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The Winter Festival at Southbank Centre

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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Christmas is Just South of the River

The days are getting shorter and the temperature is getting colder, but London remains as bright and welcoming as ever. Down at the Southbank Centre, The Winter Festival is back on for another year. That means markets, exhibits, shows, and restaurants full of festive treats and surprises, right up until the 10th January.

As you stroll down the south side of the River Thames, it won't be just one market that you pass, but four. Running up until Christmas Eve, the Southbank Centre Christmas Market is comprised of wooden chalets filled with festive food and drinks such as mulled wine, bratwurst, and gingerbread. The Real Food Market, which is open between the 19th - 22nd December will be serving both traditional and non-traditional Christmas food, including mince pies, cheese, chutney, and charcuterie. During the weekend of the 13th-15th December, come to the dark side - dark side of chocolate that is. The Chocolate Festival will feature demonstrations, masterclasses, and tastings from ethical traders like L'Artisan du Chocolat, Rococo, and Duffy's Red Star Chocolate. Truffles, brownies, cakes, and churros will all be on the menu. You can also test your knowledge in a daily chocolate quiz (why not go on first day, find out all the answers, then go back and win on day two? That is of course, unless the questions are different.) Finally, the The Designers/Makers Christmas Market is open from the 16th-22nd December and has over fifty exhibitors from across the UK, selling jewellery, textiles, ceramics, homewares, and prints. The Garudio Studiage Christmas Bizarre will be there to offer workshops, games, and a lucky dip.

There will be two exhibitions this festival, the first of which celebrates Fifty Years of The Simon Community. It is a homeless charity that offers therapeutic care, and their work will be documented through photography and film footage.

Another charitable exhibition is Coat Tails is a gift giving installation project. Donate a coat, write a letter, and put it in the pocket for the person who is going to receive it.

If you want to give even more good will to mankind, then take part in the Christmas Mini Midnight Run or attend an up-cycling workshop.

There will be a host of unique musical events to enjoy as well, including VoiceLab choirs performed by school children, Gamelan Christmas Chimes, a show featuring gongs, chimes, and a hint of mysticism, and a Boxing Day Swing Out, in which you'll learn to dance the Charleston (Don't eat too much before hand).
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Why? Fun for families
When: Until 7th Jan
Phone: 0844 875 0073
Where: Southbank Centre
Cost: Free - 39
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