London is gearing up for the festive season, and its museums and galleries are no exception. Seeing an exhibition - as well as getting in the festive spirit with some Christmas shopping and enjoying afternoon tea - is a perfect day out in London (and an ideal way to escape the winter chill!). These exhibitions run into 2016, but I don't suggest waiting any longer to see them. Here are my top five recommendations.
Goya: The Portraits National Gallery
Don't miss this blockbuster exhibition, which celebrates the majestic portraits of one of Spain's most famous and celebrated artists. Described by the National Gallery as a 'boundary-breaker', Goya developed a formidable reputation with the royal family, politicians and aristocrats of his day, and this reputation is showcased in style here. To 10 January 2016, www.nationalgallery.org.uk
Giacometti: Pure Presence National Portrait Gallery Just around the corner, see the distinctive masterpieces of one of the giants of modern art, who has often been somewhat under the radar - but not any more. This exhibition, the first to focus on Giacometti's portraits, through a range of fascinating drawings, paintings and sculptures, demands to be lingered over and savoured. To 10 January 2016, www.npg.org.uk
The Amazing World of M.C.Escher The Dulwich Picture Gallery, a hidden gem tucked away in a leafy enclave of South London, is hosting the UK's first major exhibition to focus on M.C.Escher. See the incredible mathematical and mind-boggling works of this unique Dutch artist in this thought-provoking exhibition, before enjoying tea and cake in the pretty gardens. To 17 January 2016, www.dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture
People are flocking to the World Goes Pop exhibition, an exploration of Pop Art, but the Tate has another ace up its sleeve. Alexander Calder, pioneer of kinetic sculpture and inventor of the mobile, gets his own showcase in this beautiful, colourful and creative exhibition. Simply enchanting, for young and old alike.
To 3 April, www.tate.org.uk
Lee Miller: A Woman's War
Imperial War Museum
Find out more about the extraordinary Lee Miller in this wonderful exhibition of her war photographs, which also includes many photographs and personal artefacts never before seen on display. Not only was Miller a celebrated war photographer, she was also a muse to artists such as Picasso, and has had a huge influence on the art world as well as photography. She was a true trailblazer and pioneer.
To 24 April, www.iwm.org.uk