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29 dreamy things to do in London this weekend

Alexandra Sims

Don’t let the cold weather get you down. Liven up your weekend by watching fabulous shorts at the London Short Film Festival, exploring UK sound system culture at the ‘Let’s Play Vinyl’ exhibition or trying your luck at bagging tickets to ‘Hamilton’. Enjoy!


‘Hamilton’. Victoria Palace Theatre. £10-£200. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece is finally here. And it lives up to the hype. So unsurprisingly the greatest musical of our times is sold out. But there is a daily £10 ticket lottery online.

Machiya. 5 Panton St, SW1Y 4DL. This Japanese home-cooking restaurant, from the people behind ramen joint Kanada-Ya, does food you won’t forget at prices that go easy on your wallet. That’s why it’s our restaurant of the week.

Peter Doig. Michael Werner Gallery. Free. See fragile, vulnerable works by one of the best painters of the modern era. This is Doig at his most unguarded, and it’s gorgeous.

Condo 2018. Various locations. From Sat. Free. This giant citywide exhibition in a nutshell? More than 40 incredible contemporary galleries from as far afield as New York, Guatemala City, Warsaw and Shanghai take up month-long residence at 17 of London’s best young galleries. It’s essentially for the international gallery scene. 

‘Bananaman’. Southwark Playhouse. £14-£25. See this a-peeling new superhero musical. It’s a bonkers, colourful winter warmer.

London Short Film Festival. Various locations. Prices vary. The LSFF rings in its fifteenth birthday with ten days of movies. Don’t miss ‘LA Rebellion’ at the Rio Cinema, Dalston, on Saturday and ‘Dawn Shadforth: Spinning Around’ at the Regent Street Cinema on Sunday.

Skate at Somerset House. Somerset House. Until Sun. £7.50. Get your skates on! This weekend is your last chance to whizz around this beautiful building’s outdoor rink.

Suffragette City walk. Meet near Holborn Station. Sun. £12. See the church where Emily Wilding Davison’s funeral cortège began, the site of the Suffragette Hospital and other important historical locations.

Bookbinding for Beginners. Drink, Shop & Do. Sun. £30. Take a stab at bookbinding by creating your own hardback notebook at this weekend workshop.

TS Eliot Prize Readings. Royal Festival Hall. Sun. £12-£15. Hear ten talented wordsmiths read their poems then place your bets on who scoops up the £25,000 prize – it’s gone up this year to mark its twenty-fifth anniversary.

Lido Club – A January Dip. Oasis Sports Centre. Sun. £5.80 non-members. Burn off all those mince pies at this group afternoon swim sesh. Thankfully, the pool is heated.

Luna Winter Cinema. Battersea Power Station. £17.50. Nestle into a beanbag at this cosy winter cinema to watch screenings of ‘La La Land’ (Saturday) and ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ (Sunday).



Hackney Flea Market. Abney Public Hall. Sat. Free entry. Dig through stalls packed with everything from vintage fabrics to old maps and kitchenalia.

The Mountgrove Bothy. 90 Mountgrove Rd, N5 2LT. Our bar of the week is this Highbury joint specialising in rare wines by the glass. Head along this weekend for bargain snacks paired with vintages from up-and-coming regions.

Who Run the World: Aaliyah Special. Camden Assembly. Sat. £5. Have a night out dedicated to female-fronted R&B. Bust a move to your favourite queens, including Bey, Solange and TLC. Also expect more than a few Aaliyah bangers. Sign up for the guest list online. 

Sugar Push: Learn to Swing Dance. The Lexington. Sun. £8. Have a swinging Sunday by trying some new moves in these beginner- and intermediate-level swing dancing classes led by Swing DJs Holly France and Romayne.  


‘Pretty in Punk’ x Julia Gorton. Untitled Bar. Free. Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith: photographer Julia Gorton snapped all of those rock stars in ‘70s New York. See the iconic images here.  

Canary Wharf Ice Rink. Canada Square Park. £10.50-£16.95. Have a slip and slide about on the 1,300-square-metre rink that’s filling the business district with frosty fun. Don’t miss the skate path lined with twinkling trees.

London Art Antiques and Interiors Fair. ExCel London. Sat-Sun. £16 door, £12 adv. Find more than 100 dealers selling art deco, art nouveau and twentieth-century design pieces.

Stand in Your Power – Empowerment Poetry Workshop. Bohemia Place pop-up. Sat. £22. Let life coach, poet and motivational speaker Yasmin Autwal unleash your creativity and empower you through spoken word.

Xylem and Phloem: Yoga, Brunch and Floristry Workshop. Blank100. Sun. £70. Stretch, munch and make at this Zen-sounding workshop. After a yoga and meditation sesh, you tuck into brunch and get your hands busy in floristry class.



‘Let’s Play Vinyl’. Goldsmiths University. Sat-Sun. Free. UK sound system culture is thriving. Check out the new wave at Goldsmiths’ #LetsPlayVinyl series which kicks off with an exhibition of photographs of current reggae sound system operators.  

Taste Not Waste. Pop Brixton. Sat-Sun. Free. The Museum of London has teamed up with Hubbub and Pop Brixton to help Londoners reduce the amount of food they chuck out. Smoke & Salt chefs will demonstrate thrifty ways to rustle up tasty dishes with leftovers.

Spin by Candlelight. Dog House Fitness. Sat. £25. Join this candlelight ride to get fit and raise money for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

David Bowie Musical Walking Tour. Various Brixton locations. Sun. £15. Seek out all the SW9 spots connected to Brixton’s very own starman on this two-hour guided tour with a soundtrack and stories provided by musician Nick Stephenson.

Midnight Apothecary Wassail. Brunel Museum. Sat. £5. Warm your cockles around a firepit while the Green Man and his merry band of Greenwich folk singers bless the fruit trees. It’s all part of the traditional Twelfth Night celebrations.


Beazley Designs of the Year. Design Museum. £10. Spot the original Pussyhat, and the Refugee Nation Flag, created to represent stateless athletes taking part in last year’s Rio Olympics at this exhibition celebrating the year’s best design projects.

Vote 100: The Palace Under Attack. Hampton Court Palace. Entry included in palace admission (£15.90). Join this guided tour to explore Hampton Court Palace as it was in 1914, when stringent new restrictions were put in place to protect the building and its picture galleries from what was deemed ‘the suffragette menace’.

Rebecca Louise Law: Life in Death. Kew Gardens. Entry included in gardens admission (£12.75). Don’t miss this topsy-turvy, flower-packed installation inspired by the Ancient Egyptian preserved funeral garlands of Rameses II. It’s a beaut.


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