Unmissable Things to Do In London in December 2019
Ding Dong Merrily on High! Our list of unusual Things To Do in London for December takes an unapologetically festive turn – but for the Scrooge’s in our midst, there’s plenty of tinsel-free fun to be had too!
🎄🎄🎄 Step Into Christmas! 🎄🎄🎄
Cabaret & Variety
OPIA Lates: XMXS Party | Brew By Numbers | 14 December | 6:30pm | From £8
An immersive night of storytelling through music, poetry, visual art, comedy and theatre from fresh talent in the capital.
Drag Syndrome at Christmas | Queen Elizabeth Hall | 15 December | 6pm | FREE
2019’s best drag troupe invite special guests including Justin Bond (Shortbus) to their free festive soiree.
The Legends & Legacies Yuletide Special | Queen Elizabeth Hall | 21 December | 4:30pm | FREE
Xnthony presents a high-heeled, glitter-strewn festive extravaganza of talent from older people.
Sh!t Actually | Camden People’s Theatre | 3-21 December| 7:15pm | £15
Seminal Richard Curtis smushfest Love Actually is the source material for the wunderkinds at Sh!t Theatre to do their shittiest with.
Weirdos Save Christmas . . . And the local highstreet pub | Bloomsbury Theatre | 9 & 10 December| 8pm | £20
The weirdos are a grassroots comedy collective unlike any other. Miss this Xmas oddity at your peril.
Video Roulette – Xmas Birthday Edition | Ace Hotel London Shoreditch | 13 December| 7pm | FREE
Bonkers VHS crate digging cult bonanza.
Christmas LOLS | Queen Elizabeth Hall | 20 December| 9:45pm | FREE
The LOL word – an LGBTQIA+ women and non-binary comedy collective – present a free festive showcase at Southbank Centre.
Film & TV
Black Christmas (1974) | Prince Charles Cinema | 9 December | 9pm | £10
A bloody massacre of a Christmas eve. Forget the remake(s), this is the original and best festive gore fest.
Better Watch Out | Herne Hill Station Square | 12 December| 8pm | FREE
Better Watch Out replaces the Home Alone fantasy with horrific ‘someone’s out there’ scares. Fun stuff!
Panto & Theatre
Joan of Leeds | New Diorama Theatre | 3-21 December| 7:30pm | £16
Pioneering performance ensemble BREACH premiere their obscene medieval mystery play at the New Diorama.
Christmas Carol – A Fairytale | Wilton’s | All Month | 7:30pm | From £12.50
We’re in love with the premise of this refresh (with a gender-swapped central role: “Scrooge. As you’ve never seen her before…”), so Christmas Carol looks to be the ultimate festive treat – and if you haven’t already, you really need to discover the wonders of Wilton’s Music Hall!
Winterfest 2019 | Wembley Park | All Month| FREE
Pretty light installations in the fast-growing cultural quarter of Wembley.
😡😡😡😡 Stop The Cavalry 😡😡😡😡
(Some Xmas Elements May Be Unavoidable…)
Cabaret & Variety
Werk: An End of Year Showcase | Roundhouse | 5 December| 7:30pm | £10
Xnthony/The Glory’s werk in progress night gets a one-off special at the gorgeous Roundhouse in Camden.
The Cocoa Butter Club Demolition Party | Ovalhouse | 12 December| 8pm | £16
London’s most lavish and spectacular queer party comes to celebrate the demolition of one of London’s most outrageous and loved venues, Ovalhouse. (Don’t worry, it’s moving to Brixton)
Lucy Hopkins: The Unknown | The Bill Murray | 15 December| 4:15pm | Pay What You Want
Winner of To Do List’s Unsung Hero award, Lucy Hopkins is a comic talent unlike anything you’ve seen before. Discover her new show and pay what you want.
Circus & Dance
The Travelling Circus | Mercato Metropolitano | 7, 21, 22, 28 December| Times Vary | From £10.30
Circus Raj have come all the way from Jaipur in Rajasthan to present a special pop-up show featuring sword-swallowing, traditional songs and high-wire stunts.
Queer Tango on the Thames Winter Special | Royal Festival Hall | 26 December | 2pm | FREE
A celebration of same-sex tango – perfect Boxing Day fare!
Exhibitions & Art
FLOP: 13 Stories of Failure | UCL | All Month | 9am – 5pm | FREE
UCL celebrate the flop with 13 stories of failure, including a sword swallower’s oesophagus fatally punctured in an occupational accident (and the sword itself).
Film & TV
The Street | The Castle Cinema | From 6 December| Times Vary | From £5
A timely portrait of Hoxton’s gentrification and the people making their lives in east London.
Rough Trade Recommends: Yeule + Charlotte Spiral + Blue Bendy | Rough Trade East | 4 December| 7:30pm | £6
A 5-star line up of new bands curated by Rough Trade, including the dreampop magic of Yeule.
No Bra: Love & Power Album Launch | ICA | 5 December| 8:30pm | £12
No Bra defies categorisation – and it’s nice to see some live music back at the ICA.
Tracks On Tap | Streatham Space | 5 December| 8pm | £5
A space for up-and-coming artists and supporters help each other in order to grow.
AGAMA | Rough Trade East | 10 December| 7pm | FREE
Celebrate Cassandra Gurling’s earthy voice, and her new multi-instrumental project Agama, with this gig at Rough Trade.
Freek – Live in London | Rich Mix | 21 December| 8pm | £10
Freek is a Somalian MC, rapper, director and record producer from Abu Dhabi – and this is your rare chance to see him at RichMix.
Theatre & Musicals
Ubu! a Singalong Satire | Shoreditch Town Hall | 4-21 December | 7:30pm | £25
Kneehigh’s new take on the anarchic UBU is sure to delight. We’ll be reviewing it very soon!
Talking Together | Rich Mix | 11 December| 7:45pm | FREE
A night of story-fueled fun discussing mixed-status relationships.
Forest Uprising | Leyton Sports Ground | 13-15 December| 5-10pm | FREE
The epic end to a wonderful year of Waltham Forest being Borough of Culture. Light’s aplenty, so go fill your Insta feed!
Burning the Clocks | Brighton | 21 December| 6:30pm | FREE
A pagan-style festival to lift your spirits on the darkest day.
Did we miss any offbeat things to do in London? Leave a comment below…
Occasionally the To Do List team are forced to work together.
Rupert likes: free, cheap & offbeat London, especially: cabaret, art, theatre, pop-ups, eating out, quirky films, museums, day trips, social enterprise & much more.
Stuart likes: nice pubs, film marathons, not doing real marathons, bad comedy, plays/musicals with shorter second halves, and the Oxford comma.