London is out of lockdown and in Tier 2 – and we’re rounding up the best things to do in the capital this week, including new restaurants to book, outdoor exhibitions to visit and Christmas cocktails to order.

What to do in London this week

  • 1. Wrap up and go on an outdoor art walk1. WRAP UP AND GO ON AN OUTDOOR ART WALKWalking has been the activity du jour for most of 2020, and the outdoor scene has got increasingly inventive. Take CIRCA, a new site for digital art in the centre of London, for example. Each evening at precisely 20:20, the giant billboard in Piccadilly Circus will show a specially commissioned work by artists from Ai Weiwei to Eddie Peake. Meanwhile, in Mayfair, JOY Bomb is a pop-up art installation on Brook Street, offering shoppers a multisensory escape with blueberry-hued, bubble-gum pink, lilac fur-lined interiors and other candy-coloured fun, with live actors providing an immersive (but socially distanced) experience.
  • 2.  Treat yourself to an indulgent weekend brunch2. TREAT YOURSELF TO AN INDULGENT WEEKEND BRUNCHBetween them, their high-end foodie repertoire has been built through stints at Quaglino’s, Fenchurch Restaurant, Galvin La Chapelle, Morston Hall, Cliveden House and Maaemo in Oslo – so a collaboration between chefs Zac Whittle and Freddie Sheen is bound to delight. The duo is taking over Hackney Coffee Company for a three-month residency called Rogues London, serving small plates and tasting menus during the week – but it’s the five-course weekend brunch with drinks pairing that has caught our eye. Start with a Darjeeling kombucha, a roasted apple and redcurrant granola with almond cream, and a kimchi broth with chorizo, slow poached egg and herb salad, before choosing between a selection of main dishes including a roasted field mushroom bun served with wilted spinach, black garlic and a confit egg yolk and finished off with a buttermilk waffle with milk ice cream and miso salt caramel. The best part: the five-course meal is just £25.
    • Address: Rogues London, 503 Hackney Road, London E2 9ED
      Price: £25 per person
  • 3. Book into a hotel for Christmas3. BOOK INTO A HOTEL FOR CHRISTMASThis year’s been hard enough, so why not take some of the pressure off and let someone else do the Christmas cooking? The Hoxton has just reopened with lots of exciting deals, including £100 worth of restaurant credit when you book a stay in The Hoxton, Southwark and a free stay when you spend £200 or more at the hotel’s restaurants Seabird or Rondo. Or book a Christmas weekend away at The London EDITION, reopening this week for the first time since spring with a new festive package, which includes a welcome punch cocktail on arrival, breakfast as a personalised gift and lots of sparkly decorations. For more inspiration, check out our edit of the best hotels to book into for Christmas this year.NICOLAS KOENIG
  • 4. Go for a festive evening meal4. GO FOR A FESTIVE EVENING MEALOn Sunday 13 December, book into a one-off evening of Christmas-inspired festivities and food among the fruit and vegetable stalls of Borough Market. Jean-Philippe Blondet, executive chef of three-Michelin-star restaurant Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, and Tomas Lidakevicius, former executive chef of Jason Atherton’s City Social, have launched Turnips, a seven-course meal as an ode to the eponymous vegetable stand that has been on the market for more than 30 years. The festive menu has been built around these vegetables, including dishes such as an amuse-bouche of Scottish langoustine, blackberry and nori, confit duck foie gras with fermented salsify and nasturtium and hazelnut.
    • Address: Turnips, Borough Market, 43 Borough Market, London SE1 9AH
      Dates and time: From 5pm on Sunday 13 December
      Price: Tickets are £120 for seven courses and a glass of Champagne
  • 5. Take part in London’s biggest augmented reality festival5. TAKE PART IN LONDON’S BIGGEST AUGMENTED REALITY FESTIVALUntil 5 January 2021, you can take part in London’s biggest ever collection of augmented reality art. Curated by Daniel Birnbaum of Acute Art, the Unreal City collection is (virtually) on display along the Thames, showing 36 site-specific works by artists such as Olafur Eliasson, KAWS, Bjarne Melgaard and Cao Fei. To view the pieces, download the Acute Art app and stroll along the South Bank between the National Theatre at Waterloo Bridge and the Millennium Bridge. At each of the red lifebuoys dotted along the Thames, a large-scale virtual piece of art will be hovering for you to admire.
    • Website:
      Dates and times: Tuesday 8 December 2020 – Tuesday 5 January 2021
      Price: FreeOLAFUR ELIASSON
  • 6. Cosy up at winter pop-up Lodge d’Argent6. COSY UP AT WINTER POP-UP LODGE D’ARGENTThere’s nothing better than a sparkly winter terrace to put you in the Christmas spirit – and few do it better than Lodge d’Argent. Returning once again with its wooden chalets, faux-fur blankets and Alpine-themed food and cocktails, this is one of London’s best places for a festive tipple. Located on the rooftop of French restaurant Coq d’Argent, it serves Savoyard charcuterie platters, baked Mont d’Or cheese, French tartiflette and raclette with new potatoes and cured ham gratin. For more inspiration on the best winter terraces in London, check out our guide.
  • 7. Ring in the season with Christmas music and carol singing7. RING IN THE SEASON WITH CHRISTMAS MUSIC AND CAROL SINGINGAlthough watching traditional carol singing while huddled in cold, ornate churches with echoey acoustics won’t be a thing for many this year, there are still plenty of ways to ring in the season with some festive music. Book into a socially distanced performance at the Royal Albert Hall: tickets are being sold for an evening of carols by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Choral Society and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain accompanied by the Voice of Jupiter (the Royal Albert Hall’s 9,999-pipe organ). If you’d rather stay home, the performance is available to be streamed live, as well as the Red Velvet Sessions’ Winter Festival, an event of four intimate gigs curated by Fiona Bevan, live streamed from an East London chapel. For your own personalised session, book an appointment with Olivia Jageurs for a festive Harpy Hour of Christmas carols via Zoom, available to book every Friday at 6pm.
    • Red Velvet Sessions Presents Winter Festival at Royal Foundation: Wednesday 9 – Saturday 12 December 2020, 7pm – 10pm each day, tickets from £9.21,, The Royal Foundation of St Katharine, 2 Butcher Row, London, E14 8DS
      Royal Albert Hall: Friday 18 – Wednesday 23 December 2020, 1:30pm, 7:30pm,, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AP
      Olivia Jageurs: Every Friday at 6pm, tickets are by donation from £5, olivia-harpist.comGETTY IMAGES
  • 8. Spend an evening out playing crazy golf8. SPEND AN EVENING OUT PLAYING CRAZY GOLFCrazy golf club Swingers has reopened just in time for Christmas. Book in for an evening of competitive fun followed by delicious food from new stalls including Patty & Bun, Breddos Tacos, Made of Dough and Pizza Pilgrims. Sip on seasonal cocktails as you make your way around the course, adorned with Christmas decorations and moving installations. In line with Tier 2 regulations, tickets now include a street-food voucher so you can pair festive cocktails with a substantial meal.
  • 9. Go for a Christmas cocktail9. GO FOR A CHRISTMAS COCKTAILFollowing the success of its pop-up last year, Botanist Gin has once again teamed up with Battersea restaurant Nutbourne for a seasonal drinks event. The restaurant, run by the Sussex-born Gladwin brothers, has created a menu filled with Sussex-inspired dishes, all paired with festive gin-based cocktails. Book into the cosy winter tent for a Beetroot Negroni (beetroot-infused gin with spiced vermouth and campari), a Black Martini (gin, Lillet, juniper shrub and activated charcoal) and other innovative recipes.
    • Address: Nutbourne, 29 Ransomes Dock, 35-37 Parkgate Road, London SW11 4NP
      Dates and times: Wednesdays and Thursdays 3pm – 10pm; Friday – Sunday 12pm – 10pm
  • 10. Hop around London’s best Christmas markets10. HOP AROUND LONDON’S BEST CHRISTMAS MARKETSSome of the city’s biggest and best-known markets have had to cancel due to government regulations, which has paved the way for smaller, independent markets to become the go-to places this year. Visit Vinegar Yard for Festive Flea, a sustainable market selling festive gifts from local traders, or try Pexmas for independent food and drink sold among festive decorations and twinkling lights. For more inspiration, read our guide to London’s best Christmas markets in 2020.