Each year the Museum of Architecture hosts an exhibition of gingerbread buildings. These aren’t your typical gingerbread houses, though. These are vast, elaborate structures dreamed up by architects, designers and engineers. The idea is to imagine what the building design of the future will be like, and create it in biscuit and sugar.
In 2018/19 there were leisure centres, cinemas, a giant roller coaster and a hospital, alongside the housing developments, shops and restaurants. The windows were made out of crushed and melted boiled sweets (something I really want to try sometime), and the whole effect was magical.
The theme in 2019/20 is ‘Transport’, so expect to see some innovative ideas for how we might travel between the gingerbread houses, shops and schools of the future.
I went on the closing weekend last year, and it was completely packed, with a long queue and very little room to move, so go earlier in the season if you can, to give yourself time to really look at it. (Although this year it is being held at a new venue, Somerset House, which might have a little more room to move in than the V&A did last year.)
What: Gingerbread City
Where: Lancaster Rooms, New Wing, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
When: 7 December 2019 to 5 January 2020 (and similar dates in future years, no doubt)
Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays & Sundays: 10.00-18.00
Wednesdays, Thursdays & Fridays: 11.00-20.00
Until 23.00 (last entry 22.00 on Sat 07 Dec 2019)
How much: £9.00 / Under 12s £7.00 / Under 3s Free
Extra! Extra! There are also workshops to make your own gingerbread house available. Pricing is a little confusing (Family workshop (1 adult, 1 child) with exhibition ticket: £42.00, Family workshop (1 adult, 1 child) without exhibition ticket: £35.00, Adult workshop (max 2 adults) with exhibition ticket: £42.00, Adult workshop (max 2 adults) without exhibition ticket: £35.00) – I presume both the parent and child/both the adults can get into the exhibition and make one gingerbread house for £42, making the exhibition tickets a real bargain, but you might want to contact them to double-check that, especially for the adult tickets.
Why not make a day of it and join a free guided tour (Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays), visit some of the other exhibitions, have lunch in one of the restaurants, and skate on the popular ice rink? So much to see and do in one building!