Get us in your inbox


33 wonderful things to do in London this weekend

Alexandra Sims
The weekend’s finally here! Make the most of your two days of freedom by watching a huge fireworks display at the Lord Mayor’s Show, getting sweaty in a Finnish rooftop sauna, or exploring Syon Park’s Enchanted Woodland. Enjoy! 


Lord Mayor’s Show and Fireworks. Various locations. Sat. Free. Get your pyro fix at the annual Lord Mayor’s Show, which starts with a floating pageant in the Thames and continues with a three-mile procession from 11am. The whole shebang will end with a spectacular fireworks display over the river at 5.15pm.

Oxford Street Christmas Lights. Free. It’s that time of year again. Oxford Street gets its annual Christmas glow and this year it’s been transformed by 1,778 decorations (and 750,000 LED lightbulbs) inspired by falling snowflakes. Don’t miss all the sparkles this weekend.

Supermodel Flea Market. 21 Slingsby Place. Sat-Sun. From £15. Kate, Naomi, Gisele and Jourdan are just a few of the names that have donated their old threads to Toni Garrn’s luxury flea market. Pick them up and donate to the Toni Garrn foundation, which helps girls in Zimbabwe to access education.

North: Fashioning Identity. Somerset House. Ongoing. £7. Cast your eyes away from the capital to our pals up north where it’s not so grim after all. This exhibition features contemporary photography, fashion collections and multimedia artworks, highlighting how twentieth-century northern English life continues to influence new generations of creatives.

Finnish Rooftop Sauna. Queen Elizabeth Hall Rooftop Garden. Ongoing. £15-£25. The cold might be setting in, but things are getting steamy on the South Bank. They’ve set up a rooftop sauna with showering facilities, blankets and drinks on hand. Each 16-person session lasts 70 minutes.

The Big Thrill. BFI Southbank. Sat. £10. Get spooked at this thriller-themed day of films, talks, masterclasses and panel discussions, plus a VR Doom Room. It’s part installation, part performance.

Jazz Before Jazz was Jazz. Two Temple Place. Sun. £15. Delve into the history of the musical genre through workshops and talks. There’ll be plenty of live jazz from the UK’s best performers to get you hot under the collar.

Southbank Centre Wintertime Market. Royal Festival Hall. Until Dec 30. Free entry. There’s more than baubles and gingerbread to tempt you into this festival’s Christmas chalets. Get your mitts on puds, pies, gifts and stockings at the riverside market.

The Exorcist. Phoenix Theatre. Ongoing. £15-£75. See the stage version of William Peter Blatty’s 1971 horror novel. All your favourite bits from the movie make it in, and Ian McKellen’s voice as the demon is sensational.

Stan Douglas. Victoria Miro Mayfair. Until Dec 20. Free. See deceptive recreations of moments from the 2011 riots. Douglas is a manipulative master of the past and your response to it.  

Impressionists in London. Tate Britain. Ongoing. £17.70. A show of impressionism, that mainly isn’t impressionism, but the room filled with Monet paintings is absolutely splendid.

City Now City Future Technology Hub. Museum of London. Sat-Sun. Free. Explore coding, GPS tracking and become a digital maker creating everything from robots to blinking antenna as the Museum of London is transformed into a technology hub for the weekend.


The World Factory’s Citizen Festival. University of Liverpool in London. Sat-Sun. Prices vary. Bookworms should rock up to this literary extravaganza featuring readings from the likes of Ben Okri, Alexei Sayle, Lionel Shriver and Nikesh Shukla.

The Ultimate Street Party. Shoreditch Studios. Sat. £25. This epic ‘street’ party might be indoors but it involves a graffiti wall and pop-up bar, and it’s all in aid of Children with Cancer UK.

Smith & Sinclair: Flavour Gallery. The Hoxton Basement. Ongoing. £15. The duo who create madcap alcoholic confectionary have created a sensual pop-up. They’re letting visitors walk around the exhibition, which has works you can smell, touch, hear, taste and create.

Bethnal Green’s Affordable Vintage Fair. York Hall. Sun. £3. Hit up the UK’s largest travelling market for retro clothes, homewares and accessories that won’t leave you deep in your overdraft.

The Winter Forest. Exchange Square. Ongoing. Free entry. Exchange Square has had a Nordic makeover for the winter months. Watch festive flicks in a tipi cinema or cosy up with a cup of something mulled and spiced.

The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts Christmas Market. The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. Sat. Free entry. Get a head-start on your Christmas shopping at this fair selling artwork, cards, prints, ceramics and more made by The Prince’s School alumni.

Southsayers + Arun Ghosh + Sextet + Lokkhi Terra. Rich Mix. Sat. £20. Afrodub, sounds from Bangladesh and Lagos, and new music from highly talented clarinettist Arun Gosh – this is the gig to go to if you want to hear some superb global jazz sounds.

November Rain. 40ft Brewery. Sat. Free. If you like beer and classic rock, there’ll be plenty of both at this mini beer festival. Don’t forget to dress up – the best outfits win free pints.

Living Wage Brewers’ Beer Festival. Mason & Company. Sat-Sun. Free. To honour ‘Living Wage Week’ the fine people at Mason & Company are bringing together a line-up of 12 different UK breweries who fairly pay their staff the real cost of living.


Put that Light Out! Crystal Palace Subway. Sat. £8. Mark Remembrance Sunday in the beautiful surroundings of this Victorian underpass, which is opening up for a rare public event with poem, stories and songs about WWII.

Tove Jansson (1914-2001). Dulwich Picture Gallery. Ongoing. £15.50. You’ll be familiar with the Finnish artist’s cuddly Moomin illustrations, but there’s far more to the late artist and illustrator, as this huge retrospective shows.

Terrarium Workshop and Prosecco. Smugglers Café. Sat. £40. Head to Putney to learn how to create a cute, self-contained garden in a glass, with a tall flute of bubbly in hand.

The 2nd Silent Laughter Saturday. The Cinema Museum. Sat. £5-£18. Support the Cinema Museum by parking your glutes on a comfy chair for a day filled with funny, sad, slapstick and rare silent films.

Visions of Battersea Power Station. Circus West Village. Sat-Sun. Free. See the art deco, Grade II-listed icon from all its best angles at this showcase of stunning monochrome images of the building before its regeneration by British photographer Adrian Houston.


Venom: Killer and Cure. Natural History Museum. Ongoing. £9. Take a look at just how important venom has been to human health: you can meet a poisonous snake, scorpions, ants, centipedes and also see how the mysterious weapon has impacted different cultures over many years.

Opera Weekender. V&A. Sat-Sun. Free. Don’t think opera is for you? See if the V&A can change your mind with three dramatic days of film screenings and pop-up operas across the museum to promote its ‘Opera: Passion, Power and Politics’.

The Enchanted Woodland. Syon Park. Until Nov 26. £10, £5 child. Syon Park’s 600-year-old gardens are being transformed by a light display, with its Great Conservatory being completely illuminated in the centre of the historic arboretum.  

Superbugs: The Fight for our Lives. Science Museum. Ongoing. Free. The museum has been taken over by 12 real bacteria colonies for an interactive exhibition examining the microscopic worlds of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Stylist Live. Olympia London. Sat-Sun. £25 otd. See interviews, talks and comedy, sample food, beauty and get a first look at fashion exclusives at this glamorous event, where you can expect to see the likes of Bridget Christie, Yotam Ottolenghi, Alice Levine, Robert Webb, Nigella Lawson and Fearne Cotton.


Haroon Mirza/HRM199: For a Partnership Society. Zabludowicz Collection. Until Dec 17. Free. Lie down in a small, heavily soundproofed room (or ‘anechoic chamber’) and experience full-on sensory deprivation at this immersive exhibition. All in the name of art, y’know.

On Mass 2017. Roundhouse. Sun. £15. See 180 young musicians and circus performers from across the globe take over the Roundhouse and perform with three-time Grammy Award winner Angelique Kidjo. Cerys Matthews will be hosting the proceedings and it’s all part of the EFG London Jazz Festival.  


Book... No-booking-fee tickets to a screening of ‘Sister Act’ with a live 20-piece choir and band.

Read... Incredible Christmas lights in London

Grab...  Tickets to the best London gigs. 

And don’t miss the best of the blog...
Buy real gifts for refugees at this pop-up Christmas shop
Bear grilled: Time Out readers put their questions to Paddington
London’s favourite neighbourhood theatres, as chosen by Time Out readers


Popular on Time Out

    Latest news

      Read next