December event highlights

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Tower Hamlets has a vibrant arts scene, and a host of family and community activities. We hope you find something to enjoy.

For more events taking place in Tower Hamlets this month, visit our What’s on Guide for arts and entertainment listings.

What's on in Tower Hamlets      >

Festive Tea Dance

Festive Tea Dance

Tower Hamlets residents over the age of 50 are invited to an afternoon of live music and song from The Sunshine Kings, dancing with Tony Lane and performance from St Paul’s Way Secondary School. Light refreshments will be served.

Our annual festive tea dance takes place on Thursday 15 December from 1.30 - 4.30pm at The Art Pavilion in Clinton Road.

The tea dance is free to attend but advance booking is essential. Bookings open Thursday 1 December.  Please call 020 7364 7902/ 7900 from 10am - 2pm Monday to Friday or email

Festive activities in Victoria Park

Victoria Park Christmas Activities

Get into the festive spirit with our free activities in Victoria Park. Join our Family Festive Day on Saturday 10 December 12pm -3pm at the V&A building, Santa will be in his grotto, there will be arts and crafts session, children’s rides and mince/apple pies.

On 21 December we will be making natural festive decorations. Join us at the V & A building from 10.30am – 12.30pm. This is an arts and crafts session using natural materials to make festive decorations.

No need to book, just turn up. The V & A Building is next to the playground, opposite the Royal Inn on the Park.  For more information please contact

It's Christmas Market Time!

Christmas tree and ornaments

There are lots of fantastic Christmas Markets taking place across the borough this festive season. They’re the perfect place to pick up Christmas gifts and treats from small, independent businesses as well as indulging in some festive food. 

  • Poplar Union Christmas Makers Market gets things going on Sunday 4 December. Here you will find a variety of locally-owned start-ups and businesses from handmade crafts, cards, accessories, beauty products, food & drink and more, perfect for unique and personal Christmas gifts. So treat yourself to some weekend retail therapy and contribute to the success of these brilliant, local businesses.
  • The second weekend of Urban Makers Christmas Fair takes place at The Ecology Pavilion, Mile End Park on 10 and 11 December. Fifty different designers each day will be selling everything from Christmas gifts and decorations, to homewares, jewellery, art, candles and accessories. All sustainable and ethical. Food from Urban Makers Feast as well craft workshops including a Punch Needle Workshop, Make your own organic facial oil and Candle Making.
  • Stepney City Farm invite you to shop local on Saturday 10 December at their Christmas Fair. Thirty five stalls offering delicious seasonal produce and festive crafts; and soak up the atmosphere with some mulled wine, and a brass band performing sets across the day.
  • Join Bow Arts on Sunday 11 December as they open their doors for their annual Bow Road Winter Market for a chance to browse and buy unique, locally-made gifts and artworks from some of their community of artists, makers and designers.
  • The Mudchute Christmas Fair takes place on Saturdays 3 and 10 December. Gifts, crafts, homewares, festive treats and you can buy your Christmas tree too.  Father Christmas and his Elves will also be there!

The Brady Legacy Project Exhibition

The Brady Legacy Project

For decades, the Brady clubs and the Brady Arts Centre in Whitechapel have provided a meeting point, a network of friendships and a place of inspiration for young people. This exhibition is the result of an intergenerational project including textiles and photography workshops.

Young people with A Team Arts Education have developed relationships with Brady Elders enabling them to share stories and experiences that contribute towards creating a textiles banner and other artworks.

The exhibition, which takes place at The Brady Arts Centre from 8 December to 27 January, includes a Wall of Memories: postcards and art work reflecting on the theme of memories of being at The Brady Centre, portraits taken by young people of elders and other participants  and textile banners which are currently works in progress as part of the continuing project.

Mid-winter Magic: Light and Shadow on Hanbury Street

Mid-winter Magic: Light and Shadow

Image Credit: Shermaine Slocombe

This seasonal window display showcases illuminated art by young people with autism from Phoenix School, and is part of the Tower Hamlets Winter Light Project. The young people attended creative sessions and worked with artists using the themes of light and silhouettes.

Their work is on display in the windows of the Kobi Nazrul Centre. It expresses their emotions through the colours of the four seasons: vibrant as spring, warm as summer, earthy as autumn and cool as winter.  The young people have created symbols of nature in the shapes of trees, flowers, snowflakes and the sun.  The display features many hands joined together and reaching out. 

This bright, colourful and imaginative installation will bring festive cheer to Hanbury Street from 7 December. It is  the perfect way to mark the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.

Special screening of Neptune Frost - discounted tickets for Tower Hamlets residents

Neptune Frost

Afro-futurist fantasia Neptune Frost, is a wondrous, thrilling sci-fi punk musical from multi-hyphenate, multidisciplinary artists Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman. It is the latest film to receive BFI FAN New Release Support.

Come along to Genesis Cinema on 7 December for a special event in partnership with The New Black Film Collective. This includes a short story reading before the screening by author Courttia Newland as well as a short panel discussion after the screening with author Courttia Newland, hosted by Ephraim Webber. The themes are anti-colonialism, afro-futurism and radical Black imagination. This special screening is supported by Tower Hamlets Council and residents are being offered tickets for £5 

Also screening at The Genesis on Thursday 22 December is a subtitled performance of Avatar: The Way of Water DeafWatch + Rave for only £3. There will be face painting from 5pm and a party in the bar after the film from 10pm.

Petticoat Lane Heritage Trail

Petticoat Lane Heritage Trail

Image Crediit: make:good

Our High Streets and Town Centres Team have worked with Historic England, London Historic Buildings Trust and make:good to launch The Petticoat Lane Heritage Trail.

The trail showcases the heritage of the Petticoat Lane Market and its surrounding areas through a series of characters and stories from the past. Discover the history of the Lane through the trail stickers on the streets around you. You can learn more by scanning each QR code to explore our interactive map.

Tower Hamlets Community Bottletop Mosaic Launch

Bottletop mosaic being made at the Art Pavilion

Art Catcher invite you to the ribbon-cutting celebration of the Tower Hamlets Community Bottletop Mosaic at 1.30pm on Sunday 4 December at the Yurt Café, St Katherine’s Precinct.

After a campaign to collect bottle tops, Tower Hamlets residents came together in October to take part in the creation of an enormous mosaic depicting the borough. This permanent and public community art piece is a celebration of both sustainability and our fantastic corner of east London. It was assembled as part of Create a Borough week at the Art Pavilion in Mile End Park.

The mosaic will be on permanent display at the Yurt Café in Limehouse and will be ceremoniously launched as part of the Yurt Christmas Market. The ribbon cutting will be followed by carols sung by local choirs. There will also be craft stalls and Christmas trees for sale.

Aldgate in Winter Festival

Aldgate in Winter Festival

Aldgate in Winter is back for its sixth magical year. Join Aldgate Connect on Friday 2 December for a magical night, as they light up Aldgate and celebrate the local community.

The Aldgate in Winter festival is free to attend and will return with some firm favourites, including the lantern parade, live performances, creative workshops, winter markets and a delicious community feast. This year the festival will include a special new addition of a portraiture exhibition showcasing Aldgate’s Local Heroes. With such a variety of things on offer, we look forward to seeing you there.

The festival will be followed by a lantern exhibition from Wednesday 7 December until January 2023, in the window fronts of Aldgate’s local venues and businesses.

Celebrate the Performing Arts at Whitechapel Idea Store

Idea Store end of term performance arts celebration

All are welcome at the Idea Store’s end of term celebration of performing arts in the Dance Studio at Whitechapel Ideas Store, 12noon on Sunday 4 December.

A day of multicultural dance and music with learners from Idea Store Learning. Come along and find out about our courses and see what our learners have achieved after nine weeks. Free taster sessions including African Dance, Ballet, Contemporary Dance and more.

Join the festive family knees up at Museum of London Docklands

Festive Family Knees Up at the Museum of London Docklands

Dance and sing along at this free, family event at the Museum of London Docklands on 10 December. 

Cor Blimey, Guv’nor, it’s a good old-fashioned FESTIVE Baby Knees Up! Fancy a change from Christmas carols? Grab your basin of gravy and your dustbin lids and join the Museum of London Docklands for some festive songs at the Ol’ Johanna! Baby Knees Up is a zany, interactive family event and this time it has a Christmas twist. Enjoy bubbles, puppets and plenty of singing along for adults, babies and children of all ages. Tom Carradine (of Carradine’s Cockney Singalong fame) entertains young and old with festive medleys and Christmas songs ranging from Spike Jones to Aled Jones!

If Henna Could Speak at Tonybee Hall

If Henna Could Speak at Toynbee Hall

Head along to Toynbee Hall to get hands on with henna! All are welcome to join these free workshops on Saturday 3 December to learn how to make your own henna, learn about its incredible history and see some beautiful henna art from our open call. There will also be an exhibition as well as a henna market where you can get your henna done for a fiver.  This is a free event but booking is encouraged. 

Whitechapel Gallery Families Workshop: Moving Bodies, Moving Images

Families Workshop: Moving Bodies, Moving Images

Image Credit: Planton Movil, Family Day 2018, Photo by Rob Harris.

10 December | 2-4pm | Free, Booking Required

Take part in a drop-in workshop at Whitechapel Gallery led by artist Rosie Gibbens to collaborate and play using unusual objects and materials inspired by Rosie’s art practice and the Moving Bodies, Moving Images exhibition.

How can you use your body to create shadows, shapes and sounds?

Grand Union Youth Orchestra Family Taster and Winter Concert

Grand Union Family Taster Workshop

The Grand Union Youth Orchestra (GUYO) will be preparing for their winter concert on Sunday 4 December at Rich Mix and all are welcome to come along.

Learn about the rhythms of India, West Africa and Brazil while joining into improvisations including some African drumming and Indian Ragas. If you play an instrument or are just interested in world music then this is for you! For Young People 11+ and their accompanying adult. Book now. 

You can also book in join GUYO for the free Grand Union Youth Orchestra and Friends Winter Concert on 18 December.

The ELP Festival of Print at The Art Pavilion

East London Printmakers Festival of Pring

The Festival of Print is East London Printmakers’ annual exhibition and the highpoint of their creative year.

The festival celebrates the exciting range of contemporary printmaking and wealth of skill and talent at ELP from established artists to emerging creatives. The prints showcase screenprint, etching and lino and most are available to buy. Free and open daily 11am – 6pm until 5 December at The Art Pavilion in Mile End Park.

Are you organising events?

If you are organising arts or cultural events, either online or at your venue in Tower Hamlets, please submit listings to our What’s On pages.

Use #TowerHamletsTogether to highlight your event and enter wider conversations about activities and support available to the local community.

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Gally Space Brady Art Centre

Tower Hamlets Arts and EventsTeam

Brady Arts Centre, 192 - 196 Hanbury Street, E1 5HU

020 7364 7921 | |

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