City of London visitors, workers and residents are spoiled for choice when it comes to arts and culture events this week as we get closer and closer to Christmas.
There are stacks of things to see, do and experience in and around the City of London each and every week. So here’s our roundup of the best festivals, exhibitions, films and live music performances for you to get involved with as we get ready for all things Christmas.
The Clash’s ground-breaking London Calling album rocked the music scene, serving as an anthem for London, Londoners and music lovers globally. In this free display, view personal objects, images and music, some of which have not been seen before. The display also examines how the capital influenced The Clash as they became the most popular British band of the 20th century.
From 15 November,10am-6pm, free
Museum of London 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN
Heaven’s overrated. Hell’s where the party’s at. Director Emma Rice makes her English National Opera (ENO) debut in a glitzy production that showcases her talents for theatrical spectacle and humour. This is going to be a big and bright performance. Orpheus in the Underworld (feature image) transports viewers at the London Coliseum to a hedonistic, party-filled Underworld full of all kinds of characters. Eurydice is fooled into taking Pluto, ruler of the Underworld, as her lover after her new marriage to Orpheus is broken through tragedy. Orpheus must try to win his beloved wife back, but to achieve the impossible he needs the help of the glamorous, conceited but rather bored gods.
Until 28 November, tickets from £40
London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane WC2N 4ES
The Thames-side arts venue is set to be magically transformed into a festive wonderland once more in the build-up to the big day. As in previous years, a charming Christmas market full of traders selling festive treats and gifts will be setting up shop outside the Southbank Centre, while a season of enchanting Christmas performances will take to a large stage area too. Although the shows are yet to be confirmed, it’s sure to be one of the most magical seasonal events in London.
Southbank Centre, 337-338 Belvedere Road SE1 8XX
This annual Christmas Lights Switch On event kicks off the City of London’s festive season in style. Choirs, entertainment, competitions and more, with the Lord Mayor switching on the Market’s thousands of lights and unveiling the Christmas Tree. Look out for events throughout December, including a festive music programme, a virtual Advent Calendar with fantastic prizes, craft workshops and even a visit by Harry Potter and friends (we sadly aren’t expecting Daniel Radcliffe though). You’ve also got the lights going on at Regent Street (14 November), and Oxford Street (21 November) if you really feel like going all out.
15 November, 6pm, free
Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch Street EC3V 1LT
Enjoy a thrilling evening of music for guitar by alumni from Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD). Musicians including Marius Gundersen and Isabel Martínez, will perform works by composers such as Marco Pereira, Bryan Johanson, and Sérgio Assad.
19 November, 7pm, tickets £15
Concert Hall Milton Court EC2Y 9BH
Developed in close collaboration with the artist herself, it is the largest and most comprehensive exhibition of her work to date. Tracing both the origins and the evolving nature of Riley’s innovative practice, the exhibition brings together the artist’s iconic black-and-white paintings of the 1960s, expansive canvases in colour, early figurative works and recent wall paintings. Alongside Riley’s best-known canvases, the exhibition will also include rarely seen drawings, studies and preparatory materials that offer an insight into the artist’s working methods from 1947 to the present day. Spanning 70 years of Riley’s work, this exhibition offers visitors an unparalleled opportunity to experience powerful and engaging works by one of the most important artists of our time.
Until 26 January 2020, tickets £18
Hayward Gallery Belvedere Road SE1 8XX
All of the paintings and engravings in Hogarth’s series have been united for the first time to examine his complex views on morality, the society and the city. The darkly satirical series of William Hogarth (1697-1764) have an enduring appeal today. Cutting through social conventions, they present with wit and humour the immorality and vice that Hogarth perceived in all classes of society. It is perfect for the world we currently live in (under the shadow of all things Brexit). This is a must-see at the moment so make sure you get off the couch and out of the house this month and see this free exhibition.
Until 5 January 2020, free
Sir John Soane’s Museum London, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields WC2A 3BP
Ice skating season has already begun for the most eager Londoners out there looking to show off their skills to their mates who have no choice but hold onto the shame penguins for kids. But Skylight offers up a great alternative experience. Located on the rooftop above the Tobacco Docks, this relatively small ice rink offers views across the City, taking in the Shard and surrounding towers lit up at night. They’ve also got the token igloos, heated lodge-like rooms with blankets and heaters and a full functional bar and kitchen. It’s all in one at Skylight.
Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance E1W 2SF
Nam June Paik’s experimental, innovative, yet playful work has had a profound influence on today’s art and culture. He pioneered the use of TV and video in art and coined the phrase ‘electronic superhighway’ to predict the future of communication in the internet age. This major exhibition will be a mesmerising riot of sights and sounds. It brings together over 200 works from throughout his five-decade career – from robots made from old TV screens, to his innovative video works and all-encompassing room-sized installations such as the dazzling Sistine Chapel 1993.
Until 9 February 2020, tickets £13
Tate Modern, Bankside SE1 9TG