With December here already, we'll soon be celebrating the arrival of a New Year.
While some don their Christmas jumpers and get oh-so-jolly on mulled wine, there are plenty of non-Christmas related events happening in London you can get involved in before it's time to welcome in the New Year.
Escape the Christmas cheer for a few hours – here are the best things to do in London this December.
One of the most loved contemporary stories is back at Sadler’s Wells, Matthew Bourne’s classic dance edition of Edward Scissorhands is based on Tim Burton’s film starring Jonny Depp. Poor Ed has to battle to be accepted by the locals of a small town just because he has scissors for hands. There’s love, betrayal and some really great hairstyles.
Edward Scissorhands is on at Sadler’s Wells from 2 December – 11 January 2015.
Bombay Bicycle Club
These cool kids have really made an impact on the music scene, collecting fans everywhere they cycle (I mean, play). Having recently released a new album, these youngsters are performing at Earls Court to a potential crowd of 20,000. This is sure to sell out – so get on your bike and grab your tickets now.
Bombay Bicycle Club play at Earls Court on Saturday 13 December.
Dino-Snores for Grown Ups
While this event doesn’t happen until January, we thought we’d let you know so that you can plan in advance and book your tickets. Who says sleep-overs in museums are for kids only? Now anyone over the age of 18 can sleep under the Diplodocus skeleton in the Natural History Museum, while also enjoying a 3 course meal, a quiz, live music and a hot breakfast when you wake up. Tickets cost £180 and include a free drink on arrival.
The next Dino-Snores for Grown Ups event is on 23 January 2015.
Pantomime Horse Race
Forget the Grand National, that race has nothing on the London Pantomime Horse Race running for its 5th year in Greenwich. Over 40 'horses' will be competing and raising money for Demelza Children’s Hospice in this silly and action packed race. This year has been themed as the ‘Sci-Fi’ race so you can expect to see the likes of Darth Vader and over 50 storm troopers.
You can enter to compete in the race – the entrance fee for a team of two is £50 and you can hire your horse suit for another £50. Now all you have to decide is who is the horse’s head and who is the behind.
The race kicks off at Devonport House at 1pm.
Cats (They’re Back)
Proof that it really is one of the greatest musicals of all time, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit production, Cats, is back for another 12 weeks on the West End. Twenty-one years is not enough and people are still flocking to see this wonderful performance. And with Pussycat Dolls songstress, Nicole Scherzinger starring as Grizabella, if you haven’t seen this production yet, here is your chance.
Cats will be showing at London Palladium from 6th December 2014 to 28th February 2015.
So I did promise non-Christmas-related events, but I can’t go past Winterville without getting a little bit excited. From 2 December until 1 January, Victoria Park comes alive with “the antithesis of corporate Christmas theme parks”. You won’t find your usual Christmas stalls here – everything within Winterville is independent and a little bit alternative. You have to admit that a ‘Wall of Death’ with a gravity-defying Motordrome is a usual thing to find at a Christmas market, but Winterville breaks the mould.
There is a wide selection of fantastic food stalls and craft beers, a roller disco (hello, sweat bands!), and the all-important Spiegeltent. Here you can come and watch performances such as Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare and Cirque du Cabaret. Every Sunday night the tent transforms into the Fairy Grotto, where the top LBGT performers of London come and strut their stuff on the dance floor.
Entrance to Winterville is free so head on down to Victoria Park for an alternative Christmas experience you’ll never forget.
On a similar note to Winterville, for an even more unusual alt-Christmas event, buy your tickets for one of the most unconventional and tantalising grottos you will ever see Santa in. Every night until the 21 December, there are events such as choose-your-own-music club nights, bloody-mary Sundays, and swap-a-piece-of-clothing-when-the-bell-chimes parties. This is dark, sexy and definitely only for those over the age of 18.
Address: 1 Rivington street, London, EC2A 3BA
Support young designers by dropping in at the College Shop pop-up store run by students from the London College of Fashion. This is its 4th year running and has been relocated to 33 Marshall Street, Carnaby. You can get some exclusive clothing, jewellery and accessory designs from up and coming fashion stylists. You can get ahead of fashion trends by purchasing straight from the designers themselves – you’ll be the coolest kid at Christmas this year.
The College Shop is open from 11 – 16 December at 33 Marshall Street, London W1F 7ET.
Chanukah in the Square
Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights in Trafalgar Square. The first candle on the menorah will be lit on Tuesday 16th at 6pm and then repeated every day for eight days. Alongside the candle lighting celebration, there will be live performances and free doughnuts! The menorah will remain in Trafalgar Square until the 28th December.
Christmas Day Dip
What better things could you possible have to do on Christmas morning than jump into the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park for a chilly 100 yard swim? Since 1864, members of the Serpentine Swimming Club have taken to the waters for this annual swim where the water temperature is usually somewhere around 4 degrees Celsius. Perhaps fortunately, the swim is restricted to club members but spectators are welcome.
The race starts outside the Serpentine Café in Hyde Park at 9am on 25 December.
A pop-up festival offering food, drink, music and general good times? Yes please. Head to the warehouses of Hackney Wick to enjoy Turntables – street food at its best with some great DJs spinning the tunes for you to dance the night away. Every week there's something a bit different with the vendors rotating through so you can try something new.
Turntables is happening every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 20 December so get in quick.
Address: 117 Wallis Road, E9 6LN
For some seriously smooth beats, check out Just Jam at the Barbican on Saturday 13 December. Featuring Tim and Barry from the online music channel, Just Jam<, you will be entertained with fantastic live music, original video and plenty of audience interaction. Some of the confirmed acts include Omar Souleyman, Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip) and Brian Degraw (Gang Gang Dance) with amazing visuals from artists including Aaron Chan and Sabrina Ratté.