Southbank Centre’s Winter festival kicks off today! Here’s five reasons to wrap up and head down…
1. The rabbits
Two hundred years ago rabbits were introduced to Australia, travelling on the ships of Great Britain’s First Fleet, and boy have they make themselves at home. Now Australian artist Amanda Parer is getting her revenge by bringing her installation ‘Intrude’ (above) to central London. Its five seven-metre tall illuminated rabbits will hop – sorry, pop – up all over the Southbank Centre site from December 6 to 30; they’ll be glowing between 10am and 11pm.
2. The maze
This tangle of 300 blue spruce trees comes all the way from Germany’s Black Forest. They’re two metres high so only professional basketball players will be tall enough to cheat. Don’t worry about a visit ending up a bit ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’; it’s far less scary thanks to loads of fairy lights. And children will find a small prize in the middle, rather than a portal to the underworld. Entrance is £4.
3. The train
All aboard the Southbank Centre Express, a 36-seat festive train that will trundle from Hungerford Bridge to Festival Pier and back again. Sure, it won’t get you far, but at least there won’t be any planned engineering works. Bring £4 for your ticket – your monthly Travelcard counts for nothing here.
4. The tree
This giant green beauty is much more than an excuse for tons of tinsel. The 18-metre wooden structure houses a café where you can get to the root of Christmas as you warm up with mulled wine, hot chocolate and various other seasonal refreshments.
5. The markets
You’ll find plenty more than baubles and gingerbread to tempt you in the 50 wooden chalets that make up the Southbank Centre Christmas Market this year. Sheepskin rugs, local mead, festive wreaths and even lobster mac ’n’ cheese are all among the goodies on sale along Queen’s Walk.
By Ashleigh Arnott
These Southbank Centre Winter Festival attractions run Tue Nov 11 until Jan 4, 10am-10pm, with the exception of the rabbits.