Top five things to do in Hampstead and Highgate this week

Sir Derek Jacobi. Picture: Ian West

Sir Derek Jacobi. Picture: Ian West - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Comedy poetry with Harry Enfield, family carol singing in Hampstead and a Christmas Fair headed by renowned actor Sir Derek Jacobi are just some of the things featured in our top five this week.

Today (Monday)

Renowned philosopher Prof A C Grayling marks the publication of his new book with a discussion at the London Jewish Cultural Centre, North End Road, Golders Green. In Friendship, Grayling explores the nature of friendship and how it has changed from the ancient Greeks to modern day Britain.

Roving through the rich traditions of friendship in literature, culture, art, and philosophy, he also brings into his discussion familiar and less well-known pairings – Achilles and Patroclus, David and Jonathan, Coleridge and Wordsworth and Huck Finn and Jim.

The Master of the New College of the Humanities and author of over 30 works will also be signing books.

The hour-long talk starts at 8pm. Tickets are £10 (£12 on the door). Visit for bookings.

Today (Monday)

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Director of the National Theatre, Sir Nicholas Hytner – responsible for such hits as The History Boys and One Man Two Guvnors – reveals the highlights and lowlights of his career so far, from his Jewish beginnings in Manchester to one of the top theatre jobs worldwide.

He will be in conversation with creative director of the BBC, Alan Yentob, at JW3 community centre, Finchley Road.

Tickets are £15 (£7.50 concs). Visit for bookings.


Comedy, cakes and Christmas themed entertainment will be on offer as Harry Enfield joins fellow comedians and actors to read poetry at the ilovegeorgeous clothes shop in Regents Park Road, Primrose Hill.

The family event will see the star-studded group – including Sarah Alexander, Gina Bellman and Ben Miller - read from a selection of humorous and charming poetry.

Primrose bakery will also be selling edible treats with 20 per cent of the day’s sales donated to charity Save the Children.

The event starts at 11am.

Call to book your free tickets on 020 7586 1552.


The Hampstead Consort presents an evening of carol singing for people of all ages as part of the Family Carol Concert.

Following a sell-out performance last year, the afternoon will once again be dedicated to entertaining Hampstead’s children and their families.

The programme of songs include Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer; Silent Night; and Winter Wonderland.

It starts at 3pm at Burgh House in New End Square, Hampstead.

Tickets are £10 (£5 for children).

Visit for bookings.


Multi-award winning actor Sir Derek Jacobi, currently starring in BBC’s Last Tango in Halifax, will be leading the festive fun at the Belsize Community Library Christmas Fair on Sunday in Antrim Grove, Belsize Park.

Promising fun for all ages, there will be a Santa’s Grotto, mulled wine, freshly baked cakes, and children’s games.

Stories and cartooning with local author Uli Meyer will also give young illustrators a chance to show off their talents while a pop-up Christmas market will be selling visitors a myriad of potential Christmas presents.

Sir Derek will be announcing the winners of the raffle, with top prizes including a 13-pound turkey, a Christmas hamper, and bottles of champagne.

Many other goodies donated by local traders will also be up for grabs.

The event marks a significant moment for the library which was threatened with closure when the council withdrew its funding last year.

Now supported by the Winchester Project youth charity in Swiss Cottage, it has since bounced back and this year’s celebratory Fair will be opened by its oldest and youngest members - 93-year-old Dr Athol Hughes and eight-month-old Joshua Hillairaud.

It runs from 2pm to 5.30 pm. Admission is £1 for adults (50p for children).