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Providing Friday doesn’t herald the end of the world, there are lots of great things to do in London this weekend. Watch equestrian events of all shapes and sizes, enjoy festive films, music and shows, or find original African Christmas gifts in Dalston.
The London International Horse Show at Olympia
See Olympic medal winners at the thrilling London International Horse Show, which is celebrating its 40th year at Olympia. Not only are there world class dressage and show jumping events, but you can also watch carriage driving, dog agility trials and the Shetland Pony Grand National. Don’t miss the extensive shopping village where you can find great equestrian gifts and treats. Tickets start from £15. 17-22 Dec
A Wetland Christmas Carol at the WWT London Wetland Centre
A unique festive show crowns a varied programme of family activities at the WWT London Wetland Centre this weekend. “A Wetland Christmas Carol” features a suitably-themed twist on the classic tale, with a mud-hating Scrooge visited by the ghosts of Wetland Past, Present and Future. Alongside the performances, which take place at 12pm and 3.30pm, you can feed otters, craft your own Christmas decorations or take a guided tour. Events are free but standard admission charges apply – see the website for full details. 22-24 Dec
Get into the Christmas spirit with this beautiful choral work by Benjamin Britten, performed in the exquisite surroundings of St Paul’s Cathedral. Commencing at 5pm, it is performed by the Choristers of St Pauls and the Vicars Choral, with Sioned Williams playing the harp. Entry is free, and other carol services take place here throughout the weekend – see the website for details. 21 Dec
Pop Up Screens at the Truman Brewery
The popular Pop Up Screens brings a week-long programme of Christmas films to the Old Truman Brewery, which are perfect for some laid back festive fun. Screenings include Bad Santa, Scrooged and Nightmare Before Christmas, and a wide range of refreshments is available from their bar. Tickets are £14. 18-23 Dec
Christmas African Market, Dalston
Head to Gillett Square in Dalston between 11am-5pm for your chance to pick up original gifts at the Christmas African Market. Stalls will be selling everything from jewellery and clothing to arts and crafts, plus there’s a varied programme of family activities that includes face painting, mask making and a drumming circle. 22 Dec
Greenwich Charity Pantomime Horse Race
The other horse-related event this weekend is slightly more frivolous, but every bit as enjoyable. On Sunday, people dressed as pantomime horses will race around Greenwich to raise money for Demelza Hospice, which cares for terminally ill children. The hilarious caper starts at 1pm, but you can also watch the opening ceremony at 12pm or enjoy a charity concert starring Not The Rolling Stones after the race (tickets are £20 and must be booked in advance). 23 Dec