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40 dreamy things to do in London this weekend

Alexandra Sims

London is going green this weekend to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Try out your riverdance steps at the parade in Trafalgar Square, neck a whisky at a gangster-themed knees up at The Vaults, or help put the gay back into gaelic at London’s alleged ‘first queer Irish party’ at The Glory. Once you’ve had your fill of Guinness, there’s a ceramics sale in the Barbican Conservatory to check out and a Where’s Wally Fun Run to join. What are you waiting for?


St Patrick’s Day Parade and FestivalTrafalgar Square. Sat. Free. The Irish are experts when it comes to partying. This year, a three-day extravaganza is taking place over the weekend and it is set to see over 125,000 turning out for Irish food, dancing and a giant parade featuring pageantry, floats and music.

Taste the Greatness of Northern IrelandBorough Market. Sat. Free entry. Pick up everything you’ll need to make a legendary Ulster fry, from Cavanagh eggs to freshly baked soda farls, as Borough Market is taken over by a whole host of Northern Irish food and drinks traders for Paddy’s Day. 

St Patrick’s Day with the Irish MobThe Vaults. Sat. £17.50, £20 otd. Missing ‘Peaky Blinders’? Then dig out your flat cap and raise a glass of something strong at this late-night gangster-themed knees-up. Plenty of games, singing, traditional dance, storytelling and enough whiskey to raise the dead will be found in the underground Vaults at Waterloo.

Scandinavian Spring Market. Albion St. Sat. Free entry. Potter down Albion Street for a taste of all things Nordic at this market on the pedestrianised stretch between London’s Finnish and Norwegian churches. Get your mitts on Scandi snacks, crafts, homewares, jewellery and toys. 

Fat Tony’s. Bar Termini Centrale. Sat. Prices vary. Tuck into some tasty handmade pasta at this old-school Italian pop-up. Longhorn shin ragu pappardelle and a Termini negroni? Yes please.

London Beer Week. Various venues. Sat-Sun. £10. This city-wide celebration of all things hop-tastic is back for 2018. Beer fanatics can download a £10 pass through the DrinkUp.London app, which gives them access to £5 beer flights in over 75 of the capital’s best bars and brewery taprooms.

Feminist Internet GeekenderPhotographers’ Gallery. Sat-Sun. £4 per day. Is a feminist internet possible? Find out at this weekend of talks on topics such as online nipple policing, closing with a late gallery takeover.

Witches: Free Tour. Various London locations. Sun. Free. Get to know all of London’s occult secrets on this free walking tour exploring witchcraft. The after-dark stroll promises to tell stories of ‘bizarre practices and take a look at the unjust treatment of people thought to be witches’.

‘Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy’. Tate Modern. Sat-Sun. £22. See the first solo exhibition Tate Modern has ever held for the Spanish master, focusing entirely on 1932 – a pivotal and prolific year for Pablo. It’s a slow burn of a show, but there are some truly beautiful artworks on display.

‘Sondra Perry: Typhoon Coming On’Serpentine Gallery. Sat-Sun. Free. See digitally manipulated versions of JMW Turner’s colonially-inspired seascapes wrapping around the walls of the gallery from projectors. These are overwhelming works of art, and Perry drags you down into them.

MC & Sons. SE1 0LH. Our bar of the week is this pub and Thai kitchen from the Irish family-operated Windmill Taverns Group. Beers from near and far are on regular rotation on tap, all noodle and curry dishes come in under a tenner, and folk bands play at weekends.

‘Ian Cheng: Bob’Serpentine Gallery. Sat-Sun. Free. Bob (or Bag of Beliefs) is Ian Cheng’s new digital life-form. Across six enormous screens, Cheng has given birth to little AI creatures. Using an iPhone, you interact with each Bob: they choose to play with you or ignore you (or possibly kill you) as you investigate them.

‘My Generation’ Exhibition3 Carnaby St. Sat-Sun. Free. Fill your peepers with the sights and sounds of the swinging ’60s at this pop-up exhibition marking the release of the film ‘My Generation’, which has been narrated by Michael Caine (he did all the interviews too).

Carnaby Arch WWF Earth Hour TakeoverCarnaby Street. Sat-Sun. Free. Carnaby Street’s iconic arch is getting taken over by turtles, polar bears, puffins, elephants and a whole host of other exotic critters to mark WWF’s Earth Hour and highlight climate change.

Somewhere in BetweenWellcome Collection. Sat-Sun. Free. The Wellcome Collection’s major spring exhibition is showcasing four collaborations between artists and scientists which all aim to give shape to intangible human experiences.



Camden Market’s All Female Irish Music TrailCamden Market. Sat. Free entry. Fill your face with Camden street food while listening to a line-up of talented female musicians who will be performing at various venues throughout the market. The night ends with a big ol’ shindig at Dr Martens. 

Club De Fromage On Ice: St Patrick’s Day SpeicalAlexandra Palace. Sat. £10. Grab some green garms along with your skates to get whizzing on the ice for this ‘Fromage on Ice St Patrick’s Day Special’. Best not to try and riverdance with your skates on.

‘Summer and Smoke’. Almeida Theatre. Sat. £10-£39.50. Catch this stunning rarely performed Tennessee Williams play, which will go down as a milestone in the careers of its two brightest stars: director Rebecca Frecknall and lead Patsy Ferran, who gives a stupendous lead turn.

Islington Vintage Kilo SaleIslington Assembly Hall. Sun. £3 before noon, £1.50 after. Get your hands on all sorts of vintage garms at this vintage sale where retro goodies are sold at £15 per kilo.

Hackney Flea MarketAbney Public Hall. Sun. Free entry. This Stoke Newington institution returns to Abney Hall. There’ll be over 30 traders, offering an eclectic selection of vintage clothes and furniture, handmade jewellery, comics, records and antiques.




OpenFestBarbican Hall. Sat-Sun. Free. This big multi-venue cultural love-in aims to inject some creativity into the Square Mile. The standout event, ‘Tunnel Visions: Array’, sees the usual Beech Street traffic halted and replaced by a hypnotic installation with digital projections and a soundtrack by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Turning Earth Ceramics Market. Barbican Conservatory. Sun. Free entry. The lush Barbican Conservatory will be filled with beautifully crafted, one-off ceramics as 60 contemporary artists from potters’ studio Turning Earth take part in this makers’ market.

‘Hamlet’. Hackney Empire. Sat. £10-£49.50. Don’t miss the RSC’s new production of the Shakespearean tragedy set in a West African kingdom. Astonishingly, Paapa Essiedu is the first black man ever to play Hamlet for the RSC and he’s memorably good as the doomed prince.

Sodom & Begorrah: St Patrick’s Day SpectacularThe Glory. Sat. £8-£10.  London’s alleged ‘first queer Irish party’ has one beautiful mission: to put the gay back into gaelic. That means whiskey, Barry’s tea, a sprinkle of Enya and the late Dolores O’Riordan topped off with a ‘Culchie Cabaret’ (ask an Irish friend about that last part).

The Tattoo Collective. Old Truman Brewery. Sat-Sun. Two-day pass: £35, £45 otd. See the best of British and Irish tattoo design at this expo of 150 pioneering ink artists from selected studios. The body art on show here will spark some top tat chat.

Brain Crochet. Leyden Gallery. Sat. £10. Neuroscience meets freestyle crochet at this creative knitting workshop. Learn about real brain patterns while you’re fiddling with wool to make a ‘brain badge’.

AVA London. Hangar London Fields. Sat. £10-£25. The Audio, Visual, Arts Festival and Conference usually takes place in Belfast, but for one weekend only they’re bringing the action to London. See live acts, selector sets, conversations, panels, workshops and studio tours with emerging Irish talent, including Optimo, Or:la, Swoose and DJ Deece.

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park Free Guided WalkTower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Sun. Free. Take a stroll around the beautiful and fascinating Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park on a guided tour led by local historian Marilyn Baltutis.

Maybe Baby Irish Hangover BrunchDalston Superstore. Sun. Free. Every Irish-winning Eurovision song, fake riverdancing, Irish coffees, Irish trivia, Irish prizes and plenty of Irish lolz can be expected at this St Paddy’s Day hangover brunch. If you went a little too hard on the Guinness the night before, half-Irish drag queens ShayShay and Just May will help you feel human again.



Where’s Wally Fun Run. Clapham Common. Sun. £26 with costume, £19 without. Signing up for any fun run involves looking like a bit of a wally, but for this one you’ll really have to get used to it. Walk, jog or run the 5km or 10km course in Clapham Common dressed as Martin Handford’s cheerfully elusive creation. 

Camberwell Free Film Festival. Various venues in Camberwell. Sat-Sun. Free. Save your hard-earned cash for pints and popcorn at this grassroots fest where every film is free. Instead of a cinema, screenings take place in pubs and bike shops.

Sausage Walk London. Greenwich Park. Sun. Free. Are you the proud owner of a chipolata-shaped hound? Then go dashing around the city with dachshunds at this laidback stroll and sausage dog social in Greenwich Park.

Midcentury ModernDulwich College. Sun. £9 adv, £10 otd. This revered vintage furniture show is back with its carefully selected collection of mid-twentieth century furniture, homewares and ornamental décor.

Hair: Drink and Draw SundaysBuster Mantis. Sun. £13.16. Manes of all shapes, sizes and areas are the focus of this life drawing workshop where you’ll be taught to use line and tone to scribble down the unique and challenging textures.

Paddy's PartyPop Brixton. Sat. Free. Don your greenest gear and pretend you’re on a wild trip around the Emerald Isle at Pop Brixton’s annual St Paddy’s Day party. Dance your socks off to live music from London ceilidh band Fiddle Paradiddle and get to grips with Irish dancing.

Father Ted-A-Thon St Patrick’s Day Special. Clapham Grand. Sat. From £1. Craggy Island is on its way to Clapham. There’ll be a screening of three episodes (voted for by the public), a lovely girls competition and prizes for the best nun/priest costume. 



Sushi AtelierW1W 6PH. This Fitzrovia sushi joint from the people behind Chisou is small but lovely and it’s our restaurant of the week. The food dazzles: the sashimi is outstanding, silky tuna is turned into a modish carpaccio and even the miso is great.

‘Flotilla’. Merchant Square. Sat-Sun. Free. See Regent’s Canal illuminated by an armada of 180 origami boats, which look like white ‘paper’ creations by day and are lit up at night to set the canal gleaming with a changing pattern of luminous colours. 

Camellia Show 2018. Chiswick House and Gardens. Sat-Sun. Free. See a host of pink, red, white and striped blooms at this romantic eighteenth-century villa’s annual camellia show. Enter the Grade I-listed conservatory to see 33 rare and unique varieties of the blossoms.

The Future of the Car. Design Museum. Sat. £35. Electric and self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, data analytics and smart technologies. This symposium will be exploring all this and more in relation to how we drive and what exactly the future of the car holds.   

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Main image: Pieter le Roux/Flickr

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