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43 fun things to do in London this weekend

By Stephanie Hartman

The weekend's rolled around again, this time bringing with it a summer fete in Hackney, the chance to make ice-cream sandwiches, an event dedicated to natural beauty brands and Bastille Day celebrations to get involved with. Here are 42 ways to soak up good vibes in the city.

Things to do

Fashion Late: Winifred Knights, Dulwich Picture Gallery, TONIGHT, £25, concs available. Fashion and art collide at tonight's late night museum opening celebrating the life of Winifred Knights and the venue's latest exhibition, Winifred Knights (1899-1947).

A Song of Summer: A Celebration of the Music of Kate Bush, Royal Vauxhall Tavern, TONIGHT, £10 adv. Fourth annual party hosted by international Kate Bush magazine HomeGround with live sets from Mandy and Michael of top UK Kate Bush tribute act Cloudbusting.

Unripped, secret venue, TONIGHT, pay what you can. An evening of storytelling, poetry, song and candle lighting on a walking tour through London. The event focusses on celebrating the lives of a number of East End women, instead of dwelling on the murders they were victim to.

Hackney Summer Fete, St John-at-Hackney Church, Sat, free. Celebrate east London life at this fete held across nine conjoined sites in the parish grounds of St. John at Hackney Church.

Shuffle Festival, Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Sat, £12 E3 residents, £24 general. A 24-hour programme bursting with films, talks, walks, performances, music and food themed around gods, idols and light.

Eid Festival 2016, Trafalgar Square, Sat, free. Celebrate the end of Ramadan's month of fasting with the whole of London. The Mayor of London welcomes you to a day of live music and special events, from food tasting to calligraphy, storytelling to Arabic art.

I Love Paris, Conway Hall, Sat, £35. Dance the can can to the music of Bizet, Offenbach, Edith Piaf, and Charles Aznavour as Conway Hall is transformed into a pool of moonlight by the side of the Seine.

Lewisham People's Day, Mountsfield Park, Sat, free. This free festival returns for its 32nd year with live music, dance, circus and comedy catering to the whole family. Reggae sounds will soundtrack the festival, with Misty in Roots headlining the fun.

Bastille Festival, Borough Market, Sun, free. This annual party in and around Borough Market brings together all things Français, so you can expect to tuck into red, white and blue macarons, dance to Parisian folk music, play pétanque and plenty more. 

Clean Cult, Ethos, Sun £10. Eight British natural beauty brands will be showcasing their wares, plus there will be a complimentary nail bar, mini-makeovers, massages and superfood cocktails.

Mouthy: Into the Orifice, Railway Arch 6, America Street, all weekend, free. Find out more about the spittle-ridden depths of your mouth in ‘The Orifice’, a festival hub in a London Bridge railway arch that was set up by KCL’s Science Gallery London.

Alasdair McLellan and Lev Tanju: The Palace, ICA, all weekend, entry with day membership. A collection of Alasdair McLellan’s snaps of the Palace Skateboards’ team who he’s been documenting since the launch of Palace in 2009. The photographs are accompanied by a video installation from Palace founder, Lev Tanju.

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


Gin Mare





Eating and drinking

Make Your Own 'Wich Ice-Cream, Spitalfields, TODAY, free. Ben and Jerry’s are inviting Londoners to make their own ice cream sandwiches with cookies from Luminary Bakery and six types of sprinkles to choose from. Head down to Spitalfields (opposite Cycle Surgery) between noon-8pm today. 

Gin Mare Med Rooftops, secret London location, TONIGHT, free. A rooftop in Knightsbridge becomes a Mediterranean retreat. The exclusive city soirée will feature a Mediterranean menu by Mark Hix, new and unique cocktails, and music by Pacha resident DJ Jacob.

Illusionary Afternoon Tea, Good Ship Benefit, Fri-Sat (2-5pm), £35. A magic-themed afternoon tea onboard the Benefit boat with champagne cocktails and lots of sweet treats to be had. Following tea, guests can bag themselves complimentary make-up sessions and brow mapping too. 

Hip Hop High Tea, Pond Dalston, Sun, £5. Kick out your pinkie finger while sipping from boozy teapots, enjoy petit fours and steam buns and regally nod your head to hip hop tunes at this high tea with attitude.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.


Foil, Arms and Hog






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.

Balham Comedy Festival, The Bedford, all weekend, £10-£17. Popular fest returns with Al Murray, Stephen K. Amos and many more.

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






Live music

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Koko, TONIGHT, £27. A singer, model and viral sensation from Tokyo, Kiriko Takemura – aka KPP – has totalled millions of YouTube hits with her eccentric videos and infectious J-pop melodies.

The East London Fringe Festival, multiple locations, Sat-Sun, prices vary. This ambitious newcomer to the London festival scene sprawls across a whole month and half a dozen venues. The programme includes street parties and alfresco live music in Shoreditch as well as comedy and art.

Laura Mvula, Somerset House, Sun, £29.50. This extremely talented Brummie soul singer broke out in 2013 with her debut album 'Sing to the Moon', and returns at last with a new album 'The Dreaming Room' that showcases her exquisite arrangements and biting voice.

Wireless, Finsbury Park, all weekend, £59.50-£155.50. Calvin Harris, Chase & Status, J Cole, Boy Better Know and many more hit Finsbury Park.

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







Fleetmac Wood Presents Crystal Visions, Oval Space, TONIGHT, £12. The Fleetmac Wood crew return for another helping of their inspired, unique tribute concept to the legendary Fleetwood Mac, whose prominence in so many contemporary DJs' record collection is a wonderful thing.

Skream, Phonox, TONIGHT, £10, adv £5, free before 9pm. Dubstep don-turned disco-ace Skream is something of a master at laying down killer party-starting DJ sets, so hearing him do his thing here should be a treat.

Up On The Roof, Prince of Wales, Sat, £12. The summer rooftop parties series returns to plonk more brilliant DJs on the roof terrace of this Brixton venue. Marshall Jefferson and Terry Farley take over today. 

Grooves London, a secret Hackney Wick venue, Sun, £8-£18. A big Hackney Wick party with secret special guests.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.







Check the Gate opening gala: ‘Apocalypse Now’, Prince Charles Cinema, Sat, £10. For the next six weeks, the Prince Charles’s Check the Gate season will screen a stunning selection of classic movies – all from 35mm film prints.

Steven Spielberg season: Indiana Jones Day, BFI Southbank, Sat, £30, £24 concs. A chance to catch all four Indiana Jones movies back to back – or, y’know, just watch the first three then enjoy a nice drink in the bar.

‘La Reine Margot’, Cine Lumiere, Sun, £8, £6 concs. Centred on the intrigues leading up to the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572, this French historical romp begins with the arranged wedding of the Roman Catholic Marguerite de Valois and the Huguenot Henri de Navarre.

Or at the cinema...

Maggie's Plan ★★★★☆ A naive young woman breaks up a marriage in this smart, witty anti-romcom.

Weiner ★★★★☆ A documentary portrait of embattled NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.

…or see all of the latest releases.


© Helen Murray






Boys Will Be Boys, Bush Hall, Fri-Sat, £15-£20, £10-£12.50 concs. A stylish cabaret banking satire from the always-exciting Headlong and Bush Theatre.

The Truth, Wyndham's Theatre, Fri-Sat, check website for prices. 'The Truth' is painfully funny in Florian Zeller's drama.

1984, multiple venues, all weekend, £15-£85. Headlong's audacious re-working of Orwell's '1984' is great, queasy theatre.

Ugly Lovely, Old Red Lion, all weekend, £14, £12 concs. A vodka-soaked story of life in Swansea.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.






This week's best new art

Bas Jan Ader, Simon Lee, Fri-Sat, free. Best to avoid Bas Jan Ader’s show if you’re feeling emotionally fragile. The seminal Dutch conceptual artist disappeared mysteriously in 1975 and left behind a body of just 35 works of art.

Jim Hodges, Stephen Friedman, Fri-Sat, free. This American artist’s rough charcoal drawings of nature are like lost views of some Jurassic forest. Hodges is clearly obsessed with flora and fauna, and manages to turn the act of painting outdoors into a totally pleasant exercise in abstraction.

Francis Alÿs: Ciudad Juárez Projects, David Zwirner, Fri-Sat, free. His first London show since his awesome Tate exhibition in 2010 – Alÿs kicks a flaming football on a long walk through a desolate Mexican border town called Ciudad Juarez.

Making & Unmaking: An Exhibition Curated By Duro Olowu, Camden Arts Centre, all weekend, free. This exhibition is a rarity: it breaks the rules but gets it right. Set in one of London’s loveliest local galleries, Camden Arts Centre, the show is curated not by an art-world regular, but by iconoclastic fashion designer Duro Olowu.

Don't Know What I Want But I Want It Now, Doomed Gallery, all weekend, free. Get an insight into London's skateboarding culture with these fab photos by Ian Kenneth Bird.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win... VIP passes to FutureFest plus one night at Mondrian London or an Algarve getaway with 'Now You See Me 2'

Grab... six wings plus chicken and waffles or a chicken burger, and any dessert for £15 at Bird

Book… these gigs while you still can

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