Find fantastic ideas for things to do on a Friday, just in case you've left it to the last minute. Check out the best entertainment, nightlife and events happening in the capital this Friday. The weekend starts here...
RECOMMENDED: Find more things to do in London this weekend
From the memoirs of a cross-dressing Lesbian in Jane Austen’s era to the day in the life of a UNICEF worker in Yemen, have a nosey through diaries from 1400BC to the present day at ‘Dear Diary’, an exhibition celebrating the ways in which we’ve used diaries to capture the human experience throughout history.
Belgravia is being taken over by a six-day floral fiesta as businesses across the Westminster district drape themselves with blooms in displays inspired by iconic children’s books such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Jungle Book and James and the Giant Peach. Walking maps will be available from all local retailers so you can find your way around the various blossoming walkways. A programme of events will accompany the floral frolics, including Nick Knight's exhibition 'Fashion Flora' celebrating pivotal moments of flowers featuring in fashion (May 22, SHOWStudio). See here for more information about Belgravia in Bloom.
Putting a spotlight on the health of the River Thames, artist Jason Bruges’ light installation will shine one of three patterns on to the Sea Containers at Mondrian London based on whether the water quality is good, average or poor according to that day’s Thames data reading. The lights will be a permanent fixture every evening from dusk until midnight, letting us know if the river’s health is improving or declining. The data will also be tweeted on via the @ThamesPulse account and a billboard will show readings on real time. The lights will be switched on for the first on March 16 at 6.30pm.The project was devised by MEC UK to help raise awareness about the condition of the Thames and to support charity Thames21 in its mission to protect London’s rivers.
Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682) was a physican and philoshopher who made enormous contributions to seventeenth-century science and medicine. This exhibitions puts his collection of notebooks, paintings, samples and letters on display.
It's back! Oh, how we have missed it so. Moved from its base at the Scala to this, its new Camden home and still following the footsteps of Guilty Pleasures and the Erection Section, this sell-out night is where the ballads rule and the more key changes, big hair and rocking out you can do, the better you'll be for it. If you're a fan of '80s power ballads and glam rock bands, then here's your bad perm-shaped calling.
Over the last four years WAF has established itself as one of the big guns among the new generation of dance festivals. Returning to London (well, Essex, but it’s on the tube) for two more days this summer, it boasts another heavyweight line-up of globe-conquering DJs, hot rising talents and respected undergrounders: among them Carl Cox, Dizzee Rascal and Basement Jaxx. House and techno of all shapes and sizes are the main ingredients here, but bass and garage are also represented, and with this number of esteemed selectors on board you guarantee the always-up-for-it FSTVL crowd will be partying hard and true into the small hours.
Grand opera doesn’t come much grander than this – Verdi’s fourth revision of ‘Don Carlo’, the five-act score dating from 1886. Based on Schiller’s play of stolen love, political intrigue, religious hatred and dominance, jealousy, familial recrimination and tragedy, it’s no wonder Verdi had some difficulty keeping it down to three and a half hours. Directed by Nicholas Hytner, this is a colourful and symbolic production (revived by Paul Higgins) built to last – costumes and scenery are apposite to sixteenth-century Spain, spectacularly so in the second scene of Act III, when the crowd praises King Philip II and heretics are burnt. Don Carlos is to marry the beautiful Elizabeth of Valois, but his father the king claims her hand for himself, creating an intense personal and political conflict between father and son. It’s all totally compelling. Bringing this stupendous opera to life is a stellar cast. Jonas Kaufmann is in fine form as Don Carlos, his voice used with intelligence and supported by decent acting. Anja Harteros makes the unhappily married Elizabeth very affecting and sings magnificently, as does Mariusz Kwiecien as the faithful Rodrigo. Ferruccio Furlanetto’s King Philip is imposing yet vulnerable, and Eric Halfvarson is quite terrifying as the Grand Inquisitor, for all his blindness and infirmity. Verdi’s use of the orchestra ranges from the finely drawn to the tumultuous, from the poignant to the thrilling, and Antonio Pappano conducts the superb ROH Orchestra
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The Oval Tavern
It's as much about the entertainment as it is the food and booze at this popular Croydon pub. There's something going on every night, from blues jams, acoustic sessions and DJs to darts on a Monday night and Aunty Wendy's pub quiz on a Wednesday. There's even a Saturday afternoon storytime - for the kids, we presume. The food here is pretty accessible - think bar snacks of homemade Scotch eggs and sausage rolls, grilled mac and cheese, tuna melts, mushroom rarebit and a club sandwich, here including chorizo. The beer garden plays host to couple of barbecues that prove a bit of a draw on sunny summer days. As do the real ales - expect five on the pump as well as more by the bottle.