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England’s capital is not only the largest city in Western Europe, but is also its most vibrant. The home of the Queen, Big Ben and the famous Hackney Carriage is also home to one of the most cosmopolitan populations in the world, which has left its mark on this ancient yet very cutting edge metropolis. 

London is a world city of truly global proportions. Visitors come here to experience the world’s best restaurants, top hotels and its varied nightlife. But they also come for another thing, the culture. If there is a world capital of culture then London must surely be it. Plays and musical productions pack the city’s famous West End, while museums and art galleries, such as the iconic British Museum and the Tate Modern wow visitors with their huge exhibits.  

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Missed out on a Wimbledon ticket? Head to the Refinery Bankside on the Southbank to watch the world's top tennis players battle it out on a super-sized screen over a ‘Queen of the Court' pudding: a white chocolate tennis ball covered with hot chocolate sauce and filled with honeycomb, strawberry and mint. 10 Southwark St, London SE1


Anyone who watched British TV in the ‘90s is guilty of shouting at the contestants of the Crystal Maze (the decade's beloved gameshow) and dreaming of tackling it for themselves. Now they can, as an exact replica has been constructed in central London, complete with four zones of puzzles and obstacle courses that stand between you and the precious crystals. Apart from the Richard O'Brien-shaped hole, it's exactly as you remember it. (10-14 White Lion St, 0844 871 8805)


We're lost for words for describing Amaluna, the current spectacle of awe-inspiring acrobatics from Cirque du Soleil. The Royal Albert Hall makes a regal backdrop to trapeze artists, contortionists and extreme jugglers that just leave you reeling from their unbelievable talent. For tickets visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna.


Put yourself in an astronaut's space boots at the Science Museum's current blockbuster, Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age. The exhibition brings together the biggest collection of historical Soviet space program memorabilia the UK has ever seen, including spacecraft, gadgets and space capsules. Russia pioneered the space age and sent the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik, into orbit in 1957


At Clerkenwell London, the concept is simple: this elegant shop is a temple of beauty, covering all of its forms. Exquisite homeware is displayed artfully by rails of designer clothing. Delicate jewellery sparkles alongside custom-made perfume. Even the vintage vinyl spinning on the in-house bar's record player is for sale. These are the kinds of wares that nourish the soul. You won't want to leave. clerkenwell-london.com


Faulty Towers The Dining Experience. The tables are laid out incorrectly, the food is, well, questionable, and the service utterly ridiculous. But then, that's to be expected at this interactive dining experience based on the hit British sitcom about a dysfunctional seaside hotel. Certainly your hosts, Basil and Sybil Fawlty and, of course, poor suffering waiter Manuel, ensure all their guests are suitably entertained, at least, with a hilariously convincing performance throughout the three courses that includes many nods to the series. Just don't mention the war. Tickets from £52pp, faultytowers.net

Sightseeing


This month it's your last chance to be half-blinded by the most dazzling display of Indian jewellery ever to be shown at the V&A. Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection is a small, but by no means modest, private collection of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires of the richest hues you'll likely ever feast your eyes on. Until 28 March, vam.ac.uk.


The fact that War Horse is the biggest tearjerker of the last decade won't come as surprise, but if you're not one of the seven million people worldwide whose heartstrings have already been obliterated by these equestrian puppets then you'd better get in there quick. The record breaking, National Theatre run is coming to a close in March 2016, so use these Christmas holidays wisely, and witness an extraordinary tale of loyalty and friendship versus the First World War's brutality. warhorseonstage.com


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Eccentric characters (big and small), catchy songs, awesome set design with special effects, and a whole lot of chocolate means this theatrical version of arguably Roald Dahl's greatest novel is bound to leave a very sweet taste with all. charlieandthechocolatefactory.com

Key Areas


Years before escape games became ‘a thing' across Europe, the innovative team behind A Door in a Wall were putting teams of would-be Sherlock Holmes's to the test with their interactive murder mystery scavenger hunts. Join them next month for their latest


"The Jam: About the Young Idea" Paul Weller, Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton, that is, the three members of The Jam, one of Britain's most influential punk rock/mod bands of the 70s and 80s, have gone through their drawers to pull out all their scrapbooks, letters, fanzines and more. The result is the most comprehensive exhibition about their rise to glory. Catch this incredible, personal insight into their trailblazing life at Somerset House until 31 August. somersethouse.org.uk

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