The South Bank is hoping to warm up your winter with their selection of Christmas crackers.
There’s loads going on this festive season in South Bank, so we’ve put together a guide on where to go this festive season. Expect charming markets, delicious dining, and even a pop-up rooftop sauna! You won’t want to celebrate anywhere else…
Finnish rooftop sauna
As part of the Southbank Centre’s Wintertime Festival a pop-up Finnish rooftop sauna has been plonked atop the Queen Elizabeth Hall! Step out of the cold and into a steamy wood-panelled paradise as you celebrate the Finnish ‘cultural act of the year’: the time-honoured ritual of the communal sauna session. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing foray into Finnish culture in a sauna overlooking the Thames – the perfect way to keep warm this winter. Each session lasts 70 minutes, accommodates sixteen people at a time and you can book your slot on their website.
Southbank Centre Wintertime Market
The yearly Christmas market in South Bank is a real crowd-pleaser, and it’s not hard to see why. What could be better than a stroll down the Thames whilst you indulge in a cup of mulled wine and a spot of Christmas shopping? We know that’s our ideal evening. The charming stalls are housed in chalet-style wooden cabins selling all manner of gifts, decorations and food. Check out their website for more information.
London has gone igloo crazy this year! We’re sure you’ve noticed loads of transparent globes popping up along the river, well, this offering makes up another part of the Southbank Centre’s Wintertime Festival and they’re officially called the Jimmy’s Lodge snow globes. To nab yourself a spot you’ll need to get together a group of 6-10 people and £600 quid between you. Alternatively, if that sounds a wee bit out of your price range, you can enjoy their hot cocktail bar and street food or a meal at their Refuge Restaurant. For more information and for bookings, just take a look at their shiny new website.
Arts and culture:
National Theatre winter season
We’re big National Theatre fans here at Secret London HQ – check out our guide to the secrets of the National here – so we’re really excited about what’s coming up at the NT this season. Not only are they putting on an incredible selection of reworked classics and innovative originals, their winter season is littered with celebrity cameos that we think you’ll want to hear about. The lovely Imelda Staunton – best known for her spine-chilling portrayal of Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – will be returning to musical theatre in Follies while Bryan Cranston – Walter White in Breaking Bad – is appearing in Network. For more information on what’s on this season, just visit their website.
200 Years of the Old Vic
In honour of the first performance at The Old Vic just under 200 years ago, the theatre is counting down to this occasion with a selection of stories from the past, told digitally through blogs, podcasts, interviews and archive images. They’ll be marking their official birthday – the 11th May 2018 – with a free birthday performance that evening (you can win tickets to attend here), a street party on the 12th, and a fundraiser on the 13th. Until then, keep an eye on their website countdown!
Not only is The Old Vic turning 200, their much-anticipated winter show is opening next week, and that definitely deserves a mention here. From the 20th November, they’re putting on an updated version of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. It’s been adapted by Jack Thorne – the mastermind behind Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – and the title role is being played by Rhys Ifans – who we know you’ll have seen in Notting Hill. Our must-see pick for the festive season. Get your tickets here.
Thriller season at BFI Southbank
If you’re a little more Ebenezer Scrooge than Buddy the Elf when it comes to Christmas, you might be interested in these alternative winter screenings from BFI Southbank. It’s thriller season, so they’re putting on a season filled with edge-of-your-seat classics such as The Silence of the Lambs and modern masterpieces like The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Oh, and if you’re under 25 (you lucky thing) you can grab £3 tickets for any film when purchasing on the day at BFI Southbank. You’re welcome! Take a look at what’s on here.
Florentine at Park Plaza Waterloo
Newly opened Florentine is offering all you hungry Londoners the chance to indulge in the beloved brunch tradition, any time of day. That’s right – they’ve launched an all-day egg-based brunch menu for those of you who just can’t get enough of that smashed avo’ on toast. If you’re really hungry you can even opt for ostrich egg! Check out their menu here.
Skylon at Royal Festival Hall
The beautiful Skylon – located in the Royal Festival Hall – is stepping up their game this season with a selection of set menus to satisfy your cold weather food cravings. Their pre and post-theatre menus are filled with seasonal ingredients and winter flavours. Make ours a spiced coffee panna cotta with gingerbread and candied walnuts! Plus, you can’t beat the view from their panoramic windows. You can peruse all their fantastic menus here.
Dandelyan at Mondrian
This bar is so good that it was recently voted the world’s best bar in the 2017 Spirited Awards! Clinching the #1 spot in a list featuring the top drinking spots around the globe, Dandelyan’s daring drinks menu and sophisticated atmosphere can’t be beaten. They even offer their own take on the traditional afternoon tea, featuring 1970s-style retro cakes and savouries alongside cocktails (of course). You’ll want to book in advance though because, unsurprisingly, it’s a rather popular spot. Check out their website for more information.
Gillray’s at Marriott County Hall
Alongside their famously perfect steaks, Gillray’s is offering a selection of gin-based experiences that we thought you might want to hear about. If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that our readers love a bit of gin! They’re offering a tantalising gin tasting experience or – for those of you who’d prefer to get a little more hands on – a bespoke cocktail masterclass. For more information just visit their website or ask their friendly bar staff.
Champagne experience on the London Eye
What better way to ring in the festive season than with a glass of bubbly… at 135 metres! The London Eye’s VIP experiences are well worth looking into if you’re hoping to organise something special. For £36 online you can enjoy a glass of Pommery Brut Royal Champagne and Fast Track entry to the London Eye. You’ll pay £26 on the day just for standard entry, so we reckon it’s well worth the extra tenner for a little added luxury. For more information and other fantastic online offers just take a look at their website.