Events & Festivals

From free events in London to planning your week nights and weekends, find the best events in London

Things to do

This week's hottest events

Your social life sorted for the next seven days

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Things to do

Free events in London

We've compiled the best free stuff in London for those of you who want to explore the capital for nothing

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Comedy

This week's best comedy shows

To help you plan your week of witticisms, here's a nifty calendar of the best shows in town

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Art

Unmissable art this week

Time Out's art critics select the best exhibitions in town. London, you're all art

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Music

Gigs in London this week

Discover the best gigs and concerts taking place over the next seven days

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London's best events by month

See our London events calendar

Upcoming Time Out events

Tickets to 'Oppenheimer' plus a post show Q&A

Hailed as 'a blast from start to finish' by yours truly in our glowing five-star review, 'Oppenheimer' is one play you definitely don't want to miss this season. Get in quick for extremely limited tickets to the RSC's explosive play about the father of the atomic bomb, plus an exclusive post-show Q&A, hosted by Time Out theatre editor Andrzej Lukowski. Tickets just £39.50

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Live & Learn with Time Out

Live & Learn with Time Out is a sensational new range of classes in London. They range from evening talks to in-depth courses, and every one will deliver a uniquely memorable experience as well as genuinely useful knowledge and skills. Our tutors and speakers will be the best in the business – whether Time Out staff, major industry names or the cream of backstage talent. Tickets from £35

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Things to do Special offer

Silent Disco at Altitude London

Does dancing get you high? Do awesome beats and basslines bring you up? Get your groove on at a great height and cut shapes like an experimental tailor at Altitude. While your ears and body get off on the serious sounds, you can feast your eyes on the whole of London from the top of Millbank Tower.

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Things to do Buy tickets

Silent Disco at The View from The Shard

Dance at the top of the world - well, western Europe at least - at an exclusive silent disco at The View from the Shard. Shimmy to the soundtrack of your choice as the evening’s three DJs provide three different channels for you to listen to on your personal headphones. Or, when the moment strikes, you can completely switch off from the music and have a chat with your fellow party guests without having to shout over the crowd. It really is the perfect party.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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See all upcoming Time Out events

Coming soon to the capital

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Early May bank holiday

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London Craft Week

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London Pet Show

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Museums

Museums at Night

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Open Garden Squares Weekend

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Check out our London events calendar

Unmissable festivals in London

Museums

Imperial Festival

Imperial College London is inviting us all in to find out more about their research and work, and providing hundreds of scientists for us to quiz about it, with their annual festival of science and engineering. The full programme will be available on the Imperial Festival website nearer the time, but you can expect dozens of talks, activities, performances and installations. All ages are welcome and all events are free.

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London Craft Week

This new week-long festival celebrates craftmanship in all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies

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Alchemy

This ten-day festival is a celebration of South Asia's rich culture, with a line-up featuring music, dance, literature, film and fashion. In 2015 topics covered will include the area's changing cultural landscape and the juxtapositions between classical and folk traditions. Acclaimed Indian singer Shreya Ghoshal (May 23), experimental music pioneers Wild City (May 20) and sarod maestro Soumik Datta (May 19) all feature on the musical line-up, with plenty of dance performances planned, too. The Jaipur Literature Festival (May 16-17), which showcases South Asia's multilingual literary heritage, will explore the themes of politics, economics, myth and migration. The talks schedule includes appearances from Meera Syal and Nihal, and the Southbank Centre's foyers will be packed with installations and free shows. Kerb street food traders will sell food inspired by the Alchemy countries in the Festival Village and Southbank Centre Square.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Museums

Museums at Night

Enjoy after-hours events at some of the capital's biggest museums and quirky attractions

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See what's on at...

British Museum

One of the world's oldest museums, the British Museum is vast and its collections, only a fraction of which can be on public display at any one time, comprise millions of objects. First-time visitors generally head for the mummies, the Rosetta Stone, Lindow Man, the Lewis Chessmen and the Sutton Hoo ship burial. Indeed, the Sutton Hoo finds provide the centrepiece for the new Sir Paul and Lady Jill Ruddock Gallery (Room 41), designed to display the museum's exceptional early medieval collection. Covering finds from across Europe from AD 300 to 1100, the Ruddock Gallery shows off not only the Anglo-Saxons' iconic Sutton Hoo masked helmet, but also late Roman mosaics and such extraordinary objects as the fourth-century Lycurgus Cup, made to change colour in different lights, and the Kells Crozier, a holy yew wood staff decorated and adapted many times from the ninth century onwards.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Museums

V&A

The V&A houses one of the world's greatest collections of decorative arts, in such varied fields as ceramics, sculpture, portrait miniatures and photography. Among the highlights are the British Galleries 1500-1900, which are arranged chronologically to trace the history of British design from the reign of Henry VIII to that of Queen Victoria. The major names of each era are highlighted, from Chippendale to Morris, Adam to Mackintosh, and alongside the displays of furniture, textiles, dress, ceramics, glass, jewellery, prints, paintings and sculpture there are computer interactives, objects to handle, video screens and audio programmes. The Whiteley Silver Galleries house collections of European Silver (1400 to 1800), containing more than 500 outstanding silver and gold objects dating from medieval times to the Napoleonic era. The other major displays are English Silver (pre-1800) and International Silver (1800 to the present). Opened in 2006, the Dorothy and Michael Hintz galleries, which are part of the museum's ten-year refurbishment plan, house sculptures from the V&A's existing collections. Located by the Madejski garden, they allow in natural light to show the mix of contemporary and Victorian architecture used in their construction, including the nineteenth-century monochrome mosaic flooring revealed when the 1960s lino was stripped. The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art covers a period that begins with the birth of Islam in the seventh century and ends with the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the last century. Much of the work on display is from mosques and can broadly be defined as devotional. The most striking exhibit is the world's oldest dated carpet, the remarkably unfaded Ardabil carpet, made in Iran in 1539. It is viewed through a high tech glass case and light box suspended from the ceiling that is worth going to see itself. The Buddhist Sculpture Gallery displays highlights from the collection, ranging from portable gilded Buddhas to monumental temple sculptures. The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries show highlights from the Gilbert Collection of gold and silverware and micromosaics. The Ceramics Galleries tells the story of world ceramics from the earliest Chinese pottery to contemporary craft, with galleries dedicated to architectural ceramics and twentieth-century collections. The Medieval and Renaissance Galleries present the collections in continuous displays that tell the story of European art and design from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Renaissance.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Museums

Museum of London

The history of London, from prehistoric times to the present is told in the Museum of London through reconstructed interiors and street scenes, alongside displays of original artefacts found during the museum's archaeological digs. Check the website before your visit as a packed programme of temporary exhibitions, talks, walks and children's events is central to the life of the Museum of London.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The O2

Since The O2 opened in 2007, transforming the endlessly floundering Millennium Dome in Greenwich into a multi-entertainment centre, it's relied on the pulling power of one giant superstar after the next. Barbara Streisand, Prince, Tina Turner and Bon Jovi have all pitched up to wring whopping sums of money out of their equally ageing fans, while guaranteed crowd-pullers such as Kings Of Leon and Kanye West are enlisted to pack the house with those too late on the bandwagon to have caught them in the far more appealing Brixton Academy. Still, The O2's sprawling 20,000 seat arena isn't the only thing to recommend it. The smaller, less attention-grabbing Indigo2 is a good place to catch soulful crooners such as Estelle and Akon, while the centre also houses an 11-screen Vue cinema, the British Music Experience and space for temporary exhibitions such as Dr Gunther von Hagens's 'Body Worlds'. As the North Greenwich Arena, it will play a major role in London 2012 hosting Artistic Gymnastics, Trampoline, Basketball and Wheelchair Basketball. A cable car – a section of which will link The O2 with ExCeL – is on target for a summer 2012 opening.

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  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Museums

Southbank Centre

This riverside titan of arts and entertainment has morphed and expanded in the past few years securing its position as one of the most attractive cultural hotspots in London, helped by its accessible location and proximity to the National Theatre and Tate Modern. The Southbank Centre caters for the widest spectrum of people and interests, peddling visual art, music, literature events and performance in its several venues – the Royal Festival Hall, The Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall (including the Purcell Room) and the Saison Poetry Library. Recently it has become a go-to destination for foodies too. Skylon, a swanky British-themed restaurant within RFH, caters for those with a bit of cash, while a range of spanking new chain restaurants (Wagamama, Strada, Ping Pong) jostle for attention alongside the pie-touting Canteen.

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  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Attractions

British Library

The John Ritblat Gallery houses some of the most famous written and printed items in the world: the Lindisfarne Gospels, Shakespeare’s first Folio, Handel’s Messiah, the Gutenberg Bible, drafts of the Magna Carta and the Beatles’ manuscripts. The Workshop of Words, Sound and Images is a hands-on gallery that traces the story of book production from the earliest written documents through medieval manuscripts and printing to modern industrial processing and the digital revolution. Two CD jukeboxes in the entrance hall enable visitors to listen on headphones to a selection of items from the library’s sound archive, including extracts from Nelson Mandela’s ‘Rivonia’ trial speech in 1964, which led to his imprisonment for 27 years.

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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