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36 great things to do in London this week

By Stephanie Hartman

Get your skates on and hit the rink at Somerset House where DJs will be spinning tracks into the night, feast on festive treats at the winter edition of Taste of London, or have a wheel good time at the Design Museum's new bike-themed show. Here are all the ace things you need to know about this week.

Things to do 

Spitalfields Life Chit-Chats, Bishopsgate Institute, Tue, free. This series of talks hosted by The Gentle Author brings together traders, café owners and porters from three of London's most iconic wholesale markets. 

Wild Life Drawing, Proud Archivist, Tue, £25. This series of life-drawing classes is a right hoot. Instead of humans acting as models, participants are tasked with sketching a different live animal each time. Tonight sees a special collaboration with Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. 

Finnish Church Christmas Fair, Rotherhithe, Wed-Thu, free. Scandinavians are born festive, so this Finnish market is sure to provide the most Christmassy of outings, despite it being held in a church in Rotherhithe rather than a snow-capped village.

Cycle Revolution, Design Museum, Wed-Thu, £13. The Design Museum is gearing up for an exhibition celebrating all things bike. As well as dozens of bicycles from some of the world's most respected contemporary manufacturers there'll be high-end kit and accessories and items belonging to famous cyclists such as Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Paul Smith.

Haunted Museum at Night, V&A Museum of Childhood, Thu, £7. As night falls the Museum of Childhood's collection transforms from charming to creepy. Enjoy after hours access, a tour of the exhibits and spooky craft workshops.

Tibet’s Secret Temple, Wellcome Collection, Thu, free. Discover the history of Tibetan Buddhist yogic and meditational practices at this major exhibition from the Wellcome Collection.

Fortnum & Mason's Enchanted Evening, Fortnum & Mason, Thu. The beauty and accessories floor at Piccadilly's best-loved department store has recently been refurbished and to celebrate they're hosting this Christmas soirée.

Incredible Midtown: The Game, various, all week, £12+ booking fee. Don't expect a stuffy walk led by a dusty old history nut on the this tour of London's streets. Instead, brace yourselves for an interactive evening of mystery as you work with friends and strangers to uncover clues and fascinating facts about the capital.

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


Taste of Christmas





Eating and drinking

Meal Ticket #8: Home, KK Outlet, Wed, £30. This dinner event invites three speakers to talk about their concept of home. Interior designer Ilse Crawford, Afghan activist, author and political refugee Gunwale Passably and Charlotte Cramer and Scarlett Montanaro are on the bill tonight. Tickets include a three course meal and drinks.

Taste of London Winter, Tobacco Dock, Thu. Taste of London is bringing their array of tasting dishes, chef demonstrations, talks and tasters to Tobacco Dock this November, so food-obsessed Londoners can eat their way into the winter months.

Forza Winter, Peckham, Thu, £35. Forza Winter is back, and it is still very, very cheesy. Their delicious fonduta is the centrepiece of the wintry feast – the gorgeously gooey cheese comes with roasted vegetables to dip into it – and is served alongside huge chunks of woodfired porchetta.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.







No Such Thing as a Fish Podcast, Lyric Theatre, TONIGHT, £16. Following a bunch of sold out Soho Theatre shows, this hugely popular fact-loving podcast – hosted by 'QI' elves Dan Schreiber, James Harkin, Andrew Murray and Anna Ptaszynski – is going out on tour. 

The Platypus Playpen, The Harrison, Mon-Tue, free. Stand-ups test new material here at the Platypus Playpen. Entry's free. Totally free. No donation bucket, no fee to guarantee entry – just turn up and it's free!

Loyiso Gola: Tall Tales, Soho Theatre, Tue-Thu, £10-£12.50. Although South African stand-up Loyiso Gola has performed runs at the Edinburgh Fringe (twice!), this is his first time he's brought a solo show to London. Gola's a big name in SA, with his own satirical TV show ‘Late Nite News’, and a legion of fans.

An Evening with Noel Fielding, multiple venues, Wed-Thu, £25. Boosh fans, it's time to dig out those lightning bolt t-shirts you bought on the 2006 tour. Noel Fielding – the Hoxton-haired half of the Mighty Boosh; you know, the one with the pointy features – is back on tour with extra dates of his 'An Evening with Noel Fielding' show.

Jen Kirkman, Soho Theatre, all week, £15, £12.50 concs. Massachusetts-born stand-up Jen Kirkman is back in London, after a great run in 2013. She's an ace stand-up, meandering her way through sharp stories and updates on her life (often talking about being divorced and childless) with plenty of dry wit.

…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.






Live music

Joey Bada$$, Roundhouse, TONIGHT, £22.50-£55. Nas was always going to catch a lot of flack by stating 'Hip Hop is Dead' on his eighth album of the same name. Who better to prove him wrong than a kid who freakishly recalls the rhyme genius in his 'Illmatic' heyday?

MNEK, Heaven, Wed, £12.50. Superbly soulful R&B singer, producer and writer MNEK has had a hand in plenty of awesome projects – singing on club smashes including Gorgon City’s ‘Ready for Your Love’ and Duke Dumont’s ‘Need U (100%)’ and co-writing The Saturdays’ pop gem ‘All Fired Up’ – and he’s only 20.

Lucy Rose, The Forum, Wed, £16.50. The poppy, acoustic young songwriter, known for singing guest vocals for Bombay Bicycle Club (and selling homemade tea and jam on her merch table), returns to play new songs from her second album.

Alabama Shakes, O2 Academy Brixton, Wed-Thu, £27.50. The Georgia neo-soul quartet return for more smokey old-time rock ’n’ soul.

Talib Kweli, Jazz Cafe, Thu, £20. Brooklyn native Kweli helped set a new benchmark for conscious rap through his collaborations with DJ Hi-Tek (the Reflection Eternal project) and Mos Def (as the stellar Black Star). He makes a welcome – and quite rare – solo showing here.

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


Skate at Somerset House: Club Nights






Ovation: Red Axes + Bradley Zero, The Pickle Factory, Thu, £10. Psyche-tinged experimental house duo Red Axes headline an evening of progressive dancefloor bliss, with excellent Peckham selector Bradley Zero spinning top tunes alongside

Skate at Somerset House: Club Nights, Somerset House, Thu, £17. Top DJs spin tunes while you ice skate at Somerset House's annual winter series. 

XOYO Loves, XOYO, all week. Shoreditch club XOYO takes its on-point electronic music policy to other venues around London, covering anything from house to R&B to dubstep.

…or see all the parties planned this week.








Tufnell Park Film Club: ‘Sullivan’s Travels’, The Lord Palmerston, Tue, £15 m’ship. The irresistible, hilarious and thoughtful tale of a Hollywood director, tired of making comedies and bent on branching out with an arthouse epic called ‘Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?’, who sets out to research the meaning of poverty. 

Roar, Prince Charles Cinema, Thu, £7.50, £5 concs. Being savaged by delinquent gulls in Hitchcock's ‘The Birds’ must have given Tippi Hedren a masochistic approach to wildlife. In the recently rediscovered (and deeply, deeply odd) ‘Roar’, the hapless woman is pursued around an African jungle by 150 assorted big cats.

Or at the cinema...

Tangerine ★★★★★This ultra-low-budget LA drama was shot on iphones but buzzes with ideas, energy and wit.

Steve Jobs ★★★★☆ Michael Fassbender is on blistering form as the Apple pioneer in this brutally honest biopic.

…or see all of the latest releases.


© Johan Persson






Harlequinade, Garrick Theatre, Mon-Wed, from £15. This sparkling Terence Rattigan double bill is the strongest of the opening plays in Kenneth Branagh's West End season.

La Soirée, Spiegeltent at the South Bank, Tue-Thu, £15-£67.50. Catch a breathtaking melée of burlesque, vaudeville and circus sideshow in this returning show.

Anita and Me, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Tue-Thu, £7-£23.50. Meera Syal’s bestselling novel gets a thumping Bollywood soundtrack in this big-hearted new musical.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.






This week's best new art

Jim Shaw, Simon Lee, Thu, free. The Los Angeles-based artist presents his darkly comic paintings made on theatrical scenery backdrops form the 1940s and 50s.

The Nude, Sotheby's S|2, Thu, free. Naked flesh has captivated artists and titillated audiences for centuries, but the nude is no longer about female objectification or male heroism. Here, Jane Neal (co-author of ‘Cities of the Future: 21 Century Avant Gardes') brings together 31 artists who have challenged the traditional view of the nude to explore today’s attitude.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win... tickets to be first to skate on Winterville's ice rink or a weekend of pop fun at The Mighty Hoop-La

Grab... a £20 ticket for evening entry to the Design Museum's new ‘Cycle Revolution’ Exhibition, plus a free gift and gin & tonic, on November 20

Book… these gigs while you still can

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