine and cocktail bar, hosted by local producer Black Hand Food. Specialising in charcuterie, there will be heaps of delicious cured meats to accompany the big family-style fondue, as well as a winter spritz, melt-in-the-mouth burrata and Italian wines. £35, buy tickets here14 December, from 6.30pm

15 December

Love in a Cold Climate Exhibition

love in a cold climate exhibition

Featuring the work of six international artists is The Dot Project’s new exhibition, curated by India Whalley and Flora Ogilvy, founder of Arteviste. The show plans to knit together abstraction and figuration, manifesting tensions between surface and space, and commenting on the physicality of the human body in stark reference to the psychology of its experience. 1st December – 28 January, 94 Fulham Road, London SW3 6HS. 

Winnie the Pooh, Victoria & Albert Museum

Explore the sketches, letters, photographs, cartoons, ceramics and fashion which has sprung to life from the creative partnership that was A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard. Make sure you see the hand-painted Christopher Robin Tea Set presented to Princess Elizabeth. 9 December 2017 – 8 April 2018.

16 December

Modigliani Exhibition, Tate Modern

Modigliani at the Tate Modern

The 20th century’s most strikingly original painter of nudes, Modigliani’s works were banned in his lifetime. Contemporaries were shocked by his brazen approach to the female form. Paintings of his friends and lovers are to be assembled from across the globe this winter at Tate Modern to display his unique talent. 23 Nov to 2 April.

17 December

Holy Trinity Sloane Square Christmas Carols

start of concert

The popular annual Carols by Candlelight Christmas concert is back for its eighth concert at Holy Trinity Sloane Square. Set to be an evening filled with magical classical music as well as traditional carols, tickets are free and there will be mulled wine and mince pies served afterwards!

Gilbert & George’s 50th Anniversary at the White Cube

Gilbert & George's 50th Anniversary at the White Cube

To mark 50 years of Gilbert & George’s works, White Cube presents a thoroughly modern game of Where’s Wally. Can you spot the duo among the 4,000 pronouncements and mottoes, disguised behind beards, as sex workers or in newspaper advertisements? Great fun. 22 Nov to 28 Jan.

20 December

Taco Party at Club Mexicana

Taco Party Club Mexicana

Cult vegan Mexican street food experts Club Mexicana are ending their year-long residency at Pamela in Dalston in style. Fans old and new can enjoy unlimited vegan Tacos on 20 December – expect fiery Mexican flavours and festive cocktails aplenty to see out the year with a bang. £30 per person, from 6pm.

21 December

Southwark Cathedral Carols

Eyewitness Advent Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral will hold its notable Cathedral Carol Services on 17 & 21 December this year, starting at 6pm. The services will be candlelit and will not require a ticket, however please plan to arrive in good time for a seat as they are usually very popular.

27 December

Can Graphic Design Save Your Life?


Marketing can be manipulative but design can be used to persuade in good ways, too. The Wellcome Collection shows how we are influenced by health warnings and gently nudged to eat our five-a-day. Until 14 January

18 January

Lumière London

Lumiere London

Commissioned by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Lumière London is set to be one of the most exciting events in town – and it’s free! The light festival will be brighter than ever, with numerous artworks around the capital, including interactive illuminated singing see-saws, an immersive installation of an underwater King’s Cross, and the Northern Lights in Mayfair. A whole new city to discover, don’t miss out! 18-21 January, various locations. Find out more here.

MORE CULTURE: The C&TH Festival Guide 2017 / Current Exhibitions to See in London

Topics: Art / Books / Country / Design / Exhibitions / Film / Little Black Book / London / Music / Town /