As London starts to light itself up for a series of festive celebrations, the news of an expected royal birth in the spring of next year has come as a further boost. Meghan and Harry have proved to be an instant hit with a public weary of trade wars and Brexit rows, so as the illuminations twinkle and the fireworks burst, there’s bound to be some extra cheers going up into the night skies above the Capital.
Clear, cold autumn nights are an ideal backdrop to the vibrant colours of a good firework display and the view from across the Olympic Park provides uninterrupted sightlines of the iconic London skyline. From an 80-metre-high vantage point, visitors can spot the rockets and flares of the many Guy Fawkes celebrations as the Capital remembers a time when both monarchy and government came under threat.
All the big events will be visible: from the nearby display in Greenwich Park to the more distant pyrotechnics on Primrose Hill. There’s lots more to do at the Orbit which has become a viable recreation destination in recent years. A massive slide provides thrills and spills for all the family and there is food and drink available on the observation deck.
Seeing how previous generations envisaged the future is one of life’s great revelations. Sure, we can chuckle in amusement at how our grandparents expected push-button technology to give them a life of stress-free ease, but we should never underestimate the power of optimism. Home Futures is an exhibition that examines the architectural and design concepts that practitioners in the fifties hoped to change the future with.
Of course, some of the ideas never left the drawing board while some looked positively dangerous, but there’s plenty of vision and energy on offer. The place that seems to have benefitted from all this design energy seems to be the kitchen and it is on this subject that Home Futures seems to have a lot to say about as it tracks the development of this most crucial of spaces as it gradually became the emotional centre of the 21st Century home.
This gathering of foodies and culinary professionals has gone from strength to strength in recent years and this November’s line-up is set to be as strong as ever. As the London restaurant scene becomes more diverse, the trend is shifting towards more informal settings with an emphasis on sharing and discovery.
The list of experts that will be on hand to give demonstrations and advice is as eclectic as it is exhaustive. When it comes to international cuisine, chefs from Barbacoa, Tom’s Kitchen, Bao and Club Mexicana will be covering bases that range from Britain to China and on to Mexico.
When it comes to merging nature with technology, the people at Kew Gardens have got it down to a fine art and continue to improve on a yearly basis. A series of illuminated pathways and trails take visitors through a magical landscape of glowing backdrops and stunning treelines. Other attractions include a field of lasers, a flotilla of candlelit miniature boats and a tunnel of pea lights that lead to a spectacular “fire garden”.
Vintage fairground rides and a Santa Claus grotto provide lots of festive fun for the kids while adults can partake of mulled cider and wine. The Palm House is particularly lively with a DJ, light show and a selection of food stalls. It’s probably a good idea to split the visit into two halves, viewing the plant life in the day before enjoying the festivities after dark.
This long-running charity event continues to attract stars of stage, studio and screen as the BBC raises money for a large number of good causes, both at home and abroad. Curated by Take That supremo, Gary Barlow, the Hammersmith section of the event will focus on a number of pop and rock acts as it presents an evening of fun, music and fund-raising.
The bill includes Barlow’s old mate, Robbie Williams, Rita Ora, Jess Glynne, Nile Rodgers and Sir Rod Stewart. All will be running through their most popular hits as well as showcasing new material so it should be a fun night out for the whole family – all for a good cause.
When Captain Cook pressed on past Australia, he expected to encounter primitives and stone-age savagery, but what he and his men discovered was a highly evolved network of cultures and economic systems. Stretching thousands of miles across the South Pacific, the islands that make up Micronesia and Polynesia are rich in history, art and sea-faring lore and this exhibition brings together several strands of this immense legacy.
Ceremonial masks, tools, weapons and huge wood carvings are designed to keep the people of Oceania connected with their spiritual roots and they have been meticulously transported from far and wide for the event. There will also be talks, music and story-telling workshops as the rich oral tradition of the area is brought sharply into focus.
It’s usual for car shows to take place in either large convention centres or the grounds of stately homes in the country. The first provides a rather sterile experience while the second is usually some way outside London. The Regent Street Motor Show bucks these conventions by taking place right smack in the middle of the West End’s famous shopping district.
Regent Street will be pedestrianised for the duration, allowing a fabulous selection of pristine and desirable vehicles to be displayed along its length. The show is divided into modern, vintage, classic and veteran categories and will feature everything from the latest muscle cars to open top boneshakers from the Edwardian era.
The imposing vista of the Natural History Museum provides one of the most picturesque skating backdrops in the capital. This expanse of pristine ice in Kensington’s museum quarter together with the historic backdrop is the ideal kick start for the festive season.
Skaters of all ages and abilities are welcome and there are lots of activities for non skaters as well. As well as lively music and lighting there is a wide selection of refreshments, cocktails and nibbles. The Natural History Museum has many ongoing exhibitions that run concurrently so make sure that your visit takes in some knowledge to go with your fun.
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