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32 marvellous things to do in London this weekend

Alexandra Sims

No plans this weekend? Not anymore. Spend the next two days marching on Downing Street in the name of gender equality at the Time’s Up rally, following a trail of sparkling light installations at Lumiere London and Canary Wharf’s Winter Lights festival, or playing retro arcade games on Carnaby Street. It’s gonna be a belter. 


Lumiere London. Various London locations. Sat-Sun. Free. This light art festival is back with more than 50 flashy installations brightening streets across the city. Don’t miss the glowing seesaws on South Molton Street and the giant desk lamps lining King’s Boulevard.

Time’s Up Rally. Meet at Richmond Terrace. Sun, 11am. Free. It’s been a year since the Women’s March on London. So, whack your best feminist slogan on a placard and mark the anniversary at this rally supporting the Time’s Up movement against gender inequality.

The History of Video Games. The Subculture Archives. Sat-Sun. £15. Celebrate the importance of video games in youth culture at this pop-up retro arcade, bringing more than 50 classic ’80s and ’90s machines to Carnaby Street. Book a two-hour slot and get zapping.

Lumiere London at Granary Square Brasserie. Granary Square Brasserie. Sat-Sun. Prices vary. As the brights lights of Lumiere London shine over King’s Cross, the brasserie is offering dining customers a free neon manicure at a pop-up WAH Nails bar (4pm-9pm). They’ve also added illuminated cocktails to their menu for the occasion.

First Amongst Equals. Foundling Museum. Sat-Sun. £11. See 300 years of history through a female lens as 25 society-shaping women pick the era-defining objects that mean something to them.

Silent Disco at The View from The Shard. The Shard. Sat. £37.50. Pick your side (ie your music channel of choice) as three DJs battle it out over separate wireless channels at 1,000ft. 

Londrino. 36 Snowsfields, SE1 3SU. Visit our restaurant of the week, the first proper joint from the chef behind the LC residency at Climpson’s Arch. Go for crazy-good sprouts, amazing squid and brilliant brioche.

London Visions. Museum of London. Sat-Sun. Free. If we learned anything from 2017 it was that anything goes. So this exhibition – where artists, architects and designers present their dream versions of London’s future – might seem fantastically wild but may well be eerily spot-on.

Minimalist Movie Poster Exhibition. Curzon Soho. Sat-Sun. Free. See classic movies reimagined with a show of abstract poster illustrations. Go to practise the useless, but unique, skill of guessing each one.

Adams Antiques Fair. Royal Horticultural Halls. Sun. £4. This huge antiques fair has been selling precious objects since the 1970s, making it one of the stalwarts of the London antiques scene. Join the queue as early as possible!

Drawn to the Skyline. Tate Modern. Sat. £46.67. Take a journey – sketching as you go – from the Tate Modern’s viewing gallery, down to the river, crossing the Millennium Bridge and into the City.

Nuala Bar. 70-74 City Rd, EC1Y 2BJ. Head along to this wood-clad Celtic bar beneath Nuala restaurant. Its fantastic combination of pints, punch and The Pogues made it our bar of the week.


Club de Fromage on Ice: Grease vs Dirty Dancing. Alexandra Palace. Sat. £10. Slip and slide on Ally Pally’s indoor rink to back-to-back tunes from your fave retro flicks.

Thraedable pop-up shop. 44 Ashdown Crescent, NW5 4EA. Sat-Sun. Free. Grab sustainably made garms from this feelgood pop-up and 50 percent from your purchase will be donated to charity. How’s that for retail therapy?

Apple Yowling. The Ferry Boat Inn. Sat. Free. Bring your best wassailing voice to this fruit-tree ceremony and warm up your vocal chords with a spiced cider.

Winter Happiness Festival. Museum of Happiness. Sat-Sun. £5. Get happy at this festival where you can nose-dive into an adult ballpit, get in on laughter yoga and nibble on serotonin-giving chocolate.

The Punk and New Wave Karaoke Show. Dublin Castle. San. £5-£6. Unleash your inner Johnny Rotten at this new karaoke night at the iconic music venue. Belt out the lyrics with a live band for accompaniment and maybe even win some punk prizes.


Winter Lights at Canary Wharf. Various locations in Canary Wharf. Sat-Sun. Free. See light graffiti, an immersive rainbow spectrum of colour, and a giant, luminous halo at Canary Wharf, where the annual winter lights fest is making the business district sparkle.

Veganuary: ‘Carnage’. Canvas Café. Sun. Free. See a mockumentary about a future where veganism is the norm from the comedian-turned-director Simon Amstell, as part of The Canvas Cafe’s vegan season.

London Buddhist Centre Open Day. London Buddhist Centre. Sun. Free. Learn all about Buddhism or join a meditation taster session held in the ‘Breathing Space’.

East London Vintage Kilo Sale. York Hall. Sun. £3 before noon, £1.50 after. Rummage through piles of vintage clothing at this booty bonanza. Grab what you fancy, take it to the scales and pay just £15 per kilo for your well-picked wares.

Swish and Style. Gnome House. Sat. Free entry. Bag up unwanted clobber and trade it for new garms at this sartorial swap. A seamstress will be on hand to patch-up well-worn elbows.

Smash: A Comic, Graphic and Novel Talkfest. Artizan Street Library and Community Centre. Sat. Free, book in adv. Get stuck into collaborative comic-making and listen to panel discussions at this celebration of comics and graphic novels.

Hackney Downs Vegan Market. Hackney Downs Studios. Sat. Free. Curated by the Fat Gay Vegan, this weekly market is perfect for those attempting Veganuary (and everyone else who’s meat-free all year around).


Leo Fitzmaurice. The Sunday Painter. Sat-Sun. Free. See old fag packets turned into tiny little football shirts at Fitzmaurice’s exhibition. The smoky-sporty creations are part of Condo, a citywide exhibition with dozens of international art galleries collaborating with London spaces.

London International Story First Film Festival. Whirled Cinema. Sat. £6-£15. See gripping tales from this new fest telling unique stories at a great indie cinema. With half the films made by women and many by BAME filmmakers, it’ll hopefully tell a diverse range of tales too.

Paper Marbling: One Day Intro. Reel + Fold. Sat. £95. You’ll make a marbling bath, mix paints and take home beautiful papers patterned by your own fair hands at this workshop.  

Explore the Urban Forest. Meet at Peckham Rye Overground. Sun. £19. Persian Ironwoods and the delightful Bastard Service Tree are among the species you’ll spot in this walk around London’s urban forest, led by the aptly named Paul Wood.


Ferrari: Under the Skin. Design Museum. Sat-Sun. £18. Ferrari is now 70, and to celebrate the Design Museum is being taken over by a whole host of the glamorous motors. Explore the life of Enzo Ferrari and his famous cars through original drawings, early design models and personal letters.

Rita, Sue and Bob Too. Royal Court Theatre. Sat-Sun. £12-£45. See this controversial revival of Andrea Dunbar’s iconic 1982 play. It remains a remarkable piece of work from a 19-year-old writer.

My Mum’s a Twat. Royal Court Theatre. Sat-Sun. £12-£25. Don’t miss Anoushka Warden’s monologue about growing up and her mum joining a cult. It’s a cracking true story and has a superb performance from Patsy Ferran.

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


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