It’s the 20th anniversary of Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason so we can expect fun on the ice rink plus great music, shopping and quality food and drink. Skate opens on Wednesday 13 November 2019 and runs through to 12 January 2020.
For a real open-air party, come to Skate Lates when leading DJs and contemporary artists transform Skate at Somerset House into the ultimate destination for new music this winter. This month’s dates are 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30 November with many more planned for the season.
Museum of London
The Clash: London Calling is a free exhibition at the Museum of London from 15 November 2019 to 20 March 2020. The Clash’s London Calling album was released on 14 December 1979 so this exhibition is to celebrate the 40th anniversary. The display intends to give new insight into their recording process and the making of the seminal album through draft lyrics, stage clothes, photos and films.
Items on display include Joe Strummer’s notebook and Paul Simonon’s broken bass guitar. (The guitar was broken during an on-stage outburst at the Palladium in New York City in September 1979.) There is also Mick Jones’s handwritten album sequence, Strummer’s typewriter and Topper Headon’s drumsticks.
Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s multi-award-winning Mary Poppins – The Musical returned to the Prince Edward Theatre on Old Compton Street on 29 October 2019 and is booking through to 29 March 2020.
The stage production is adapted from the stories by PL Travers and the original film. The timeless score by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman includes the classic songs Jolly Holiday, Step in Time, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and Feed the Birds and the stage musical has with new songs including Practically Perfect, by the Olivier award-winning British team of George Stiles and Anthony Drewe.
The magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny is spectacularly brought to the stage with dazzling choreography, impressive effects and those unforgettable songs. The show stars Zizi Strallen, returning to play the title role following great acclaim on the recent sell-out international tour, and Charlie Stemp as Bert, who recently gave an award-winning performance as Arthur Kipps in Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Half A Sixpence.
Tower of London
Follow the Tower’s iconic Yeoman Warders as they lead an atmospheric tour after hours, taking in world-famous sites including Traitors’ Gate, the infamous scaffold site and the Bloody Tower.
Over its thousand-year history, the Tower has been host to many significant events such as the alleged murder of the two boy princes, the execution of Tudor queens, the torture of traitors and countless stories of ghostly apparitions. Join a tour to be appalled and amazed by the tales of prisoners and past residents and the secrets kept within these ancient walls.
Twilight Tours are on selected Sundays from November 2019 to April 2020 and run from 7pm to 8.30pm. For this month there is just one date, 3 November, but there are lots more to book ahead.
From Tuesday 5 November 2019 to Saturday 18 January 2020, Barbican Theatre has Royal Shakespeare Company – The Taming of the Shrew. The ultimate battle of the sexes is turned on its head in Justin Audibert’s production as the 1590s are reimagined with women in charge.
In this radical take on Shakespeare’s fierce and energetic comedy of gender, Baptista Minola is seeking to marry off her two sons, the sweet-tempered Bianco and the rebellious Katherine. Cue an explosive courtship and a keenly witty portrayal of hierarchy and power.
From Tuesday 12 November 2019 to Thursday 16 January 2020 there’s Royal Shakespeare Company – Measure for Measure. When a young novice nun is compromised by a corrupt official who offers to save her brother from execution in return for sex, she has no idea where to turn for help. When she threatens to expose him, he tells her that no one would believe her.
And there is also Royal Shakespeare Company – As You Like It which started on Saturday 26 October 2019 and is on until Saturday 18 January 2020. All the world really is a stage in Kimberley Sykes’ playful and imaginative take on Shakespeare’s romantic comedy.
Rosalind is banished and, with her best friend Celia by her side, she journeys to a world of exile. But not before catching the eye of love-struck Orlando, who is also forced from the Court into the Forest. Blending physical comedy, music and storytelling, this As You Like It dares you to change your state of mind.
Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh is at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea from 2 November 2019 to 3 May 2020.
The legend of Tutankhamun captured imaginations globally when his tomb was unearthed by British explorer Howard Carter and financier Lord Carnarvon in 1922. The exhibition has more than 150 original objects from the tomb, 60 of which are travelling out of Egypt for the first and final time before they return for permanent display within the Grand Egyptian Museum which is currently under construction in Cairo. The original artefacts on display from the Golden Pharaoh’s tomb include a gilded wooden bed, an ornate gilded shrine, Tutankhamun’s lotus-shaped wishing cup and his gold-inlaid canopic coffinette.
Tutankhamun’s treasures first went on display in London in 1972 at the British Museum and an incredible 1.7 million people queued for hours. I was able to see the artefacts when they returned to the then-Millennium Dome in 2007 and this will be the final chance to see these objects in London as they won’t be travelling again.
Cars: Accelerating the Modern World opens at the V&A on 23 November 2019. While we are encouraged in London to not own a car and to walk, cycle or take public transport, it hasn’t stopped the fascination for these machines.
The exhibition looks at the car as the driving force that accelerated the pace of the 20th century. With 15 cars and 250 objects, the exhibition examines how the car changed our relationship to speed, how it changed the way we make and sell, and how it altered the landscape around us, from countryside to cityscape.
Each car tells a specific story about their impact on the world including the first production car in existence, an autonomous flying car, a converted low-rider, and a 1950s concept car.
Lord Mayor’s Show
On Saturday 9 November 2019, it is the annual Lord Mayor’s Show. Since 1215 every newly-elected Lord Mayor of the City of London has to travel through the streets to swear loyalty to the Crown. This is a classic piece of British pageantry. Do note, there is no firework finale this year.
From Helen of Troy’s abduction to the deception of the Trojan Horse and the fall of the city, tread the line between myth and reality in this phenomenal new British Museum exhibition. Troy: Myth and Reality opens on 21 November 2019 and runs to 8 March 2020.
A 3,000 year old story of a great city, plunged into a 10-year war over the abduction of the most beautiful woman in the world, is irresistibly dramatic and tragic. This allure has sent adventurers and archaeologists in quest of the lost city, which is now widely believed to have existed. You can also examine the fascinating archaeological evidence that proves there was a real Troy as well as hints at the truth behind the mythical stories.
If you would like even more ideas for this month, do have a look at last month’s recommendations as many are still valid for November too.
I think by this time of year we are allowed to mention the C word as Christmas is coming! The Christmas lights are now on across central London and the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is on Thursday 5 December 2019. It’s always on the first Thursday in December with a small ceremony to switch on the lights followed by carol singing around the tree (which continues most nights before Christmas Day).
The amazing Skate at Somerset House (noted above) is holding London’s first-ever 24-hour skating event on Saturday 7 December 2019. This after-hours experience includes skating under the stars (probably hard to see because of the light pollution but a romantic idea) plus the chance to see the major winter exhibition 24/7 long into the night, without the crowds.
And from 7 December 2019 until 5 January 2020 you can see The Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City at Somerset House. It’s an exhibition and gingerbread house-making workshop.
You can keep the party feel at ABBA: Super Troupers The Exhibition at The O2 from 6 December 2019 to 31 August 2020. Featuring the life and times of the band that changed it all, this new and immersive experience charts their music, lyrics, creative process and influence as one of the most iconic pop bands of the modern age.
Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on Twitter as @AboutLondon, on Instagram as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.
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