CHILDREN; WHAT TO DO THIS WEEKEND IN LONDON; ... AND BEYOND

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The Independent Culture
Christmas Lighting-up Ceremony West Piazza, Covent Garden, London WC2 (0171-836 9136) today, 6pm, free

Father Christmas, the market's Hairy Fairy and a firework show will get the festive season off with a bang when the Evening Standard Christmas Tree is lit up in aid of the Bobby Moore Fund for Imperial Cancer Research.

Kipper Border's, 203 Oxford Street, London W1 (0171-292 1600) today, 11am, free

Mike Inkpen's character Kipper will appear in the children's department of this huge book, music and video store. There will be readings from Kipper stories, plus quizzes and activities.

Make Your Own Christmas Card The London Brass Rubbing Centre, The Crypt, St Martins-in-the Fields, Trafalgar Sq, WC2 (0171-930 9306) today 10am- 6pm, tomorrow noon-6pm

Make your own Christmas cards for pounds 1.50 using special seasonal brasses, or try any of the medieval, Tudor and Celtic brass designs on offer.

Lord Mayor's Show London (0171-332 1456)

today, 11am onwards, free

With more than 6,500 participants and 20 marching bands, the Lord Mayor's Show (below) takes to the streets of London today in what is now one of the world's biggest parades. The day's proceedings, which include a fair in Paternoster Square, are topped off with a firework display over the Thames at 5pm. Good vantage points are Victoria Embankment, Blackfriars Bridge and Waterloo Bridge.

Nikki Spencer

The Great Thorpe Park Christmas Craft Festival near Chertsey, Surrey (0134 487 4787) today and tomorrow, 10am-6pm, adults pounds 3.50, children pounds 1

Do your Christmas shopping, entertain the kids and have a few goes on your favourite hair- raising rides, all in one afternoon, when the popular theme park hosts a craft fair with more than 230 exhibitors. Children's entertainment includes a Punch and Judy show, face painting and badge making, Christmas storytelling and carol-singing, plus Father Christmas in his grotto.

Selected rides will be open from 10.30am until 3.30pm and there will be a small charge for each ride.

Festival of Light Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Church St, Brighton (0127-329 0900) today, 2pm-4pm, pounds 2.50, booking essential

To celebrate Diwali, children aged between four and 11 can take part in block printing and painting Mendhi patterns on their hands and feet. There will also be a chance to try on saris and turbans and handle Indian objects from the museum.

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