Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City at Somerset House

A is for Architects: More than 100 architects, engineers and designers were involved in the making of this year’s Gingerbread City, a sprawling, biscuity metropolis with a transport system that pisses all over TFL with its marshmallow hot-air balloons, coconut ski lifts, flying-saucer drones, Rolo and strawberry-lace tube tunnels, and a train that passes through Yeast Croydon and Victoria Sponge. If you thought last year’s V&A-based “Imagining Cities of the Future”-themed offering was good, prepare to be totally awestruck by this bigger (it’s relocated to a larger location in Somerset House for 2019), better (the whole thing is judged as a competition so the standard is pretty high) and more beautiful (I mean would you just look at it) cityscape.

B is for Build your own: This year’s exhibition comes accompanied by a series of workshops for both adults and families, where you can build and decorate your own transport-themed gingerbread house (spoiler: it’s a train station). All materials are provided, including 11 freshly baked, pre-cut pieces of gingerbread, a loaded piping bag and a bag full of dolly mixtures, Smarties and other favourites that you can scoff the remnants of on your way home from the workshop. Once you’ve finished your confectionary creation the lovely MoA staff will cover it in cellophane and tie a bow around it so it’s ready for you to give it to a lucky recipient on Christmas Day… or just to rip it open and devour the lot yourself the second you get in.

C is for not just for Christmas: Except it is just for Christmas and it really troubles me that such an absurd amount of time and effort goes into making this thing but it only sticks around for just under a month, but that simultaneously just under a month seems like it might be too long for gingerbread to sit out and be swarmed round by hundreds of salivating humans every day (anyone remember Song Dong’s Eating the City and how stale and gross and riddled with flies if was after literally one day?). So what the hell happens to this thing when its time in Somerset House’s Lancaster Rooms is up? Would anyone even want to eat gingerbread past the 5th of January anyway? So many questions. All of them gingerbread-related.

Tickets: Tickets to the Gingerbread City cost £9 per adult and £7 for under-12s, with under-3s going free. Family workshops cost £35 per adult-and-child pair, or £42 with admission to Gingerbread City.

Verdict: It’s a bit of a spenny day out if you have more than one child of gingerbread-house-construction age, but a pretty magical one nonetheless. 4/5

7th December 2019-5th January 2020

Daddy and Babu take a tour of the Gingerbread City at Somerset House.