On 1 December at 18.14 (6.14pm), Bankside launched its inaugural modern day Frost Fair, a homage to the area’s unique history, characters and stories from the carnival that used to happen on the River Thames when it froze over in winter.
Over 30 Bankside businesses have come together to create events, drinks, food and experience to celebrate including special Frost Fair cocktails, wreath making, animal lino printing, winter markets and menu meal deals from 1 Dec – 31 January.
The modern retelling of the Fair is underpinned by a multi-discpiplinary art trail which includes street art murals, animations, cinematic film, digital art and augmented reality installations across the neighbourhood .
Between 1605 and 1814, the surface of the River Thames froze over 24 times, bringing all trade on the water to a standstill. The people of Bankside turned catastrophe into opportunity, creating pleasure grounds known as the ‘Frost Fair’, hosting markets, selling food and drink, organising gambling and games on the ice, and guiding tourists across the frozen water.
One of the Frost Fairs’ strangest tales is that at the last Frost Fair in 1814, an elephant was walked across the ice. This winter, the elephant has been brought back to Bankside in art, projections and even in real life thanks to the powers of Augmented Reality.
Discover more about the Frost Fair Art Trail
Take part in Frost Fair events
Eat and drink your way around the Frost Fair