Things To Do

4 Things To Do In London That Have Absolutely Nothing To Do With Xmas

By Lucy Bloxham


It’s not even the true festive month (DECEMBER) and already all we can see, hear and smell is Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. If you’re anything like us and as soon as December hits, it’s mince pies for breakfast, Mariah Carey on repeat and fabulous bauble jumpers for the rest of the month (and some *most* of January), then you’ll also agree that these things need to be introduced in DECEMBER. Not October. Not November. But DECEMBER. So, because we don’t particularly fancy becoming a personified Nativity, we give you 4 of the best things to do in London this week that have absolutely NOTHING to do with Christmas. Call us Scrooges…but at least we won’t be mulled wine-d out by the time it’s acceptable to use it instead of milk on our cereal. Which, FYI, is totally a thing…


1. The Infinite Mix

Hayward’s new off-site exhibition has had rave reviews. And here’s why. The Infinite Mix is a collaboration between the Vinyl Factory and the Hayward Gallery, bringing together audiovisual artworks that are soulful and audacious in their exploration of a wide range of subjects (subjects that include ghostly opera stars, dancing plant-life and a bullet-riddled tour of Kendrick Lamar’s home town). The new London art exhibition includes works that address tumultuous histories and cultural tensions in ways that are thought provoking as well as deeply entertaining. They also remix our notions of history and fiction, the real and the staged, and the sublime and the everyday. Sounds prettttty awesome, right? Right. Drawing on varied genres including documentary filmmaking, music video, experimental film and theatrical performance, it makes for a fascinating, inspirational and innovative experience. And one that expands the ways in which we experience moving images and sound, and opens up new veins of meaning in art’s potentially ‘infinite mix.’ Get yourselves down now.

The Infinite Mix is on at The Store, 180 The Strand, London, from 9th September to 11th December


2. Beyond the Waterfall

Look out! Bompas & Parr are back. And once again, they haven’t disappointed. Oh noooo they haven’t. Think Mermaid-chic and you’re half way there. Located as Westfield Shepherd Bush (stay with us…) Beyond the Waterfall takes shoppers on a fantastical journey across an undersea lagoon to a mythical land, culminating in a cocktail bar staffed by mythical creatures. Mermen. Mmmmmm. The journey will evoke the emotions and joy of the holiday season (we know, but it was too amazing to miss out…and Christmas is NOT what it’s all about…) while creating a feeling of unbridled escapism woven from a mix of mythology, fairytales and science fiction.

This immersive experience is one of Bompas & Parr’s most ambitious projects to date, uniting disciplines including structural engineers, mining consultants and theatrical prop-makers to transport thousands of you Londoners into another dimension. Inspired by the narratives belonging to the most majestic mermen in literature, including the prophetic sea-god Glaucus, the cocktail bar at the heart of the experience means this grown-up treat can rival the seasonal experiences aimed at children. HA! TAKE THAT KIDS! And if that’s not enough to get your heart merman-ing (get it?), to get there you have to venture across a 20m lagoon on small boats, passing through a REAL waterfall. *Cue Peter Andre topless*

Beyond the Waterfall is open from the 9th – 23rd December, with tickets priced at £15


3. Smith & Sinclair’s Willy Wonka Themed Sweet Shop

Just because we aren’t kids anymore (or so our landlords keep telling us…) doesn’t mean Christmas still can’t be alllllll about sweets. NOT that this is a Christmas-related post. Only, have you SEEN this Willy Wonka themed sweet shop? Every adult-struggling-with-adulting’s DREAM! Alcohol innovators Smith & Sinclair are launching a new sensory pop-up bar at the Sanderson Hotel, which will satisfy the oh-so common post-work cocktail AND sweet cravings. It’s a non-Christmas miracle! At the ‘Flavour Room’ it’s all about sherbet Walls, (yes, an actual wall of sherbet), edible perfumes and concoctions which change colour and flavour as they are consumed. There will also be some of the more traditional sugar fixes…including pastilles (with flavours such as G&T, long island iced tea and whisky sours) and everyone’s favourite lollypop and sherbet combo (Dib Dabs, obvs) which has gotten a boozy makeover – you can create your own flavoured lollipops including negroni, raspberry collins and pina colada with alcoholic gels. *Droooooool*

Smith & Sinclair at Purple Bar runs from Fri 18th November – Sat 24th December at the Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG


4. Ballie Ballerson


Only last week we gave you half-priced tickets to East London’s favourite ball pool bar, Ballie Ballerson (boy, do we have to hold back the urge to put a ‘Mc’ before Ballerson). An early Christmas present shall we say. But, because this is a non-Christmas related post (although that endeavour appears to be failing rather miserably), we haven’t got any generous offers for you today. Only our advice and wisdom. And that is, to go to Ballie Ballerson IMMEDIATELY. It’s been up and running since the beginning of November, entertaining the big kids of London with a basement pit filled with over 200,000 balls, a soundtrack of Techno beats and a bar menu of crazy retro cocktails. You’ll be balls-deep in fun before you can say ‘MERRY C-….’

Ballie Ballerson is located at 79 Stoke Newington Road, London, N16 8AD

Buy tickets here.


Featured Image Credit: Bompas&Parr