Erina takahashi and skyler mar

The Cultural Connoisseur

The West End is all aglow for Christmas, here's what to enjoy with the Cultural Connoisseur in your life this festive season.

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The festive season is upon us, and if you would like to capture a touch of culture this season. Art of London has hand selected some cultural must-sees in the the West End this December.

Itinerary Info

Good for

Cultural Connoisseurs

Getting around

Green Park; Piccadilly Circus; Leicester Square

Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts

British Summer Time might be over, but the essence of summer doesn't have to end! Bring a little summertime into your life with the world’s most joyful art exhibition, this year with an added dash of magic. From icons to the up-and-coming, find the art you love from over 1,300 works selected by coordinator Yinka Shonibare and a panel of artists, under the theme of ‘Reclaiming Magic’.

Held every year without fail, the Summer Exhibition is a celebration of contemporary art and architecture. Anyone can enter their work – leading artists, household names, new and emerging talent – and it provides a platform for the artistic community to showcase what they’re doing.

Peruse prints, paintings, photography and film, as well as sculpture, architectural works and more. You can even take one home as most of the work is for sale; proceeds support both the exhibiting artist and the RA’s charitable activities.

This year, you’ll find work by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Michael Armitage, Jade Montserrat, Hew Locke, Rita Keegan and Alvaro Barrington, plus work by self-taught artists such as Frantz Lamothe, Bärbel Lange and Marie-Rose Lortet. That’s on top of an Architecture Room curated by David Adjaye RA, an accompanying sound programme, new works by Phyllida Barlow RA, William Kentridge RA and many more, not to mention brilliant art submitted by members of the public.

All this comes together in an array of art and ideas. It’s the tonic we all need this autumn/ winter.


The Nutcracker

The Christmas classic, The Nutcracker returns to the West End brought to the stage by the English National Ballet bringing the traditional story to life through dance on the elegant stage at the London Coliseum this December. Over 100 dancers and musicians bring the festive tale of the Nutcracker to life through exquisite dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky’s popular score played live.

Set in Edwardian London on a sparkling Christmas Eve, Clara receives an enchanted Nutcracker as a present. Be drawn into the magical world where they Clara meets a handsome stranger and battles with the Mouse King. As the air grows colder, Clara and her valiant Nutcracker take a hot air balloon ride across London to the glistening Land of Snow where a puppet theatre comes to life with dancers from around the world.

Treat yourself to an unforgettable performance this Christmas, as the Nutcracker returns to the West End following sold out performances in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Afternoon tea at Fortnum's

Purveyor of teas for over 300 years, Fortnum's Afternoon tea and High Tea is the epitome of sophistication and splendour. Hosted in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, named in honour of Her Majesty, the Queen when she formally opened up the tea room in 2012 in the company of their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Indulge in a seasonal sophistication in the decadent surrounds of the tea salon. Steeped in history, the salon has a diverse past - beginning as an apartment for the Fortnum family, followed by an interior decorating department in the 1920s, and 1930's. Later becoming an antiques department, then restaurant known as St James's before finally becoming the famed Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon it is today.

Dine at Whitcomb's

The world's first super-boutique hotel, The Londoner is home to Whitcomb’s, an ode to the French Riviera. Serving simple yet elegant contemporary French cuisine fused with influences of the Mediterranean. Experience a taste of sun and sea, complemented by a light colour palette and fashion-inspired décor.

Ingredients are carefully chosen from local producers, with a meat selection that is unavailable elsewhere in the United Kingdom. The wine list, curated by The Londoner's expert sommeliers, spans the world including a notable collection of vintages from Bordeaux.

Image credit: Henry Bourne