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Photograph: Benedict Johnson

Things to do in London this week

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

Rosie Hewitson
Written by
Rosie Hewitson
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OK, so this week isn’t quite as festive as next week: after all, we’re getting a bumper four-day weekend from Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 5 to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. But if you’re in the mood to get out and about like, right now, London has plenty to offer over the next seven days.

For a start, there are some cracking new exhibitions to check out, from Tate Britain’s major retrospective on mesmerising British artist Cornelia Parker, to the British Museum’s new take on feminine power and the Barbican’s art exhibition about the planet’s ecological future. Oh, and the nation’s favourite dinosaur returns to the Natural History Museum this week following a global tour. Let’s give him a hero’s welcome.

Film-wise, this week sees the opening of Tom Cruise’s eagerly anticipated Top Gun: Maverick, though if you fancy something less bombastic, Terence Davies’s masterly Siegfried Sassoon biopic Benediction is still playing. If you’re in the mood for a midweek bop, head to Sherelle’s headline show at the Colour Factory; if you’d rather find something cute for your flat, try Wembley Park Antiques Market.

Plus, perhaps the biggest event of all, this week sees the opening of the Elizabeth Line at long last. Happy riding!

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  • Art
  • Bloomsbury

Combining ancient sculpture, sacred artifacts and contemporary art from six continents, this ‘Feminine Power: The Divine to the Demonic’ explores the global history of female spiritual beings. We're talking demons, spirits, saints, fairies and everything in between here. From satanic consorts to gods of death, this show is an exploration of the enduring power of female spirituality throughout history.

  • Things to do
  • Wimbledon

‘Great British Menu’ judge Tom Kerridge brings his travelling celebration of pub grub to Wimbledon. London foodie faves – including Atul Kochhar, Angela Hartnett, Hoppers and Cue Point – will be cooking up a storm as part of an epic roster of restaurants and gastropubs creating dishes for the festival. There’ll be plenty of live demos where you can brush up on your chef skills. And the music’s not too shabby either: Basement Jaxx, Soul II Soul and a DJ set from Faithless feature in the line-up (which you can check out in full here!) Tasty stuff.

 

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  • Film
  • Drama

A glidingly elegant, emotionally ransacking story of repression and the past – in other words, a Terence Davis film – Siegfried Sassoon biopic ‘Benediction’ reaches out beyond the war poetry to show a gay artist forced to hide his true self. The excellent Jack Lowden plays him as a man haunted by the trenches, who bed-hops with Bright Young Things but finds joy and meaning elusive. Peter Capaldi plays his older, gnarled version. The pinsharp dialogue is a reminder of just what a great writer Davis is, while there’s visual poetry to go with Sassoon’s verses.

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  • Things to do
  • Angel

Whether you’re addicted to podcasts, have your own podcast or are merely convinced that you and the lads would have a major hit if you ever did get round to making one, there’s something for you at this new international festival. It features more than 150 panels, talks and live podcast recordings. An eclectic bunch of top audio creators will be there, including Louis Theroux, Annie Mac, Gary Lineker, BBC presenter Emily Maitlis and activist Munroe Bergdorf. 

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  • Art
  • Millbank

She's exploded sheds and trampled French horns, and in the process, Cornelia Parker has become one of the most mesmerising, instantly recognisable British artists working today. This major retrospective will include loads of breathtaking installations, all dealing with issues of violence, ecology, history and human rights. And also her apparent hatred for garden furniture.

RECOMMENDED: Top ten art exhibitions in London

  • Film
  • Action and adventure

Not just the best of the best but now also the oldest of the old, Tom Cruise’s Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell is back in the cockpit in a follow-up that will thrill every fan of the 1986 ‘Top Gun’. There’s a bit in the middle that sags, but, honestly, your neck will need the respite. The rest of the movie soars – it’s a reminder of how good Hollywood can be at popcorn entertainment when it sets its mind to it (and when Cruise is involved). Few blockbuster reboots can boast this blend of nostalgia, freshness and adrenaline. You will want to high-five someone on the way out. Don’t think, just do it.

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  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • South Kensington

London’s favourite dinosaur is back in town! The Natural History Museum’s life-sized replica Dippy was the first Diplodocus (which is pronounced DIP-low-DOCK-us by the way) to go on display back in 1905, but the 28-metre-lond skeletal sauropod has been on tour since 2017, delighting and terrifying 2 million museum-goers around the UK. But now, the prodigal dino is returning home, at least for a bit. This new temporary installation will feature visitors’ reflections from when they met the Jurassic giant, exploring how these meetings inspired them to re-connect with nature right on their doorsteps. The museum is remaining coy about Dippy’s plans once it’s over, but after such a successful UK tour, maybe he’ll set his sights even further afield next, so don’t miss this opportunity to call in on him while he’s got some down-time in Kensington.

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • Wembley

Find collectibles, homeware, jewelry and so much more at Wembley Park’s new monthly antiques market. Located in an undercover space in Canada Gardens’ car park, it’s open rain or shine on the last Wednesday of every month and can host hundreds of traders, meaning you’ll find all sorts of intriguing trinkets from the vintage homeware and the perfect retro outfit for summer to garden furniture and quirky toys from days gone by. 

RECOMMENDED: The best markets in London

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  • Nightlife
  • Nightlife

Neon-splattered retro gaming bar NQ64 officially opens its latest branch on Soho’s Brewer Street this week, with loads of classic consoles alongside more than 30 original arcade game. The late-night spot doesn’t officially open until Friday, but a select few lucky joystick-heads will be chosen to preview the venue at its grand opening on Thursday evening. Drop the bar a message on Instagram to be in with a chance of winning free drinks and gaming tokens, plus a coveted place on the guestlist Ready, player one!

  • Things to do
  • Late openings
  • Bankside

This mindfulness-themed May late will have you experiencing extreme zen, via a bunch of free talks, workshops and performances exploring the transformative healing power of art. These include a dance piece by Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei followed by a conversation between the artist, performers and Tate curators, as well as a slow sketching workshop, meditation sessions and music from Hong Kong-based producer DJ ASJ.

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  • Things to do
  • Consumer shows and conventions
  • Royal Docks

Calling all cosplay whizzes, superhero worshippers, and anime stans: Comic Con is back for 2022 with a massive line-up to geek out over. This year’s omnivorous programming includes appearances from the cast and crew of James Bond, ‘Doctor Who’, Harry Potter, the MCU and, yes, ‘Star Wars’. And there’s also the usual smörgåsbord of fun stuff to do including cosplay competitions, fan meet-ups, manga drawing workshops, and console games. Find out more on the MCM Comic Con website.

  • Things to do
  • Late openings
  • South Kensington

Chat to cancer researchers from the Francis Crick Institute, play with an ‘interactive tumour-like sculpture’ and get some potentially life-saving advice from the Coppafeel Boobettes at this midweek late celebrating the opening of the Science Museum’s new free exhibition ‘Cancer Revolution: Science, Innovation and Hope’. There’ll also be the usual food and bevvie offerings, plus a silent disco and medical pub quiz.

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centres
  • Hackney

Travel through five centuries of scandal, royal drama, London history and hauntings during this Thursday evening tour of Hackney’s most historic home. You’ll be able to hear a wealth of fascinating tales about the Victorian schoolchildren, trade unionists, refugees and anarcho-punks who have called the National Trust property home, dating right back to when it was built by Cromwell’s right-hand man Ralph Sadleir in 1535.

  • Music
  • Hackney Wick

In might have only burst onto the London festival scene in 2018, but Vicky Park weekender series All Points East has already cemented its reputation as one of London’s best live music events. The festival might not be back until late August this year,  but luckily you don’t have to wait until then to catch a bunch of massive artists on the big stage. In the run-up to the main event, the festival is putting on a series of three properly exciting summer gigs at top London venues. High-tempo selector Sherelle will be kicking off proceedings with a headline slot at Colour Factory this Thursday, supported by rising producers LCY and Nia Archives.

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  • Art
  • Barbican

The Barbican’s Curve Gallery has been transformed into a space for meditation on the ecological future of our planet for experiential new group exhibition ‘Our Time on Earth’. Artists from around the world have been brought together to show work about the earth, including crockery made for animals, an immersive soil experience, plankton noise, fashion made out of living cells, and a chance to experience 'tree time'. 

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