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30 wonderful things to do in London this weekend

Alexandra Sims

No weekend plans? Don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of ideas for how you can fill those precious days off. You could get spooked on a guided ghost walk through Smithfield and Farringdon, channel your three favourite witches at The Book Club’s ‘Hocus Pocus’ Halloween party, or cosy up with a glass of mulled wine and a blanket at Pergola Paddington Central. The time is yours for the taking. 


Canopy Market. West Handyside Canopy. Sat-Sun. Free. Get your mitts on bespoke crafts, artisan street food and fresh local produce at this market, which will pop up in King’s Cross on the last weekend of every month. At The Table will be running free workshops, tastings and demonstrations exploring themes including the history of cheese and how to make it. On Saturday night listen to sweet soul from Claire Kalvis and dance along to some bluegrass over Sunday lunchtime.

Amazing Animals Fluffytorium. 2 Soho Square. Sat. Free. Hang out with some impossibly fluffy cats and dogs in a room covered in fake fur at this shaggy Soho pop-up. Did we mention there’ll be free milkshakes, too? We’ll see you there. Email to bag yourself a spot.  

‘Wallace Sewell: 25 Years of British Textile Design’. Fashion and Textile Museum. Ongoing. £9.90. Explore the woven world of Wallace Sewell, the textile design studio behind the skyline-inspired tube seat fabric.

The Unbelievers Ghost Walk. Meet at Farringdon tube. Sat. £5. Get chills on this guided walk through Smithfield and Farringdon. The London Fortean society will share ghostly tales of screaming Anne, Bleeding Heart Yard, Scratching Fanny (on Cock Lane) and more spectres from the city’s past.

‘Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys’. The Courtauld Gallery. Ongoing. £10.50, £9.50 concs as part of general admission. Take a look at Soutine’s grotesque but totally gorgeous paintings of French hotel staff from the early twentieth century. He knew how to wring the ugly beauty out of a subject, and it’s absolutely mesmerising.

The Famous Ghosts and Infamous Murders Tour. Meet at Tottenham Court Rd tube, exit 1. Sat. £12, £10 concs. Stroll through the backstreets of the West End and discover the famous spirits haunting the capital. Stop at plague pits and haunted tunnels then learn about the murder mystery that gripped London long before Jack the Ripper.

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. Tate Modern. Ongoing. £11.30, £10 concs. Feast your peepers on pioneering conceptual art that exposes the horrors of life in Soviet Russia. We don’t promise that this will be a fun visit, but it is amazingly affecting.

Free Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Ben & Jerry’s Piccadilly Circus. Sat. Free. Don your best spooky threads to bag a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. In anticipation of Halloween, they’re giving away free gothic-style black waffle cones to anyone in Halloween fancy dress.

‘Instant Stories: Wim Wenders’ Polaroids’. The Photographers’ Gallery. Ongoing. £4, £2.40 concs, free before noon. See forgotten Polaroids of the US of A taken by a major film director. It’s a dream for cinephiles, and pretty enough for the rest of us, too.

Mad Brunch. Madison Terrace Bar & Lounge. Sat. £25. The Madison’s menu has had a spooky spell cast over it for Halloween. This one-off brunch will feature pumpkin risotto served in a witch hat and mini werewolf burgers. Nibble on the spooky treats while watching stilt-walkers, magicians and contortionists work their magic.



All Dogs Matter Halloween Dog and Walk Show. The Spaniards Inn. Sun. £5 per dog. Trick and/or treat your dog into a Halloween costume and take the pup on a walk in aid of All Dogs Matter. Plus, there are prizes for the best-dressed dawgs and their owners.

Apple Day at Kentish Town City Farm. Sun. £1, 50p child. Try your hand at apple-bobbing, enter the longest peel competition, take part in an ‘apple-lympics’ and make juice from, you guessed it, more apples, at this fabulous fruit fest.

Pillars Brewery First Birthday. Sat. Free entry. The Walthamstow brewery is turning one. To celebrate, they’re opening up their taproom, where you can glug down craft lagers, spirits and wine. Tuck into street food from Shelly Belly’s and dance along to local DJs.



Black Girl Festival. Kachette. Sun. Free. As we enter the full throes of Black History Month, the UK’s first festival for black British women and girls is landing in London, celebrating and exploring what it means to be a black British woman in the UK. There’ll be a jam-packed programme of arts, workshops, panels, entertainment for all ages and even a marketplace onsite, where you can buy food and wares from black-owned businesses. Tickets have been snapped up, but you can still join the waiting list for the much-needed event.

Blisters: The Paperback Edition. MC Motors. Sat. Free. Check out prints from illustrators, designers and street artists modelled on iconic books. Pieces based on ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘American Psycho’ will be on display and you can get yourself a signed screen print at £50.

‘Hocus Pocus’ Halloween. The Book Club. Sat. £6 OTD. This ‘90s-themed party features life drawing with Art Macabre, lashings of face-paint, cocktails and a screening of Bette Midler’s (arguably) finest film. Afterwards, work your witchy way on to the dance floor to a soundtrack of ‘90s bangers.

Band Tee Exchange. The Shacklewell Arms. Sun. Free. Trade in your old Blur-branded and Metallica-marked T-shirts for a new one you like better at this free exchange.

Leather Belt and Key Tag Workshop. Geffrye Museum. Sun. £30. Learn the basics of leatherwork at this family-friendly workshop. Pick a key tag or belt to work with and make it unique with help from an expert tutor’s top tips.

Savage. Metropolis. Sat. This Sink the Pink offshoot is a weekly shindig with its own terrace hot tub and refurbished basement. Head along this weekend to dance the night away to Erol Alkan playing the main room as Disco 3000.

gal-dem Drop In. Geffrye Museum. Sat 2pm to 2:45pm. Free. Drop in on the editors of gal-dem – the magazine for women of colour – and hear them talk about their latest issue on the theme of home in the fitting setting of the museum of the home. Plus, get your mitts on the new print issue.



‘Tove Jansson (1914-2001)’. Dulwich Picture Gallery. Ongoing. £14, £6.25-£13 concs. If you don’t recognise the name of this celebrated Finnish artist, you’ll know her portly, snow white Moomin illustrations. This major retrospective brings together 150 works tracing key stages of Jansson’s vast career, proving there’s much more to the late artist and illustrator than her cute Moomin trolls.

The Horniman Halloween Fair. Horniman Museum. Sat-Sun. Free. Dress up and get down to this wonderful anthropological museum set in 16 acres of landscaped gardens for a day of frightening fun. Little ones can meet creepy crawlies, while grown-ups can browse the arts and crafts market.

Celebrate National Honey Week. Bee Urban. Sat. Free. Learn how to be a beekeeper at this community fundraiser at Kennigton Park’s Bee Urban, the home of a buzzing city bee colony. Have a bumble around trying honey beer while you’re at it.

‘Blood: Life Uncut’. Copeland Gallery. Ongoing. Free. A form of transport, a shocking symbol and a life-saving fluid: blood connects every single one of us and saves our loves every day. Learn all about the wonderful substance at this creative, informative exhibition.

Trick or Treat Run. Southwark Park. Sat. £15-£25, £8-£12 child. Run, jog or sneak around a 2.5km or 5km course all in aid of Breast Cancer Care. As well as getting that warm good-deed feeling you’ll also get a glow-in-the-dark medal.

Daniel Avery. Phonox. Sun. £5-£15. The London techno dazzler is filling this Brixton with weird and wonderful sounds from across the sonic universe for ten whole hours. We reckon it’ll be a pretty easy act of endurance to listen to.

Brixton Vegan Market. Brixton Station Road Market. Sun. Free entry. London has already played host to vegan markets in Brick Lane, Hackney Downs and London Fields, and now Brixton is getting in on the act. Chomp down on tasty veg treats from a whole host of street food vendors serving up unicorn cupcakes, raw food, eco-friendly products and more.

Fuerza Mexico: Earthquake Relief Fundraiser. 91 Peckham High St. Sat. £5. Listen to live music from Terry Juarez (Radar Radio), Norsicaa (Soundway Records) and Otro Mundo and tuck into tacos made by Lorcan Guinness (River Cafe, Padella, Koya) to help raise funds for the victims of the massive 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico. All profits will go towards Ambulante – who will receive and distribute 100 percent of the funds directly to local organisations and social initiatives dedicated to helping those most affected by this catastrophe.


Pergola Paddington Central. Reserve in advance. Think rooftop bars are a treat reserved for east London? Guess again. This lofty foodie haven is back for winter, complete with a seasonal makeover, blankets, food by Tonkotsu and Patty & Bun, plus gallons of mulled wine.

Stranger Things, Stranger Snacks. Westfield Shepherd’s Bush. Sat 10am to 5pm. Anyone counting down the days until ‘Stranger Things 2’ is live on the net should head to Westfield, where a spooky food tuck is pulling up and dishing out Eleven’s faves: Eggos Waffles.


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