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Peckham Salvage Yard
Photograph: Peckham Salvage Yard

Things to do in London this week

Discover the biggest and best things to do in London over the next seven days

By Katie McCabe
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Things to do? In London? In the next seven days? It’s a confusing concept, we know. But trust us, things are HAPPENING. Those little pockets of freedom from the UK roadmap are slowly beginning to appear, and we are jumping head first into each and every one. 

Outdoor gatherings of six people, or two households, are officially allowed under government guidelines, and – most importantly – outdoor drinking and dining is allowed. That means you can meet friends for a pint (at a pre-booked beer garden if your organised, at a walk-in pub if you’re not). And if you’re gasping to see some art, ANY ART, there are multiple galleries across the city which fall under ‘non-essential retail’ that are showing exhibitions, you just need to pre-book an appointment. 

By now, most of us have exhausted the city’s parks, gardens and walking routes, but the roadmap change means you can actually PLAN to do things outdoors. You can rent a boat, meet friends to play football or basketball, do squats at an outdoor gym, or more realistically – throw a big blanket down in a park, order food straight to your patch of grass and chat nonsense until dusk has fallen and your bag is no longer filled with fancy cans. 

Looking for ideas? Check out our pick of the best things to do in London over the next seven days, chosen by Time Out editors.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in London every week of the year.

Gilbert & George, ‘Priority Seat’ (2020)
Gilbert & George, ‘Priority Seat’ (2020)
Image: White Cube

1. Go see some art INSIDE a gallery

News Art

Major art galleries are reopening on or around May 17, including shows from Matthew Barney, Zanele Muholi and Jean Dubuffet, but there are dozens of galleries in London that count as ‘non essential retail’ and are already open to visitors. Right now you can see exhibitions of work by Rachel Whiteread, Gilbert & George and Damien Hirst. Check with the galleries before your visit to see if you to book an appointment.

 

London Wildlife Trust
London Wildlife Trust
Photograph: London Wildlife Trust

2. Hunt for London’s bluebells

News City Life

Okay, so it might be a smidge early, but we are right on the cusp of bluebell season. Between April and May these guys come out to play, bursting through the ground out of nowhere to create a carpet of cobalt across the country. Some have already begun to appearare the best places to catch them in London. Want to hunt them down? Try our bluebell map. Just remember, no picking them – these native flowers are a protected species.  

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Museum of Youth Culture
Museum of Youth Culture
Photograph: Tony Davis

3. Visit the Museum of Youth Culture’s pop-up shop

News City Life

Until recently, the Museum of Youth Culture was more of a concept than a bricks-and-mortar building, but you can find out what the museum is all about at its lively new pop-up shop, gallery and event space at 3 Carnaby Street. Inside, you’ll find books and zines on youth counterculture, photo exhibitions and a ‘Reconstructed Teenage Bedroom’. It’s a one-stop nostalgia shop, and just like your youth, it won’t be around for long. Find out more here

 

Park picnic food delivery
Park picnic food delivery
Illustration: Bryan Mayes

4. Order food and drink straight to the park

News Eating

This isn’t a drill. By the end of this month you will once again be able to meet up to six people in the park for a picnic in London. Blankets. Grass. Conversation. Scotch eggs. Clouds. All those wonderful things you associate with a classic British picnic. Now, there are a lot of places that do great hampers. Hampers you have to order to your home. Boring! 2021 is the year we act like debauched emperors. 2021 is the year we have all of our food and drink sent to the park. Here are our top picks for green-space groceries. 

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Hampton Pool
Hampton Pool
Image credit: Hampton Pool

5. Swim in an outdoor pool

News Sport & Fitness

Londoners bloody love a lido, so it’s a good thing we have 17 of them. They don’t get much better than Hampton Pool, in south-west London, which is, of course, famous for its very charming and popular midnight swims. No word on the starlight sessions yet, but booking for daytime swims (via the pool’s dedicated app) is now open. New sessions become bookable every day at 8am, so set your alarm. Places will get snapped up quickly because when it comes to lidos, Londoners are insatiable. If you’ve got any questions, there’s an enquiries form on their homepage.

 

Photograph: Shuk
Photograph: Shuk
Photograph: Shuk

6. Try one of London’s most hyped meal kits

Restaurants

We’ve got a bit of a wait until indoor dining kicks in. To save yourself the absolute cruelty of having to decide what to make yourself for dinner YET AGAIN, try ordering a recipe box from a great London restaurant. Some of our favourite new additions to the DIY-meal scene are Berenjak’s gormeh sabzi – a lamb and bean stew, served with tahdig (crispy saffron rice) and salad – as well as all the slow-cooked meats you can choose to fill corn tortillas with via Tacos Padre’s at-home kits and the massive weekend kit from Shuk. Read on to find your dream meal kit. 

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GoBoat
GoBoat
Photograph: GoBoat

7. Rent a little boat

Things to do Paddington

We’ve been living like lonely sea captains for the last year, all we’re missing is a ship of our own. From Monday 29, you can actually DO outdoor activities with your friends, and that includes renting a little boat. With GoBoat in Paddington, you can hire and self-drive your own boat with a crew of up to six pals and make your way across London's canals. Depending on how good your steering skills are, you’ll be traveling past London Zoo, through Regents Park and Camden Lock. Prices start at £79 for 1 hour. Sound good? Come on, let’s blow this popsical stand. 

Venue says WE ARE OPEN! Book now for Summer/Spring at www.goboat.co.uk

8. Not ready to leave the house? Order the best takeaways in London

Restaurants

If nothing makes you swoon quite as much as a lip-smacking food parcel arriving at your doorstep – like a mouthwatering Romeo to an utterly insatiable Juliet – then you’re about to fall in love with this list. Because we’ve rounded up some unbeatable eats from the best London restaurants that you can order as takeaways to be delivered right to your home. Ding dong! 

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Jin Angdoo, ‘Blue Green Dots Border’
Jin Angdoo, ‘Blue Green Dots Border’
Jin Angdoo, ‘Blue Green Dots Border’. Image: Saatchi Yates

9. Check out some cool French painters in a West End shop window

News Art

Lots of London’s art galleries have announced they’re reopening, which is great and all, but plenty have also seen their spring 2021 plans thrown in the bin, and May is feeling pretty far away right now. ‘Allez la France’ is a group show of four of Gaul’s most promising young painters – Jin Angdoo, Mathieu Julien, Hams Klemens and Kevin Pinsembert. It was meant to have gone on display at Saatchi Yates’s Cork Street gallery on March 3. Obviously, that wasn’t going to happen, so they’ve moved a selection of the works down the road to fancy-pants Burlington Arcade and stuck them in some shopfronts as ‘window viewings’. ‘Allez la France’ version deux is on show until May 15, so you can stroll along with a group of six and create your own chin-stroking outdoor gallery tour. 

See more great events happening this month
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