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Give your tastebuds a workout in London this weekend, as both Taste of Christmas and the Chocolate Festival are open to tempt you with delicious food. Elsewhere, you can feast your eyes on the incredible spectacle of the British Military Tournament, learn about Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth or have a giggle at a pantomime.
Taste of Christmas at Excel London
Make this year’s Christmas dinner extra special by stocking up on tips, recipe ideas and special ingredients at this festive food fair. Taste of Christmas not only features demonstrations from top UK chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Michel Roux Jnr, but there are also lots of tempting stalls at which you can buy ingredients, find unique gifts or simply enjoy seasonal dishes from top London restaurants. Book tickets. 7-9 Dec
Fourth Plinth: Contemporary Monument, at the ICA
Standing in the northwest corner of Trafalgar Square, the Fourth Plinth was originally intended to hold an equestrian statue but lay bare for more than 150 years. Since 1999, however, the space has played host to temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, which have been delighting and baffling London in equal measure. A new free exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts explores the recent artistic history of the plinth, as well as reactions to it. Until 20 Jan
Chocolate Festival at the Southbank Centre
Put down that giant tin of Quality Street and head over to the Southbank Centre for a taste of what you can really do with a cocoa bean. Not only can you sample your way through endless chocolatey delights, but top chocolatiers such as Paul A. Young and Damian Allsop will be on hand to show you how their tempting confections are made. Entry is free. 7-9 Dec
The British Military Tournament 2012
See incredible displays of military skill and precision at this spectacular annual event in Earl’s Court. Not only does the British Military Tournament highlight the accomplishments and dedication of Britain’s armed forces, but it also raises money for charities that support the military family. This year’s event celebrates The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and features hundreds of troops, horses and vehicles participating an astonishing variety of re-enactments, competitions and displays – including the legenday Field Gun Run. Visitors also have a chance to try their own skills in the Tournament Exhibition Area. Adult tickets start from £29.25. 8-9 Dec
Royal College of Art Christmas Fete
Christmas gifts don’t get any artier than this: the Royal College of Art in Kensington is hosting its first-ever Christmas fete, at which you can buy original items straight from the students that made them. Not only can visitors pick up gifts for prices as low as £2, but they will also have the opportunity to view the College’s 175th exhibition for free. The fete is open from 12pm every day. 6-9 Dec
Pantomimes, various venues
This weekend sees the opening of many pantomime shows in London. (Oh no it doesn’t! Oh yes it does…) From lavish productions featuring famous faces to smaller affairs just for grown-ups, there’s something to get everyone laughing, groaning and entering into the spirit of a quintessentially British silliness. For a full list of London pantomimes, see our guide.