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40 excellent things to do in London this weekend

By Stephanie Hartman

Take part in drawing workshops and listen to ace illustrator talks at Anorak magazine's Drawing Imaginarium, cheer on the mighty marathon runners working their way around the city on Sunday, or mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death with a sonnet reading session in the British Museum. Here are 40 top ways to spend your weekend!

Things to do 

Thornback and Peel Sample Sale, 7 Rugby St, Fri-Sat. The British makers of screen-printed homeware and gifts will be offering top-quality seconds and one-offs at discounted rates.

Sonnetathon at the British Museum, British Museum, Sat, free. A continuous reading of classic and contemporary sonnets to mark the 400th year of Shakespeare's death. Devised by Poet in the City, the event will see performers read in the Museum's Great Court, which also plays host to a bloomin' lovely backdrop created by F.Bombe using blossoms found within the sonnets.

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens St George’s Festival, Vauxhall, Sat, free. A family day paying tribute to England’s dragon-slaying patron saint. Expect all manner of traditional fun at this local festival – knights in armour, falconers, jesters, wandering minstrels and Punch and Judy shows.

Urban Makers East Spring Fair, Mile End Park, Sat, free. Urban Makers East has once again herded a host of independent creators into the Ecology Pavilion within Mile End Park. On top of original art, textiles, ceramics, prints and clothing, you can make espadrilles and a clay face mask at two workshops. 

The Drawing Imaginarium, Old Truman Brewery, Sat-Sun, free. To celebrate their tenth anniversary, Anorak magazine host this two-day drawing extravaganza. Take a look at the work of brilliant illustrators, get involved with creative workshops and pick up the latest issue.

The Start Up Boot Fair, The BootYard, Sun, free. A showcase of start-up projects in a converted former carpark. 30 traders will be selling hand made bikes, bespoke London fashion, Raw-Food Snacks, scarves, hats, pottery, home-ware, cushions, fashion, accessories, jewellery, food and more.

London Marathon, various locations, Sun, free. If you're not taking part in the London Marathon, be sure to show your support for those who are. Heed the pointers in the link to find the best spectating spots and track down nearby pubs and bars for when all that cheering and applauding leaves you gasping for refreshment.

The Yard Sale, Netil House, Sun, free. Then first of three spring/summer fairs which sees stalls selling homewares, artwork, second-hand clothing, shoes, furniture and lots more. Grab a beer or coffee while you’re there and pray for a sunny Sunday.

The Museum Depot Open Weekend: The A to Z of London, London Transport Museum Depot, Sat-Sun, £10, £8 concs. The focus for this event is on the iconic Johnston letterform which transformed the look of the London Underground 100 years ago.

Pop-Up Projection Tattoo Parlour, 15 Bateman Street, all weekend, free. If you're thinking of getting inked but want to suss out what your beau's name emblazoned on your back will look like before it's permanently etched, then get yourself down to this pop-up parlour where tattoos are dished out free of pain.

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


Pasta-making WorkshopJames Munson





Eating and drinking

The Homebaked Bake Off Battle, Sherlock Holmes Hotel, Sat, free. In case you didn't realise: Londoners are hell bent on baking. This baking competition also includes masterclasses from champion bakers and hear the latest sweet treat trends.

The Budapest Bar, The Plot Twist Leonard Street, Sat, free. A Budapest themed bar inspired by ruin bars in the Hungarian capital. The pop-up host by the Plot Twist ad Brewave will boast two levels selling street food, traditional wines and spirits.

Pasta-making Workshop, Burro e Salvia, Sat-Sun, £40. Learn to cut tagliatelle, make coloured pasta, mould orecchiette and fold a plin, cardinale, tortellone or cappelletto with a real sfoglina (pasta genius). The price includes a welcome drink, and you can take your creations home after the class.

Farang Pop-up, San Daniele Del Friuli, Sun, free. Having learnt to create flavour-packed modern Thai dishes when he worked as sous chef at Peckham favourite the Begging Bowl and honed his skills as head chef at lauded Soho Thai joint Smoking Goat, chef Seb Holmes is preparing for his next venture, Farang London.

Harrods Coffee Masterclass, Harrods, Sun, free. Learn how coffee is grown and roasted before producing your own personalised coffee blend in Harrods's food halls.

Battle of St George Beer Festival, The Gun, all weekend, free. Eighteen brilliant British beers are on tap for this weekend festival at The Gun in London Docklands. As well as lovely pints by the river, the festival also boasts ale cake and mid-session snacks of hot dogs and burgers, as well as live music on Saturday evening.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.







Foil, Arms and Hog – Skiddlywup, Udderbelly, TONIGHT, £16.50, £15 concs. This Irish sketch trio are hugely charming, very silly and have a big following at the Edinburgh Fringe. They've also wowed audiences online, clocking up more than four million hits on YouTube.

Rob Beckett – Mouth of the South, Leicester Square Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15. Fast-rising comic Rob Beckett returns to his London roots with a run at the Leicester Square Theatre. He's quickly developing into a hugely accomplished stand-up – expect cheeky stories and witty observations.

Knightmare Live!, Udderbelly, Sun, £16.50, £15 concs. 'Welcome, watchers of illusion, to the castle of confusion.' Yep, the slapstick stage show version of the iconic kids' TV show takes up residency at the Udderbelly.

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






Live music

Unamplifire Festival, Master Shipwright's Palace, Sat, £22.50-£30. The Nest Collective celebrate ten years of ace folk music with an all-day festival in Deptford. The venue is a grand seventeenth-century shipwright’s house and riverside garden, and the line-up (playing in the house and round a campfire) includes some past Nest favourites.

New Order, Royal Albert Hall, Sat, £38.20-£89.20. The Manchester legends return to the live circuit, still minus Peter Hook – hardly surprising, given that the bassist branded Bernard Sumner ‘a twat’ and has been hauling his behind around with new band, The Light, playing Joy Division songs.

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


No Scrubs






The Legends Series: Artful Dodger, DJ Luck & MC Neat, Romeo, Clapham Grand, TONIGHT, £8. The first event in a series featuring artists that have been figureheads of their scenes. Three of UK garage's biggest MCs kick things off.

No Scrubs, Old Queen's Head, TONIGHT, £5. Classic R&B and hip hop jams, supplied to a fun-loving crowd in a friendly north London party pub.

The Funk, Soul And Rare Groove Review, CLF Art Cafe (The Bussey Building), Sat, £12, adv £5-£10. These guys won't be getting sued for a misleading title - this furiously funky and free event at Peckham's Bussey Building is a melting pot of groove gold, with the focus firmly on the dancefloor and having plenty of fun.

Horse Meat Disco, The Eagle, Sun, £6. This long-standing residency from obscenely funky and highly acclaimed DJ crew Horse Meat Disco has become a Sunday night staple for many.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot








The Edge, Clapham Picturehouse, Thu, £13. If ‘The Revenant’ has given you a taste for the great outdoors, you won’t want to miss this bolshier, sillier, far more fun-packed survival story.

Silent Film & Live Music: ‘The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari’, Barbican Centre, Sun, £11.50, £10.50 concs. A tale of hypnotism, hysteria and multiple murder set in a twisted, folksy German landscape filtered through the disturbed imagination of a madman, its fractured landscapes reflect the shattered psyche of a nation in defeat, but they also prefigure the greater horrors to come.

La Piscine, Stratford East Picturehouse, Sun, £7. Four characters. A Mediterranean villa. Sun, sex and suspicion. The ingredients are fairly simple in this star-powered psychological thriller that was sort-of-remade as ‘A Bigger Splash’ earlier this year.

New Cross and Deptford Free Film Festival, various venues, all weekend, free. This year's festival offers a stonking 32 free screenings at 22 local venues across SE14 and SE8, enough to satisfy even the pickiest cinephile.

Or at the cinema...

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot ★★★★☆ Tina Fey finally finds a movie worthy of her chops in this stealth feminist comedy about a US journalist in Afghanistan.

…or see all of the latest releases.


© John Jordan






The Passion of Lady Vendredi, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15, £12.50 concs. Gloriously out-there cabaret-meets-gig-meets-theatre-experience.

Funny Girl, Savoy Theatre, Fri-Sat, £25-£69.50. Sheridan Smith is exactly as great as you'd expect as she steps into Barbra Streisand's iconic shoes.

Another World: Losing Our Children To Islamic State, National Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15-£25. A sober, powerful new docu-play about the flow of young Europeans to Islamic State.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.


© Bosco Sodi





This week's best new art

Bosco Sodi: Yūgen, Blain Southern, Fri-Sat, free. Volcanic rock and other raw, elemental materials will figure into this new exhibition from Mexican artist Sodi, who works with the Japanese wabi-sabi ethos of finding virtue in imperfection.

Jaime Pitarch: Time.Matter(s), The Ryder, Fri-Sat, free. Jaime Pitarch makes artworks that are complex, compelling – and just a little daft. This new exhibition includes cans of paint coated in their entire contents. 

The Grounds We Tread, Pump House Gallery, all weekend, free. Over the next two months the Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park is transformed by a series of solo exhibitions and performance works by Jiří Kovanda, Lloyd Corporation, Ilona Sagar and Cara Tolmie.

Guan Xiao: Flattened Metal, ICA, all weekend, £1 day membership. In this new exhibition, the Chinese artist will combine video, sculpture and installation to create work that explores how we learn, and ultimately find meaning, in the digital age.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win... four tickets to Standon Calling festival or a night of comedy in Camden for you and five friends

Grab... tickets to the pop-up crazy golf experience from Rooftop Film Club at Roof East, Stratford - from £8

Book… these gigs while you still can

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