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34 fun things to do in London this weekend

Written by
Stephanie Hartman

Things are popping off in London this weekend with firework displays planned left, right and centre. There's also the switching on of the Oxford Street Christmas lights, a ping-pong-themed exhibition and a big night at Bloc with the Optimo boys tonight. Perfect!

Things to do

Late Spectacular: Body Language, Wellcome Collection, TONIGHT, free. Let me hear your body talk! Artists, academics and activists Dr Charlotte Cooper, Josh Bitelli and Dr Harry Witchel lead a late of slapstick, sign language and zine-making.

Society of Imaginary Friends Soiree, Karamel Restaurant, TONIGHT, free. This family-friendly show is a testbed for professional musicians, comedians and poets to try out their latest material.

Small Publishers Fair, Conway Hall, Fri-Sat, free. A celebration of contemporary artists, poets and writers and the small publishing companies that support their work.

House of Hyundai, Unit London, Fri-Sat, free. This sensory experience is aimed at improving driving and inspiring those behind the wheel. Guests are invited to travel through six sensory zones, discovering more about Hyundai’s Project IONIQ Lab, finding cutting edge innovators and experts along the way.

Etsy Everyday Emporium, Gallery Different, Fri-Sat, free. A unique chance to buy Etsy items in person – plus, the first 100 visitors get a free gift on arrival.

Regent Street Motor Show, Regent St, Sat, free. Regent Street's sweep from Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Circus will once again be packed with stationary cars, but in a good way.

Diwali at the National Maritime Museum, National Maritime Museum, Sat, free. Head to Greenwich to take part in family-friendly events to mark the Hindu festival of lights.

Oxford Street Christmas Lights, Oxford St, Sun, free. Watch Craig David switch on 1,778 snowball-like decorations (and 750,000 LED lightbulbs)  for what is the fifty-seventh year the road has been decorated for the festive period. 

Reggae Roast, The Forge, Sun, £5. A custom-built soundsystem brings this all-day 'Sunday Skank' to life. Get down to roots, dub and dancehall and catch special guests DJ Shepdog and Decks Ray Spex.

The Art of Ping Pong, 71a, all weekend, free. Back for a fourth year in 2016, this exhibition and charity auction features a selection of beautifully painted ping-pong bats created by international artists and designers in aid of the Alzheimer's Society.

And here's all you need to know about Bonfire Night this Saturday!

…or check out more events happening in London this weekend.

Cocktails and Candy Apples

Eating and drinking

Fungi Breakfast Foray, The Holly Bush, Sat, £35. A two-hour walk offering an introduction to fungi found on Hampstead Heath and the places you'll find them flourishing. Your outing will be followed by a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon and mushrooms.

Cocktails and Candy Apples: A Mindful Kitchen Preserving Party, Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, Sat, £30. A tasting session will be followed by a hands-on workshop where guests will rustle up apple powder and an apple brandy infusion.

Brunch with Social Pantry, Habitat, Sun, £30. Battersea-based Social Pantry will be whisking some of their tastiest dishes over to the King's Road for this weekend brunch bonanza, soundtracked by DJ Sophie Bond.

Ruby and Pickles, Regent's Canal, Sun, £32.50. All aboard a pretty canal boat for afternoon tea with an Indian twist from supperclub duo Ruby and Pickles.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Photo: Kim Hiorthøy

Live music

Neneh Cherry, Prince of Wales, TONIGHT, £5-£10. Late-’80s superstar Neneh Cherry is back in the game, creatively revitalised by a recent collaboration with Scandinavian avant-jazz band The Thing.

Flamingods, Moth Club, TONIGHT, adv £8. The brilliantly named Flamingods are neither omnipotent nor (bright) pink – but they do a great line in understated psychedelia.

James Blake, O2 Academy Brixton, Sat, £24. The Mercury-nominated post-dubstep producer from Deptford returns to live action in possession of new material. 

…or take a look at all the live music events in London this weekend.


Avant Garde, Bankside Vaults, TONIGHT, £15-£25. A series of occasional, ace parties that explore leftfield – but still thoroughly listenable and danceable – house, techno and disco, helmed by top international DJs.

Optimo - Until the Music Stops, Bloc, TONIGHT, £15. JG Wilkes and JD Twitch will be supplying the tunes in east London tonight.

Defected in the House, Ministry of Sound, Sat, phone for prices. Join the party-hungry glamorous clubbers tonight, as huge British house label Defected throws another big party.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.


Black Star Hip Hop weekend: ‘Juice’, BFI Southbank, Sat, £8.35–£11.75. This weekend, the BFI Southbank goes all street with a celebration of hip hop, part of its ongoing Black Star season celebrating the greatest black actors.

Doc ‘n’ Roll Film Festival: ‘Blackhearts’, Picturehouse Central, Sat, £15. For the third year running, the Doc ‘n’ Roll Film Festival offer up a programme of documentaries about music of every conceivable stripe, from modern prog to classic jazz.

French Film Festival: ‘La Grande Vadrouille’, Ciné Lumière, Sun, £9, £7 concs. Another festival! This one brings the very finest new French films to London, alongside shorts, talks and the occasional party.

Or at the cinema...

A Street Cat Named Bob ★★★☆☆ The uplifting story of how a stray cat came to the rescue of London busker James Bowen gets a sweet but unrealistic movie adaptation.

…or see all of the latest releases.

© Marc Brenner


Amadeus, National Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15-£50. Rock me, Amadeus! Lucian Msamati stars in an overwhelming production of Peter Shaffer's great play.

Tomorrow I Was Always A Lion, Albany Theatre, Fri-Sat, £16, concs £12. Belarus Free Theatre's latest show is an exploration of psychosis and recovery.

Ragtime, Charing Cross Theatre, Fri-Sat, £17.50-£29.50. The Charing Cross Theatre's renaissance continues with a revival for this 1975 musical.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

Felicity Hammond, 'Unveiling the Facade', 2016. Courtesy the artist and Space In Between.

This week's best new art

Felicity Hammond: Public Protection, Private Collection, Space in Between, Fri-Sat, free. For her first solo exhibition, London-based artist Felicity Hammond throws us into an apocryphal building site/neon-tinged shanty town/post-apocalyptic metropolis.

Silke Otto-Knapp: Seascapes, Greengrassi, Fri-Sat, free. German-born and London-based artist Silke Otto-Knapp’s work is unrushed, calm and meditative, it feels like a kind of resistance to the chaos of modern life through painting.

Flaming June: The Making Of An Icon, Leighton House Museum, all weekend, £12, £10 concs. The obvious star of this exhibition is ‘Flaming June’. It’s such an oddly shaped work, its perspective folded towards you: it looks like it should extend forever but it’s all scrunched up in the foreground.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win... a four-night, four-star stay in Dubrovnik or a mini-break for two in Dublin

Grab... a full-day drawing workshop at the V&A with Sketchout for £44

Book… these gigs while you still can

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