This Christmas at Bankside, one of London’s oldest and interesting neighbourhoods is hosting a series of festive events, performances, food, drink, art and entertainment throughout the season. The world famous and historic – Borough Market, Southwark Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe – and newer arrivals like Flat Iron Square, One Night Records and St Felix Place, underline the area’s centuries-old reputation as the place where Londoners go to relax and have fun.
Among the highlights of Christmas 2021
The Ghosts of Bankside Past: festive walking tour
From Dickens to pantomime dames, many things synonymous with Christmas have their roots in Bankside. Join Mr Londoner, aka blue badge tour guide Antony Robbins, and delve into this remarkable neighbourhood’s fascinating and festive past.
Date: Saturday 11 December, 11.30am-1pm. FREE but booking required here. Meet at Rabot London on Bedale Street for a free decadent hot chocolate to keep you warm on your walk.
Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen
On 7, 8 and 9 December, visitors are welcomed to the illuminated historic arches of Borough Market to experience a new, free, three-day pop-up – Borough Market’s Festive Kitchen – with cooking demos by a host of guest chefs. The popular annual ‘An Evening of Cheese’ returns to the Market on 15 December (6-8pm) and the Borough Market Kitchen will open until 9pm every Thursday.
Southwark Cathedral – Angels, Advent and Carols
The Merbecke Choir Advent Concert
Step into the candlelit Cathedral and join the Cathedral Merbecke Choir for an exploration of angels and Christmas. Some of the greatest music has been written in celebration of these mysterious, powerful, wonderful creatures. By bringing angelic works to life, the Cathedral hopes to conjure up some of the light and beauty of the choirs of angels. Date: Saturday 4 December at 7.30pm.
Tickets: From free to £15.00 via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/angels-the-merbecke-choir-advent-concert-tickets-205341049607
Christmas Concert: A Ceremony of Carols with the Southwark Cathedral Choir
Southwark Cathedral invites you to one of the highlights of the festive season, an evening of traditional Christmas carols performed by the Boys and Gentlemen of the Cathedral choir, as well as Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece, A Ceremony of Carols. Date: Friday 17 December at 7.30pm.
Shakespeare’s Globe – The Fir Tree
The Globe Theatre returns to its roots for a magical re-imagining and re-wilding of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Fir Tree, the story of Christmas told from the perspective of the tree. Bring friends, family, partners, neighbours and, with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine in hand, gather under the wintry star-lit sky for a fireside dose of story, song, candlelight and hope.
Dates: 20 – 30 December.
Tickets: Seated: £49 – £15; half price seated tickets are available for Under 16s. Standing: £5.
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Swan
Seasonal British produce is at the heart of Swan Restaurant’s menu, with local ingredients and stunning views across the Thames to St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Swan’s Festive Afternoon Tea is a celebration of the Christmas season, featuring Mont Blanc shots, snowman chouxs and lemon gingerbread swans adorned with gold crowns. Dates: Until 30 December 2021. More info at https://swanlondon.co.uk
Omeara – Rock the Belles Christmas
A night of Christmas hip-hop, dancehall, R&B and Afrobeat at vital grassroots live music venue Omeara at Flat Iron Square. Date: 18 December from 10.30pm until late.
Tickets: £10 from https://www.omearalondon.com/events/rock-the-belles-christmas
One Night Records: The Christmas Edit
Part gig, part festival, part immersive adventure, One Night Records invites you under the arches of the Low Line railway viaduct and into six mystical worlds of live music, with settings perfectly matching the tunes you hear. Expect the languid luxury of a smoky jazz club under one arch, and rock ‘n’ roll guitar under another. Alongside the theatrical staging and the soulful singing, there will be themed food and drink, fuelling you to sing and dance the night away. Dates: Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7pm. Tickets: £35 from https://www.onenightrecords.com
Bankside Gallery – Mini Picture Show 2021
A new exhibition of contemporary watercolours and original prints by artists from the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. These are affordable works on a small scale that will be perfect for all last-minute Christmas shopping needs!
Dates: 3 December 2021 – 30 January 2022. More at https://www.banksidegallery.com
Flat Iron Square – The Winter Garden
Flat Iron Square swings open its gates and welcomes you to the Winter Garden. The on-site bar, ‘Apres’, will become the ‘Cîroc Chalet’, modelled on the traditional Scandi ski-lodge, complete with warming winter cocktails. On Saturday nights, the chalet welcomes live DJs from 8pm (and a ‘best dressed’ competition). Outside the Chalet, the Winter Garden features an assortment of bars serving an all-new winter drinks menu among pine trees and fairy lights. Dates: Until 23 December. For the latest, visit www.flatironsquare.co.uk
St Felix Place
A little further along Southwark Street is Flat Iron’s sister spot, where things are a bit more chilled, but no less festive. There will be a weekly themed quiz on Tuesdays, candle making workshops on Wednesdays, private booths for hire, DJ John Kennedy’s Saturday Sessions and a host of surprises. Slip into the on-site tap room to sample the quality beers being made before your very eyes.
Dates: Until 23 December. More at www.stfelixplace.co.uk
Opening on Monday 13 December – Everyman Cinema – Borough Yards
Part of Bankside’s highly anticipated Borough Yards development, set within a stretch of the Victorian brick railway arches and warehouses of the Low Line, Everyman Borough Yards will house two cinema screens, amid plush surroundings designed for maximum comfort. Bankside’s newest Christmas arrival will open with a full schedule of the latest films, including Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, complemented by an extensive food and drink menu, full bar, and freshly baked sweet treats, to offer an indulgent cinematic experience. Booking and more information at
Bankside is one of London’s most distinct cultural districts stretching across the River Thames from London Bridge to Blackfriars with the famous Borough Market, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe at its heart. For centuries Bankside has been on the other side of London’s mainstream. Once sitting outside the walls of the city, as ‘Banksyde’ in the 16th century, it was a natural landing place for outsiders and free thinkers. It became notorious as London’s rowdy pleasure quarter full of theatres, brothels and gambling dens.
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