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London Life December 2013: Sights and Sounds by Laura Porter

  • 2 Dec 2013

In December London is full of Christmas magic so take the opportunity of visiting Buckingham Palace or buy theatre tickets to your favourite play.

While the Queen's away

This winter brings an unusual opportunity to visit Buckingham Palace for a tour of the opulent State Rooms while the Queen is away at Sandringham. A guide will show you around the grand rooms while pointing out the works of art on display. And to make this really special you end the tour with a glass of Champagne in the Grand Entrance. The admission fee (£75) includes a copy of the official guidebook and 20% discount in the shop. Selected dates between 6 December 2013 and 2 February 2014.

Buckingham Palace ©HM Queen Elizabeth II 2013-28Andrew Holt-29-web.jpg

Image: Buckingham Palace ©HM Queen Elizabeth II, Andrew Holt

Take it to the bridge

Another iconic location offering something special is Tower Bridge where the annual Engineering Tours include access to areas that are normally out-of-bounds to the public. There's a guided tour of the high walkways before you get into the Bridge Control Room and see the immense Bascule Chambers and the Machinery Room that houses the hydraulics that power the lifting of the bridge. On every weekend from January to March 2014

Spooky stuff

Back on the royal theme, Kensington Palace is offering Eerie Evening Tours on Friday nights in January 2014. Your Guide will enthral you with spooky tales of royal ghosts plus unexplained and mysterious sightings. The gruesome stories will be included so you'll hear about medical mishaps and undignified deaths. There are also Wednesday evening Twilight Tours available at the Tower of London until the end of March 2014.

Chilling Storytelling

Still not scared enough? There are more ghost tales at Wyndham's Theatre as the first major British revival of one of the all-time great modern classics, The Weir, has a twelve week run. On a cold, stormy evening in an isolated pub on the west coast of Ireland, four friends are laughing, drinking and swapping tales when a young female stranger enters and they all want to impress her with their storytelling. But one story is more chilling and more real than any of them could have foreseen. Performances take place from 16 January to 19 April 2014.

The Weir

Get your theatre tickets cheap

With the long nights of winter here for a good while yet, now is a good time to sit down and be entertained. Get Into London Theatre is worth knowing about as it offers great priced theatre tickets to some of the best shows in town. Tickets range from £10 to £40 with participating productions including Billy Elliot the Musical, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Disney’s The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked. Booking opens on 10 December 2013.

You having a laugh?

Everyone needs a good laugh in the New Year and Stewart Lee's stand-up comedy at the intimate Leicester Square Theatre www.leicestersquaretheatre.com should hit the spot. Much Askew About Nothing is not one long show but instead a collection of half hour performances for his new BBC TV series. While somewhat unusual, this also means every show is different. Lee has good comedy credentials as he wrote Jerry Springer - The Opera and has had his own TV series before. Performances run from 2-19 January 2014.

Theatre by candlelight

The long awaited Sam Wanamaker Playhouse opens at the Shakespeare's Globe with an eclectic season of early modern drama, opera and exclusive one-off performances and concerts. This new playhouse provides indoor space for winter performances but the Jacobean ambience won't be lost as the handmade oak structure will be lit by hundreds of candles during performances. The first production The Duchess of Amalfi opens on 9 January and stars Gemma Arterton in the lead role.

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Kung Hei Fat Choi

It's time to welcome the Year of the Horse as Chinese New Year is celebrated in Chinatown and Trafalgar Square with a day of festivities on Sunday 2 February. Look out for the lion dance in the parade and some impressive acrobats too before the finale of fireworks.

Chinatown London

Author: Laura Porter

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