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44 glorious things to do in London this weekend

Alexandra Sims

It’s the last weekend of January. Bid it a fond farewell by watching a 1972 cannibals-on-the-tube horror film under Waterloo station, zapping away on retro arcade games, or partying like it’s 1999 at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Enjoy!


The Birthday Party. Harold Pinter Theatre. Sat. £15-£125. See Pinter’s landmark ‘comedy of menace’. Go for the stunning cast, headed by Toby Jones and Zoe Wanamaker.

The Lost Words. The Foundling Museum. Sat-Sun. £11. Put your knowledge of common wildlife species to the test at this exhibition of poems and watercolours.

Rhythm and Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain. Two Temple Place. Sat-Sun. Free. Jazz hands at the ready (but mind the displays). This exhibition showcases valuable instruments alongside jazz-inspired prints and paintings.  

‘Death Line’ at Vault Festival. The Vaults. Sun. £11.50. If you thought the Central line at rush hour was scary, wait until you see this 1972 cannibals-on-the-tube horror film, set beneath Waterloo.

Flea at Flat Iron Square. Flat Iron Square. Sat-Sun. Free. Fill your bags with old books, cameras and, erm, Mother Clucker’s fried chicken at this weekly flea.

The Tower, the Bridge and the Tank – Photography Walk. Meet at the base of Monument. Sun. £9. Brush up on your camerawork while wending your way past London’s iconic sights on this workshop-cum-tour.

Minimalist Movie Poster Exhibition. Curzon Soho. Sat-Sun. Free. Will you be able to work out which blockbusters and cult classics are behind the geometric shapes in Gaby Kere’s posters?

Andreas Gursky. Hayward Gallery. Sat-Sun. £14.50. The Hayward Gallery reopens after two years with a bang and two-and-a-half floors of photos by German snapper Andreas Gursky. There’s no messing about here: the Hayward has played it safe, delivering a solid retrospective. But that’s a good thing.

The Coral Room. The Bloomsbury, 16-22 Great Russell St, WC1B 3NN. Our bar of the week is this shiny hotel drinking den specialising in English sparkling wine. Go to feel absolutely fabulous, sweetie darling.

‘London and Fish’. Museum of London. Sat-Sun. Free. This exhibition will provide (fishy) food for thought about the city’s relationship with its finned friends.

‘Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic’. V&A. Sat-Sun. £8. Drawings, letters and manuscripts tell of the success of the Hundred Acre Wood’s world-famous resident.

All’s Well That Ends Well. Shakespeare’s Globe, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Sat. £10-£62. Grab this rare chance to see Shakespeare’s strange late comedy. It’s got a great cast and it’s pretty darn funny, too.

Bridget Riley: Recent Paintings 2014-2017. David Zwirner. Sat. Free. See new works by the pioneer of op art. Riley’s gorgeous shimmering paintings still have a powerful impact.

Sacred Feminine: The Art of the Goddess. British Museum. Sat-Sun. £25. Let the London Drawing Group lead you on a sketching tour through the British Museum, exploring artefacts and the histories of female divinities from across the globe.

The History of Video Games. The Subculture Archives. Sat-Sun. £15, £10 child. Celebrate video games in youth culture at this pop-up, which brings more than 50 retro arcade games to Carnaby Street for you to get zapping on.



The Camden Vintage Furniture Flea. Cecil Sharp House. Sun. £2-£3. Don’t be surprised if you leave this flea carrying a wing-back armchair while balancing a vintage lampshade on your head. The collection focuses on 1950s and 1970s furniture.

Thraedable Pop-up Shop. 44 Ashdown Crescent. Sat-Sun. Free entry. Grab sustainably-made clothes from this feelgood pop-up where 50 percent from your purchase will be donated to charity.

The Big Craft Swish. Cecil Sharp House. Sun. £4. Drop off any unused craft materials you’ve been holding on to for a rainy day and pick up some new paraphernalia donated by other crafters at this giant swap.  

Gilly’s Fry Bar. 4a Clifton Terrace. This Japanese-inspired fish-and-chip shop in Finsbury Park is our restaurant of the week. It serves delicious Asian twists on chip-shop classics. Mmm. 

Social Academy Bingo. 180 Arlington Rd. Sat. £7-£15. Get the lowdown on dabbing and a crash course in bingo lingo at this fast-paced bootcamp with prizes. Two little ducks!

Burn Down the Disco. O2 Academy Islington. Sat. £5.50. Thankfully, you’ll want to do anything but what the Smiths-inspired name of this club night suggests once you’ve spent a few minutes bopping uncontrollably to its mix of pop, indie, disco, ska and soul.


Winter Lights at Canary Wharf. Various locations. Sat. Free. It’s your very last chance to see the dazzling light installations dotted around the business district. Step inside a giant disco ball and control a light sculpture with your mind (you know you want to).

Pizza Party! 14 Kingsland High St, E8 2JP. Sat. Free. Get down to Pizza Union’s new home in Dalston for 6pm on Saturday. The prince of pies is opening a new cocktail bar in east London and is celebrating by dishing out free pizza. You gotta be one of the first 100 through the door to bag the good stuff.

Party Like It’s Your Birthday. Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Sat. £5-£8. Expect party rings, games of Twister and all your fave ‘90s tunes at this blast from the past.

Trentemoller. E1 London. Sat. £25. The Danish artist is usually known for his ethereal electronica, so hearing him lay down a pure DJ set is a rare treat.

‘Rick and Morty’ Pub Quiz. The Macbeth of Hoxton. Sun. £6. Make sure all those hours spent binge-watching ‘Rick and Morty’ count for something by testing your knowledge at this pub quiz.

City of London Dollshouse Festival. The Tower Hotel. Sun. £8, £4 child. Find talented craftspeople making miniature furniture and intricate accessories for beautiful dollshouses, which will also be on display at this miniature fest (which are not at all creepy).

Secret London Runs – Craft Beers of the East End. Old Truman Brewery. Sat. £35. Combine your love for craft beer and your desire to get fit on this not-so-secret 8km London run around the East End, where you can quench your thirst at three of London's finest boozers in between getting your sweat on.

All Our Friends. KK Outlet. Sat-Sun. Free. After 10 years, east London’s favourite gallery, KK Outlet, is leaving Hoxton for pastures new. Do pay a visit and go to their final show, workshops and massive party. Don’t miss the Collage Club workshops taking place on Saturday. 

XOYO Loves: Young Marco. XOYO. Sat. £13.50-£18.50. ‘Just how young is Marco?’ is one of the questions you won’t care about when you realise how well this expert Amsterdam DJ can ignite a dancefloor with his mix of underground, groove-laden house, techno and disco.

Tie-Dye Workshop. Bohemia Place Pop-Up. Sat. £26. Does your wardrobe need sprucing up? Learn how to fold, swirl and dye fabric to make psychedelic patterns with Lizzie King.

Breakfast at Smoking Goat. 64 Shoreditch High St. Sat-Sun. Free. The new breakfast menu at Thai barbecue bar Smoking Goat sounds dreamy: fresh melon juice, fried chicken with curry sauce. Try a free dish between 10am and noon.

Dollar Shave Club Hub. Old Street Station. Sat. Free. Commute via Old Street? Prepare to get a baby-smooth face. Dollar Shave Club’s bringing a pop-up to town with free shaves from expert barbers and live comedy (from comedians, not from barbers).


Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen Goodbye Party. Pop Brixton. Sun. Free entry. After two-and-a-half years in Pop Brixton, this fabulous Ghanaian joint is moving on – but not before hosting a goodbye party this Sunday with great food, Afrobeat tunes and Ghanaian beer.

The Last Chance Saloon. Brixton Rooftop. Sat. £5-£15. Brixton Rooftop is closing to make way for a Sports Direct (boo!) but not without throwing one massive final blow-out.

Ethiopia Skate. Boxpark Croydon. Sat-Sun. Free. Skating isn’t just the preserve of baggy-trousered teens on the South Bank, y’know. See Ethiopia’s vibrant skater community captured by Berlin photographer Daniel Reiter.

Peckham Vintage Kilo Sale. Copeland Gallery. Sun. £3. Poke your nose around six tonnes of vintage clothes at a retro shopping fair. There are no price tags here – you pay by the weight. Take your haul to the scales and you’ll fork out £15 per kilo.

Help Refugees All-Day Fundraiser. DIY Space for London. Sat. Free-£10. Join DIY Space for London and help support refugees in Calais by making crates. They’ll be used to collect vital supplies, which are taken to France regularly through Help Refugees. A film screening, live bands and DJs will follow.

Thornton Heath Light Festival. Trumble Gardens. Sat. Free. If you missed out on this year’s Lumiere Festival, shame on you! But don’t panic as Lumiere’s Leicester Square lanterns are popping up in Trumble Gardens, with an open-air evening of live music, dance performances, spoken word and more lovely light installations.

Royal Rumble 2018 Live Screening. Four Quarters. Sun. Free. Watch lycra-clad wrestlers battle it out, surrounded by arcade games at this live screening. You can even play ‘Street Fighter II’ in between rounds.  

Salon’s Fifth Birthday. 18 Market Row. Sun. £50. Salon is turning five. To mark the occasion chef and founder Nicholas Balfe is enlisting five of his foodie pals to help create one impressive celebration dinner. Sounds like one big ol’ serving of birthday heaven.




Beazley Designs of the Year. Design Museum. Sat-Sun. £10. This annual exhibition is a celebration of the year’s best design projects spanning architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport. Look out for the original pussyhat and the Refugee Nation Flag, created to represent stateless athletes at last year’s Rio Olympics.

Treats at Doughnut Time. 15 Blenheim Crescent. Sat. Free. Head to Doughnut Time’s new west London gaff on Saturday (between noon and 2pm) and you could bag a free treat.

‘Rebecca Louise Law: Life in Death’. Kew Gardens. Sat-Sun. £12.75. Inspired by the Ancient Egyptian-preserved funeral garlands of Ramesses II in the Kew Gardens collection, Rebecca Louise Law has painstakingly strung 1,000 of her own garlands for this installation.

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Main image: Andrew Lalchan/Flickr 

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