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London is looking increasingly festive, but if you’re not ready to enjoy Christmas markets or skating there are still many exiting events taking place this weekend. Catch two brand new exhibitions at major cultural venues, or feel anything but chilly at a spicy food festival.
The Southbank Centre Christmas Market
This popular German-style Christmas market returns to the Southbank for a fifth year. Between the London Eye and Waterloo Bridge you’ll find more than 60 traditional wooden chalets, selling everything from unusual Christmas gifts to warming GlÃ¼hwein. Fairground rides, festive lights and seasonal music complete the magical atmosphere. 16 Nov-24 Dec
UK Chilli Stand Off 2012, Hackney
Fire up your tastebuds at this spicy festival, which sees eight top chefs competing to be crowned chilli champion. Participants include Gizzi Erskine, Tim Anderson and Tom Parker-Bowles, with Masterchef’s John Torode in the enviable position of judge. Visitors will be able to sample all eight chillis, alongside a range of drinks and even chocolate chilli ice cream. Tickets are £40, visit the event’s website to secure a place at one of two tasting sessions. 17 Nov
The Victoria and Albert Museum presents a rare opportunity to view the best of contemporary Middle Eastern photography at this new exhibition. Thirty artists are represented, and their photographs not only highlight fascinating variations in technique and perspective, but also provide a timely insight into recent events. Entry is free. 13 Nov-7 Apr
A Bigger Splash: Painting After Performance, at the Tate Modern
Explore the relationship between painting and performance at this reverse-engineered exhibition at the Tate Modern. Featuring work by artists such as Jackson Pollock, David Hockney and Cindy Sherman, it contrasts painters who use theatrical techniques with those who use the human body itself as a canvas. Tickets are £10 for adults. 14 Nov-1 Apr
Skate at Somerset House Ice Rink
This seasonal ice rink, set against the exquisite backdrop of Somerset House, just keeps getting better and better. Not only can adults and children learn to skate in dedicated classes, but budding ice dancers can also show off their moves at late night sessions, accompanied by music from top DJs. Adding to the glamour is the new pop-up shopping arcade, which allows you to buy British artisan gifts for your loved ones after a spin on the ice. 16 Nov-6 Jan
The Bar of Aero
Enter The Bar of Aero, a pop-up world of chocolate, bubbly fun at the Dray Walk Gallery, Truman Brewery. The fun includes a peppermint-scented playground, orange and green bubble waterfall and a movement reactive Aero hot chocolate dispenser. Entrance is free with prizes and free chocolate up for grabs. 16-18 Nov, 12-7pm