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31 amazing things to do in London this weekend

Alexandra Sims

Use your 48 hours of freedom to welcome the Year of the Dog by watching dragons shimmying through the streets of Chinatown, taking in radical T-shirts at the Fashion and Textile Museum, learning about the history of black British music with MC Rodney P, or downing pints at Stokey Beer Fest. It’s yours for the taking. 


Chinese New Year Parade. Starts at Charing Cross Road. Sun. Free. Welcome the Year of the Dog at this massive Chinese New Year celebration which will fill most of the West End with music, acrobatics and activities. Dragon and lion dances will kick things off on Charing Cross Road at 10am.

China Exchange Workshops. China Exchange. Sun. Prices vary. Once you’ve soaked up the vibes at the New Year’s Day parade, head to China Exchange to create your own postcard inspired by the festivities and hear more about the traditions of the Spring Festival.

Random Acts of Kindness Day. St Pancras station. Sat. Free. St Pancras station is celebrating its 150th birthday (which also happens to fall on RAoKD) by giving away freebies every 150 minutes. Expect goodies from L’Occitane, Kikki K and Fortnum & Mason.

‘The Female Gaze’. Getty Images Gallery. Sat. Free. Witness female identity in all its sass-filled glory at this photography exhibition where women are hard at work behind and in front of the lens.

‘Eddie Peake: Concrete Pitch’. White Cube Bermondsey. Sat-Sun. Free. See this London-tastic installation filled with jungle music, dancing, nudity and hair gel. What it lacks in self-awareness it more than makes up for in honesty and aesthetics.

LFW Presentations + Concept Store. 3 Slingsby Place. Sat-Sun. Free. Fashionistas! Feast your eyes on futuristic designs, from antibacterial bamboo underwear to laser-cut dresses.

‘T-Shirt: Cult-Culture-Subversion’. Fashion and Textile Museum. Sat-Sun. £9.90. Whack a slogan on a T-shirt and you can change history (or at least cause a little bit of a scene) – as you’ll see in this show.

‘Ocean Liners: Speed and Style’. V&A. Sat-Sun. £18. Take a look at the stylish ships that revolutionised travel. Go for some Titanic glamour (with a happier ending).

‘Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion’. V&A. Sat-Sun. £13.50. This is your last chance to see the V&A’s mother of all love letters to the work of fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.

‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’. Wyndham’s Theatre. Sat. £12.50-£98.50. See Eugene O’Neill’s semi-autobiographical masterpiece. Lesley Manville will blow you away.

Nancy Rubins. Gagosian Britannia St. Sat. Free. See massive sculptures made of garden ornaments. They’re staggeringly big, perfectly tense and totally ludicrous.



A Walk Through Highgate: Experiments in Urban Living. Meet opposite the Woodman Pub on Archway Road. Sun. £12. Explore Highgate's twentieth-century housing developments on this historic walk. Pass Lubetkin's iconic High Point flats, learn about Highgate's early history, walk through Waterlow Park, pass Highgate Cemetery, where Karl Marx is buried, and explore Abraham Davis's Holly Lodge Estate and Walter Segal's 1950s St Anne's Close. 

Stokey Beer Fest. Abney Public Hall. Sat-Sun. £32. Get your beer fix at this annual boozy bash where you and your mates can guzzle a third of a pint from each of the 14 producers taking part.

‘Frankenstein’ at 200 with Kate Mosse. Hampstead Theatre. Sat. £10. Mary Shelley’s epic gothic novel ‘Frankenstein’ turns 200 years old in 2018. Novelist Kate Mosse will be using examples from page, stage and screen to show why this work is so powerful.

Torshi Vegan Weekender. Torshi. Sat-Sun. Prices vary. This Middle Eastern restaurant based at Five Mile bar and brewery will be serving up its usual delicious cured, smoked and pickled grub, but for one weekend only it’s going vegan.


‘David Granick: The East End in Colour, 1960-1980’. Tower Hamlets Local History and Library Archives. Sat. Free. See long-lost pictures of east London by the Stepney-born photographer David Granick. Look for the now demolished Stifford estate and see the George Tavern as it was back in the day.

‘Another Time Another Place’. Stour Space. Sat-Sun. Free. Get a glimpse into Hackney’s past at this exhibition of photos by Neil Martinson documenting east London life in the ’70s and ’80s.

Glitterbox x Jealous Gallery. Jealous Gallery. Sat-Sun. Free. See art, flyers and prints inspired by the sweat-soaked disco raves thrown by Glitterbox, which is celebrating five years of partying hard.

Almshouse Tour. Geffrye Museum. Sat. £5. Missing the Geffrye now it’s closed for refurbishment? Get a glimpse of the life lived by the poor and elderly back in the day as you wander around the museum’s restored almshouses.

Social Fun & Games Club. Roof East. Sat-Sun. Free. Give curling a whirl on one of Roof East’s neon-lit lanes or just hide out in an igloo where you can dine on meaty comfort food from Jimmy’s Lodge and Crazy Pig.  

Long Live Southbank. Hangar. Sun. £5-£10. Swap your skateboard for dancing shoes at this shindig put on by the group that’s raising funds to revamp the South Bank skate spot.

London Classic Car Show. ExCel London. Sat-Sun. From £25. You’ll find over 700 classic motors on display including legendary getaway cars from automotive history.

Smoking Goat Shoreditch. 64 Shoreditch High St, E1 6JJ. Stuff your face at this big, buzzy Shoreditch spot which takes over from the now-closed Smoking Goat Soho. Be sure to order the best fried rice in London. For £3.60. Boom.

The Spread Eagle. 224 Homerton High St, E9 6AS. Visit London’s first fully vegan pub from the team behind Club Mexicana. Get drunk on vegan sours and feel virtuous the next day.

Bae My Valentine. Arcola Bar. Sat. £5. Female arts and film collective Baewatch ‘N’ Learn hosts this Valentine’s party ‘celebrating all types of unconventional love’. The artists are still TBC but you can expect its resident DJs and some very special guests spinning bae-utiful tracks into the early hours.


Rodney Presents: The Black Sound Rap Party. Black Cultural Archives. Sat. £7. UK hip hop MC Rodney P spotlights the history of black British music with a day of performance and discussion at the Black Cultural Archives, so you can swot up and get down. 

The Mother Maker Pop-Up Makers Market. Pop Brixton. Sat. Free. The Mother Maker is an online community for creative mums. Now you can meet the mas in real life and shop their products, which include homeware, childrenswear, accessories, jewellery and more. 

Decolonise Fest presents: Lunar New Year Special Gig. DIY Space for London. Sun. £6-£8. Welcome the Year of the Dog at this night of east and south-east Asian punk. The artists, including Bamboo and Stanfield, will be thrashing guitars into the wee hours in celebration of the Lunar New Year.



Gundog. Royal Court. Sat. £12, £25. Watch this intense study of twenty-first-century shepherding. Go to see farming without the fluff.

Chinese New Year Workshops. Westfield London. Sat-Sun. Free. Join these Westfield wellness workshops to make you feel zen with a mini meditation sesh, or put your core through its paces with a spot of paddleboard yoga.

Orchid Festival. Kew Gardens. Sat-Sun. £17.75. Kew Gardens' celebration of the orchid is back, this time with a Thai theme. The tropical greenhouse will be bursting with colourful species. Highlights include handcrafted floating Thai umbrellas and a Thai-style orchid palace.

And finally 

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Main image: Isabella Z/Flickr; Holly Lodge, Highgate: James Guppy/Flickr

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