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45 cool things to do in London this weekend

Sonya Barber

Sip on cider at a festival dedicated to the appley beverage, watch contenders hurtle down the track at the Red Bull Soapbox Race or treat your ears to the best sounds coming out of the Dalston area at a one-day celebration of local talent. Here are all the things you want to know about this weekend.

Things to do 

The Greatest Spectacle of Lucha Libre, York Hall, Fri-Sat, £20-£45. Guests can explore a retro-style Mexican Arena which hosts a daily programme of shows including matinees for families and spectacular finales, alongside entertainment from colourful characters on London's cabaret scene.

Independent Label Market and London Brewers' Market, Old Spitalfields Market, Sat, free. Pick up vinyl and more from some great independent record labels.

Dagfest, various locations, Sat, free. Puppeteers, trampolinists and acrobats will be soaring through the skies at this family-friendly festival celebrating the creative talent to be found in Dagenham.

#TransActing: A Market of Values, Chelsea College of Arts, Sat, free. A one day market where as well as paying for goods in money, visitors can also swap skills, services, repairs, knowledge and other useful resources. Stalls include a pinhole photography booth, listening stand, bricklaying demo and a speakers’ corner. Bring your own food and have it grilled on the BBQ.

Bourne and Hollingsworth's Chap Olympiad, Bedford Square Gardens, Sat, £25. A madcap sporting event for the ‘elegant and un-athletic’ complete with live music, side shows and refreshments. Events include ‘Beach Volleybowler’, ‘Well Dressage’ and ‘Tea Pursuit’.

St. John’s Hospice Paddington Summer Fayre, Paddington Recreation Ground, Sat, free. Celebrate the summer and show your support for St John's Hospice who care for over 3,000 patients with life-limiting illnesses at this fayre in Paddington Recreation Ground. Expect fairground rides, summery food and artisan craft stalls to keep the whole family happy.

Red Bull Soapbox Race, Alexandra Palace, Sun, £9. Rolling down hills was never more exciting than in these creative, colourful, wacky races. 

Bastille Festival, Borough Market, Sun, free. Weekend plans lacking a certain je ne sais quoi? This celebration in and around Borough Market of all things Français for the country's national day will feature all sorts of activities, foods, games and performances from across the channel.

Piccadilly Line Walk, Diana statue in Green Park, Sun, £8. Talk a stroll through London’s famous streets to uncover secrets and learn more about the brilliant buildings and spaces. You’ll find out why there are no flowerbeds in Green Park and where Queen Victoria went when she didn’t want to be noticed.

Beach East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Sat-Sun, free. Life's a beach at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer, with over 2200 sq metres of sand deposited at the site for endless sandcastle competitions and balmy evening walks.

Conflux, Trinity Buoy Wharf, Sat-Sun, free. This exhibition showcases fine artwork created by postgraduate students at the University of the Arts, London. 

Hyper Japan, The O2, all weekend. Hyper Japan embraces both authentic, traditional elements of Japanese culture and emerging trends, offering everything from food to fashion plus live music and cosplay.

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



Eating and drinking

Live Colourful Bar, secret London location, TONIGHT, free. Step into the pop-up bar equivalent of a black and white movie at this promotional event for cider brand Bulmers. The whole bar, its staff, bar games and food will be strictly monochrome, snd guests are asked to come dressed in bright colours to make sure they stand out. 

Sensualità, Maida Hill Place, Fri-Sat, £32-£105. Kitchen Theory present a sensory dining event which turns a specially-designed six-course dinner (or three-course lunch) into something altogether more affecting.

Ciderdog, The Miller, Sat, free. Those fond of an apple-based brew will be happier than a pig in a field full of windfalls at Ciderdog, a two-part festival serving more than 40 British ciders (and an awful lot of real ales, too).

The Banger Bar, High Street Window at Ace Hotel, Sat-Sun. The Jolly Hog take over the High Street Window at the Ace Hotel, serving up homemade sausages in freshly baked buns.

Lord's Tavern Beer Festival, St John's Wood, Sat, £10, £8 adv. The Lord's Cricket Ground's on-site pub is hosting a one-day beer festival, serving 12 beers and 5 ciders from Marston's Brewery. A live band will play, a British barbecue will be serving all day and the fourth day of the Ashes Test Match in Cardiff will be shown on the venue's TV screens.

Little Feast, Shepherd's Bush Yard, all weekend, free. Street food festival Feast have produced a younger sibling to bring delicious dishes and drinks to Shepherd's Bush.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.




Balham Comedy Festival, The Bedford, Fri-Sat, £15-£17. Now in its fourth year, the Balham Comedy Festival is back with a bang for 2015. Taking place in the various rooms of the Bedford pub, over the course of the nine-day festival you can catch solo shows from big-name comics, as well ace line-ups in the 'Best of Banana Cabaret' bills.

Tedfest London, London Irish Centre, Sat, £30. Fecking hell! Fathers Ted, Dougal and Jack are all heading to London… In a way. Tedfest – a festival celebrating everything 'Father Ted' – has been an annual event on Galway Bay for eight years, but for the second year running the team are bringing the shindig to London.

Al Murray the Pub Landlord's Southbank Saloon, London Wonderground, all weekend, £25.50. Mr Al Murray The Pub Landlord is back on the south bank, at the London Wonderground, having a crack at the variety circuit. He's acting as ringmaster for this mix of comedy, cabaret and music.

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



Live music

The Roots, O2 Academy Brixton, TONIGHT, £35. Venerated by musicians across the board for their virtuoso jazz/soul/hip hop grooves (and their prominence as the house band for US talk show host Jimmy Fallon), the Philadelphia rap crew are coming back to the UK to play new tracks from their darkly political 2014 album ‘…And Then You Shoot Your Cousin’.

The Candlelight Club, a secret London location, Fri-Sat, £20. A dazzling, clandestine pop-up cocktail bar with a 1920s speakeasy flavour in a secret den lit entirely by candles. Practice your swing dance moves to live jazz bands, sup period cocktails from a specialist menu and soak up further vintage grooves as DJs spin tunes late into the night.

Dalston Music Festival, various Dalston venues, Sat, £25, £10-£20 adv. This new DIY music festival brings some great sounds to venues all around Dalston on what’ll hopefully be a sunny summer Saturday. An outdoor stage and free party in Gillett Square hosts DJs including Caribbean party-starters The Heatwave, with barbecues and food stalls to help get revellers into the carnival spirit.

The Specials, Kew Gardens, Sun, £45-£55.50. Led by Terry Hall and Lynval Golding on vocals, the 2-Tone ska veterans take to the stage yet again.

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




Guilty Pleasures Boat Party, Festival Pier, TONIGHT, £20. The unashamedly cheesy pop, rock and R&B party takes to the Thames.

Gloria's, XOYO, TONIGHT, £13.50. Super-funky Frenchman Dimitri From Paris brings dapper disco to the latest Gloria's, with fellow party-starters Alex Metric and Aeroplane going back-to-back on the decks beforehand.

The XOYO Residency Series: Bicep, XOYO, Sat, £13.50. Canadian innovator and genre-warper Jacques Greene joins the Bicep boys, along with Brontosaurus Jr Club.

Sunday Sunset Barbecues, South Place Hotel, Sun, free. Slick weekly Sunday daytime parties on a seventh-floor terrace of a hip hotel, featuring DJs, spritzers and a Michelin-starred chef manning the BBQ. 

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.


The Nomad: 'The Breakfast Club', Grosvenor Square, TONIGHT, £15 to £30. Catch an all-American high-school classic in the square outside the US embassy. It’s an iconic movie of the '80s, as five teens from different tribes are called in for Saturday detention at a suburban American high school. 

Time Out Loves: 'When Harry Met Sally', The Bussey Building, Sun, £14. As part of a Time Out season of classic love stories – all featured in our epic 100 Best Romantic Movies poll, as voted for by everyone from Tom Hiddleston to Miss Piggy – we present an outdoor screening of the timeless wisecracking romcom.

Or at the cinema...

Love And Mercy ★★★★☆ This insightful, time-hopping Beach Boys biopic is giving off good vibrations, and giving us excitations.

Amy ★★★★☆ Asif Kapadia's documentary about the tragic singer is a tearjerker. Take tissues.

Magic Mike XXL ★★★☆☆ Channing Tatum’s male-stripper movie franchise still has some magic.

…or see all of the latest releases.







A Number, Young Vic, Fri-Sat, £10-£19.50. Michael Longhurst uses mirrors to unsettling effect in his revival of Caryl Churchill's great play.

Silent, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £10-£16. Anyone with an Irish grandma will recognise the narrative style in ‘Silent’: long, rambling monologues veering between memory, gossip, joy and sorrow, while a captive audience struggles to grasp just what on earth Nana is going on about.

The House of Mirrors and Hearts, Arcola Theatre, Fri-Sat, £12-£19, £15 concs. There’s a secret festering grotesquely within the family in this new musical. When it finally emerges, it’s a little like lancing a boil: pretty gruesome, but the healing starts almost straight away. 

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.






This week's best new art

Alfred Wallis, Modern Art, Fri-Sat, free. This display of 44 paintings made between the 1920s and 1940s come from the Kettle’s Yard collection.

David Blandy: Hercules Rough Cut, Bloomberg SPACE, Fri-Sat, free. The history, diversity and development of London’s spoken and visual language is explored in Blandy’s multi media exhibition that focuses on the idea of ‘Londonese’.

e-studio Luanda: African Industrial Revolution, Tiwani Contemporary, Fri-Sat, free. The Angolan-based art collective founded by Francisco Vidal, Rita GT, António Ole and Nelo Teixeira will take up residence in the gallery, transforming the space into a site of free production to investigate information dissemination.

The London Illustration Fair, Hoxton Arches, all weekend, £5. London's only illustration-dedicated fair returns to Hoxton with the most innovative and exciting illustrators working today.

Soundscapes: Listening to Paintings, National Gallery, all weekend, £10, £9-£5 concs. Move over, Secret Cinema: painting's about to get in on the immersive act as Jamie XX and others soundtrack six of the national Gallery's finest canvases.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win... a wing-it weekend in Rome or an iPhone 6 and Apple Watch

Grab... £22 tickets for a macaron making class with Caroline Hope in Notting Hill

Book... these gigs while you still can 

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